The Orange County Board of Commissioners has issued a statement on court cases involving the Barn of Chapel Hill.
There are currently four similar appeals pending before the Orange County Superior Court regarding the barn operating as an event space brought on by neighbors of the property, according to the county.
The board has requested that the county attorney file a motion to consolidate the four appeals into one case to make, as chair of the Orange County Board of Commissioners Mark Dorosin calls it, an expedited decision.
“Until we get a definitive ruling from the court, this is going to continue,” says Dorosin. “The neighbors are going to continue to be frustrated; the property owners are going to continue to be frustrated; the county’s resources are being taxed in a way that we cannot get to a final resolution.”
Part of the challenge with this case is that the Barn of Chapel Hill has a bone fide farm number, which makes it exempt from certain county regulations.
Yet, as Dorosin points out, many question the barn’s validity as an operating farm.
“The ongoing controversy between the barn, the neighbors and the county is whether or not the barn is a bona fine farm that has this secondary use, or is it in fact just an event space and therefore should not be allowed to operate,” says Dorosin.
Dorosin says he believes the legal battle will continue until the Orange County Superior Court rules on whether the barn does deserve those legal exemptions allowed to bona fine farms.
“The statutes that define how you say whether something is a farm are very broad; they give a lot of leeway,” says Dorosin. “They’re really designed to bolster agriculture.”
There is no timeline on when the court will rule on this motion.