Judge rules in favor of Pack family on Parkside lawsuit

Judge Marlene Hyatt has ruled in favor of the Pack family’s lawsuit against the Parkside land sale, according to attorneys on both sides. However, further hearings may be necessary to determine the exact status of the property.

Joe Ferikes, the attorney for the Pack family, confirmed that around noon today, Hyatt informed him that she had upheld Ferikes’ motion for summary judgment in favor of the Pack heirs. At the same time, she dismissed two motions filed jointly by developer Stewart Coleman’s company, Black Dog Realty, and Buncombe County to dismiss the lawsuit or to rule in their favor. Hyatt heard arguments from both sides on Monday. Ferikes added that Hyatt had not yet informed him about the rationale behind her decision.

“There’s still a lot to be done, and there may need to be further hearings to determine exactly what kind of relief is granted,” Ferikes told Xpress. “Also, the defendants obviously have a chance to appeal.”

The lawsuit argued that George Pack donated the land to Buncombe County around the turn of the 20th century for public use in perpetuity, and thus the county was not within its rights to sell it to Coleman in 2006. Coleman plans to build the nine-story Parkside condominium project on the site and adjacent property.

While Coleman still technically owns the land, Ferikes cautioned that it would be a “grave disservice” for him to try to build on or modify it by cutting down the magnolia tree that’s become a rallying point for Parkside opponents (something Coleman has promised to do in early September.)

Charlotte attorney Pat Kelly, who’s representing Black Dog in the case, told Xpress that he thought it would be “premature for me to say” what the defendants’ next course of action was.

“I envision that we’re going to sit down with our clients, and we’re definitely going to have some decisions to make,” Kelly said. “I’m a little puzzled as there’s no written order right now. The plaintiffs [the Pack family] have asked for various forms of relief, including the property reverting to them. Does this mean that it reverts to them? Does it mean that the judge is saying the original sale was illegal and is ordering the county to buy it back? There are still a lot of practical questions to be resolved.”

Both the Buncombe County commissioners and Asheville City Council have been waiting for the ruling too, and whatever questions remain, commissioner David Young hopes the matter is finally decided.

“The judge has ruled, and hopefully we can put this behind us,” Young told Xpress. “Obviously, we were waiting on a decision in this case.

“Let’s pay back the $322,000 and move on,” Young said, referencing the amount of money that Coleman paid the county for the tiny piece of land.

— David Forbes, staff writer



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84 thoughts on “Judge rules in favor of Pack family on Parkside lawsuit

  1. It’s a great day for the Pack family, the park land, and the citizens of Buncombe County.

    Not such a great day for Stewart Coleman, Tom Israel, Bill Stanley, Carol Peterson, Nathan Ramsey, David Young, Tigerswede, etc…

    Party tonight at Drinking Liberally!

  2. bluegrassbrad

    I’ll bet Young and company are happy this is over. Don’t let them off the hook this easy! Let’s not forget who started the mess and vote accordingly this november. Let’s get some commissioners in there who give a hoot about Buncombe and it’s citizens!

  3. jacquie

    I send the utmost appreciation for the Magnolia watchers!! Thank you thank you thank you for keeping this in the public eye!! My 5yr. old son will now be able to enjoy this park with his own family someday! (as long as no one messes this up again!)

  4. jrr

    So, who do we vote for? Is there anybody running that ain’t mixed up in this mess?

  5. nuvue

    Wow! I am amazed the Judge was not in the developers hands. Sanity has prevailed…..It seemed so obvious what the Pack deed stated….Thank you Judge, I would not have believed in any Real Estate document had you ruled otherwise….

    Do remember the commie-ishoners and vote your conscience.

  6. Asheville Native

    Good news! Maybe you shouldn’t have thrown those fence markers out so quickly Stu.

  7. Austin

    Well Thunderpig, I guess you’ll have to eat your meal at the Ellington.
    But really, this is the only result that could have occurred. Everyone in town knew about this legendary deed that Pack wrote, so it really makes me question the motives of anyone whose insulted the good intentions of the people who opposed this ILLEGAL sale. It’s like some people were creating their own reality and not paying attention to the information. Quit hating people for caring, that’s F’d up.
    Hugs and congrats to all the folks who kept the heat on the fire!!

