Legal battle for the waterfront’s future will be quite short

Legal battle for the waterfront’s future will be quite short
City Attorney Jim Banks, City Manager Rashad Young and Mayor Bill Euille.

To the editor:

The Alexandria Times’ story (“Waterfront redux,” March 7) on last week’s planning commission public hearing on the waterfront text amendment and the second text amendment further limiting residents’ right to petition against zoning changes contains this glaring misstatement of fact: “Facing the prospect of years of litigation, Mayor Bill Euille is trying to short-circuit the legal battle …”

There are two pending court cases. In the first one, the city’s hired legal team is seeking to overturn the board of zoning appeals’ decision in favor of the property owners’ petition. This case is scheduled to be heard in circuit court next month. Since the city is the complaining party, it could have an even quicker resolution by asking the court to dismiss that case now.

The second case is being brought by residents who say their protest petition was not handled properly by the department of planning and zoning. It will be heard by the state Supreme Court this spring. If the residents lose in that court, there is no avenue of appeal. Clearly there is no litigation that is going to continue for more than a few months.

All Mayor Euille is seeking to short-circuit is the prospect of embarrassing court decisions. Once the city council passes the two text amendments, the issues of fact will be immaterial. The city’s legal team can ask for a dismissal of each case as having become moot. They are likely to succeed in that. The second text amendment makes it very unlikely the city council will receive protest appeals in the future.
– Katy Cannady