Admit defeat? Plaintiffs lose one battle against Parkway
After waiting for nearly six weeks, a group of Charlottesville citizens fighting against the Meadowcreek Parkway finally heard the judge had ruled against them in their lawsuit to stop the controversial road.
The plaintiffs argued May 19 that the city of Charlottesville illegally sold a nine-acre stretch of land east of Melbourne Road to the Virginia Department of Transportation by evading a three-fourths super-majority vote required by the Virginia Constitution. The land will be used in one part of the three-sectioned parkway project.
The argument, however, failed to convince Judge Jay Swett, who said that the easement of land from the city to VDOT was "not the type of conveyance contemplated by the framers of the Constitution" in Article VII section 9.
City Attorney Craig Brown, who represented the city in the trial, says he is "very pleased" with Swett's ruling.
"This was a case that involved some legal issues where there was not a lot of case precedent," says Brown, who believes Swett's decision is "very sound and very reasonable."
"Initially, very initially, being a human being I was disappointed," says Colette Hall, president of the North Downtown Resident's Association, which is a plaintiff in the suit.
The plaintiffs are not planning to appeal Swett's decision, and never planned to, says Hall. "We just don't have the funding to do that," she says.
While they may admit defeat in this single battle against the parkway, they are not planning to raise the white flag quite yet.
Hall believes their strongest suit is in federal laws.
"The Coalition to Preserve McIntire Park is actively considering taking this case to federal court," says a statement from the coalition, another plaintiff. And according to Hall, the plaintiffs have hired a lawyer who specializes in environmental law to analyze their case and decide what should be their next move.