Mar 30, 2010

University may get property rights back

by Amanda Sullivan

In the past two years, Liberty University students have become serious contenders in electoral races. Simply because of the sheer number of potential voters, the students have the ability to change the overall political layout of the city of Lynchburg – a fact to which many Lynchburg citizens are wise. However, Liberty University does not want to change or take over the city, the school only wants its property rights re-established, according to Liberty’s Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr.

Liberty has been fighting to get the conditional use permit (CUP) process revoked and in a recent meeting between Falwell, Mayor Joan Foster and City Manager Kimball Payne, it was decided that such a request was an option. Falwell requested a zoning ordinance change that will give Liberty back its original B-5 status, requiring no CUP.

The change will also help alleviate a tuition raise for students because an enrollment cap will no longer exist.

“I’m glad you and the manager agreed that, in your opinion council would support our request to return our zoning to what it was in 1991: B-5 with no cap on enrollment,” Falwell wrote in a letter to Foster on March 24.

General Counsel for Liberty Bill McRorie and Walter Erwin believe that the zoning change taking place prior to the May 4 election is a possibility, according to Falwell’s letter.

“We request that you call a special meeting of the council so that the necessary notices of public meeting can take place prior to a joint meeting of the planning commission and city council,” Falwell wrote.

Falwell does not currently plan on contacting individual council members, but hopes the significance of the zoning change is understood by them.

“This matter is of utmost importance to the (Liberty) family, and if this could be done as soon as possible, I believe everyone would be pleased,” Falwell said in the letter.

Contact Amanda Sullivan at

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