NORFOLK-Some Norfolk property owners are rallying support as they continue fighting to keep their land.
Bob Wilson and Ed Dickinson could lose their 78-year-old company, Central Radio, through eminent domain. The business builds and repairs ship-based radio equipment.
Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Agency condemned more than 170 residential, institutional and business buildings in the Hampton Boulevard area near Old Dominion University. The area, a public-private partnership called "The District," will become a new dormitory for 900 Old Dominion University students, a grocery store, drug store and other businesses.
After losing one court battle, the owners hung a 375-square-foot banner on the side of the building. The city says it violates code, which allows the company to have signs no larger than 60 feet. Now, they're waiting for the courts to determine whether it has to come down.
City spokeswoman Lori Crouch said, "The City does not take issue with the message on the sign. However, the sign is too large for what is allowed in that area and it was installed without a permit. It is because of these reasons the city issued violation notices and the matter is currently in court."
She also said it's a public safety issue because of concerns the sign could fly off the building.
The company said in 2010 that NRHA offered $700,000 for the property, but it wasn't enough.
Among those gathered at the 7:00 p.m. "This land is MY land" rally at the company at 1083 W. 39th Stree was the Institute for Justice; Tidewater Libertarian Party; Hampton Roads, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach Tea Party affiliates; Chesapeake and Portsmouth Taxpayer Alliance; the 912 First Landing Patriots; and the Virginia Property Rights Coalition.
A number of speakers addressed the small crowd that had been encouraged to bring blankets and a picnic lunch.
Central Radio has been fighting the land seizure for two years.