The following editorial is submitted by Mary Dufty of Wardtown.
I want to thank Stefanie Jackson for her well-researched article on a pending class action suit to recover just compensation for lands acquired by the Rails to Trails project without the landowner’s consent.
We purchased our land across from Butch Bailey’s Auto Repair shop about 3 years ago with the purpose of advertising Exmore’s Business District in a tasteful and harmonious way (no billboard!). However, because the county’s sign ordinance is so restrictive, we abandoned that because its hard to read text on a postage stamp while cruising by at 55+ mph,
Over the years we watched as the railroad easement was just given to the Rails to Trails project….a project however that we fully support….and as HRSD laid a sewer line up that path, with no notice or request for input. Note we won the land in an auction 3 years ago but it did not close for several years due to legal considerations, so it is possible we were not notified about the HRSD excavation.
However, we never thought about the constitutionality of this ‘taking” without consent until, several weeks ago, we received a letter from the Flint Cooper Law firm stating that they are considering a class action lawsuit to recover just compensation for the land being taken for the trail project. So we signed on.
In the letter, Flint Cooper stated that no costs would be incurred by those who sign on, and also said many who received just compensation donated any recovery to the Rails to Trails project. If there is any compensation resulting from their class action suit, we will join those who remitted any proceeds to the pending project, and fully support this initiative.