New road block for group fighting Northside development

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)  — Neighbors trying to shut down a development on Richmond’s Northside just hit a major road block.

A judge dismissed their lawsuit that sought to stop a large apartment complex from going up on the Westwood Tract.

Union Presbyterian Seminary wants to build the multi-family housing on 36 acres of its property.

“I’m really sorry about it. I’m disappointed that it happened,” says Ben Campbell, one of the 12 plaintiffs who filed suit. “The entire city council and the mayor said this whole thing needs to be re-examined and that was said 6 and 8 weeks ago and it has not yet happened.”

Critics contend the property was never zoned for multi-family units and that the area isn’t prepared for the influx of so many people.

They’ve signed petitions and unsuccessfully appealed to Richmond’s Zoning Board.

“It really is a David-Goliath situation and you know I think David is the more attractive character and if I could find a little round stone and hurl it, I’d do it right now,” adds Campbell.

Seminary President Brian Blount insists his institution would rather mend fences than fight, but they’re moving forward with the project.

“We continue to believe it’s a really helpful project,” he said. “We’ve been working on it for quite a while and we’ve researched it thoroughly. We think its a good thing and we want to keep working with it and we will continue to work on it.”

Blount says the seminary has been an anchor in the community for more than 100 years.

He believes the development will contribute to the overall life and health of the community.

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