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Municipal – Zoning – Civil Practice – Standing – Constitutional

Municipal – Zoning – Civil Practice – Standing – Constitutional

Since plaintiffs lacked standing to protest the defendant-city’s zoning decision under a former law, they also lack standing to seek a declaratory judgment that the city should have made its zoning decision in conformity with the former law rather than a new law.

We affirm summary judgment for defendants.

Plaintiffs had no legal right to file a protest petition in this case and therefore were not deprived of any right to petition or access to open courts by the enactment of Session Law 2015-160 and the application of G.S. § 160A-385; furthermore, the property rezoned was not the plaintiffs’. Because plaintiffs do not have a constitutionally protected interest in the rezoning of an adjoining landowner’s property, and because their remaining constitutional challenges assert only generalized grievances, these claims were properly dismissed.

Finally, facial constitutional challenges must be transferred to a three-judge panel only if the constitutionality of the statute in question must be resolved in order to conclude the action. Because plaintiffs did not have standing to bring their constitutional challenges, the transfer of plaintiffs’ constitutional claims to a three-judge panel was not necessary, as “a determination as to the facial validity of [the] act[s]” in question was not required to “completely resolve any matters in the case.” N.C. R. Civ. P. 42(b)(4).


Byron v. SYNCO Properties, Inc. (Lawyers Weekly No. 011-096-18, 17 pp.) (Lucy Inman, J.) Appealed from Mecklenburg County Superior Court (Yvonne Mims Evans, J.) Madeline Trilling and Kenneth Davies for plaintiffs; Roy Michaux Jr., Thomas Powers III and Terrie Hagler-Gray for defendants. N.C. App.


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