Background: Opposition speakers at public hearings pointed out that a vote to support rezoning for Dollar General would violate Zoning Ordinances, is inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan land use for the area and other strategic aspects, and will do harm. In addition it was at odds with the vision and key strategies for Brunswick County. There was also prevailing public opposition. However, 3 of 5 Supervisors -- none of which represent the Meherrin District where Ebony is located -- voted in favor on 1/29/2020. The overwhelming reaction to the vote was shock, disgust, and disbelief.
Given what is at stake, discoveries of a pattern of inconsistent zoning decisions rezoning A1 to B1 in the Ebony community, and the prevailing vote that opposed the position of the Supervisor of the district (which is uncommon), an appeal was filed on 2/28/2020.
THE FUNDAMENTAL IMPLICATIONS OF THIS CASE ARE THAT BRUNSWICK COUNTY LAND USE MANAGEMENT AND ZONING GOVERNANCE PRACTICES ARE NOT FOLLOWING STATE LAW AND COUNTY ZONING ORDINANCES THAT ARE DESIGNED TO PREVENT THIS EBONY SITUATION. THIS CAN HAPPEN ANYWHERE IN THE COUNTY. NOTHING IS SACRED.
Are there any restrictions on what PAR 5 can do while the rezoning decision is in the appeal process? They can proceed but at their on risk of losing whatever they choose to invest. As of 9/2/2020, there has been no subdivision of the rezoned 2.04 acres and transfer of ownership to PAR 5. We discovered that they recorded a plat for the targeted Dollar General site on 8/26/20. This was done without following the proper notification and subdivision approval process. Ownership of the property has not changed hands.
Online link to petition data :
Circuit Court: Brunswick Circuit Count
Case Type: Civil
Case Number: CL20000073-00 (Tap Case Number Inquiry button to search)
On Wednesday, 7/29, we filed Petitioners' Response of Opposition to the County’s Amended Demurrer.
On Friday, 5/29, we filed Petitioners' Response of Opposition to the County’s Demurrer. The Demurrer filed by the County in response to the Petition to Appeal is a typical first step which tries to make the case we don’t have a case and it should be thrown out. Our response makes it very clear and compelling that we do have a case, it is solid, and must be heard. The hearing for the Demurrer is scheduled for August 3.
After taking 30 days to figure out our strategy, a Petition was filed on 2/28 to appeal the 1/29 Ebony Rezoning decision that paves the way to bring in Dollar General to Ebony. The case number is CL20000073-00 (CL 20-73)
Petitioners (Plaintiffs) are listed as Anne Edwards Hartley and the Prospect Cemetery Association - the neighboring property owners - representing all who stood up in public opposition to rezoining and Dollar General in the Ebony community - and all those in opposition but chose to remain quiet. The attorney who will lead the appeal process for us is John M. Janson of South Hill (VSB #: 91236).
Land use is Brunswick County's most valuable asset. Our Petition is designed not only to reverse the 1/29 Ebony rezoning decision but also to prevent future efforts to inappropriately commercialize Ebony and sets a precedent to protect all A-1 districts. In this case, 3/5 Supervisors -- none of which represent the Meherrin District -- voted to force the rezoning to pass to accommodate Dollar General. They abandoned their responsibilities to enforce the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinances.
The Comprehensive Plan is clear that Ebony is to remain a A-1 district with no B-1 spot-zoning to accommodate business needs. The outcome of this case reflects exactly what zoning management is intended to prevent. Zoning in A-1 districts is supposed to use a Conditional Use Permit to consider the needs and introduction of business to ensure the character of the community is protected and does no harm. These land use management tools also suggests that Dollar General is not a fit for Ebony.
Spread the word and stay tuned!
To strengthen our case, we encourage all who are willng to go on record in support of this appeal to submit via US Postal Service the Amicus Brief provided here. Just add your reasons for opposing the vote and supporting the petition to appeal and mail to designated recipients. Thus far we have receipted submissions from: Bobby Conner, Lisa Conner, Patricia Conner, Tony Conner, Elizabeth (Libba) Moseley, Sarah Nash Moseley, Diana Sadler Parker, Dorinda and Hal Paxton, Kay Lynch Whitehead, and Joan Wojeikewych.