RANSON, W.Va. (May 8, 2020) — Jefferson County Vision (JCV) called upon the City of Ranson to revoke Rockwool’s building permit immediately. A cease work request was delivered today to the City of Ranson on behalf of JCV and all citizens of Ranson who are monitoring continued construction by Rockwool. The call for cease work follows a May 5 court decision that rejected heavy industry rezoning at the Jefferson Orchards site.
The cease work request, hand-delivered to the City of Ranson by JCV attorneys, was prompted by a decision this week by Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge David Hammer. Judge Hammer agreed with the claim in JCV’s lawsuit, ruling that the City of Ranson failed to provide adequate public notice when it changed its zoning to permit heavy industrial uses at Jefferson Orchards. The Court’s ruling emphasized the distinct statutes regarding zoning ordinances as directed by the WV State Code and notes that compliance is not at the unilateral discretion of a municipality.
“In 2017, Ranson rapidly moved to change the zoning at Jefferson Orchards to allow the secret Rockwool deal to proceed. Their error denied Citizens a required public hearing notice. Now, is the time for Ranson to revoke Rockwool’s building permit,” said Jefferson County Vision President Anastasya Tabb.
In Judge Hammer’s ruling, the Court has ordered the City of Ranson to advise, by July 3, 2020, its intent to address “the now failed amendments in their procedures to attempt the Industrial District Ordinance.” Yet as it stands, the Court’s decision has effectively reverted the Jefferson Orchards parcel to its prior use classification, which prohibits any and all industrial uses.
JCV attorneys also note in the cease work request that the Court’s decision this week could prompt Rockwool to seek damages against the City of Ranson. Immediately halting all factory construction will put a hold on any value added to the parcel, which would mitigate damages Rockwool could seek.
Tabb echoed the closing sentence in the letter delivered, “It is my hope that Ranson will finally do the right thing for its citizens.”