Closed session - UPDATED
The Durham County Board of Commissioners will meet in a Closed Session at
10:00 a.m., Thursday, November 19, 2009, in the Commissioners’ Conference Room (second floor of the Durham County Administrative Complex, 200 East Main Street) to consult with an attorney, to preserve the attorney-client privilege, and to discuss Southern Durham Development, Inc. v. Durham County; Filed in Durham County Superior Court (File No. 09 CVS 004125) pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 143-318.11(a)(3).
As one of my commenters suggested:
The subtext to Thursday's closed session of the BOCC goes something like this:
"The county is going to be sued by whichever party we rule against. One of the primary determinants of the cost of defending a lawsuit is the amount of money and time the plaintiff is willing/able to spend on the lawsuit. Southern Durham Development has already filed suit, and their client has millions of dollars in property development value riding on it. The Haw River Assembly and Southern Environmental Law Center haven't demonstrated that they can or will bring the same firepower to the courtroom. So, the best way to save the county a bunch of money is to deny the protest petition and hunker down."
UPDATE: County Commissioners emerged from closed session about 45 minutes ago, and County Attorney Lowell Siler stated that the Board's action on October 12th, in which a 3-2 majority approved moving the critical watershed boundary around Jordan Lake, would be upheld, despite the Planning Department's opinion that a protest petition filed against the move was valid. The County Attorney's office will argue that one of the signatures on the petition, belonging to the president of a homeowners association, is not valid due to the lack of standing of that person to sign on behalf of the property owned in common by the HOA. He further stated that the matter could only be decided in Superior Court, inviting additional lawsuits against the county from private citizens and other groups that have been opposing the redrawing of the watershed boundary. Commissioner Becky Heron indicated that the board was not unanimous in supporting that position, although no vote was taken during the closed session.
I'll have a full report on this development tonight on Shooting the Bull, 7:30 pm, on WXDU, 88.7 FM.
Jim Wise at the N&O, Samiha Khanna at the Indy, and Matt Milliken at the Herald-Sun also have reports on today's developments.