MORGANTOWN - A group of property owners in northern West Virginia have filed a petition for a writ of certiorari against the Morgantown Board of Zoning Appeals and the City of Morgantown, claiming the downtown area of the city is getting too crowded.

The North Central Property Owners Association filed the petition July 18 in Monongalia Circuit Court.

The writ of certiorari would require the defendants to submit a full and complete record of all proceedings had and taken so that the matter could be reviewed by the court and, after reviewed, would declare the defendants' actions illegal.

The proposed Riverview Center on Chestnut development program is the cause for the petitioner's action. It would be a 19-story dormitory for West Virginia University students.

The petition says concerns were brought up at a Board of Zoning Appeals public hearing that the building would create more street congestion due to a lack of resident parking.

"Many citizens expressed concern for the health, safety and welfare of the community in light of the increased number of resident vehicles in the downtown area and the complete lack of parking in the close proximity of the Riverview development," the petition says. "It was conceded by the applicant that there was no parking available within 1,000 feet of the location."

The petition adds that the board members held a closed meeting to discuss the issue of constructing the building without adequate parking, but approved it anyway.

"The City Planning Director and board members committed irregularities in the performance of their official duties in approving the application for a conditional use and variance by misinforming and prejudicing the entire Board in the decision-making proces by approving this application for a variance and conditional use," the petition says.

The association says that a negative impact on the health, safety and welfare of Morgantown's residents will occur because of the Board's actions.

"The Board of Zoning Appeals has acted arbitrarily, capriciously and in contravention of the facts, laws and statutes in granting the applicant the conditional use and variances," the petition says.

Morgantown attorney Raymond Yackel is representing the association. Sam Bossio is its president.

Monongalia Circuit Court case number 06-C-471

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