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SBPA RECENT NEWS & EVENTS

NOVEMBER 2013

Not entirely a surprise, but the Circuit Court judge overruled himself and decided against our claim that the Jefferson County Planning Commission (PC) violated the West Virginia Open Governmental Proceedings Act (OGPA) when the PC reached a secret agreement with the developer of Far Away Farm. He did this despite the fact that the PC did not, on their meeting agenda, properly list the proposed agreement, did not the minutes of the meeting in a timely fashion, all in violation of the OGPA. He vacated his prior ruling that the PC had violated the OGPA.

No matter what the outcome of his ruling we knew that we would be back at the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals (WVSCA) next. We plan to file a petition with the WVSCA as soon as possible. One comforting factor, as we understand, is that the Circuit Court judge has been, in the last several years, overruled by the WVSCA more than any other WV Circuit Court judge.

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PRESS RELEASE – For Immediate Release – October 3, 2013

For further information contact:
Martin Burke - Chairman, Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission – (304) 876-3883
Edward Dunleavy - President, Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association Inc. (917) 747-5748
Another Parcel of the Shepherdstown Battlefield Saved

On September 30, 2013, the Civil War Trust (CWT) closed on the purchase of a property on the site of the 1862 Battle of Shepherdstown. The property is contiguous to the historic Cement Mill property. The property was purchased for $70,000 with funds supplied by the American Battlefield Protection Program of the National Park Service (NPS), the CWT and from a $10,000 donation The property is less than one acre but is strategically important as it is at the intersection of Trough and River Roads. Now, approximately 75 contiguous acres from the Potomac River south have been saved and preserved.

The CWT has remitted the title of the property to the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission (JCHLC). small house on the property will be demolished and the JCHLC intends to merge the property into the Cement Mill tract and place it within the conservation easement recently placed on the Cement Mill property. Ultimately, the JCHLC intends to donate the entire property to the NPS.

The Cement Mill property was purchased for $375,000 by the JCHLC in 2011 with funds garnered by the SBPA, the CWT, Save Historic Antietam Foundation, Inc. and a final contribution from the office of West Virginia Governor Earl Tomblin. Approximately, 102 acres of the core of the site of the Battle of Shepherdstown have now been saved and preserved. SBPA continues in its effort of saving about 300 acres within the core of the battlefield site. Importantly, in 2010, the “Update to the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission Report on the Nation’s Civil War Battlefields” concluded that the site of the Battle of Shepherdstown included approximately 2,500 acres in West Virginia. Approximately 265 of those acres have been saved.

Historians consider the Battle of Shepherdstown significant because it resulted in the preliminary issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862. The battle persuaded Confederate General Robert E. Lee against further incursions into Maryland that year. Lee’s Maryland Campaign of 1862 met none of his goals and his defeat in Maryland and retreat after the Battle of Shepherdstown, importantly gave the Union Army a military victory that President Abraham Lincoln considered necessary for the release of the Emancipation Proclamation.

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NOVEMBER 2012

The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals rejected the petition filed by both the County Planning Commission and the developer of Far Away Farm.

AUGUST 2012 - LEGAL UPDATE

In June, the Circuit Court granted our “Motion For Partial Summary Judgment”. In a petition filed with the Circuit Court, we alleged that an agreement between the Jefferson County Planning Commission (PC) and the developer of Far Away Farm (FAF), granting a 3 year extension to develop the farm, violated the West Virginia Open Governmental Proceedings Act. First the Court granted us standing in this case ruling that we were interested parties. Then the Court ruled that the facts that we presented were not in dispute and that the PC/FAF agreement violated the advance notice and reporting requirements of the Act.

Now, we are seeking all relief under the Act including:
1) invalidation of the decision by the PC to approve the PC/FAF agreement;
2) injuctive relief; and,
3) the fees and costs that we incured in this case.

The developer filed an Appeal with the West Virginia Court of Appeals.

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