Regions Central Virginia

Stonefield development in Charlottesville sparks lawsuit

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Two local businesses in Charlottesville filed a lawsuit Tuesday in the Circuit Court of Albemarle County against the developers of the Shops at Stonefield, a 1-million-square-foot mixed-use project under construction off U.S. Route 29.

Sequel Investors Limited Partnership, owned by Great Eastern Management Company and related entities, and Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. of Central Virginia Inc. said in a news release that they have initiated legal action against the developer, the city of Charlottesville and Albemarle County because their property — located across U.S. Route 29 from Stonefield — will be inundated by millions of gallons of storm water from the development.

According to the suit, Albemarle Place EAAP, LLC (“E&A”) a subsidiary of Columbia, S.C.-based Edens, plans to drain storm water to a retention pond behind Seminole Square Shopping Center, located on land owned by Sequel and Pepsi.

“By its own engineering calculations, storm water from E&A’s land development will flood and damage Sequel and Pepsi’s private property at 50 times the frequency of current conditions,” David Mitchell, consultant to Great Eastern Management Company, which manages Seminole Square Shopping Center, said in a statement.

As part of the Stonefield development, the suit says E&A installed a new 72-inch drainage pipe beneath Route 29 near an existing 42-inch drainage pipe. The city and Albemarle County approved the use of the pipe as part of Stonefield’s storm water system.

The attorney representing Sequel/Pepsi, Brian Glasser of Bailey and Glasser, LLP, said in a statement, “E&A’s land development fails to meet state statutory and regulatory requirements including erosion and sediment control and flooding provisions of the Virginia Storm Water Management Program, the Charlottesville City Code, the Albemarle County Code and other Virginia law. Because the County and City misapplied storm water regulations to the project, they are also named in the suit.”

The suit says existing facilities on Sequel and Pepsi land were not designed to accommodate the millions of gallons of storm water that will result from the increased flow from Stonefield. It claims that increased velocity and volume of water will flood developable properties owned by Sequel and Pepsi and increase sentiments in the existing retention pond. 

By transferring the cost of managing storm water on its own property to downstream property owners, the suit says E&A has impeded Pepsi’s planned plant expansion and Sequel’s ability to replace parking spaces that will be lost to the extension of Hillsdale Drive.

Sequel and Pepsi seek a permanent injunction barring E&A from allowing water to pass onto their property as well as a declaration that the E&A has no legal right to pass millions of gallons of water onto the property.

Sequel Investors Limited Partnership is owned by Great Eastern Management Company and related entities. Great Eastern Management Company is a Charlottesville real estate development, construction, finance and management company with commercial, office, retail and multifamily residential properties in Charlottesville, Lynchburg and Harrisonburg.

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