sam's notes

notes on government, sports and popular culture

Thursday, March 09, 2006

.....A guy tries to build an asphalt plant in Hillsborough and ends up in the North Carolina Supreme Court......probably.....

Douglas Robins' case was ruled upon by the N.C. Court of Appeals and "almost certainly" will be heard by the Supreme Court.

Robins wanted to build an asphalt plant in Hillsborough on land zoned "general industrial." Zoning regulations, however, did allow for asphalt plants to be subject to a site plan review.

Robins' fourth public hearing in front of the Hillsborough Board of Adjustment never happened:

"On April 22, eight days before the fourth public hearing, Hillsborough‘s Town Board issued a moratorium suspending “the Review, Consideration and Issuance of Permits and Applications for Manufacturing and Processing Operations Involving Petroleum Products,” including asphalt plants. The April 30 public hearing was canceled. In November 2003, Hillsborough amended its zoning ordinances to ban from the town asphalt plants and other facilities involved in manufacturing or processing petroleum products."

Basically, the three-judge panel ruled in a 2-1 decision that Hillsborough doesn't have the right to change its zoning laws while plans are pending.

The majority was also worried about

"the constitutionality of the town’s decision to ban asphalt plants. Under the Constitution, zoning decisions may not be “arbitrary and unduly discriminatory interference with the rights of property owners.”

Judge Barbara Jackson dissented, noting that

"under North Carolina case law, citizens have no general vested right to have zoning ordinances remain forever the same."

True. Hillsborough has every right to rezone land. But not when site plans are pending under current zoning.

Because there was a dissent, The Supreme court must hear the case if Hillsborough appeals.

I wonder if it will?


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