New Cases – Rodeos, Lumber Yards and Raw Sewage

            As a young attorney I thought appellate decisions that weren’t published were the ones that established no precedent or posed no new facts to which old law could be applied.  Twenty-five years later I’ve realized that some cases aren’t published because the facts and applicable law are so muddled that the court just isn’t […]

Can You Hear Me Now? Impact Fees are Not Allowed by Law

            From the town that threw a zoning hissy fit when a farmer sold vegetables by the roadside and that had a conniption fit when a new but retro-design chrome diner was, well, too chrome-y, comes yet another one in a prolonged there-they-go-again parade.  Even though courts have clearly told every other local government that […]

Google’s Problems are now in China, not Caldwell County

            One week ago, Sandra Bullock won Best Actress for her portrayal of Leigh Anne Touhy in the movie “The Blind Side.”  One year ago, Apple Computer announced that its east coast “server farm” would be located in Catawba County in the small town of Maiden. N.C.              Sandra Bullock, Apple Computer, the Town of […]

Controversy in Carrboro — What do Facts Have to do with Anything?

             A recent N.C. Court of Appeals case (Northwest Property Group, LLC v. Town of Carrboro, filed 22 December 2009) provides an interesting glimpse into the insane world of conditional use zoning and its multiple attendant rules.  The facts              The December 2009 decision is but one more stop in a journey that started when […]

Zoning and School Funding — Do They Mix?

            This week the Court of Appeals decided in Union Land Owners Association, et. al. v. Union County that the North Carolina zoning and subdivision statutes did not authorize Union County to adopt an APFO (adequate public facilities ordinance) to pay for schools.  The Background             Union County is a hotbed of growth.  Residential growth.  […]

Case Law Update — Standing and Spot Zoning

Last week the N.C. Court of Appeals issued a new zoning decision in Musi v. Town of Shallotte.  Musi brought to light two problems that have plagued land use jurisprudence for decades and only get worse: 1) the evolution of land use law has taken so many odd twists and turns that on some issues nobody knows how we […]

Case Law Update – Legal Standing and Quasi-Judicial Sausage

            Earlier this week the North Carolina Court of Appeals decided two companion cases with the same name, each arising from the same development in Polk County. McMillan et. al. v. Town of Tryon was filed after the town approved the Tryon County Club’s petition to rezone property from a “P-1 open space zone” to […]

Legal Update – Zoning vs. Subdivision Ordinances

            This week the N.C. Court of Appeals published Tonter Investments v. Pasquotank County, an appeal by a developer who purchased three tracts of land before the county adopted an ordinance requiring all newly subdivided land to have at least 25 feet of road frontage and be within 1,000 feet of a public water supply. […]

Legal Update – Sewage Sludge and the Doctrine of Preemption

            This week the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court (Commonwealth v. East Brunswick Township) used the doctrine of preemption to overturn a local ordinance that attempted to regulate the application of sewage sludge.  Sewage sludge, typically in the form of residue from wastewater treatment plants,  is a form of pasture fertilizer that farmers love.  It is nitrogen […]

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