As a quarter-century veteran of land use battles in every corner of this state there’s little I haven’t heard.  But this much I know. What people think is often not reflected in what they say at the public podium. 

             And being a veteran Southerner in my mid-fifties, I have decently honed skills in recognizing coded

            Last week the Court of Appeals published an opinion (MNC Holdings v. Town of Matthews) that analyzed how to interpret poorly written zoning ordinances, especially when a citizen’s property and rights are on the line. 

             Full and complete disclosure: I was lead counsel for the prevailing party.   I have strong opinions about the underlying

             In case you haven’t seen the news articles, Harry Potter series author, J.K. Rowling, had to get permission from the Edinburgh City Council to construct a couple of tree houses for her children amidst a deluge of protests from neighbors.  I’ve enjoyed several articles on this guerre du jour because it illustrates how a neighborhood’s

            LeviathanLi-VAYH-uh thuhn – (1) “Anything of immense size and power, as a huge, oceangoing ship. (2) The title of Thomas Hobbes’ 1651 philosophical work which asserts that a strong central government is the only means of averting social chaos and civil war.”

            Thomas Hobbes, meet the North Carolina Supreme Court, which heard arguments

            When I traveled through Europe by train 30 years ago I marveled at how cities seemed to stop and start at defined points on the broad landscape, in stark contrast to American cities that bleed forever into the rural (or at least “non-urban”) periphery.

             Thirty years later I marvel again as I travel by car

When it comes to the numerous principles of New Urbanism I wander variously between McCauley Culkin’s “Yeesssss!!!!!” and Jerry Seinfeld’s “Yeah, yeah, yada yada yada.” But after a few days of exploring Italian villages I’ve developed a firmer conviction that a community is not truly a community unless it has a public place where people