Lest we forget…

After tonight’s Board of Education meeting I went to Fisher’s and ran into one of the folks who was heavily involved in the anti-new-stadium fight last fall.  She was up on what occured today at the Court of Appeals in Raleigh and quite excited about the hearing.  As I noted a couple of weeks ago, at issue is whether or not “baseball clubs – professional” are a permitted use in Greensboro’s central business district – which is the zoning designation for the new stadium.

While the recent referendum cleared the way for the minor league stadium to be built, this lawsuit will decide if a professional team, namely the Greensboro Bats, can actually play there – sounds strange – but its true.

There is a real long story behind why “baseball clubs – professional” are listed as a permitted use only in the zoning that governs War Memorial Stadium.  I will not go into the saga but it has to do with serving cold beer after a certain time of night.  Apparently the three judges hearing the case didn’t want to hear the long story either.

According to what I heard tonight the judges were not interested in why the permitted use tables say what they say, they were only interested in what they actually say – which is that “baseballl clubs – professional” are only permitted to operate at War Memorial.

The City’s justification for the weird zoning restiction makes some sense if you know why “baseball clubs – professional” are only permitted at WMS.  The judges apparently weren’t interested in a history lesson, however.

There was reportedly much argument over the legal “standing” of the appellants, which could render the whole appeal moot.

If the Court of Appeals rules against the City the options will be to either change the accepted use table so the Bats can operate in their new digs or have the team continue to play at WMS.  However, changing the zoning may be verboten at this point because such an action on part of the City Council could be considered “contract zoning“.* (Link credit Fabius)

I’ll bet there are several people sweating baseballs over the outcome of today’s court hearing… I’ll keep you posted.

*Edited for clarity and accuracy 5/29/04

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