Georgetown appealing Clarke County’s rejection of proposed Contemplative Center
Last time we checked in on Georgetown’s proposed Contemplative Center, it had just gotten the kibosh from the Clarke County Board of Supervisors. Turns out the University’s not too happy about that decision—they’ve filed a civil complaint with the Clarke County Circuit Court alleging that the Board’s decision was “arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable” and asking the Court to issue an injunction requiring the Board of Supervisors to reconsider it.
Back in 2005, after receiving a $10 million donation from Arthur Calcagnini Jr. (COL ’54) to build a permanent home for retreat programs, Georgetown bought a plot of land in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Northern Virginia. Because the property is zoned as “Forestral Open Space,” Georgetown needs to secure a Special Use Permit in order to build the center—and that’s where we’ve run afoul of the Clarke County Board of Supervisors.
In a meeting this May, the board rejected Georgetown’s application for a Special Use Permit 3-2, arguing that it would “erode” the zoning code and invite too much residential development. After that setback, University Architect Alan Brangman told the Winchester Star, “If we can’t do it here, we will have to put it somewhere else.” But it looks like Georgetown’s not ready to call it quits on the Blue Ridge Mountain site just yet.
The complaint Georgetown recently filed with the Circuit Court—which you can read in full after the jump—alleges that the application it presented to the board “meets all applicable requirements for the issuance of a special use permit as set forth in the County’s Zoning Ordinance” and that “the Board has, and has asserted, no valid reasons” for denying the it.
According to the complaint:
The Center would have minimal impact on the surrounding community, and on public infrastructure and services …. Because of the Board’s denial, Georgetown cannot use the Property for its intended purpose, and consequently must incur additional and significant expenses pursuing another location for its Center. Georgetown has also expended significant funds in pursuit of the Application which have effectively gone to waste because of the Board’s decision.
The University is arguing that the board’s “arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable” rejection of the application violates Virginia law. The complaint requests that the court “issue a mandatory injunction requiring the Board to reconsider, and to grant, the special use permit and site plan.”
Georgetown’s Director of Media Relations Andy Pino wrote in an email that he does not know when the Circuit Court will hear the University’s complaint.
Read the full complaint after the jump!