NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - A long-time battle over property in Norfolk is almost at its end as of Thursday.
The Virginia State Supreme Court has ruled that Old Dominion University must return an apartment complex to its owner. PKO LLC's principal owner, Wayne Powell, had the apartment building taken from him by the ODU Real Estate Foundation as the University started expanding the campus.
"We have no immediate plans to do anything except provide a place for these students and people in Norfolk to live," Powell told WAVY.com "That's the only reason I did this, that I made this place look good. I renovated it totally with my own funds. This was part of my retirement, and they just took it, but guess what? They gave it back today."
Old Dominion University was trying to take neighboring property through eminent domain, particularly Central Radio, Norva Plastics, and a 10-unit apartment building located on West 41st Street. But the business owners have been fighting it.
"We've been fighting this 15 years, and it's taken a toll on all of us," said Central Radio's Bob Wilson.
And that long fight has finally paid off.
"This morning the Supreme Court of Virginia ruled it was wrong to take that property and the ODU Real Estate Foundation, which owned that property up until a few minutes ago, must give that property back to Wayne Powell," said Attorney Joe Waldo.
The decision determined that the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority, which is working with ODU, could not take the neighboring properties by condemning it, which it did in 2010.
The court made the ruling, in part, because the NRHA and ODU failed to meet a purchase deadline of June 30, 2010. The deadline was established by the General Assembly in response to the Kelo Case that private property cannot be taken for commercial purchases and the economic benefit of another.
"We have 100 employees now that can continue their employment," Wilson said. "Our families can continue the business my parents started and my partner and I have worked to build for so long."
Friday, Waldo filed court papers asking the Norfolk Circuit Court to dismiss the ODU Foundation's demand that Norva Plastics pay rent. The NRHA is seeking $17,000 per month from them. Waldo's filing requests the rent demands to be dismissed and for the circuit court to recognized NRHA's condemnation as illegal.
"It's been a long drawn out affair," said Norva Plastics owner Howard Everton. "Thanks for your support, Joe Waldo and company, and I look forward to getting onto business as usual."
Witnesses tell WAVY.com the attack of a shopper was the cause of a heavy police presence at the Ross department store at Military Circle in Norfolk Wednesday night.
State officials say construction on a new Bonner Bridge has been delayed for years because of a legal battle with an environmental group.
Michelle Price with Newport News Public Schools told WAVY.com at least three city school buses ran substantially late Wednesday afternoon, delivering children home several hours after dismissal.
Plans to enhance a popular park in Smithfield are on hold. Some people say City Council is trying to commercialize a natural and historic treasure, and leave them out of the loop.
Drivers traveling between Hatteras Island and the mainland were forced to use an emergency ferry Wednesday, following the sudden closure of the Bonner Bridge Tuesday.
Hampton Fire units arrived at the scene of a residential fire in the 3800 block of Shell Road just after 6 p.m.
A police standoff at a Newport News home turned deadly Wednesday evening.