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Cary project weighed

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The future of a controversial Cary development at the intersection of Davis Drive and High House Road is in a judge's hands, with a decision expected by the end of the month.

Citizens have been fighting the mixed-use development they say is too dense since the Cary Town Council approved it in late July. (See "Cary citizens file suit over rezoning.") On April 17, they had their day in court.

Wake County Superior Court Judge Michael Morgan heard arguments brought by 19 residents who object to the 42-acre project, which includes apartments, stores and offices. The plaintiffs are asking the court to overturn the council's approval of the proposal.

"The plaintiffs want their day in court," said Nick Herman, attorney for the town. "That's a legitimate right, and it's something we all ought to have. But there are two sides to this. Life goes on."

Charlotte-based real estate development company Crosland also has intervened in the case, enlisting the Kennedy Covington law firm.

The council approved the plan July 26 on a 4-3 vote, helping spur outrage that fueled the ouster of the incumbent mayor and some council members last fall. DavisandHighHouse.org, a group co-founded by one of the plaintiffs, continues to be active in town politics.

Residents' attorney James Conner argued his clients were "gerrymandered" out of the process when the project's boundary lines moved while it was under consideration by town leaders.

"I seldom see language that clear that's been violated as clearly as it has in this case," he said.

Herman, the town's attorney, and William Brian, representing the developers, argued for dismissal of the case, saying the court did not have jurisdiction and that the plaintiffs' complaint was "confused," improperly worded, and that action was taken too long after the fact.

"This case doesn't belong here," Brian said. "It's the wrong case at the wrong time, the wrong place, the wrong courthouse."

Herman said the town, believing the case was "dead," annexed the property in January, and that developers have spent $3 million buying ancillary property.

Conner agreed the language of the initial complaint was flawed, but said his clients had otherwise followed the proper procedure. He rebuffed Herman's argument, saying, "That is a common tactic of developers—to move forward on projects like this in the hopes that they can convince a judge to feel sorry for them that they've spent that money. They knew we were challenging this."

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