City halts action on two zoning lawsuits
Posted: February 21, 2013
The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER — The city has halted legal action on two civil cases filed against a resident, but two more are to be heard in court next week.
City Attorney Tony Williams filed motions on Feb. 12 to “nonsuit” two zoning violation cases against Martin Gavis. The cases are related to the dilapidated condition of his home at 414 S. Braddock St. and a bucket truck parked beside the home.
Williams and Aaron Grisdale, Winchester’s director of zoning and inspections, declined to comment about the decision to nonsuit the cases. Gavis also declined to comment.
While a nonsuit halts legal action on the civil lawsuits, the cases are not considered dismissed altogether. The Code of Virginia allows a plaintiff to “recommence his action within six months from the date of the order entered by the court.”
Both cases were appeals of General District Court decisions in which Gavis was found guilty of violating the city’s Zoning Ordinance.
One of those rulings is about the condition of his home. Gavis was cited for zoning violations for peeling paint, missing boards and missing roof tiles and was fined $450.
The other decision is related to the bucket truck parked on the property that Gavis said is being used for the repairs. He was fined $200 for that violation.
Actions in two cases pitting the city against Gavis remain on court dockets next week. Both are related to Marty’s Used Cars, the vehicle dealership he operates at his home.
On Monday, he is scheduled to be in General District Court for trial on a charge of failing to provide information to the commissioner of the revenue relating to tax assessments. The offense is a Class 3 misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500.
On Thursday, a motions hearing will be held in Circuit Court related to Gavis’ appeal of a November Board of Zoning Appeals decision regarding an alleged zoning violation linked to his dealership.
In that case, the city claims sales data shows that Gavis is operating a wholesale lot from his Residential Business-zoned home, not a retail lot. His retail business was grandfathered in at that location; vehicle wholesaling is not allowed in Residential Business districts.
If the decision goes against Gavis, it could force him to stop selling or storing vehicles on his property.
— Contact Vic Bradshaw at email@example.com