Harrisonburg Sued Over Building Plans


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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- One group has sued the City of Harrisonburg because it says the city didn't follow protocol for its new City Hall.

The group "We Support Planning" believes the city did not approach the planning process legally.

The group supports the need for a new building, but says legally, the Harrisonburg City Council should have submitted plans and designs for the new building to the planning commission before going forward with the architects.

Tom Domonoske, the lawyer who filed the lawsuit, wants the planning commission to have the chance to consider the city's current comprehensive plan.

"Unless a feature is shown on a comprehensive plan, the city is not authorized to build a new building without having the general location, character," said Domonoske.

In October, council members did not agree to approach the planning commission.

City Attorney Chris Brown said the comprehensive plan already designates areas around the current municipal building for government use; however, Domonoske disagrees.

"We would like to see that written recommendation, and hear how city council responds to it, that is just basic sort of open transparent government," said Domonoske.

The current design plan would attach the new building to the current municipal building and Domonoske is worried about delays.

"We think it would be a huge problem for the city to issue financing and award construction construction contracts when they're not authorized to," said Domonoske.

As plans for the new building move forward, Domonoske said the group wants to make sure it's done the right way.

"Everyone would agree we want to spend those millions of dollars and get the best building we can get that's in accord with the vision for what we want our town to be," said Domonoske.

The group wants to make sure the buildings reflect the historic character of the city.

Vice Mayor Charlie Chenault, could not comment specifically due to the ongoing litigation, but said they city takes the lawsuit seriously and would like to see it resolved as soon as possible.


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