Posted by: Patricia Salkin | December 5, 2007

North Carolina Appeals Court Find No Standing to Challenge Adult Use Special Permit

Standing remains a threshold issue for many petitioners who desire to challenge determinations made by boards regarding permit applications.  The general rules are that the petitioners must be an aggrieved party, and that they must allege special damages, which are injuries that they will likely suffer distinct from the general community.  One “practice pointer” from the following case is that when alleging facts sufficient to prove the required elements for standing, petitioners must allege facts and provide sufficient supporting evidence as proof of their claims, as mere general statements will not suffice.              

The North Carolina Appeals Court held that petitioners, who owned properties adjacent to a proposed upscale adult use establishment, lack standing to challenge the Board’s approval of a special use permit for the adult use.  In determining that the property owners were not “aggrieved parties” the Court noted that mere ownership of adjoining property is insufficient to confer standing, and that general allegations regarding increased traffic, increased water runoff, parking, and safety concerns was insufficient to establish the required “special damages” for purposes of standing since they failed to allege that they would suffer “special damages distinct from the rest of the community.”  The court further noted that there was no evidence presented at trial that the value of any of the Petitioner’s properties would decrease as a result of the proposed use on the subject property.  Lastly, the Court noted that the evidence presented was simply too general and speculative to support a finding that an injury has or will result from the zoning action.  

Mangum v. Raleigh Board of Adjustment, 2007 WL 4105034 (N.C. App. 11/20/2007).  The case can be accessed at: http://www.aoc.state.nc.us/www/public/coa/opinions/2007/061587-1.htm and it is also discussed on the North Carolina Appellate Blog at: http://womblencappellate.blogspot.com/


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