“I seem to be getting one thing in writing and then I get something else. One thing in person and then I get something else. It seems like it’s a moving target.”
So reacted Amissville business owner John Cappiali after being served with four misdemeanour summonses based on complaints filed by Rappahannock Zoning Administrator Michelle Somers surrounding his two contracting companies.
The Rappahannock government alleges that several county codes are being violated on the 18-acre property fronting Highway 211, where Cappiali lives with his wife and son.
A deputy sheriff served the misdemeanor warrants while he and his wife were enjoying Valentine’s Day dinner, Cappiali said.
The Amissville resident expressed confusion with the county’s legal action against him because he claims to have spent the past several months following its instructions to alleviate any such code violations surrounding the numerous construction vehicles and storage containers kept on the property.
Three weeks ago, Somers and County Administrator Garrey Curry, accompanied by Sheriff Connie Compton, conducted an on-site inspection of the property. Tagging along were Cappiali’s attorney, Sylvia Sevilla, and David Konick, counsel to the Cappiali’s neighbor across the four-lane highway — Jeremiah “Jack” Atkins — who charged in an earlier court filing that Cappiali had created a junkyard on the property.
Atkins, who has been a part-time Rappahannock County building official, filed a complaint in Circuit Court on Oct. 12 demanding enforcement of the county’s zoning ordinance against Cappiali. His lawsuit was filed by Konick.
During the Jan. 29 inspection of the property, Curry, equipped with a camera, took dozens of photographs, while Somers kept notes on a clipboard. Somers then returned to her office and filed the criminal complaints against the contractor.
“They claim I have a scrap pile, a trash pile, which is one of the misdemeanors. I’m not sure what they are pointing at,” Cappiali said. “I have some reservations.” Somers also contends that several of the contractor’s vehicles are inoperable.
Cappiali said he continues to wait for two county permits to be issued, which he already filed the paperwork for, including a “contractor’s yard” designation that allows for storage of designated equipment.
“To be in compliance, [it’s] one of the things they [the county] asked me to do,” he earlier explained. “Whether I’ll ever be in compliance is like buying a lottery ticket, you have hope.”
Somers said last month that the Planning Commission would review Cappiali’s compliance applications during its February meeting, previously scheduled for last night (Wednesday) until wintry precipitation moved in.
“If they deem the application complete they have two options at that point: they can hold a public hearing, or they can go ahead and make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors without a public hearing,” she said. “If the Planning Commission holds a public hearing, which would be the following month (March), they would hear from the public and then they would send a recommendation to the BOS with possible conditions for the permit,” Somers explained. “When deciding to approve or deny the permit factors to consider would be: compliance with Rappahannock County Code, public input, VDOT comments and/or recommendations.”
That said, Cappiali now has a Rappahannock County court date to keep, set for Tuesday, March 12, when he will have answer to the misdemeanor charges.
Editor’s note: The original version of this story incorrectly stated that Rappahannock County Attorney Art Goff was named, alongside certain other county officials, as a defendant in Mr. Atkins’ lawsuit. The erroneous paragraph has since been removed. The Rappahannock News regrets the error.