Writ of certiorari filed over denied special use permit for proposed Manteo development

Published 4:33 pm Wednesday, March 29, 2023

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Salt Meadow OBX, LLC and Quible & Associates P.C. have filed a request with Superior Court to declare that the Board of Commissioners of the Town of Manteo erred in denying a special use permit.

A writ of certiorari was served on Town Attorney Ben Gallop March 13. The writ also asks the court to remand the matter to the town’s Board of Commissioners.

The town has 45 days, about April 27, to produce a record of proceedings relating to Salt Meadow’s Application for a Special Use Permit.

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The legal action is filed in the Dare County Superior Court, which will set a date for a hearing on the record. The case number is 23-CVS-99.

Four times stretching over six months, quasi-judicial hearings were held at the Manteo Town Hall before the town’s Board of Commissioners. The hearings were held Aug. 3, 2022, Oct. 5, 2022, Dec. 7, 2022 and Feb. 8, 2023.

The special use permit was opposed by 10 property owners in the Peninsula Subdivision, who were granted standing and represented by attorney Andrew Petesch, who marshaled the opposition’s case before the Manteo Board of Commissioners.

The Salt Meadow project called for a mixed use development with residential above retail in five two-story buildings and retail and office uses in two more buildings. Such mixed use is only permitted with a special use permit and only in the B-3 Entrance District zone.

The development was proposed for 4.04 acres close to CVS drug store, the Peninsula Subdivision and Midway intersection. The address is on Russell Twiford Road with the property adjacent to U.S. 64/264.

Representing applicant Sumit Gupta at the town’s hearings was attorney E. Crouse Gray Jr., whose firm Gray and Lloyd, LLP filed court proceeding on behalf of Salt Meadow OBX.

The filing asks the court to:

– Issue an order finding that the Town of Manteo Commissioners erred in denying the special use permit application submitted by the applicants.

– Issue an order remanding this matter to the commissioners of the Town of Manteo, with a requirement that the commissioners of the Town of Manteo approve the special use permit as submitted by the application of the applicants, subject to such conditions as required pursuant to recommendation of the Planning Board.

– In the alternative, that the court issue an order remanding this matter to the Town of Manteo’s commissioners to reopen the quasi-judicial proceedings for purposes of hearing the testimony of Greg Bourne, appraiser, and based on that testimony, and the issues raised above, approving the special use permit as applied for by the applicant, subject to the conditions as recommended by the Planning Board.

The petitioners allege that the unanimous decision by the Board of Commissioners of the Town of Manteo:

– was not supported by substantial, competent or material evidence;

– that the decision was arbitrary and capricious and made without any rational basis considering the arguments, sworn testimony, documentary evidence and records properly before the board;

– was made in violation of constitutional provisions, including those protecting procedural due process rights.