In late May the American Battlefield Trust, together with local nonprofits and private citizens filed a legal challenge in Orange County VA., against an over 2,600-acre development adjacent to the Wilderness Battlefield. The proposed development would include residential, commercial, and industrial development that could include data centers and distribution warehouses.
The filing, made in Orange County Circuit Court, identifies a host of substantive and procedural flaws with the development project and the County’s approval, requiring its invalidation.
“To approve a project of this scale and magnitude without conducting analysis of the impacts to the hundreds of surrounding acres of protected historic landscape is unacceptable, as was the County’s complete lack of response to repeated requests by the preservation community and the National Park Service to meet and discuss our concerns,” said American Battlefield Trust President David Duncan. “As we have before, the Trust and its members will take a stand on behalf of history at the Wilderness.”
In filing the challenge, the Trust is joined by the nonprofit Central Virginia Battlefields Trust, Inc. and Friends of Wilderness Battlefield, Inc., all three of which own or steward historic properties in immediate proximity to the rezoned land and stand to suffer significant adverse impacts from the proposal. Private citizens whose homes directly abut the site and face catastrophic consequences also joined as plaintiffs.
In 2009, preservationists opposed a previous development proposal adjacent to the Wilderness Battlefield that would have seen a Walmart Supercenter built at the intersection of Route 3 and 20 – next to the area threatened now.
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