GLEN LEWIS RING, WANDA JOYCE RING, WILLIAM THOMAS RING and PAMELA ANN RING, Plaintiffs,
MOORE COUNTY, CAMP EASTER MANAGEMENT, LLC and BOB KOONTZ, Defendants.
in the Court of Appeals 5 April 2017.
by Plaintiffs from an order entered 7 July 2016 by Judge
James M. Webb in Moore County No. 16 CVS 496 Superior Court.
Office of Marsh Smith, P.A., by Marsh Smith, for
Camp, Meacham & Newman, PLLC, by William M. Van
O'Linda, Jr., and James R. Van Camp, for
Defendants-Appellees Camp Easter, LLC, and Bob Koontz.
County Attorney Misty Leland for Defendant-Appellee Moore
county ordinance rezoning a tract of land is not subject to
challenge in court by owners of an adjacent tract who fail to
allege actual or imminent injury resulting from the rezoning.
Lewis Ring, Wanda Joyce Ring, William Thomas Ring, and Pamela
Ann Ring (collectively "Plaintiffs") appeal from an
order dismissing their declaratory judgment action against
Moore County, Camp Easter Management LLC ("Camp
Easter"), and Bob Koontz (collectively
"Defendants"), challenging the rezoning of a tract
of land in Moore County, North Carolina (the
"Property"). Plaintiffs argue that the trial court
erred in concluding that Plaintiffs lacked standing to assert
their spot zoning claims and to challenge the procedural
defects in the rezoning process for the Property. After
careful review, we affirm the trial court's order.
and Procedural History
subject of this appeal is a 108-acre tract of land in Moore
County, North Carolina, the Property, owned by Camp Easter.
In 2015, Camp Easter applied to the Moore County Board of
Commissioners (the "Board") to rezone the Property
from Residential and Agricultural - 40 ("RA-40") to
Residential and Agricultural - 20 ("RA-20"). The
application's stated purpose was "to allow for the
development of a new elementary school and single-family
development on the property." The Board rezoned the
Property as requested in 2016. The rezoning reduced the
minimum lot size from 40, 000 square feet to 20, 000 square
own 150 acres of land adjacent to the Property. Since 1948,
the family has owned and operated a commercial poultry farm
on this land. The operation includes three active poultry
houses, the waste from which Plaintiffs use to fertilize
their fields. In addition to the farming operations,
Plaintiffs use their property for deer and small game
hunting. There is also a residential subdivision across from
April 2016, Plaintiffs filed a summons and complaint in Moore
County against Defendants. Plaintiffs' complaint sought
certiorari and a declaratory judgment ordering that the
rezoning of the Property was null and void and of no effect
because it was illegal spot zoning that was made arbitrarily
and capriciously. Plaintiffs, within weeks, filed an amended
complaint seeking only declaratory judgment. Defendants filed
motions to dismiss the action on grounds including that
Plaintiffs lacked standing.
a motion by Plaintiffs, the trial court entered an order
granting Plaintiffs leave to file and serve a second amended
complaint. The second amended complaint alleged that Moore
County provided inadequate or improper notice of rezoning,
violated Plaintiffs' right to procedural and substantive
due process under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United
States Constitution and Article 1, § 19 of the North
Carolina Constitution, and arbitrarily and capriciously
engaged in impermissible spot zoning.
July 2016, the trial court entered an order granting
Defendants' motions to dismiss for lack of standing.