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May 24, 2012

Constitutional – Freedom of Speech – Municipal – Sign Ordinance – ‘Content Neutral’

Wag More Dogs LLC v. Cozart An Arlington County sign ordinance that required a doggy daycare business to remove a 960-square foot painting of cartoon dogs on the side of the daycare’s business passes constitutional muster as a content-neutral restriction on speech that survives intermediate scrutiny, the 4th Circuit says.

May 18, 2012

Real Property – Eminent Domain – Sufficient Notice – Beach Nourishment – Civil Practice – Preliminary Injunction — Municipal

Fisher v. Town of Nags Head Plaintiffs, owners of oceanfront properties, sought to preliminarily enjoin a beach nourishment project because the defendant-town did not intend to pay plaintiffs for the easement that the town would need to add sand (and value) to plaintiffs’ properties. The issue of just compensation is one for the condemnation proceeding and not for preliminary injunction[...]

May 2, 2012

Municipal – Administrative – Privilege License – Taxation – Electronic Gaming Operations

Smith v. City of Fayetteville Electronic gaming operations are legal, and the city has the authority to impose a privilege license tax on legal businesses. But the city may not impose a tax so prohibitively high that it prevents a business owner from conducting a profitable business unless the city can show that the tax was necessary to pay for increased police enforcement, or that the bu[...]

May 2, 2012

Constitutional – Commerce & Contract Clauses – Real Property – Environmental – Landfill – Municipal – Administrative – Out-of-State Waste

Waste Industries USA v. State New landfill legislation affected in-state and out-of-state waste equally and was rationally related to public health and other benefits. It did not violate the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

May 1, 2012

Real Property – Municipal – Wrongful Demolition – Mobile Homes – Housing Code Violations – Constitutional – Due Process

Patterson v. City of Gastonia The owners of six demolished mobile homes had adequate alternative remedies for redress of their claim. Someone who is not a property’s owner of record cannot claim that his due process rights were violated because the city failed to investigate his ownership. Finally, mobile home owners cannot bring inverse condemnation claims because mobile homes are pers[...]

Apr 26, 2012

Labor & Employment – Wrongful Discharge Claim – Constitutional – Free Speech – Municipal – City Attorney’s Assistant

Cole v. City of Charlotte Where plaintiff denies writing an email that criticized the city attorney’s office, she cannot claim that her right to freedom of speech was violated when she was allegedly fired for writing the email.

Mar 29, 2012

Real Property – Constitutional – Due Process – Municipal – Nuisance Notice – Beachfront Cottages – Storm Damage

Sansotta v. Town of Nags Head After the ocean breached Seagull Drive and a hole developed in the roadway, the defendant-town’s decision to erect a barricade blocking access to Seagull Drive (and plaintiffs’ cottages) was substantially related to public safety and was not arbitrary or irrational. Likewise, the police chief’s instruction to plaintiffs’ contractors to move to the saf[...]

Mar 29, 2012

Real Property – Constitutional – Due Process – Municipal – Nuisance Notice – Beachfront Cottage – Storm Damage – Public Trust

Town of Nags Head v. Toloczko The plaintiff-town no longer seeks removal of defendants’ beachfront cottage and has invited defendants to apply for a building permit to repair storm damage to their property. Nevertheless, the town maintains that the cottage sits in a “public trust area” and seeks civil penalties for defendants’ refusal to comply with the town’s declaration that t[...]

Mar 13, 2012

Municipal – Zoning – Statement of Reasonableness – Failure to Adopt

Wally v. City of Kannapolis Even though G.S. § 160A-383 prohibits judicial review of a municipality’s “statement of reasonableness”, a court can nevertheless review whether a municipality made such a statement at all.

Mar 8, 2012

Municipal – Public Utilities – Cell Tower – Discrimination Claim

T-Mobile Northeast LLC v. Fairfax County Board of Supervisors In this appeal, we consider certain “prohibition” and “discrimination” challenges brought by a wireless telecommunications provider against a local governing body under a provision of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, 47 U.S.C. § 332(c)(7)(B)(i), and conclude the Fairfax County, Va., board of supervisors did not viol[...]

Mar 6, 2012

Municipal – Zoning – Special Use Permit – Findings of Fact

Templeton Properties, L.P. v. Town of Boone On a prior appeal, we remanded so the respondent-town’s board of adjustment could make reviewable findings of fact based on its 2007 public hearings. Instead, the board allowed new testimony from opponents of petitioner’s application for a special use permit -- while not allowing new testimony from petitioner -- and made findings of fact tha[...]

Feb 24, 2012

Municipal – Privilege License – Internet Sweepstakes – Dramatic Fee Increase

IMT, Inc. v. City of Lumberton Several Lumberton businesses sell internet usage time to customers, and their customers also receive free sweepstakes entries with their internet-usage time purchases. The businesses have failed to show that the Town of Lumberton acted improperly when it dramatically increased the cost of a privilege license for these businesses (and not for other types of b[...]

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