Both sides speak out on lawsuit against Accomack County
Accomack County is embroiled in a multimillion dollar lawsuit with a Atlantic Town Center Development Corporation over proposed plans for a residential community and it doesn’t sound like either side is backing down. ATCDC plans were initially to build apartments and town homes on 106 acres, just off of route 175.
47 ABC spoke with Accomack County Supervisor Ron Wolff who says, “The project is just too grandiose for the area. I just don’t see it.”
ATCDC says they already made a significant investment in the area through 8 years of planning. Although they claim they had broad support over the years, there were a number of hurdles, such as rezoning. The area was zoned as agricultural and according to the complaint, the county voted and turned down the application to rezone the area as residential.
Board members also failed to approve a permit change to increase the capacity of a waste water treatment plant for the planned development. That’s when ATCDC filed a lawsuit for $8 million.
Wolff tells 47 ABC, “I don’t see that as being realistic at all. I think they’re trying to hold the county hostage I believe that they’re only doing this to tie is up in court and force the county to spend money.”
ATCDC released the following statement to 47 ABC: “The reason for this investment was to provide an area for economic development and growth to support the Wallops Island Spaceport and surrounding community.”
But Wolff says despite this claim, there’s simply no need. He says those contractors working at Wallops typically live in the area for about 6 weeks, and then leave.
Wolff tells 47 ABC, “They’re not buying any property here you know they come here they rent something try spend a lot of money while they’re here but they’re not purchasing any property.”
The county board also admits there were concerns that the residential development would have been too close to an active airfield at NASA Wallops flight facility. But ATCDC says the project would meet the Federal guidelines for housing within proximity to an airfield, saying quote “We are disappointed we could not work through the issues with the County, and must pursue litigation.”
ATCDC’s full statement as is follows:
“ATCDC made a significant investment in Accomack County. The reason for this investment was to provide an area for economic development and growth to support the Wallops Island Spaceport and surrounding community. This was determined necessary by the County and State leaders to make Wallops a “world class commercial spaceport”. All these efforts were in accordance with the Comprehensive Plan and direction provided by County representatives. With support from the County (that included a Resolution by the Board of Supervisors in support of this project), we acquired land in a growth area, completed detailed plans and studies, and were prepared to implement infrastructure improvements, such as public water and sewer facilities, that are lacking in Accomack County.
We are confident we proposed a quality project that would benefit the local economy and its residents. Unfortunately, the County late in the project began requesting unreasonable proffers, and we believe, exceeded their regulatory authority in regards to aspects pertaining to water and sewer facilities that is the responsibility of the DEQ and VDH. We believe there is no valid reason for denial other than our unwillingness to accept their unconstitutional demands. The project is clearly within a growth area (Village Development Area), meets an identified need by the County and State, and would meet the Federal guidelines for housing within proximity to an airfield. We are disappointed we could not work through the issues with the County, and must pursue litigation.”