A New Game Changer Zoning Case

I published this post last January but my law partners – who won the case – asked me to take it down. Why? Because the other parties asked the N.C. Supreme Court to review the decision and one of the bases for higher review is a case’s significance. And since I had described this decision as one […]

Case law Update – Are There Limits to a Zoning Administrator’s Authority?

A recent N.C. Court of Appeals decision asked all the right questions about a zoning administrator’s authority to make discretionary decisions related to standing. And with one exception, found in the dissent, the Court gave all the right answers. In Morningstar Marinas, et. al. v. Warren County and Ken Krulik, Warren County Planning and Zoning […]

Case Law Update – When a Zoning Board’s Decision Becomes Binding Legal Precedent

A recent N.C. Court of Appeals decision expanded upon and clarified when a prior quasi-judicial decision is binding on future boards. Disclosure: It was my privilege to have served as co-counsel at the board level and as lead litigation counsel for the petitioners in this case. While I don’t believe the commentary below exhibits bias, […]

Case Law Update – Making the Case for a Cell Tower

Just before Christmas the N.C. Court of Appeals issued an opinion that illustrates the necessity of presenting facts to support your case when the board is considering a special or conditional use permit.  Opinions, speculations, conjectures and surmises, the Court properly reminds us, are not evidence. In Blair Investments, LLC v. Roanoke Rapids, the city […]

Boards of Adjustment and Chinese Pigs

Two interesting things happened today. The first is obviously related to land use and the second is . . . obviously related to land use. First, this morning the N.C. Senate Commerce Committee unanimously approved a “PCS” (proposed committee substitute) for the Board of Adjustment bill that unanimously passed the House 119-0. The changes are […]

Case Law Update – Vested Rights and Lousy Syntax

            Last week the Court of Appeals published an opinion (MNC Holdings v. Town of Matthews) that analyzed how to interpret poorly written zoning ordinances, especially when a citizen’s property and rights are on the line.               Full and complete disclosure: I was lead counsel for the prevailing party.   I have strong opinions about the […]

Learning How to Kill People For Sport and Entertainment

            If the headline offends you, well, it offends me too.  It’s also offensive when governmental actions move from plausible defense to citizen abuse in defiance of court order and honest dealings, but that’s what just happened in Cumberland County.              On March 19, 2012, I published a post titled “Training School Kids to be […]

Training School Kids to be Mercenary Soldiers

             In a classic Andy Griffith “don’t that beat everything” moment, Cumberland County had to decide if a facility for training military, law enforcement and mercenary soldiers – complete with multiple firing ranges, attack helicopters and simulated urban warfare settings – was sufficiently similar to a private elementary or secondary school so that the facility […]

Board of Adjustment Subpoenas – What are They and How do They Work??

            American counties and towns are peppered with an unusual governmental creature called the “Board of Adjustment.”  BOA functions may vary state to state, but they are the focal point for some of the most far-reaching land use decisions made by local governments.              In North Carolina, Boards of Adjustment can issue subpoenas much the […]

It’s Hard to Shoe a Running Horse

        “It’s hard to shoe a running horse.”  That’s not my quote.  It was a comment from the bench by Judge Abraham Penn Jones responding to the Town of Hillsborough’s attempt to bypass a direct court order to issue a conditional use permit in Schaefer v. Town of Hillsborough.              Hillsborough, however, sore from losing […]

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