Davidson responds to CommunityONE lawsuit
by Staff Writer
Davidson attorneys want a judge to throw out a CommunityONE Bank lawsuit challenging the town’s zoning decision on the N.C. 17-area former Davidson East property.
In a brief filed this week, Davidson’s attorneys said the bank’s arguments were invalid and the town will not change its decision.
Asheboro-based CommunityONE foreclosed on the 179-acre property stretching from the intersection of N.C. 73 and
Ramah Church Road ,east to McAuley Road, when former owner Frank Jacobus defaulted on a $6 million loan in late 2006.
On Sept. 13, Davidson re-zoned the property for light industrial and office space.
CommunityONE’s suit, filed Nov. 2, wants the town to overturn the decision and revert to residential use, saying the ordinance violates previous development agreements and makes the property unmarketable. The suit claims the town violated notice requirements and denied the bank the opportunity to present its plan at the Sept. 13 board meeting.
Davidson has responded to each of the bank’s claims and concluded that none of the actions the bank requested should be granted, Town Attorney Rick Kline said.
“The zoning was done properly, procedures were followed properly, and the zoning should stand,” Kline said.
Once a judge reviews Davidson’s response, a hearing date will be set where the judge will decide whether or not to throw out the suit.
“We fully expect that the judge will determine there’s no reason to continue the lawsuit,” Kline said.
The Herald Weekly was unable to reach Roy Michaux, CommunityONE’s attorney, for comment.
CommunityONE says it was relying on the zoning and master plan Jacobus had secured for his proposed residential development when it loaned him the money to buy the property and needed the residential zoning to market the land to a developer.
CommunityONE has argued that a developer would need a greater portion of the property to be developed for residential use in order to fund the infrastructure for office and light industrial use.
But the expert testimony the bank brought in did not convince the board that zoning the property for employment uses would not be economically viable or feasible, as the bank argues in the suit.