The controversy over a proposed casino on 192 acres on US 220 in Rockingham County near the Guilford County line is far from over.
On Oct. 18, Camp Carefree, which is adjacent to the property, and a number of nearby property owners filed a lawsuit against the Rockingham County commissioners, the property owners and NC Development Holdings LLC.
The lawsuit alleges that the 192 acres was improperly rezoned from Residential Agricultural to Highway Commercial by the Rockingham County commissioners.
It also alleges that the text amendment to Unified Development Ordinance that allowed electronic gaming facilities and “all uses licensed by the State of North Carolina” by right in the Highway Commercial District was improperly approved by the commissioners.
The text amendment would allow a gambling casino to be located on the property, if the state legislature passes a law legalizing more casinos in North Carolina. Such legislation was considered by the state legislature as part of the budget bill, but it was not in the final version of the state budget bill that passed the legislature and became law without the signature of Gov. Roy Cooper.
According to the lawsuit, the Rockingham County commissioners violated the county’s ordinances governing rezoning property when it unanimously approved rezoning the 192 acres in question.
The lawsuit states that the commissioners are required to receive a written recommendation from the Planning Board or wait 30 days after the Planning Board decision to approve a text amendment. The lawsuit states that the commissioners had no written recommendation from the Planning Board and approved the text amendment only seven days after the Planning Board considered it.
Among the other claims for relief in the lawsuit is one that states that the rezoning to Highway Commercial, which allowed by right any use licensed by the State of North Carolina, opened the property up to “900+ businesses and occupations which are issued licenses by the State of North Carolina, including hazardous waste generators, incineration facilities, industrial landfills, liquid animal was operations and mining, among numerous others.” The lawsuit states that the commissioners did not consider all the uses that would be allowed.
The lawsuit was filed by Brian Gulden, an attorney with Van Winkle, Buck, Wall, Starnes & Davis in Asheville.