Greg Paul: Property rights in peril

March 18, 2014 

Regarding your March 17 editorial “This new house” on the Cherry-Gordon house in Oakwood: As one whose livelihood depends on clear and fair enforcement of building codes and zoning ordinances, I find this issue deeply troubling.

Raleigh teeters on the edge of a slippery slope at 516 Euclid Ave. since the RHDC’s Certificate of Appropriateness was overturned by the Board of Adjustment. These two boards are appointed by the City Council, so the dangerous precedent that could be set lands squarely on their shoulders.

The property rights of individual landowners are a fundamental tenet of this free democratic society. Zoning ordinances exist to protect the health, safety and property of residents. They are not meant to legislate taste.

The Fifth Amendment provides that private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation. If the Board of Adjustment ruling results in the loss of value to the property and improvements, the city of Raleigh will owe the owners compensation.

I would be enraged if my tax dollars were spent reimbursing a resident for the unjust and unnecessary taking of property. It is a disgrace that the tyranny of a vocal few has put such a basic right in peril. It is worse that a council-appointed board would seek to enforce that tyranny. The City Council must instruct the City Attorney to protect the building permit legally obtained to build a home.

Greg Paul


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