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Seminole Square Tenants Speak Out on Stormwater Lawsuit - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Seminole Square Tenants Speak Out on Stormwater Lawsuit

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Seminole Square shopping center tenants are speaking out Monday about their center's legal battle against the new Shops at Stonefield - right across the street. The lawsuit focuses on stormwater runoff, which the plaintiffs say claim could flood their property.

The two shopping centers sit right on the city-county line - with Seminole Square in Charlottesville and shops at Stonefield in Albemarle. Seminole Square tenants got a rundown Tuesday of how their neighbor's runoff could be their problem.

Alan Bittmann has been a tenant at Seminole Square for more than 25 years. Bittmann and around 20 other business owners in the shopping center came together Tuesday morning to learn details of a legal battle with the complex across the street.

"From what was explained to me in the past -  and then again this morning -  is that we're kind of getting dumped on," said Bittman.

The lawsuit was filed Monday by Sequel Investors and Pepsi Cola Bottling - the group backing Seminole Square.

Representatives say EDENS - the group developing the shops at Stonefield - built a stormwater system that burdens their neighbors with the costs and responsibility.

"The issue now is that the holding pond cannot hold what is coming across the street.  In fact, it's going to flood that area.  What was essentially a 100-year flood level now will become a two or 10-year flood level," said Pam Fitzgerald, spokesperson for the plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs are also suing Albemarle County and the city of Charlottesville - claiming they did not lawfully protect the Seminole Square property owners. 

County representatives disagree.

"At this point the county remains very confident that we did a thorough review and approval process within legal guidelines," said Lee Catlin, Albemarle County spokesperson.  

Bittmann says this disagreement may push the environmental health of Seminole Square even further downstream.

"We try to be good neighbors here and we would expect that everyone else would be a good neighbor as well," said Bittman.    

Charlottesville's attorney did not comment on the case, saying they were not yet served with the suit earlier Tuesday. The Shops at Stonefield's developer has also declined to comment.

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