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Landowner may sue town of Culpeper
Council votes to demolish old Triplett's Mill

Date published: 3/8/2011

A Culpeper landowner says he intends to stop the town’s wrecking ball with a lawsuit.

“They’re taking away my liberties,” said Gary Triplett after the Town Council voted 6–3 to demolish his old family feed store, milling operation and an adjacent house on the Sperryville Pike.

Triplett’s Mill, which ceased its feed-grinding operation in the early 1970s, has sat abandoned across from the Fairview Cemetery for more than a decade.

Meanwhile, the buildings and feed bins on the one-plus acre lot have been falling into disrepair and constitute a safety hazard, according to the town staff.

In December of 2009, the town sent the Triplett family a letter saying, in effect, either you clean up the lot or we will.

According to Patrick Mulhern, director of planning and community development, the town received no response from the Triplett family.

Gary Triplett, who was not allowed to speak during last night’s meeting, said that isn’t so.

“There was a way this could have been worked out,” he contends, adding that the town actually owns the first inch of the property facing the pike.

Unless legal action stops the process, the town will tear down the Triplett’s Mill structures and put a $49,000 lien against the property.

But the town’s wrecking ball will not stop there. The same motion that condemned the Triplett property also claimed the Blair House on West Street and the old town police station at the corner of West and Cameron streets.

There was little discussion about the Blair House, which has been a hot topic for almost five years. The Town Council has made numerous attempts to save that structure, which will be removed to widen West Street. No one has been willing to move it to a new location.

But Vice Mayor Billy Yowell and Councilman Dan Boring did question the demolition of the old town police station.

“Have we ever decided that we wanted to tear [it] down?” Yowell asked.

Mayor Chip Coleman said that tearing the cinder block building down was part of a recommendation that came out of committee.

When Boring wanted to vote on the three demolition projects separately, Town Manager Jeff Muzzy said that the trio was part of a package deal with the M.B. Russell Company ($85,000 for all three).

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