  8. Jrr –

    You can bet Holly Jones would not have let this happen on her clock.

    I think any of the folks running have a better sense than those who have obviously become too comfortable with their power.

  9. Asheville Native

    Wonder when the blowhard stompers will come out from under their rock on this ruling…

  10. william f. wescott


    3 CHEERS !!!

  11. Yes, JBo, this round is over and Pack’s gift to us, the people, preserved.

    But there will probably be appeals and we still have not dealt with the commissioners, the real villains in all this.

  12. Austin

    Tim, I guess from the picture you are joking about how few people could put aside their lives for the unscheduled celebration. All 5,000 of us who signed the petition condemning the sale are dancing inside.

  13. Austin wrote:

    “Tim, I guess from the picture you are joking about how few people could put aside their lives for the unscheduled celebration.”

    The photo is not meant to be any kind of joke. I heard about the ruling and paid a visit to the protesters camping under the tree and took a picture.

    Like this one: http://snipr.com/3ky5h

  14. Al Cottingham

    YEE-HAW! So glad to hear of this verdict. Shame on Buncombe County for petitioning the court to rule in Coleman’s favor. Just who do the Buncombe County Commissioners represent? The people or developers bent on raping our dear town?

    Especially shame on Carol “no sidewides in BC” Peterson, and Bill Stanlet, the two dirtiest of the Commissioners. I guess Carol is left holding the bag with the “favor” not delivered.

    Thank goodness for a sane judge not beholden to special interests.

  15. jen

    I bet he’ll want more than $322,000 for the land. ..Or do they have to pay back the exact amount. Surely Stewart Coleman suffered a loss..because the land value has increased? Glad to see that condo’s are not being built. He could build something else. I don’t think is totally Coleman fault. Asheville did sell him the land. Think about this next election.

  16. cwaster

    Al wrote:
    “Just who do the Buncombe County Commissioners represent? The people or developers bent on raping our dear town?”

    It’s pretty obvious who they represent… I hope everyone remembers and votes accordingly. Express your ire with the almighty vote.

  17. jen wrote: “I bet he’ll want more than $322,000 for the land. ..Or do they have to pay back the exact amount.”

    The county can only return to him what he paid. Of course, there is a substantial sunk cost that Coleman will have to eat. He may sue the county to recoup those losses. Which means that you and I will end up repaying Coleman for his failed entrepreneurial speculation.

    And whatever will he tell his wealth investors in Atlanta?

  18. David

    Let us all not forget the good for nothing corrupt fat ass county commissioners who have stabbed the public in the back by selling off our land,

    our public park in the heart of downtown,

    for generations to come, let’s hope that this heart section of our town will remain a public place

    do not forget to put the commissioners out during the next election

  19. jim

    I will vote and hope many many more do also, remember this talk about it and vote.

  20. travelah

    Coleman’s losses would generally be covered through a title insurance claim and not out of the taxpayers pockets.

  21. jim says: “I will vote and hope many many more do also, remember this talk about it and vote. ”

    1. Democrats are not willing to vote out incumbents who voted for the land sale. It would mean voting for a Republican.

    2. For whom will you vote for the office of chairman? Both Gantt and Ramsey voted for the sale.

  22. nuvue

    Don’t for a second assume all dems on on that. I would vote for a decent republican in order to put out the perpe -traitors on the Parkside vote debacle. I really think the commie-ishoners blew it and do not deserve to be reinstated….dem, rep or independent.
    If they can’t research a vote better than that, please do not re-elect.

  23. bluegrassbrad

    I too am very much a democrat, but am so disgusted with the current commissoners I will definitely be disregarding party and voting for those I think will do best, no matter what their party. I would partcularly like to see Stanley voted out. I will vote for Gantt however. He is the only commissioner who acknowledged the screw-up. Even in emails to me addressing the matter Stanley and Peterson continued to say they did nothing wrong! Stanley’s was so condescending it was absurd. Gantt’s email to me once again took responsibility. The only one of the bunch with any cajonés at all.

  24. Gordon, I’ve suggested that several times myself … if Asheville’s going to hold up completion of I-26, let let’s just bypass Asheville and let it take the economic hit. You guys are not the center of the universe.

