Dependable Erection

Thursday, August 05, 2010

So many lawsuits, so little time

According to Jim Wise at the N&O, K&L Gates attorney Patrick Byker, representing Southern Durham Development, Inc., is threatening to sue the NCDOT if they don't rescind their revocation of their acceptance of the easement that Byker gave them back on July 13 of a 41 foot wide strip of land. NCDOT says that Byker claimed he was giving the easement to the state to "show good faith," but his client was later quoted as saying that the gift was intended to push the boundary of the land far enough away from the folks at the Chancellor's Ridge subdivision that their signatures could no longer be counted on the protest petition that's been filed against this rezoning request.

Reader RH writes to me to say that this very technique was used a decade and a half ago in Chapel Hill to get approval for the Hogan Farm subdivision; before my time, i think, so i'll leave it to you as an exercise in Google to see what happened in that case, and who the attorneys might have been.

But what's Byker going to sue on? He's claiming the revocation is "unlawful." If it is, then i'm sure that Boy Detective Encyclopedia Brown County Attorney Lowell Siler will figure that out in the nick of time before Monday's BoCC meeting, and rule the petition invalid, at least long enough for the commissioners to vote 3-2 in favor of the developer. If Siler can't find the grounds to invalidate the revocation, and lord knows he's spent enough time looking, then Byker's just blowing smoke, and he knows it, and so does NCDOT. A lot of folks i talk to believe that Siler will come up with something around 6:00 pm on Monday night to make the determination that the protest petition is invalid.

That, though, will almost certainly invite a second lawsuit against the county, since, as yoiu may recall, Siler similarly ruled a protest petition invalid last fall, allowing a 3-2 vote to be recorded accepting the new watershed boundary, only later to determine that the petition was in fact valid, but that no new vote needed to be taken.

Will recent history repeat itself Monday night?

My money says yes, but i'm just a cynical old fart with no faith in the goodness of humanity.

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