Blacksburg town attorney speaks on The Sandman, Weirdoughs’ gridlock

by Ben Walls –

Larry Spencer, who serves as Blacksburg’s town attorney, says that Delaware business developer Joseph Boss has failed to properly provide necessary information for opening a bar and pizza restaurant named The Sandman and Weirdoughs, respectively.

According to Spencer, the spaces located at 202 North Main Street and 204 North Main Street in Blacksburg which used to house a Subway and Starbucks need an industrial facelift to meet the demand of the community members.

“(Boss) was planning on doing things that were more intense, like restaurant activities, because Subway and Starbucks don’t have big stoves or pizza ovens,” Spencer said. “There was going to have to be some changes and upgrades to the facility which building permits require.”

In his previous building permit applications submitted between summer 2021 and September 2022, Blacksburg denied Boss for reasons including not showing where lighting receptacles will be displayed in the business, not providing the total occupancy, not having the state health department approve his applications and not specifying whether he would install outdoor speakers.

Ultimately, Spencer says Boss failed to answer every question on his permit application until his second submission in September 2022.

“The issues that were coming out were pretty objective like, ‘you need to have this on your plan,” Spencer said. “Getting building permits–it’s not uncommon for someone to submit a set of plans and for them to be sent back.”

Meanwhile, Blacksburg has local and zoning critiques of Boss’s permit application including whether a grease trap and heavy-duty sinks in his restaurants were necessary.

Because permit applications are sent back frequently, Spencer says he can understand why Boss would be upset, but says he does not know why Boss has begun accusing the town manager–Chris Lawrence–as racist and announcing to file suit against the town.

Blacksburg, Va. – Main Street, a busy thoroughfare near Virginia Tech campus.

Boss submitted his latest permit application on March 16, but Blacksburg has not made any approvals for him to move forward. The process for the building officials to approve or deny applications is two or three weeks, but Spencer says the town is waiting for one more submission that he did not specify.

In an investigation that Spencer provided, town building officials visited the spaces on September 15 where they found moving companies and contractors working with power tools inside. The town eventually sent a “stop work order” to the developers and Boss’s landlord.

Spencer says he is not aware of any lawsuit, and the prosecuting attorneys have not contacted him.

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