  25. tatuaje

    In St. Paul covering the RNC (after covering the DNC in Denver) and stopped in to the ol’ MX to see what’s happening back home and…LO & BEHOLD!





  26. nuvue

    Hey Ralph and Katie,
    Do you know about the Greek Omphallos?
    Asheville may very well be the lint……

    (Boy is this off topic)

  27. Nuvue, yes it’s off topic — what does a wacky conspiracy theory of creation (in which Adam is created with a belly button — think about that one) has to do with Asheville?

    I mean, Asheville is weird but… ????

  28. nuvue

    In Greece, the round building in Delphi is the “omphallos” which I think means the center of the earth or the belly button…..I was just relating that to A-ville being the center of the earth.
    Did Adam have a belly button? Who’s da’ momma?

  29. Al Cottingham

    Ralph, I have met Don Yelton, and you are right. He is a man who stands heads above his liberal competitors. I-26 SHOULD bypass Asheville. Hendersonville was wise enough to insist on this. Perhaps the NE’er transplants, used to urban sprawl, are responsible for some of the back-flow here. Hey, we aren’t NYC, thajnk God!

  30. Right, Al … we aren’t even Long Island.

    Let’s take the Yankee mentality out of the equation and start getting things done again. ;-)

  31. Ashevegasjoe

    yeah re-route I-26 around Asheville! That’s the most absurd idea I’ve ever heard. People drive from all over the country to come to Asheville– not Hendersonville. You right-wing wackos can say the most absurd, economically unsound things to get attention, and then you’re the fiscally responsible ones? Asheville is the economic center of Western North Carolina, and the tourism hub of the entire state. Good luck re-routing an interstate around it, when they just finished the connector on 19-23 all the way to Asheville. I guess Yelton is just saying these ridiculous proposals to feed his massive need for attention. Let’s re-route I-26 to Gerton!

  32. travelah

    Where in the world do people get the idea that Asheville is the tourist hub of NC or even the region? The one big attraction in Asheville is the mansion of the former slave driver. The number of tourists in the Park alone beat out Asheville by a considerable margin. Ralph is right. Asheville is NOT the center of the universe, tourist or otherwise. Heck, shucks and golly, it’s not even much of a city not being much larger than a big town. I suspect Wilmington has as big if not bigger tourist impact as Asheville.

  33. “Tourism has a huge impact upon North Carolina’s economy. It is a $16.5 billion industry, generating more than $1.3 billion in tax revenue and almost 200,000 jobs. This is an industry that consists largely of small businesses; the Travel Industry Association of Texas estimates that 90 percent of enterprises supported by tourism qualify as small business. The reduction of support for the industry hurts businesses in every community as other states increase their share of the visitor market.”

    So we know that tourism is a big deal. Not just to the Biltmore House, but to all of the restaurants, shops, hotels, galleries, and adventure businesses that catch so much of the money.

    In Buncombe County, “Hotel sales, occupancy and average room rates continue to increase. Overnight accommodation sales are up 9.6 percent over the fiscal year and the industry employs over 21,000 workers.”


    21,000 people in Buncombe County employed by the accommodation businesses. I’m sure even you, travelah, would agree that’s significant. I can’t find info on overall tourism dollars coming into Asheville, but if you take those 21,000 jobs and then consider the people who feed, entertain, and sell stuff to those folks staying in those hotels, I’m sure you’ll change your tune about how big of an economic engine it is for the region.

    Of course it’s not the center of the universe, ya ninny. No one is suggesting it is. However, it is an important economic driver and has the largest concentration of full-time residents in western North Carolina.

    And, to be honest, I’m really not sure what point you’re trying to make. That Asheville kind of sucks? That Wilmington is better?

    I suppose it’s just more whinging and I should ignore it, but between Ralph Roberts persistent nativism and your persistent negative nancyism, I’ve got to stop coming over here for a while.

  34. Gordon, if my comments about my love of this area bothers you, you have small tolerance for beauty and glory and the wonders of God.

    Besides, I do not consider ‘nativism’ a pejorative term as you seem to … Webster’s defines it as:

    “the revival or perpetuation of an indigenous culture especially in opposition to acculturation”

    In general — while obvious that some compromises must be make — nativism is a worthwhile goal. Mountain values DO have value, are worthy of respect, could make your own life perhaps better and easier.

