Rezoning the World’s Most Expensive Trailer Park

Last week I caught a story on one of my many news feeds. The fact that it came out of California – and the Napa Valley – makes it even more interesting, because it shows how much Silicon Valley titans will pay to spend a night in a trailer park. It also illustrates how, in […]

Protest Petitions Revisited

It appears that my previous post (Protest Petitions Killed . . . Finally) was premature. The NC House did vote overwhelmingly to repeal G.S. 160A-385 which grants unelected citizens a unique power to control the decision-making authority of a city council engaged in routine rezonings. However, the Senate refused to accept this amendment (called a […]

Legislative Update – Protest Petitions Killed . . . Finally

In an unexpected move the NC House voted last Thursday to repeal the statute that allows citizens to file protest petitions which frustrate a city’s ability to rezone land except upon a favorable 75 percent majority vote. The decision saw little debate, and the N.C. League of Municipalities, whose members were evenly split on the […]

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 […]

Is it Really the Zoning? Or Do You Just Not Like “Those People”?

            As a quarter-century veteran of land use battles in every corner of this state there’s little I haven’t heard.  But this much I know. What people think is often not reflected in what they say at the public podium.               And being a veteran Southerner in my mid-fifties, I have decently honed skills in […]

Harry Potter and the Zoning Board

             In case you haven’t seen the news articles, Harry Potter series author, J.K. Rowling, had to get permission from the Edinburgh City Council to construct a couple of tree houses for her children amidst a deluge of protests from neighbors.  I’ve enjoyed several articles on this guerre du jour because it illustrates how a […]

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 […]

Postcard Florence — The Anatomy of a Great City

When it comes to the amoebic growth and prosaic functionality of the urban civitas, I am, to put it bluntly, a nerd.  I was last in Florence in 1982, the same week Italy won the World Cup in a sport I could barely play and certainly didn’t follow, but it didn’t stop me from climbing […]

Is it a Cell Tower or a Beacon of Democracy?

            For more than 15 years I’ve advocated for various carriers and cell tower companies so that their customers can text their boyfriends, call their offices or surf the internet.  Until now, however, I never appreciated what a cellular infrastructure does for democracy.              In today’s New York Times, researchers with Rand Corporation editorialize (“Can […]

Speaking of Solar Farms, Landfills and New Zoning Codes . . .

             2,000 years ago all roads, it was said, led to Rome.  Today, all roads – or at least all major societal trends – lead, eventually, to changes in local zoning codes.  Like when we adopted entirely new zoning codes to adjust to being an automobile dependent society.  Like when communities adopted regulations controlling placements of […]

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