Virginia Supreme Court Opinions Affecting Local Government Law - June 7, 2013


The Virginia Supreme Court issued new opinions this morning, some of which affect local government law.  Here they are (summaries taken from the Virginia Supreme Court website):

Friends of the Rappahannock v. Caroline Cnty. Bd. Sups. 06/06/2013 In ruling on a demurrer and motion to dismiss a declaratory judgment complaint brought by a conservation organization and several landowners, challenging the grant by a county of a special exception permit authorizing commencement of sand and gravel operations on a tract of land fronting on a river, the circuit court did not err in applying the aggrieved person standard in determining whether the plaintiffs had standing to proceed. Based upon the insufficiency of allegations in their complaint, these complainants did not have standing to proceed. The judgment dismissing the action on that ground is affirmed.

-Special shout out to Sands Anderson’s Ann Neil Cosby for her successful work on behalf of Caroline County in the Friends of the Rappahannock case.

Martin v. City of Alexandria 06/06/2013 In an appeal by objecting neighbors from a circuit court judgment upholding the decision of a city’s board of zoning appeals granting side and rear yard variances to the applicant landowners, none of the conditions asserted to justify the variance application satisfied the requirements of the variance provision of the city’s charter, which governs this case. Accordingly, the decision of the BZA was contrary to law and the circuit court erred in upholding its decision. The judgment of the circuit court is reversed and final judgment is entered for the objecting neighboring landowners.

121562 Paugh v. Henrico Area Mental Health 06/06/2013 In circuit court rulings after an involuntary commitment proceeding before a special justice in the general district court, Code § 37.2-821 requires that the circuit court determine whether an individual meets the requirements for involuntary commitment on the date of the de novo circuit court hearing, not the date of the initial commitment. The circuit court used the incorrect date in this case, and because the Commonwealth conceded that the evidence was insufficient to commit plaintiff as of the day of the circuit court hearing, the court should have dismissed the involuntary commitment petition. The judgment of the circuit court is reversed, and the petition is dismissed.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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