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 Court of Appeals rules in favor of Town in King v. Chapel Hill 

June 6, 2013

Contact:  Chris Nida
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Finding upholds legality of town's towing ordinance, stands as a victory for cities across North Carolina

(RALEIGH, N.C.) – The N.C. Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday in the case of King v. Town of Chapel Hill, finding that the town has the authority to regulate towing within its borders. The lawsuit had sought to overturn the town’s towing ordinance, which sets a fee schedule for towing, regulates the method of payment and includes sign and notice requirements for private lots and specifications for tow storage lots. A lower court ruled in the plaintiff towing company’s favor, threatening municipal towing ordinances across the state. Tuesday’s ruling reaffirms the broad police power authority intended by the General Statute 160A-174.

“The Court of Appeals’ ruling is a victory for North Carolina’s municipalities,” said Kimberly S. Hibbard, North Carolina League of Municipalities general counsel. “We are pleased that the panel of judges, in a unanimous decision, recognized the broad authority that has been granted to cities and towns in the general police power statute. The opinion is also significant in that it has the most comprehensive discussion of 160A-4 (broad construction of municipal powers) by the Court in a number of years.”

The Town of Chapel Hill successfully defended itself in the lawsuit that would have had broader implications for cities and towns. Because of the potential statewide impact of the case, the League of Municipalities joined the Town of Chapel Hill’s defense by filing an amicus brief in support of their position.

"We are pleased that the Court of Appeals sided with cities and towns in this matter," said S. Ellis Hankins, League executive director. "Because of the case’s possible impact on League members, who include municipalities of all sizes across the state, it was a natural one for us to become involved in. We thank the Town of Chapel Hill for its efforts on behalf of all cities and towns." 

About NCLM

The North Carolina League of Municipalities is a membership association of 540 great hometowns – representing nearly every municipality in the state. The League advocates for its members, from the largest city to the smallest village, on the full range of legislative issues that affect municipalities. 

For more than 100 years, the League has promoted – and continues to promote – good government by offering non-partisan advocacy, insurance and other services -- as directed by its membership.