    No… mountaineers have nothing to apologize for.

  35. Also, Gordon, being persistent is a virtue, not a vice … certainly you are exceptionally persistent in espousing your belief system, please be do not deny that virtue to the rest of us.

  36. Ralph,

    Of course local values and ideas are valuable and have my respect, but not to the exclusion of all other ideas. That has been your argument on most everything that’s involved folks from other areas.

    Our ideas and values are ours, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea to look outside for other ideas as well.

    It seems silly to even have this conversation. It just seems obvious.

  37. Gordon, if you read my postings and my published work a bit closer, I think you’ll find overall I am not noninclusive, I have just asked (and continue to ask) for our ways to receive more respect than many newcomers (mostly out of total ignorance of mountain culture) extend us.

    Can we at least agree on that?

    What if — back in the 1970s when we didn’t have much Yankee stuff here — I had gone to New Jersey and made fun of gyros? … well, okay, I did (I spent a week in Paramus one year). But then I tried one, lamb, with that good sauce and was hooked.

    Most of my business over the last 30 years has come from outside this area and I have traveled widely. So I accept other people have different ways and respect them… until, of course, they move here.

    Heh, heh! … Just joking… Kinda.

  38. “Jen: Asheville did sell him the land. Think about this next election.”

    Actually as stated over and over…the city of Asheville did not sell the land to Coleman so there is no fault on the cities part in this whole mess.

    The land was sold to Coleman by the Buncombe county commissioners. Let’s get are facts straight, ok? Our city council often leaves a lot to be desired and sometimes are at the center of a lot of messes but this is one mess they had absolutely nothing to do with.

  39. travelah

    Gordon … allow me to share a bit of an epiphany with you. Asheville is not Buncombe County. Asheville is not the tourist hub of NC. Now, since Asheville is the center of the universe for a pile of people around here, maybe they need to clear the fog a bit.

  40. “I have just asked (and continue to ask) for our ways to receive more respect than many newcomers (mostly out of total ignorance of mountain culture) extend us.”

    How would you like to have this respect expressed, Ralph?

  41. travelah’s epiphany is a good start … stop thinking Asheville is the center of the universe, we’ll all (all of Western North Carolina) in this together. Asheville has recognized this and been a leader and the main commercial hub for over 100 years …… until RECENTLY … until the “Paris of the frickin’ South” idiots flowed in from New Jersey (or wherever) and went ‘progressive’, switching Asheville in many ways in a very selfish Asheville-centric, Asheville-first, screw the rubes mentality that it has not had until recently (well, not so much anyway, eh?).

    show respect to EVERYONE, not just those within the ever-greedy expanding city limits. Be mountain folk first, citizens of Asheville next, Americans forever.

    and lest you think I forgot to mention North Carolina in that, it is they who have forgotten there is a part of the state west of Morganton.

    learn about the mountains, really live HERE not in some imagined “Paris of the South.”

  42. travelah

    Great post, Ralph! This place is more like the Missoula of the East. There isn’t a thing about Asheville that reminds me of Paris including Little Pigs Barbeque.

  43. well… there ya go, travelah… we got it nailed.

    now if Gordon would frequent Little Pigs a bit more, he might mellow out some. Not the greatest barbecue place in Asheville but it’s been around the longest and is pretty good. More authentic than most.

    in fact, I’ll say it’s the MOST authentic in Asheville.

  44. Ashevegasjoe

    According to Frommer’s Travel Guide (the largest distributor of travel guides), Asheville, NC ranked in the top ten tourist destinations in the world, in terms of overall appeal and uniqueness, in 2007. I know Frommer’s is surely a bastion of liberal-yankee propaganda, but it is a world-wide respected name. It did not list any other location in North Carolina.
    The point, as always, has been lost. It’s not that Asheville, or the people in it, think themselves the center of the universe. It is the absurdity of proposing I-26 go around it. That Asheville is the destination of thousands of tourists and “travelahs” is undeniable. My point was that Yelton and his ilk make ridiculous proposals for attention. Proposals that conservative, “fiscally responsible” Republicans would laugh at. Though I realize the aforementioned is now an oxymoron.

  45. Ashevegasjoe

    and if by “most authentic BBQ”, you mean the worst, Little Pigs is it.

