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High court denies rehearing request in impact-fee case

High court denies rehearing request in impact-fee case


In another victory for developers and homebuilders, the North Carolina Supreme Court on Oct. 26 denied Cabarrus County’s request for a rehearing in a case involving impact fees.

In August, the court, in a 5-2 ruling, said it was illegal for the county to charge developers and homebuilders the fees, which had to be paid whenever new homes or multifamily units were built. The county said the fees were necessary to offset the impact more homes would have on schools.

County attorney Richard Koch said the Supreme Court should have given the rehearing request more consideration.

“We’re disappointed because we felt we raised some issues the court needed to take a look at,” he said. “But the final decision rested with the court. That is the end of the legal proceedings” for the impact-fee case.

The county still faces three lawsuits in which plaintiffs are trying to get it to reimburse them for the fees.

Attorney Jim Scarbrough, who represents plaintiffs in those cases, has said he expects a decision before the end of the year. Scarbrough also represented Lanvale Properties and the Cabarrus County Building Industry Association, with whom the Supreme Court sided in August.

The petition for rehearing was a last-ditch effort by Cabarrus County to defending its impact fees, which were allowed under the county’s adequate public facilities ordinance. According to information from the county, it has collected roughly $8.45 million in the fees since 1998.

The refund cases are expected to go before the 6th Division of the North Carolina Superior Court.

Unlike Scarbrough, Koch predicted that the court won’t rule on those cases this year.

“It’s going to go on into next year,” he said. “There’s no end to those cases in this calendar year, unless it’s somehow resolved outside of court.”

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