Complaining about complainants

Several commenters on The Flat Hat’s Dec. 4 article “City cracks down on three-person violations” asked why The Flat Hat published the names of the students cited for violations by the city but not the names of complainants who submitted evidence to the city.

According to the Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council, the City of Williamsburg is not obligated to release the names of complainants under 2.2-3705.3_10 in the Code of Virginia, which excludes:

“The names, addresses and telephone numbers of complainants furnished in confidence with respect to an investigation of individual zoning enforcement complaints or complaints relating to the Uniform Statewide Building Code (§ 36-97 et seq.) or the Statewide Fire Prevention Code (§ 27-94 et seq.) made to a local governing body.”

As such, the city redacted information about the complainants’ identities in The Flat Hat’s FOIA request. However, The Flat Hat is continuing to gather information on the alleged violations, and may obtain and confirm complainant identities through other means.


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