Update: City To Sue Over Rail Trail
It's been roughly nine years since the owners of 115 Young Street agreed with the city to build a portion of the Virginia Central Rail Trail. To date, no progress has been made.
Update: 10:45 p.m. - With little discussion, the Fredericksburg City Council authorized city staff to move forward with a lawsuit against Lucio and Karen Crotta, owners of 115 Young Street, to force them into compliance with a 2003 zoning proffer under which the Crotta's agreed to build a portion of the Virginia Central Rail Trail. The original story is below.
City officials say the owners of 115 Young Street aren't keeping their word to help build a portion of the Virginia Central Railroad. After numerous attempts to have the owners, Lucio and Karen Crotta, execute the terms of a 2003 agreement with the city to develop the trail through their land, City Attorney Kathleen Dooley recommends that the city force compliance through a lawsuit.
A Dec. 29 memo from Dooley to the City Council describes the lengths which city staff in multiple departments have gone to move forward on the agreement.
"Efforts to obtain voluntary compliance have failed," reads the memo. "The city is ready to build this segment of the VCR trail, and this portion must be constructed for an uninterrupted trail system."
The land in question is located near the end of Young Street, east of Lafayette Boulevard.
Back in 2003, the City Council rezoned the property at the request of the owners, who wanted to build a 78,000 square foot gym and a 24,000 square foot office building. Part of that rezoning agreement also included a clause which requires the owners to, within four years, design and construct a lit trail along the alignment of the former right-of-way of the Virginia Central Railroad.
"The fitness facility and office building have never been constructed. More than four years has passed from the date of the approval of the rezoning. No work has been done on the design or construction of the proffered trail," reads Dooley's memo.
Since the 2003 rezoning, the city has obtained federal funding to develop the trail. On four different occasions, city officials have tried to resolve the matter. In a letter sent to the Crotta's in September 2011, city officials offered to fund and build the trail through 115 Young Street themselves if the owners would provide an easement.
The Crotta's never responded. Nor did they respond to a December 13, 2011 letter informing them of the City Attorney's request to go forward with a lawsuit to force compliance.
The request to authorize the lawsuit will be voted on tonight at the Fredericksburg City Council's semimonthly regular session at City Hall. The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m.