The Virginia Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a circuit court ruling favorable to Henrico County in a dispute with the development arm of HHHunt Corp.
The company initially sued Henrico two years ago after Wyndham residents successfully lobbied the county’s Board of Supervisors to abandon plans to extend a road there into a proposed development across the Hanover County line.
“It’s a good day for the people of Henrico County and Wyndham,” said Supervisor Tommy Branin, who represents the area and called the court ruling a win for democracy.
Supreme Court Justice Stephen R. McCullough said in a written opinion that the board’s decision was “not arbitrary or capricious,” but based on reasonable concerns about the potential impact of traffic on a road that winds past a small lake, golf course fairways and paved trails.
McCullough, citing Hanover’s own development outlook and the testimony of three professional engineers, said HHHunt had underestimated the potential impact of the road extension.
“As to HHHunt’s traffic studies, the County presented evidence that undermines the strength of their conclusions. The County presented evidence that the studies undercounted potential traffic,” McCullough wrote in his opinion.
The regional homebuilding company appealed last August after a lower court determined that the Board of Supervisors could change its plans for Dominion Club Drive.
Organized pushback to the proposed link with a proposed 366-acre HHHunt development in Hanover yielded a petition with more than 2,200 signatures.
Residents of the suburban community feared the move would increase the risk of automobile and pedestrian accidents.
Attorneys for HHHunt had argued in court papers that county officials had approved the road plans at various points in recent years, but that the Board of Supervisors had acquiesced to political pressure from the neighborhood.
In an email Thursday, Deputy County Attorney Tom Tokarz said the county is pleased with the Supreme Court ruling.
“The Court’s opinion thoughtfully analyzed the legal issues in the case, and it emphatically recognized the importance of residents’ concerns about the quality of life in their neighborhoods,” Tokarz said. “HHHunt is a well-respected developer in Henrico County, and the County looks forward to working with it on other projects in the future.”
A lawyer for HHHunt did not respond to a request for comment Thursday afternoon.