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Staunton: City files appeal in BZA case

Staff Report

Staunton city government has filed a motion to ask the Staunton Circuit Court to reconsider the order of a judge now recused from a legal dispute involving the Board of Zoning Appeals to appoint an attorney to represent the board at city expense.

The filing argues that the city had already tendered legal representation for the BZA through its insurance provider. Judge Thomas Wood appointed a Harrisonburg attorney to represent the board in the dispute that began last year when the board approved two fences and a wall for homeowners though the structures exceeded height restrictions in the city code.

Wood had originally ruled that the city did not have to pay for the board’s lawyer, then reversed himself after saying that he had discovered materials submitted by board chair Libby Welsh. City attorney Doug Guynn said the city was unaware of those materials until after the judge had reversed his decision.

Wood appointed Harrisonburg attorney William E. Shmidheiser III to represent the board. Schmidheiser has told the city that his rate would be slightly less than $260 an hour, according to a report in the News Leader this morning.

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