Carolina Beach Agrees To Settlement Over Lawsuit Concerning Facility Fees

Carolina Beach Agrees To Settlement Over Lawsuit Concerning Facility Fees

Carolina Beach Agrees To Settlement Over Lawsuit Concerning Facility Fees Featured

By / Local News / Tuesday, 03 November 2020 04:18

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Town of Carolina Beach agreed to settle a lawsuit brought against them regarding the allegation the Town illegally charged facility fees from 2016 to 2018 for new development projects.
The bill will be $850,000 dollars.
The settlement was reached in the North Carolina General Court of Justice and while the Town of Carolina Beach will not admit to wrongdoing or liability, they did agree to settle the case with the plaintiffs.
According to the court filing, "On August 9, 2019, Plaintiffs Stier Construction Company, Inc. and Keith Carroll filed its complaint in New Hanover County Superior Court alleging that the Town unlawfully charged and collected “Facility Fees” in violation of North Carolina law (the “Facility Fees”). Specifically, Plaintiffs alleged that the Facility Fees charged and collected by the Town through June 30, 2018 were unlawful under the North Carolina Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Quality Built Homes, Inc. v. Town of Carthage."
According to Schell Bray, Attorneys and Counselors at Law, "The North Carolina Supreme Court has provided some guidance to developers paying impact fees for “future services” that, in fact, do not benefit the proposed development project. According to the North Carolina Supreme Court, most municipalities do not have the authority to require impact fees for “future services.” Barring a North Carolina local act to the contrary, municipalities may only “establish and revise . . . schedules of rents, rates, fees, charges, and penalties for the use of or the services [currently being] furnished by any public enterprise” (the “Public Enterprise Statute”).3 The Public Enterprise Statute, which is the enabling statute for municipal water and sewer districts, does not grant the authority to charge fees for services to be furnished. 4  This is unlike the enabling legislation for county and metropolitan water districts, which grants the authority to charge impact fees for “services furnished or to be furnished by any water system or sewer system of the authority.”5"
While the Town of Carolina Beach did not admit to the allegations, they did agree to the settlement which will have to be approved by a judge.

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