    12 Bones is one of the newest, and hands down the best BBQ EVER!!

  46. Ashevegasjoe, according to the Travelers Zone list of the top 25 tourist visited destinations in America, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is #9 (and the only destination in our area) … Asheville does not even make the list.

    And you know zip about authentic barbecue. And 12 Bones knows zip about keeping reasonable hours.

  47. “And you know zip about authentic barbecue”

    Does authentic mean it taste like cat food?

    See you at 12 bones!

  48. Ashevegasjoe

    And when people visit The Great Smoky National Park, I wonder what city they are most likely to eat in, shop in, or sleep in?? Again, the issue of whether people come to Asheville is moot. Obviously people come here in spite of the closed-minded natives. My point was, and is , the suggestion to re-route I-26 around Asheville is absurd, and outside of a few really loud people, not even discussed.

    If you really like Little Pigs, your knowledge of BBQ is pathetic. Next year go to Trion to see real BBQ, you’ll see no Little Pigs

  49. Pisgah

    I thought this blog was set up to discuss the Parkside issue but I guess it has gone way off topic with unrealeted issues? What in the world does Little Pigs, twelve bones, Great Smokey Mtns. National Park have to do with the Parkside issue. Can you say ZERO, I knew you could.

  50. Ashevegas Joe … first, we were not talking about which barbecue tastes best but which was more authentic. … if you want both authentic and darn good taste, check out the Georgia Pig in Brunswick, Georgia … probably the best and most authentic barbecue in the known universe … or Sprayberry’s in Noonan, GA — the restaurant Lewis Grizzard wrote of as the best restaurant in the world, not just for barbecue but in the world.

    And we natives here aren’t close minded, we accept a lot of Yankee ways whereas the durn Yuppie Yankee Carpetbaggers (YYCs) are in many cases just too arrogant to even realize we HAVE ways.

    Get over your outsider-centric, Paris-of-the-Southitis, and enjoy living in the mountains.

    and give the Little Pigs another chance, it’s better than you think.

  51. JMAC, I am not arguing against 12 Bones… if you can catch them open, it’s VERY good barbecue and I like it a lot. BUT IT IS NOT AUTHENTIC SOUTHERN BARBECUE!

    A good authentic barbecue place ANYWHERE has been in business at least 40 years.

    You guys don’t get this stuff, do ya? ;-)

  52. Oh come on Ralph….Georgia?

    Now Ralph…everybody knows that the best authentic barbaque is Lexington style as in Lexington, NC which has been know as the Barbaque capital of the world and has an annual Barbaque festival competition where cooks try to be awarded the best in Barbaque.

    Now that I have thought about it…wht in the world does any of this have to do with the Parkside issue?

  53. Ralph

    I am not sure what it is that I don’t get, but old does not equal authentic in my opinion. I will give you a nod for your experience with Georgia barbeque, it is amazing, both of the places you mentioned are definite stops on your way to St Simons, heck while you are at it try OB’s in McDonough. You here a lot of people talking about Lexington barbeque, I think it is because the town of Lexington has done a marketing blitz touting itself as the barbeque capital because otherwise nobody would ever go there. These same people must be the ones that eat at Ed Boudreaux’s. I think that 12 bones has some of the best collards I have ever eaten.

    Back on topic, I am glad that the parkside project did not go through as is, and I hope the next rendition has a 12 bones on the ground level so that I can eat greens on the park.

  54. TalkAsheville… even tho’ I’m not a fan of watery Eastern NC barbecue sauce, I have eaten much good barbecue in Lextington, Statesville, Salisbury, and points east. I’ve consumed mustard-based in South Carolina, too. Tomato-based is far closer to what God intended when he created the South. ;-)

    As to what does barbecue have to do with Parkside? EVERYTHING! … it’s in the history of the site. See “The fatal slaw. (Stanley’s Barbeque & Bluegrass, Asheville, North Carolina) http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb6617/is_199006/ai_n26463773 as a starting point.

    You guys only THINK you know the full story of Parkside. Even Gordon Smith has only touched on that aspect of it.

  55. as to Eastern barbecue in Asheville, there is that nameless place on Patton Avenue… I do not name it because I got a horrible case of food poisoning there a few years ago and spend most of the night in the emergency room heaving out my guts. Have not eaten there since.

    besides, their danged sauce is too danged watery and they don’t give you enough of it!

