Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center in court Thursday for hearing over lawsuit with neighbors

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ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center and their neighbors went to court Thursday for a hearing regarding a lawsuit filed by the neighbors.

The wildlife center and Roanoke County are both being sued over a special use permit the Board of Supervisors approved for the center.

Neighbors are claiming there has been property damage, increased use of a private driveway, and other damages since new items were built at the center that were approved by the special use permit.

In court on Thursday, June 25, the attorneys for the county and the wildlife center tried to have the claim dismissed. They say the neighbors don’t have a right to bring the lawsuit based on the facts they’ve presented.

“We are asking the court to dismiss the matter and of course the neighbors will still be neighbors. So what we’d love to see happen, is to see if possibly the neighbors come together and find some ideas for how they could co-exist and live side by side peacefully. That would be ideal,” said the attorney for Roanoke County, Peter Lubeck.

However, the attorney for the neighbors says otherwise.

“They’re looking for their day in court. They think if the county wants to evaluate and approve these types of structures, they need to follow their process, they need to follow the zoning ordinance and the code. We don’t think that was done here. And we think they ought to have to go back to the beginning and do it properly,” said the attorney for the neighbors, James Cowan.

The judge will take a look at the law again and then take a look at their arguments from Thursday before making a ruling. He also recommended the parties try to mediate the issue outside of the court system.

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