By Ryan Cornell
Gerald Forsburg, owner of the Mount Jackson Farmers' Market, filed a suit Monday against the town of Mount Jackson and its manager, Charles Moore.
The suit, a declaratory judgment and permanent injunction, alleges that the Mount Jackson Town Council -- through Moore's interpretation of a municipal ordinance -- required Forsburg to replace his business' gravel parking lot with one of asphalt or concrete to stay open.
Forsburg, who received two extensions to meet the ordinance, closed the market, located at 5973 King St., this year due to permit issues relating to the unpaved parking lot. The ordinance states: "All business uses shall have a hard surface parking area and access drive."
David H.N. Bean, who is representing Forsburg, said that when the interpretation comes down to comparing smooth surfaces as opposed to hard surfaces, the market's lot should reasonably fall within the ordinance.
"Nothing there says smooth, hard surface," Bean said. "Gravel is definitely hard."
Forsburg has owned the farmers' market for approximately two years and claims the parking lot has served its purpose in that time. Rather than public health, safety or welfare reasons, the suit states that aesthetics is the reason behind the ordinance.
Bean said that the cost of paving an asphalt lot would cost Forsburg's business an estimated $15,000 to $20,000.
According to the suit, Forsburg is seeking reimbursement for legal fees expended and any losses incurred from the non-use of the farmers' market premises.
Doug Arthur, the attorney representing Moore, declined to comment.
Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or firstname.lastname@example.org