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Spotsy official sues county a second time
Spotsylvania planning commissioner pursuing suit against the county

Date published: 10/26/2012

BY JEFF BRANSCOME

A Spotsylvania planning commissioner who is suing the county over his property's assessment is showing some persistence.

Richard Thompson filed another suit this week that appears to fix procedural problems with his original complaint.

He was ordered to resubmit his lawsuit in 14 days or have it dismissed at a Circuit Court hearing on Oct. 15. The initial suit, filed in July in the form of a letter, didn't name a defendant and wasn't presented in numbered paragraphs as required in civil cases.

Thompson, who was appointed to the Planning Commission this year by Supervisor David Ross, said he's now just waiting for a court date.

His complaint seeks to have the 2012 assessed value of his land reduced from $355,600 to its previous appraisal of $290,200. The undeveloped 101-acre tract of land abuts the Po River.

Thompson said last month there's not much he can do with the property because it doesn't have county water and sewer connection, and potential development is restricted by wetlands.

County Attorney Jay Stroman said he was served with Thompson's lawsuit Thursday and will forward it to outside counsel for review. The county must respond to the suit within 21 days of receiving it.

Spotsylvania hired outside counsel to avoid the appearance of impropriety, since the County Attorney's Office also represents Thompson in his capacity as a planning commissioner.

Thompson's annual tax bill would decrease by $575 if a judge sides with him. He paid $236 to file his initial complaint.

The next assessment is in 2014. County officials say the purpose of assessments is not to raise taxes but to bring all property back in line with market value.

Jeff Branscome: 540/374-5402
Email: jbranscome@freelancestar.com