Judge Rules Against Residents in Dollar General Challenge

Judge Christopher Wilkes issued a 35-page decision finding that the Morgan County Planning Commission did not violate local residents’ due process rights in approving plans to move forward with a proposed Dollar General store at the corner of Oakland Road and US 522 ten miles south of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia.

Photo and Video: Robert Peak

Photo and Video:
Robert Peak

Local residents who opposed the Dollar General location in the rural residential area were disappointed with the decision.

“In addition to being disappointed in the outcome of the decision, I am disappointed that the Court failed to address many of the issues we raised in our petition,” said local resident Paul Stern. “For example, we argued that the plain requirements of the Morgan County Subdivision Ordinance were not followed by the Planning Commission and gave specific examples. The Court failed to address these in it’s decision or explain why our reasoning was erroneous. That was a disservice to the residents of Morgan County who were entitled to a more well reasoned opinion.”

“It is my understanding that the petitioners in the case are considering an appeal and will decide shortly on the appropriate course of action,” Stern said. “I hope they elect to appeal and that the reviewing Court addresses the issues raised in our petition.”

Larry Schultz, the attorney for the residents who filed the lawsuit, said that he was consulting with his clients and was willing to appeal the case on their behalf.

Schultz said that such an appeal to the West Virginia Supreme Court would take anywhere from five months to a year to be decided.

“The Supreme Court can decide without an argument to not hear an appeal,” Schultz said.

“In that case, it could be over in five months. If they hear the appeal, it has to be briefed, and it might take a year to get a decision.”

Last month, a group of citizens delivered a petition with 419 signatures calling on the Planning Commission to encourage developers to consider shifting the proposed new Dollar General store from the corner of US 522 and Oakland Road to the Morgan County Business Park just one mile away.

Another group of citizens wanting the Dollar General at the Oakland Road site delivered a petition earlier this year to the Planning Commission with 136 signatures.

Last week, dump trucks, backhoes and front loaders were seen working the site.

The early excavation work was conducted by First Fruits Excavating of Ridgeley, West Virginia.

The residents asked Judge Wilkes to intervene and stop the excavation work at the site. Judge Wilkes did not address that petition.

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