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Va. Supreme Court will hear appeal in contentious Wegmans distribution center case

Opponents of a water permit for a Wegmans distribution center in Hanover at an April 30 news...
Opponents of a water permit for a Wegmans distribution center in Hanover at an April 30 news conference announcing a lawsuit against the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the State Water Control Board.(Sarah Vogelsong (Virginia Mercury))
Published: May. 31, 2022 at 6:59 AM EDT
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The Supreme Court of Virginia will hear an appeal of two lower court rulings that found that residents living near a massive planned Wegmans distribution center project in Hanover didn’t have standing to challenge local officials’ approval of the project.

“The essence” of the Hanover Circuit rulings “is that literally, no one can challenge the decision of the board at issue here,” argued five residents whose properties lie within 1,200 feet or across the street from the Wegmans site. They say the case will allow the high court to “determine once and for all” whether owners of property adjacent to projects with adverse impacts “have access to the courts to challenge” approvals granted by local governments.

On May 23, the Supreme Court of Virginia announced it would hear the appeal. No schedule has yet been set.

“We’re really hopeful that the Supreme Court is going to get this right and fix what Hanover County didn’t get right,” said Roderick Morgan, one of the residents involved in the suit. “It’s ridiculous that people have not had access to the courts because of this whole standing issue, and it’s people who are immediately adjacent to the property and really close by.”

Neither Hanover County nor Wegmans provided a comment on the court’s decision to the Mercury.

The Supreme Court’s decision to review the case is the latest twist in an ongoing fight by several overlapping groups of Hanover residents to block the construction of a 1.7 million-square-foot Wegmans distribution center roughly two miles from Interstate 95 and seven miles north of Richmond.

Local and state officials have touted Wegman’s promise to create 700 jobs and invest $175 million in the Hanover facility as a major economic development win for the region. Former Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration awarded the company $2.35 million in grants to secure the commitment.

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.(Virginia Mercury)

The Virginia Mercury is a nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization covering Virginia government and policy.

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