  56. That’s all fine and and everything as to whatever but it all this really has nothing to do with the court ruling, etc so I will just simply remove myself from receiving updates about the thread and by the way….not all Eastern Barbaque is watery and their is Eastern Style wnd Lexington Style…the two are completely different….Eastern is generally Vinager based…true Lexington Style is not…take it from someone who was raised on it.

  57. a) barbecue is ALWAYS appropriate

    b) there is a strong barbecue connection to Parkside … as in, why do you think Bill Stanley had to see this very desirable property in the first place, setting this disaster up?

  58. travelah

    When people visit the Park, they are staying in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Waynesville, Maggie Valley, Cherokee and sometimes in Asheville. Those who think Asheville is the center of the Universe (and who would smoke the fodder of Asheville being one of the top ten tourist destinations in the world) need to come to the realiztion that Asheville is not representative of Western NC (at least not now).

    As for BBQ, 12 Bones is good but as Ralph noted, good doesn’t cut it if they are not open when you want it nor are they even remotely representative of southern pulled pork BBQ. You might as well recommend Cinci’s Montgomery Inn ribs or Memphis’ Interstate BBQ … you are as likely to be satified with their accessibility as with 12 Bones.

  59. another fantastic place I’ve eaten at several times is State Line Barbecue on the New Mexico/Texas line (line runs right through the bar) west of El Paso. Western barbecue, yes, but the beef brisket (been cookin’ all day) melts in your mouth.

    However, that’s almost as inconvenient as 12 Bones.

  60. good point, travelah, on where people stay … let the arrogant Asheville-centric explain why they can afford to build 17-story hotels in Cherokee. Because people STAY there. ;-)

  61. Ashevegasjoe

    It’s not arrogant, it’s concrete numbers. Asheville recieves more tourists and tourism dollars than Pigeon Forge, Cherokee, or any of the other go-cart drivin’, mini-golfin, dumps you call destinations. And, I’ll write once more, the issue isn’t thinking Asheville is a top-ten tourist destination in the world (which Frommer’s did say it is), the issue was the stupidity of suggesting I-26, that now runs all the way to Asheville on both sides, should be routed around the city– because residents want an interstate that is not eight lanes or an eyesore. We all have to drive it and/or look at it. Careful, well thought out planning would be refreshing.

    And if you have to be over forty to be a good BBQ joint, that is a staunch BBQ conservative’s view. To hell with authentic, I want great taste, I’m a BBQ progressive. Change We Can Believe In–Yes We Can

    12 Bones is open for lunch 11-4 mon-fri, pretty easy to figure out, pretty accessible, and a south Asheville location opening soon. Not a paid endorsement, not an employee, just a fan

  62. Ashevegasjoe

    They can afford to build hotels in Cherokee because people do stay there. Is Asheville not blessed with 17-story hotels?? I thought that the abundance of such buildings is sort of what the topic of this thread was? People go to Cherokee to gamble. People come to Asheville to shop, eat, relax, hike etc.

  63. travelah

    Ashevegas, you do not get out much outside your center of the universe, do you?

  64. Ashevegasjoe

    what the $%@& does that mean?
    I try to stay centered.

    I guess it’s come down to insults again– how predictable and lame. Please make all future attacks at least semi-coherent.

  65. nuvue

    Okay, according to the Cherokee, who are truly western N. cackalacky-ins. The center of the universe is here….specifically on Caney Fork. The heart of the great turtle beats at Judaculla rock.

    As for how the Cherokee afford high rises, it is only since gambling that the place grew much….(the Indian way of getting back at the white man)
    Maybe Cole-slaw can open a BBQ stand under the Magnolia.
    ( kinda wrapped that back to Parkside nicely didn’t I)

    While on the subject, I think leaving the I-26 as far from A-ville as possible would be good. Cuz a road that big will detract from asheville and just bring further congestion. What if everybody took the Patton exit? Then we will need to widen that, Then Coxe street will need to become a interstate, then Biltmore etc. etc. We need to stop being so automobile centric. This is only a recent phenom (cars) and we got to realize that they are in decline as oil gets more expensive.

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