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 […]

Billboards, Vested Rights and Screwy Ordinance Interpretations

             The N.C. Supreme Court recently decided a land use case (not a common occurrence) with facts that are, actually, fun to describe.  Let’s review the facts and the holding, and stay tuned for some color(ful) commentary from Morris Communications d/b/a Fairway Outdoor Advertising v. City of Bessemer City Board of Adjustment.  The Facts              […]

APFOs – They’re Back

             Just when we thought the N.C. Court of Appeals had fully resolved all matters related to APFOs (“Adequate Public Facilities Ordinances”) the N.C. Supreme Court has decided to review the issue by granting certiorari in two cases: Lanvale v. Cabarrus County (a previously unpublished opinion) and Amward Homes v. Town of Cary (a case […]

Can You Vest Me NOW?

            In the recently issued opinion Wilson v. City of Mebane, several things just didn’t seem right to Mr. Wilson.  Or fair, for that matter.  So he sued.  And he won, but it took a lengthy and costly trip to the Court of Appeals.              This is basically a vested rights case, but if you […]

Court Hits Home Run for Planners and Developers

            In a case with common facts but little precedent, the NC Court of Appeals hit a home run this week for both planners and developers against fickle, mind-changing governments in S.T. Wooten v. Zebulon Board of Adjustment.  Facts              S.T. Wooten Corporation makes asphalt.  The Town of Zebulon administers a zoning ordinance.  When Wooten […]

So Sue Me (if You Have Standing)

             Every now and then an appellate court issues an opinion that makes you rise from your chair and whisper “DAA-uhm,” although I was slightly more expressive when I read the recent NC Court of Appeals case Templeton et. al. v. Town of Boone.              Templeton’s procedural history is circuitous, but the Cliff Notes version […]

Unscrambling Scrambled Eggs

            When it comes to appellate litigation there are holdings (which are fodder for legal treatises) and there are lessons (which become fodder for life in the real world). Last week the N.C. Court of Appeals issued an unpublished opinion in Jobe, et. al. v. Town of Haw River that has a clear holding and a […]

Boards of Adjustment – A Fresh Look

             I divide my life into two parts – the period when the comic strip Calvin & Hobbes graced my morning newspaper . . . and all other times.              In June 1992 I clipped (and still have) a strip where Calvin declares “This town just ain’t big enough for the both of us.” But […]

Where Do You Shoot YOUR Machine Guns??

            Please raise your hand if, in your humblest opinion, you think an outdoor shooting range (where fully automatic machine guns are used that shoot 900 rounds per minute) is an appropriate land use immediately adjacent to a subdivision.  Anybody?               I didn’t think so.              But the North Carolina Court of Appeals has just […]

Clarifying “Grandfather” Protections

            When a child outgrows its clothes you simply buy larger clothes.  But when an older business outgrows its building and lot, new zoning codes often determine the extent to which physical expansion can occur.              It can be frustrating, especially when you’re an oceanfront hotel, you’re hemmed in on four sides, and moving is […]

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