Searching for a Taller Glass of Water

“Water, water everywhere . . . .”  Except Cleveland County, that is.  And Cleveland’s attempt to increase its water supply is an ongoing effort (and battle) that I’ve been watching out of the corner of my eye for a few years. It’s not that I’m interested in Cleveland County.  It’s that Cleveland’s troubles are played […]

The Politics of Trash

Last Friday, August 23rd, N.C. Governor Pat McCrory signed three bills into law whose passage demonstrates how solid waste has transformed from a regulated industry into a political football.  Some new measures, like changes in application fees, are mundane.  Other measures, however, such as the allowable leak factor in hauling trucks, are highly charged, with […]

Case Law Update – SCOTUS, Koontz v. St. Johns River Water District, and the Public/Private Tug-of-War

This past week the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion in Koontz v. St. John’s Water District, a case lauded by property rights advocates as a “landmark ruling” and claimed by the permitting/planning communities to be an unreasonable shackle on legitimate governmental powers. It is neither. What were the [true] facts? The facts read differently […]

In Search of a Civil Government

Two nights ago I attended a public hearing in Asheboro where Randolph County considered approving a new landfill next to its old landfill. Granted, landfill hearings generate their share of emotion, but civility is civility and this hearing was in short supply. [Fair disclosure: the county is my client] According to the Courier Tribune article, […]

High Court Supports Property Rights Over Government – Again

             On the same day the N.C. Supreme Court supported a developer’s need for a driveway permit over NCDOT’s whimsical requirement that the developer first build a $3 million bridge to carry traffic from 60 homes, the High Court issued yet another opinion supporting private property rights in an inverse condemnation case brought in Guilford […]

Case Law Update – Does a Distant City Have Standing to Allege County Engaged in “Contract Zoning”?

            Last week the N.C. Court of Appeals issued an opinion that ends a long-fought battle between two eastern North Carolina governments, a battle that has pre-occupied the media, the public, and elected officials for 2½ years. The case is Morgan, et. al. v. Nash County.              Full and complete disclosure: I was privileged to […]

Moving to the Nuisance . . . and then Complaining

             If your knowledge of land use theory comes from a textbook you might think zoning is about the right and logical use of land.  But if your knowledge comes from life in the zoning battle trenches where bullets fly fast and shrapnel wounds are common, you know that zoning decisions often have more to […]

Wind Turbines, Nimbyism, Fish and Chips

             I love it when I’m right.  I admit that I don’t bat 1.000, but good hits are nice.  In today’s NY Times Roger Cohen (Britain Goes Nimby) writes that 82% of Brits favor wind power, yet in every community in England where turbines are proposed the citizens have fought them with the proverbial teeth […]

Land Use, Jules Verne and Marty McFly

             In the final scene of the movie Back to the Future III, Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) stands on the train tracks as Doc Brown and his wife Clara arrive on a locomotive from 1884 fitted with folding wings and an engine from an unknown but distant future.  As they prepare to return to […]

Solar Farms – In the News Again

             My June 9 post on solar farms (“Destroying the Environment to Save It”) discussed the world’s largest solar farm – a 3,600 acre project in the Mojave Desert.  Little did I suspect that two weeks later the place I live – Guilford County – would be a “finalist” for one even larger.              I say “finalist” […]

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