Case Law Update – A Lesson in Integrity

             I had long thought that one could only learn integrity in two ways: from good parenting and personal mentoring and from the examples of inspirational people.  To that short list I’m tempted to add opinions from the N.C. Court of Appeals.              A recent but unpublished opinion (ExperienceOne Homes v. Town of Morrisville) does […]

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 […]

Update – Supreme Court to Hear Case Involving Powers of NCDOT

             In land use, few things merit a news “flash.”  However, you should know that in a statement signed by Justice Barbara Jackson the N.C. Supreme Court decided last Friday that it would accept for review a case I recently blogged about involving the vaguely worded and expansive statutory powers of the N.C. Department of Transportation. […]

Case Law Update – Spot Zoning and Consistency Statements

            Boring title, I know, but in land use this is big stuff, especially considering that both topics came out of a recent N.C. Supreme Court case. Let’s look at both topics, discuss their relevancy and review how the opinion was written.  The Facts              Two weeks ago the N.C. Supreme Court published one of […]

Annexation Statutes Declared Unconstitutional

             This is a news flash post.  This afternoon the Raleigh News & Observer posted an online article stating that Superior Court Judge Shannon Joseph struck down as unconstitutional several key sections of the recently enacted legislation that overhauled and neutered North Carolina municipalities’ ability to annex urbanized areas adjoining municipal boundaries.               The debates and […]

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 […]

At the Intersection of Arrogance and Unbridled Authority

            A recent Court of Appeals case (High Rock Lake Partners v. NCDOT) illustrates the vulnerable position property owners can find themselves in when dealing with railroads – who answer seemingly to nobody – and the NCDOT, whose statutory powers are expansive, broadly defined, and not subject to easily available or enumerated limitations.  The Real […]

Bloggers Have Ethical Obligations Too

             In my last post I commented (again) on the obligation of governmental officials to use the powers we grant them for the public’s benefit and not their own.  But bloggers, I have discovered, have ethical obligations too, and it was for ethical reasons I decided I could not comment on a recent Court of Appeals […]

Impact Fees (APFOs) – So, Is that Your Final Answer?

            Apparently we have to wait a bit longer for a final answer to the state’s million dollar question: can schools be funded by assessing developers an “impact fee.”?  The latest non-answer was recently published in the N.C. Supreme Court’s non-decision in the Cary-originated Amward Homes case.              I’ve covered this issue in numerous previous […]

Zoning Appeals and Statutes of Limitation

             If you’ve ever wondered what frightens lawyers and keeps them up at night I can describe it in three words: statutes of limitations.              A “statute of limitation” is a fancy way of describing a deadline to file a lawsuit.  That’s all it is.  The problems with these deadlines are that 1) they sometimes […]

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