4th Amendment Tested | Lynchburg VA. Zoning Officials Want Warrants to Search Homes for Ordinance Violations

Inspection Warrants Spur Debate, Council Puts Issue on Hold


Lynchburg, VA – Should zoning officials be allowed to get inspection warrants for your home? That’s the question that got Lynchburg City Council an earful Tuesday. With so many concerns, they’ve put the debate on hold.

The debate is over whether zoning officials should be allowed to get inspection warrants to go into homes when property owners resist. Tuesday, council voted to rewrite the ordinance and hold another hearing in August. But many say in two months, the concerns will still be there.

Kurt Feigel is Lynchburg’s Tea Party President. He’s fought for Second Amendment rights. Now, he’s fighting for Fourth Amendment rights, and says inspection warrants would trample them.

“These are property rights issues. Is it my property, or is it the state’s property, or the county’s property or the city’s property? Whose is it? Is it mine?” said Feigel.

And many agreed with Feigel.

“It takes away our right out of the constitution and just cancels that all together. And I think that is very, very poor,” said Larry Lewis, a Lynchburg resident.

Lynchburg City Attorney Walter Erwin disagrees. Using the warrant itself, Erwin says, is what makes the procedure constitutionally sound and court-approved. For Lynchburg Zoning Official Rob Fowler, it makes his job easier.

“The benefit for this would be when we run in to an uncooperative property owner that we believe is violating the ordinance. It would give us another tool to try and get in to see if a violation really does exist,” said Fowler.

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