In a major eminent-domain case involving plastics fabricator Norva Plastics Inc., the Virginia Supreme Court has ruled the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority did not have the right to condemn an apartment building for a retail and restaurant expansion by Old Dominion University.
The court ruling, handed down Sept. 12, said PKO Ventures, owner of the apartments, will get back its building, which was vacant and awaiting demolition.
Officials from three affected buildings on or near the site — including Norva, an 18-employee distributor and fabricator owned by Howard Everton, celebrated the ruling at a news conference in front of the boarded-up apartment building.
Everton's lawyer, Joseph Waldo, said the ruling means Norva Plastics and another business will be able to remain on their property.
Separately, last December, a jury in Norfolk awarded Norva Plastics $3.75 million, or the amount of Everton's original appraisal. The housing authority had offered $2.1 million, then upped it to $2.4 million.
But Everton said the real issue was that the government should not force the 70-year-old plastics company off its land.
Eminent domain is a hot issue in Virgina. A Virginian Pilot story posted online generated more than 150 comments. Last November, Virgina voters overwhelmingly approved a change in the commonwealth's constitution to restrict a local government's right to take private property for economic development. That vote was not retroactive, so it did not help Norva's situation.
The Virginia Supreme Court ruling overturned a decision by the Circuit Court of the city of Norfolk.