BERKELEY SPRINGS -— A Martinsburg dentist and his wife are suing the Jefferson County Planning Commission for review and reversal of a decision made earlier this year.

Dr. James Gibson and his wife, Barbara Gibson, own real estate known as the Allstadt's Corner Subdivision in the Harpers Ferry district, according to a complaint filed with the Jefferson County Circuit Court Sept. 24.

According to the suit, Dr. Gibson properly filed and processed Allstadt's Corner and the commission approved the final plat on July 14.

During the public hearing, prior to the final plat approval, various people testified that the Harpers Ferry National Park and other various private entities acting on behalf of the park were interested in negotiating the acquisition for the property to augment the park.

The Jefferson County Planning Commission, which has the authority to regulate the subdivision, directed a question to Dr. Gibson regarding the status of these negotiations and encouraged him to negotiate with them on behalf of the park, according to the suit.

Dr. Gibson claims at the public hearing the commission voted unanimously to approve the final plat and after this, he properly filed a variance request for an extension of time to record and bond the final plat, which was denied by the commission Aug. 25.

Dr. Gibson then sought an extension of time to maintain the status quo to allow for negotiations, for which he claims was in part based upon the support of various commissioners who allegedly stated the negotiation would greatly benefit the county and address several worthy public policy goals. This was also denied by the commission.

The Gibsons are suing for the court to issue an order to the Jefferson County Planning Commission to show cause why a Writ of Certiorari should not be issued, for the court to issue a Writ of Certiorari to require the commission to certify the record of both denial and the request for extension of time on Aug. 25 and the final plat approval July 14, for the court to render declaratory relief, issue and order to grant the extension of time and issue and order to reverse and vacate the denial request.

J. Michael Cassell of Campbell Miller Zimmerman is representing them. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge David M. Sanders.

Jefferson Circuit Court case number: 09-C-364

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