Court Dismisses Pinewild Petition
Senior Resident Superior Court Judge James M. Webb dismissed a petition for declaratory judgement today sought by Pinewild residents in their ongoing battle against annexation by Pinehurst.
Pinewild residents were in court Monday, asking Webb to tell them what municipal ordinances will or won't apply to their gated community after annexation.
Their petition asks the Superior Court for what is called a declaratory judgment. Attorneys for the village opposed it and filed a motion asking Webb to dismiss it. Bobby Sullivan and Michael Newman appeared for the village of Pinehurst with a motion to dismiss.
Because both sides had submitted so much material for Webb to consider, a ruling was not expected immediately.
Pinehurst adopted an ordinance to annex Pinewild in 2007. A series of legal efforts to block or delay annexation followed. After being denied in Superior Court, opponents appealed and were subsequently denied by the N.C. Court of Appeals. They asked for a rehearing, but that was refused.
The only remaining avenue would be asking the N.C. Supreme Court for a discretionary review, as the appeals court judges had ruled unanimously.
Separately, other cases are asking a federal court to declare this annexation a "taking" that, under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, would require payment of compensation.
In this latest move, Pinewild residents claimed that the village of Pinehurst wouldn't be able to apply all its laws inside a private, gated community -- as state law requires -- so they wanted Webb to declare which will and which won't.
Sullivan cited the state law that says, "after the effective date of the annexation ordinance, the territory and its citizens and property shall be subject to all debts, laws, ordinances and regulations in force in such municipality"
He offered a number of grounds for dismissal. In the first place, Sullivan said, the petition fails to state a claim like the allegation that Pinehurst is treating Pinewild differently from other annexed areas. He then argued that this petition is not a proper use for a declaratory judgment. They are for situations where unavoidable damages will result, he said.
Gene Boyce, of Raleigh, and his son Dan, represented the Pinewild residents, along with Pinehurst attorney Lydia Boesch, herself a Pinewild resident.
Boyce said all they are asking the court is, "What are our rights?"
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