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Town defends BZA vote

by Tom Chillemi

In response to Potomac Timber LLC’s court appeal of a recent Urbanna Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) decision, John Conrad, an attorney for the Urbanna Town Council, argues that under state law “the findings and conclusions of the board of zoning appeals on questions of fact shall be presumed to be correct.”

On September 18, Conrad, who also is an attorney for the Virginia Municipal League, filed the town council’s response to Potomac Timber’s legal challenge of the BZA decision that has prevented the marina at Urbanna Yachting Center from being rebuilt.

In its appeal, Potomac Timber, which owns the marina, asks the Middlesex Circuit Court to reverse the BZA ruling and clear the way for demolition of both boathouses and all but six existing slips at the marina. Potomac Timber has permits from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission to construct floating piers with 98 new boat slips (for a total of 104 slips) and to replace 263 feet of bulkhead.

In March 2009, Urbanna zoning administrator Lewis Filling ruled that Potomac Timber’s building plan violated the town zoning ordinance.

Based on this objection by the Town of Urbanna, Middlesex County withdrew the marina’s building permit.

Potomac Timber appealed Filling’s decision to the Urbanna BZA, which voted 3-1 to uphold the decision.

In Conrad’s written response, the town council denies all major allegations made in Potomac Timber’s appeal. (See related article for more background information:  Town BZA decision appealed)

The September 2, 2009 BZA appeal to the court is Potomac Timber’s third legal challenge against the Urbanna government.

Potomac Timber also plans to build 14 condominiums on the same 1.5-acre parcel on which the marina is located on Urbanna Creek. The proposed condo project is also on hold, mired in a $4 million court lawsuit filed by Potomac Timber.

When the BZA upheld Filling’s decision to reject the marina zoning application, members noted, because there are two different site plans for the same 1.5-acre waterfront parcel—one for the marina, and one for the condos.

No court date has been set.

posted 09.24.2009

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