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Judge Denies TRO In East End Dispute With Church

May 6, 2009 — Plaintiffs from the Vessup Lane neighborhood in Estate Nazareth were denied a temporary restraining order in V.I. Superior Court Tuesday, meaning that work will continue on St. Mark's Coptic Church on St. Thomas' East End.
The landholders had already brought the case to District Court, citing the St. Mark's project for being inconsistent with the development's covenants which restrict building to dwellings, and noting procedural problems with the permitting process as well.
After nearly four hours of statements from attorneys representing the landowners, St. Marks and the government, Judge Brenda J. Hollar declared the proceedings a waste.
"At this point, the court is going to stay the proceedings," Hollar said.
Hollar said that the action brought by the landholder's group Tuesday was a "total waste of judicial resources" and a "waste of attorneys' fees."
Hollar reviewed the evidence for new information since the District Court ruling late last month.
"There is nothing before me that indicates anything new," Hollar said of the evidence.
Hollar expressed concern that if her court were to look into the case while a concurrent case is being decided in the federal court, there was a risk of conflicting decisions.
A.J. Weiss, attorney for the group, as well as a contiguous landholder to the St. Mark's property said that Hollar's decision stayed the matter until the landholders decide whether they want to proceed in District or Superior court.
Weiss said that his clients were considering their options but will want to make decision fairly quickly.
"There are a number of plaintiffs," Weiss said. "It will be within a short time. I am hoping to have some decision by the end of the week."
"I am concerned about our individual rights as property owners and the government's obligation to protect our citizens' rights," adjacent property owner and co-plaintiff Delia Thomas said. "They were supposed to notify me in writing and I never got notified of the appeals process. As a citizen, it is important to me to be a part of the process."
Thomas purchased her property in 2003.
Residents were not properly notified of appeals with regard to the Coastal Zone Management permitting process, which requires serving notice to anyone who has testified either in person or in writing in the permitting hearings, according to Weiss.
Weiss confirmed that work appeared to continue at the St. Mark's site, including clearing and some employment of heavy equipment.
Following the hearing, St. Mark's spiritual leader Father Antonius Connor expressed thanks to both the judicial system and to God for the ruling, saying that the church will press on with the project.
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May 6, 2009 -- Plaintiffs from the Vessup Lane neighborhood in Estate Nazareth were denied a temporary restraining order in V.I. Superior Court Tuesday, meaning that work will continue on St. Mark's Coptic Church on St. Thomas' East End.
The landholders had already brought the case to District Court, citing the St. Mark's project for being inconsistent with the development's covenants which restrict building to dwellings, and noting procedural problems with the permitting process as well.
After nearly four hours of statements from attorneys representing the landowners, St. Marks and the government, Judge Brenda J. Hollar declared the proceedings a waste.
"At this point, the court is going to stay the proceedings," Hollar said.
Hollar said that the action brought by the landholder's group Tuesday was a "total waste of judicial resources" and a "waste of attorneys' fees."
Hollar reviewed the evidence for new information since the District Court ruling late last month.
"There is nothing before me that indicates anything new," Hollar said of the evidence.
Hollar expressed concern that if her court were to look into the case while a concurrent case is being decided in the federal court, there was a risk of conflicting decisions.
A.J. Weiss, attorney for the group, as well as a contiguous landholder to the St. Mark's property said that Hollar's decision stayed the matter until the landholders decide whether they want to proceed in District or Superior court.
Weiss said that his clients were considering their options but will want to make decision fairly quickly.
"There are a number of plaintiffs," Weiss said. "It will be within a short time. I am hoping to have some decision by the end of the week."
"I am concerned about our individual rights as property owners and the government's obligation to protect our citizens' rights," adjacent property owner and co-plaintiff Delia Thomas said. "They were supposed to notify me in writing and I never got notified of the appeals process. As a citizen, it is important to me to be a part of the process."
Thomas purchased her property in 2003.
Residents were not properly notified of appeals with regard to the Coastal Zone Management permitting process, which requires serving notice to anyone who has testified either in person or in writing in the permitting hearings, according to Weiss.
Weiss confirmed that work appeared to continue at the St. Mark's site, including clearing and some employment of heavy equipment.
Following the hearing, St. Mark's spiritual leader Father Antonius Connor expressed thanks to both the judicial system and to God for the ruling, saying that the church will press on with the project.
Back Talk


Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.