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Supreme Court panel upholds Stafford ruling on Crucible
Date published: 5/22/2007
By MEGHANN COTTER
A Virginia Supreme Court panel has upheld a Stafford Circuit Court ruling in the Crucible case.
The three-judge group agreed May 10 that residents and county officials did not meet time requirements when appealing the zoning administrator's decision on the anti-terrorist training facility.
State law requires appeals be filed within 30 days of the questionable action. According to the Circuit Court, the clock started in May 2004 with the zoning administrator's decision that the complex could be classified as a school.
Time expired well before the company filed a site plan and residents were officially notified in 2005.
Kroll Inc., the world's top risk-consulting company, has operated The Crucible in Stafford for seven years. With multimedia classrooms, outdoor small-arms ranges and defensive-tactics training areas, it caters to federal agents, the military elite and civilians who must travel to dangerous parts of the world.
Stafford County Attorney Joe Howard said the Board of Supervisors will discuss the Supreme Court ruling in closed session next week.
"The county is disappointed with the ruling, but there are a number of things that would have to be accomplished before the Crucible could ever go forward in the county," he said.
Since controversy over the project exploded in 2005, Stafford supervisors have changed related county laws. A school built on agricultural land now requires a conditional-use permit, which requires a public hearing before the Planning Commission and supervisors.
The Crucible's attorney Clark Leming has filed suit, claiming his client is exempt from laws put on the books after a site plan was submitted. He also says the county cannot create an ordinance aimed at limiting a specific project.
Stafford officials argue the company must adhere to those regulations, despite previous zoning designations and site plan filings. Sharon Pandak, the attorney who represents Stafford County, has said previously that those plans have not gone far enough in the process to be exempt from the new requirements.Meghann Cotter: 540/374-5434