Earlier today, Judge Marlene Hyatt ruled that a piece of public parkland controversially sold to developer Stewart Coleman must remain in public use, though she did not change the ownership of the parcel.
While Hyatt had ruled in favor of the heirs of philanthropist George Pack on Aug. 28, her written ruling came out today. In it, Hyatt agrees with the Pack family’s assertion in their lawsuit against Coleman’s company, Black Dog Realty, and Buncombe County that Pack’s original donation around the turn of the century constituted a dedication, meaning the land could only be used for certain purposes.
“The defendants are hereby permanently enjoined from allowing the property to be used in any way inconsistent with the dedication,” Hyatt wrote in the ruling.
However, Hyatt did not require the county to buy back the land or rule that it reverted to the Pack heirs, even though it does block Coleman from going forward with the Parkside project, a nine-story condominium building.
“Neither one of them gets back the land, but she specified that it can only be used for what George Pack intended — that, is, public use,” Pack family attorney Joe Ferikes told Xpress. “I don’t know of anything else he [Coleman] can do with it except leave it as it is.”
Such rulings aren’t that uncommon, he added, and represent the requirements placed on conservancies, where land remains in private ownership but can’t be developed.
Black Dog attorney Pat Kelly, has not yet answered requests for comment, or indicated if Black Dog will appeal the ruling.
— David Forbes, staff writer