Charlottesville Files Counterclaim in Lawsuit with Albemarle County

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The city of Charlottesville filed papers in its lawsuit with Albemarle County over biking at Ragged Mountain Natural Area Wednesday.

This is the city's first response since the county filed its lawsuit in April.

The city is asking for an injunction against the county's rules prohibiting biking at Ragged Mountain and an order to remove signs that say no biking.

Charlottesville’s argument comes down to a claim that Albemarle County's rule prohibiting biking in the city-owned property is an unconstitutional exercise of the county's police power.

Charlottesville City Council to pass an ordinance allowing mountain bikers in the Ragged Mountain Natural Area. Those trails are physically located in the county, but the city owns the land. 

The city argues in court documents that the county is treating the natural area, “As if it were part of the county's park system" by trying to make its own rules. The city also says that there is no evidence that biking would actually harm the water supply in the Ragged Mountain Reservoir, which was one of the county's original claims.

The filing includes a letter from the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority, the body that operates the reservoir, from last December telling Charlottesville and Albemarle County officials that biking would not significantly impact water quality.

Mayor Mike Signer and a Charlottesville city spokeswoman said they have no comment.

An Albemarle County spokeswoman said, “We remain confident of our legal position and will be assessing the city response as appropriate."

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