In 2009 Virginia Beach condemned a spot on the Chesapeake Bay in order to take it for a sand-replenishment project and public access. The city claimed the property of Tommy Sheets, who owns about a quarter-acre of beach, was worth $4,000. But on June 9 of this year, a jury said the city should pay Sheets $152,000 for his property. In response, the city has decided—surprise!—it owned easement rights to the property all along, so it doesn’t have to pay Sheets a dime. Virginia Beach’s plan to grab the land on the cheap backfired, write A. Barton Hinkle, so now it’s trying an end-run around its own citizens—not to mention the judicial system and the city citizens who ruled in Sheets’ favor.
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