In reading the March 30 News & Observer news article “ Does this house deserve a sneer?” two realities have emerged. The first is no building permit should be approved by the city of Raleigh until all appeal processes have been completed. The second is the questionable judgment of the Board of Adjustment members who voted to revoke approval of the permit.
Building permit approval is a commitment to a property owner that the city has approved plans for construction and there is no longer risk that finance and construction of the approved plan for a structure is subject to reversal from another city regulatory board. This could be addressed in the city’s new Unified Development Ordinance and if not corrected by the UDO, more wasteful legal action will grow with the city.
The Board of Adjustment members who voted to strike down the Historic District Commission’s approval after a building permit had been approved by the city and construction had begun on the home should have been more conscientious of the consequences of their vote. The board’s action has created an absurd legal situation in which city of Raleigh taxpayers will pay lawyers to fight a lawsuit against each other; a private attorney to represent the city’s board of adjustment against the city’s own legal staff.
Boards and commissions have to make tough decisions with many competing factors that often conflict with personal design preferences, but board members are appointed by the Raleigh City Council to be mindful of practical outcomes for the city of Raleigh as a whole.
The Board of Adjustment members who have caused the city of Raleigh to sue itself deserve closer scrutiny when they are up for reappointment.
Chairman and member, City of Raleigh Planning Commission (2004-2010)
The length limit was waived.