Fluvanna residents continue legal battle over rezoned property

FLUVANNA COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Katie and Walker Ward are continuing their legal battle against the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors with documents they said shows the county was already deciding what to do with a certain piece of property since last year.

The board of supervisors voted in December 2017 to rezone the property from agricultural use to industrial use to make room for LKQ's car recycling facility. In March, the board approved the company's special use permit, which Ward said made them want to continue their fight.

"Once the rezone was approved back in December, we reached out to an attorney to see what our options were as far as appealing it because it didn't sit right with us," said Katie Ward. "Nothing about it seemed okay."

The Wards' case has been open since January, and recently they added documents they requested through the Freedom of Information Act that they said shows county leaders, landowners, and representatives from LKQ already had a plan for the property before decisions were made in public.

"It appeared that negotiations kind of were being made or outlined that the county would need to do to facilitate this private land sale and that just struck me as mind-blowing because essentially the deck was stacked," said Ward. "No matter how many hearings we had, it was already going to go a certain way because they had already been planning on it for months."

Their motion to add these documents to their case was approved, which Ward hopes will help their case to reverse the rezoning decision.

"It's just scary to think that things like this may be happening on other things and unless someone does the research and finds out about this we're clueless," said Ward.

CBS19 reached out to Mike Sheridan, chair for the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors, regarding the lawsuit and he said he has no comment.

Attempts to get comments from the county's director for community and economic development and an LKQ representative regarding their side of the story, but there has been no response.

The Wards say their case will be further discussed in Fluvanna County Circuit Court at the end of August.

Photo taken by: Desiree Montilla

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