Neighbors of Roanoke wildlife center sue center, board of supervisors

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) - The legal battle between a local wildlife center and its neighbors continues, now with a few neighbors lodging lawsuits against the center and the Roanoke County board of supervisors.

Four individuals who live near the center have taken up issue with the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center and its efforts to expand.

They've previously lodged complaints, not supported by the county.
And now those neighbors have delivered lawsuits to the center and the county, calling its decisions invalid.

Sabrina Garvin is director at the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center, where she helps care for injured and sick animals.

Her ability to do that is being threatened by neighbors who say the center is not a good neighbor.

"It's a stressful time, it's the holidays," Garvin said. "I feel like Grinch has hit."

Several months ago, four individuals who live nearby complained to the county regarding the center's plans to build a raptor cage for injured birds.

Stan and Jane Seymour and their neighbors Adrian Maver and Blaine Creasy cited issues like increased traffic and potential health concerns near their homes.

The complaints were not upheld by the county and the center was given the go-ahead on the raptor cage.

But now lawsuits from the same neighbors for both the center and the board of supervisors.

"It's stressful to know that I've got to work constantly for money for not donations to take care of wildlife but to keep the center going and to pay the legal bills," Garvin said.

The suits challenge the validity of the special use permit granted for the raptor cage, stating that in granting the permit; "The board of supervisors applied erroneous principles of law."

"There just doesn't seem to be a way we can please them," Garvin said of her neighbors.

The neighbors named in the suit declined an on-camera interview with WDBJ7.

So did the county, with a representative writing in an email:

"We are aware that the board was named as a party in the lawsuit. As this is pending litigation, there is nothing further to provide at this time."

While the wildlife center waits on the legal process, Garvin said the center plans to continue on with plans to build the raptor cage with specific restrictions as demanded by the county.

She said no other complaints have been lodged by neighbors before or after recent litigation.

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