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N.C. Supreme Court Affirms Appeals Ruling Favoring Boone in Templeton Clinic Case

By Jesse Wood

After several years, the Town of Boone might have finally won the court case versus Templeton Properties once and for all.

The case originated in 2007 when Templeton Properties applied for a special use permit to build a medical clinic off of State Farm Road. A month later, the Boone Town Council adjusted the Unified Development Ordinance to prohibit new medical facilities in R-1 zoned areas. Shortly thereafter, the BOA voted to deny the permit because it wasn’t in “harmony of the surrounding neighborhood” off of VFW Drive and was not compatible with the town’s comprehensive plan.

In one court document, lawyers representing Templeton Properties stated that there were two procedural errors involving the board’s decision – one of them concerning that those residences don’t front State Farm Road as the clinic would if it were built and another stating that clinic was in line with the UDO when the permit was first sought.

Since the initial Boone Board of Adjustment ruling it has gone back and forth in Watauga County Superior Court, the N.C. Court of Appeals and Boone Board of Adjustment – before most recently landing in the N.C. Supreme Court’s lap after it agreed in December to a request from Templeton Properties to grant a petition for discretionary review of the N.C. Court of Appeal’s decision siding with the Town of Boone in June of 2014.

Today – Thursday, June 11, the N.C. Supreme Court handed down a verdict that affirms the N.C. Court of Appeals ruling in favor of the Town of Boone.

The verdict reverses Watauga County Superior Court Judge Shannon Joseph’s order in August of 2013 reversing Boone’s Board of Adjustment decision to deny the special use permit on multiple occasions.

The ruling from the N.C. Supreme Court states:

“Justice [Barbara] Jackson took no part in the consideration or decision of this case. The remaining members of the court are equally divided, with three members voting to affirm and three members voting to reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals. Accordingly, the decision of the Court of Appeals is left undisturbed and stands without precedential value.”

Mayor Andy Ball released this statement on Thursday when reached for comment:

“We appreciate today’s ruling in favor of the Town by the N.C. Supreme Court. Our staff and counsel have worked hundreds of hours preparing the Board of Adjustment to consider and reconsider this one case. Today’s decision validates the council’s commitment to stand strong for our neighborhoods.”

Reached for comment on Thursday afternoon, Phil Templeton of Templeton Properties said, “That’s news to me.”

After hearing a reading of the ruling, Templeton said, “It looks like we lost. It is what it is. I did the best I could do.”

As for what happens next, Templeton said he didn’t know and that he would to talk to his attorneys to review any options.

The Charlotte-based firm Parker, Poe, Adams & Bernstein represented the Town of Boone, while di Santi Watson Capua & Wilson and Chapel Hill-based Brough Law Firm represented Templeton Properties.

According to invoices obtained from the Town of Boone, the town has paid Parker, Poe, Adams and Berstein more than $184,000 since August 2010.

See decision here: Templeton v. Town of Boone