Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Justice Delayed is Justice Denied

When I arrived at the Melbourne Road site where last week a large pile of cut trees were being cut into logs I saw a lone workman with chain saw in hand cutting limbs off one of a few cut trees at the edge of the open area. A few minutes later a few more few other trees (see photo) were dragged to the cutting area from land likely north of the city-owned parcel that is the subject of the Coalition to Preserve McIntire Park (CPMP) filing in the Charlottesville Circuit Court. I could hear the towing vehicle for a while before it came into view from the dirt road running behind the Charlottesville High School athletic fields. I don't believe the Coalition to Preserve McIntire Park's day in court on the request for a preliminary injunction will be in time to save even one tree. The earliest possible date for a hearing appears to be March 18 - two weeks from now. I expect the tree cutting and hauling of this initial phase of the project will be over by then and Old Dominion Lumber (the company name on the door of the truck hauling a load of fresh-cut logs) will have processed the trees into products by then. In this case the phrase "justice delayed is justice denied" come to mind. As I understand it, one can't file for an injunction until some action deemed to be illegal has occurred. But if the request for injunction isn't heard until all of the damage is done this legal option is of little use in protecting resources. Is this a defensible public policy?

I also visited the Rio Road end of the proposed Meadow Creek Parkway alignment and saw no tree cutting activity at all further indicating to me that the access roads from the south (Melbourne Road) and the north (Rio Road) are virtually cleared.

Of course, CPMP plans to question the legality of the transfer of the right-of-way across the city-owned land adjacent to Melbourne Road whenever our hearing date arrives.

On Saturday March 7 at 10:00 am, folks opposed to a variety of threats to McIntire Park will be gathering near the intersection of Route 250 Bypass and McIntire Road to express their concerns in a peaceful and positive manner. You are invited to share your thoughts in a peaceful and positive manner there too.

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