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Originally published: 2014-02-26 15:09:47
Last modified: 2014-02-26 15:10:32

Briefs filed in town's clinic case appeal

by Anna Oakes

Attorneys for the town of Boone and Templeton Properties have filed briefs with the N.C. Court of Appeals in an ongoing dispute over a planned medical clinic.


The town is appealing an Aug. 5 Superior Court ruling that reversed the Boone Board of Adjustment's denial of a special use permit to Templeton Properties for a 10,010-square-foot medical clinic on a 2.9-acre lot on State Farm Road.


Tony di Santi, attorney for Templeton Properties, said he anticipates that the Court of Appeals will consider the case in late spring or early summer, with a decision to be made approximately three months later.


The matter dates back to 2007 and returns to the N.C. Court of Appeals for a third time after being remanded back to the board of adjustment in 2009 and 2012 because of procedural errors.


In the case's latest advancement through the courts, the board of adjustment voted in fall 2012 to again deny the permit request for the clinic based on testimony heard in May 2007, when the board first denied the permit.


Board members stated the development was not in harmony with the adjacent VFW Drive neighborhood and incompatible with the town's comprehensive plan, and they cited safety concerns related to traffic congestion.


In August 2013, Superior Court Judge Shannon Joseph ruled that the BOA's findings did not support the conclusion that a medical clinic would be in disharmony with the area. She also said that the board's citation of general policy statements from the town's comprehensive plan were insufficient in denying the permit.


The Charlotte-based firm Parker, Poe, Adams & Bernstein represents the town. Since 2008, the town has paid the firm approximately $184,000 for its work on the case, according to figures from Boone Town Manager Greg Young and the town's finance department. That amount does not include fees paid to the town attorney for his work on the case.


Attorneys' fees are paid using money from the town's general fund; the town's insurance carrier did not provide coverage on this case because no monetary damages are being sought, Young said in 2012.


"The town intends to continue defending the board's denial of Templeton's application," the town said in a 2012 statement. "The Boone Town Council has committed itself to protecting its residential neighborhoods and for that reason has opposed this lawsuit."


Phil Templeton of Templeton Properties declined to disclose the amount he has spent on the case, stating, "I'm going to spend whatever it takes to get a final decision that says that the town is right or wrong."


"The board of adjustment has to act within the framework of the law (based on) competent evidence in the record," Templeton said.


Templeton said he would await the final court ruling in the case, if favorable, before deciding whether or not to build the medical clinic.


"We've gone seven years now -- a lot's changed," he said.