Lawsuit against county nonsuited for now

Sherry Hamilton - Posted on May 01, 2019 - 02:01 PM

A lawsuit filed by Mark and Candice Eubank of Doswell against Mathews County Administrator Mindy Conner and two former county employees—John Shaw, now retired from his position as planning and zoning director, and Sue Thomas, former wetlands coordinator—was nonsuited Friday at the Eubanks’ request.

That may not be the end of the matter. The Eubanks’ attorney, Brenton J. Bohannon, said after a brief appearance in court that he had nonsuited the case “for strategic purposes so I can present the best possible case.”

Representing Mathews County, Attorney Saemi Murphy of the law firm Harmon, Claytor, Corrigan & Wellam argued that the case had cost the county a great deal of money, time and effort, and that the court should go forward on a hearing on a demurrer the county had filed. The judge said the plaintiffs had a right to nonsuit their case, and refused to award the county any costs saying state law doesn’t allow that.

The case is related to another suit the Eubanks filed against Mathews County. In that case, the property the couple owns adjacent to Tin Can Alley on Gwynn’s Island was found in 2015 by Shaw to be out of compliance with the zoning ordinance because the office had no records showing that a zoning permit had been obtained prior to additions being made to the house. The Eubanks were told to apply for an after-the-fact zoning permit, provide a plat of their property prepared by a licensed surveyor, apply for a variance for an addition, remove the part of the structure that extended beyond the original footprint of the house, and prove that the house was not located within the 100-foot RPA buffer area.