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Seminole Square Files Lawsuit against Shops at Stonefield - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Seminole Square Files Lawsuit against Shops at Stonefield

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Two neighboring shopping centers along the Charlottesville-Albemarle County line are at the center of a lawsuit.  

The developer of the Shops at Stonefield is facing legal action from the owners of Seminole Square shopping center. 

The 21-page lawsuit, filed by Sequel Investors and the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. of Central Virginia, details concerns of unlawful discharge of runoff on the Seminole Square property. It says the new shopping center will pour millions of gallons of water onto the Seminole Square property.  

"The stormwater from Stonefield development is going to inundate our properties and flood our properties and prevent us from having the ability to develop those properties in the future," said David Mitchell, a representative for Seminole Square. 

Albemarle County and the city of Charlottesville are also named in the suit.  

Management at Seminole Square says a 72-inch bypass pipe that runs under Route 29 will bring too much runoff into a nearby retention pond, also impacting the new city stormwater fee.

"The way this works, we could put almost 85-90 percent of the water that lands on the Seminole Square shopping center in that basin and treat it and therefore get some tax credit and some fee reduction," Mitchell said.

But with the excess water from Shops at Stonefield, it would no longer be eligible for that reduction.

"We cannot allow another property owner to take their storm water cost their development cost and push them downstream on us," Mitchell said.

NBC29 has reached out to both the city and county attorneys as well as the developer for the Shops at Stonefield but have not heard back from any of them.  

Tuesday morning the owners of the Seminole Square shopping center will meet with their tenants to discuss the lawsuit.

To read the complaint in full, click here.


Great Eastern Management Company
MEDIA RELEASE

LOCAL BUSINESSES SUE STONEFIELD DEVELOPER,
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, CITY OF CHARLOTTESVILLE

Plaintiffs seek remedy for the Shops at Stonefield's stormwater system
that diverts millions of gallons onto their property

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.—In a lawsuit filed today in the Circuit Court of Albemarle County, Sequel Investors Limited Partnership, owned by Great Eastern Management Company and related entities, and Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Central Virginia, Inc. are suing the developers of the Shops at Stonefield. Sequel and Pepsi have initiated legal action because their property, located within the City across U.S. Route 29 from Stonefield, will be unlawfully inundated by millions of gallons of stormwater.

The defendant, Albemarle Place EAAP, LLC ("E&A") a subsidiary of Columbia, S.C.-based Edens, is currently constructing Stonefield, a 1,000,000-plus square foot commercial and residential development which drains stormwater to a retention pond behind Seminole Square Shopping Center, located on land owned by Sequel and Pepsi. Edens is one of the nation's largest real estate developers.

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

The existing drainage facilities constructed on the Sequel and Pepsi properties have captured and managed stormwater without incident for decades. As part of its development of Stonefield, E&A installed a new additional 72-inch drainage pipe beneath Route 29 near an existing 42-inch drainage pipe. The City and County approved the use of the drainage pipe.

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

The existing facilities on Sequel and Pepsi land were not designed to accommodate the millions of gallons of stormwater resulting from the accelerated and increased flow from Stonefield. E&A's engineering calculations demonstrate that the increased velocity and volume of water will flood developable properties owned by Sequel and Pepsi. The flooding will also deposit additional sediment and debris into the retention pond.

By transferring the cost of managing stormwater on its own property to downstream property owners—a violation of applicable regulations, laws and local ordinances—E&A has impeded Pepsi's planned plant expansion and Sequel's ability to replace parking spaces that will be lost to the long-planned and highly anticipated 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 Sequel and Pepsi property.

Pam Fitzgerald, spokesperson for Great Eastern Management Company, is available to answer questions from the media (434-979-2678).

About Sequel Investors Limited Partnership

Sequel Investors Limited Partnership is owned by Great Eastern Management Company and related entities. Great Eastern Management Company is a real estate development, construction, finance and management company with commercial, office, retail and multi-family residential properties in Charlottesville, Lynchburg and Harrisonburg. The company is one of the largest tax-paying entities in Charlottesville and Albemarle County. For more information, please visit www.gemc.com.

About Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Central Virginia

The oldest continually owned and operated Pepsi franchise in the nation, Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Central Virginia consists of 18 counties in Central Virginia. It has been owned and operated by the same family since its establishment more than 100 years ago. Samuel Ambrose Jessup moved his Martinsville bottling company to Charlottesville in 1908, and the Jessups have since been long been engaged in civic and charitable organizations serving the region's communities. For more information, visit www.pepsico.com.

About Seminole Square Shopping Center

Seminole Square Shopping Center, a community shopping destination for 25 years, is home to more than 45 family-friendly, community-oriented shops and services—many of which are locally owned. The shopping center, managed by Great Eastern Management Company and Ja-Zan, LLC, is owned in part by Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Central Virginia and Sequel Investors Limited Partnership. For more information, visit www.cvilleshop.com/seminole-square.

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