The following month, the BOS unanimously approved the new ordinance even though it greatly exceeded the Virginia Department of Health’s 100-foot cemetery buffer standard.
The lawsuit, which made national news, accused the new county of “overly restrictive zoning regulations” having “no legitimate health justification” and violated the law on religious land use and land use. institutionalized people by imposing “a substantial burden on the free exercise of religion.” “
But the BOS decided to fight him anyway.
“If the board wanted a 900 foot buffer, they should have changed the ordinance before WADA bought the property – or at least grandfathered their project,” we said. ‘last year. “Using a late zoning ordinance to block a draft law because a county official doesn’t like it is an abuse of government power, especially when it comes to a religious organization protected by the Premier Amendment. “
Vanuch and Falmouth supervisor Meg Bohmke both voted against approving the settlement agreement, even though the county had already spent more than $ 390,000 in legal fees to defend the county’s indefensible position.
Fortunately, a majority finally decided to stop the bleeding and accept the consequences of the board’s futile attempt to block a bill that would have generated little or no noise, air pollution or traffic by changing zoning rules along the way.