The North Carolina Court of Appeals has ruled that Buncombe County’s zoning and multi-family condominium ordinances are invalid, asserting that the Board of Commissioners failed to give proper notice for the public hearings on the matters. The board will meet in closed session next Tuesday, March 24, to decide whether to appeal the decision.
“The clear and unequivocal language of the zoning ordinance requires at least fifteen days’ notice prior to the public hearing on any amendments to the [Zoning] Ordinance,” the ruling reads. “The record reveals that County only provided fourteen days’ notice.”
According to the ruling, the county printed notice of the public hearing on zoning in the Asheville Citizen-Times on April 10 and 17, 2007 and held the hearing on April 24, 2007.
The ruling also took issue with the over 400 changes to the zoning map the county’s planning staff made just before the public hearing, noting that “in its headlong rush to adopt the amendments to its ordinance, County violated” the requirement that such changes be fully considered by the planning board.
The lawsuit was filed by attorney Albert Sneed, a prominent zoning opponent, on behalf of Lott Partnership II, developers who own land in the eastern part of the county.
The three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals heard the case last August, after Superior Court Judge James Downs had initially dismissed the lawsuit.
The commissioners will hold a special closed session at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, at 30 Valley St., to decide whether or not to appeal the court’s decision to the North Carolina Supreme Court.
—David Forbes, staff writer