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City leaders deny neighbors’ appeal to stop Westwood Tract development

Posted at 8:31 PM, Jun 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-07 20:35:31-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- City leaders denied an appeal from concerned neighbors to reconsider a plan for an apartment complex in Richmond’s Ginter Park neighborhood.

Residents from Richmond’s Ginter Park and Sherwood Park neighborhoods packed Richmond’s City Hall to appeal a decision by the city zoning administrator to build a large apartment complex near their homes.

The decision, made back in 2012, allowed a 300 unit apartment complex to be built.

The project is known as the Canopy at Ginter Park, on the Westwood Tract, across Brook Road from Union Presbyterian Seminary, who owns the 15-acres where the complex will be built.

Residents made their case to the board of zoning appeals Wednesday afternoon.

The neighbors argued the zoning ordinance that allows for the development is wrong based on the history of the zoning in the area.

The zoning administrator said the ordinance is correct and the law is the law.

After the neighbors made their case, the board voted 4-1 to deny their appeal.

Neighbors said they were disappointed in the board’s decision.

“I would have loved to have the miracle decision and find out that for once the zoning administrator was wrong, but it doesn’t always happen that way,” said Northside resident Sarah Driggs.

Union Presbyterian Seminary released a statement Wednesday evening after the board’s decision:

“We are pleased with the Board of Zoning Appeals’ decision that the development plan for the Westwood Tract was properly approved. Union Presbyterian Seminary has been a cornerstone of the Ginter Park community for over 100 years and we look forward to ongoing collaboration with our neighbors for many years to come.

The case will now go to civil court, where a judge will decide whether or not to hear the neighbors' case on July 14.