A few days ago I commented upon North Carolina’s woefully inadequate protest petition statute and how the Town of Jamestown had to figure out whether protest petitions were valid (or not).  I received several replies, some offering further commentary and others with questions.

             In response to one of the comments I offered this reply: “I’m still a strict constructionist on this one.  Deciding an issue by majority vote is so integral to our democratic processes that placing the power to change the entire model in the hands of (often) one single person is something that should only be done when the statutory threshold, as clearly written, on clear facts, has clearly been met.  To view this as “the” neighbor versus “the” developer is myopic.  It’s “the” neighbor with unilateral power to alter the manner in which duly elected officials can transact the public’s business.”

             I stand by that.  When we start toying with the structural foundations of our democratic institutions, allowing a single individual to usurp the authority that thousand of citizens placed into the hands of their elected officials at the ballot box, the threshold for allowing that usurpation should be high and it should be exactingly clear.

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Tom Terrell

Terrell_TomMr. Terrell is widely regarded as one of North Carolina’s leading land use attorneys, representing both private and governmental entities in matters related to real estate development. His practice “footprint” covers the state from the mountain counties to the coast and occasionally includes…

Terrell_TomMr. Terrell is widely regarded as one of North Carolina’s leading land use attorneys, representing both private and governmental entities in matters related to real estate development. His practice “footprint” covers the state from the mountain counties to the coast and occasionally includes parts of Virginia and South Carolina. His many clients are involved in commercial and residential real estate, solid waste hauling and disposal, telecommunications, quarries/asphalt and miscellaneous litigation related to permit denials, vested rights and rezonings.

He has published numerous articles and speaks regularly to legal, governmental and business groups on a variety of issues related to land use and zoning.

Mr. Terrell has served as a leader in numerous civic and legal endeavors, including Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the N.C. State Health Plan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Winston-Salem State University, and service on the Board of Directors of the UNC-CH General Alumni Association, Board of Directors of the High Point Chamber of Commerce, Board of Visitors of Guilford College and Board of Center Associates of the Center for Creative Leadership, and as a founding member of the N.C. Bar Association Zoning, Planning and Land Use Section.

More information can be found at https://www.foxrothschild.com/thomas-e-terrell-jr/.

Mr. Terrell can be contacted at mailto:tterrell@foxrothschild.com.