Development company alleges Cabarrus County has held up development of local subdivision

Published 11:25 pm Thursday, August 22, 2019

SALISBURY – Topaz Development Inc., a local construction company, says Rowan and Cabarrus counties have been holding up a subdivision project for 12 years because of discrepancies about boundary lines between the two counties.

A lawsuit filed by Topaz says it has not been able “to develop Phase III of Archer Ridge subdivision for over 12 years because Cabarrus County has claimed wrongfully that part of Phase III is in Cabarrus County.”

Topaz Development is suing Cabarrus and Rowan counties, with both Cabarrus County Manager Mike Downs and Rowan County Manager Aaron Church named in the suit.

According to the complaint filed by Topaz, the company has been in negotiations with both counties since as early as 2006.

The controversy includes whether Phase III of Archer Ridge subdivision is located north of the line between Cabarrus and Rowan counties and whether Lots 1 and 37 in Phase I and Lots 38 and 39 in Phase II are located entirely in Rowan County.

“My client, Topaz Development Inc., has finished most of this subdivision. What he has left in dispute is which county he is in. The geodetic report states we are in Rowan County,” said Jim Scarbrough of Scarbrough & Scarbrough, a Concord law firm.

Geodetic refers to land surveying.

Scarbrough said the case is an interesting history lesson, with data from the N.C. Geodetic Survey stating that the Rowan County line was drawn in 1753.

“It goes all the way back to the 1700s,” he said.

Scarbrough said his client was told Topaz Investment’s land is in Rowan County and not Cabarrus.

The lawsuit asks for  “declaring that the actions of Cabarrus County have prevented Topaz Development Inc. from developing Phase III and constructing improvements on Lots 1 and 37 in Phase I and Lots 38 and 39 in Phase 2 of Archer Ridge subdivision. … As a result of the actions of Cabarrus County, plaintiff has been damaged in an amount to be determined at trial but in excess of $25,000.”

In 2010, Cabarrus and Rowan counties began discussions to resolve the dispute over the location of the county boundary line.

“At some point prior to 2010, Cabarrus County and Rowan County requested that the N.C. Geodetic Survey office study the location of the boundary line between Rowan County and Cabarrus County,” the suit says.

The N.C. Geodetic Survey office confirmed in 2015 that Archer Ridge subdivision is in Rowan County, the suit says.

The subdivision is along Archer Road, which runs in an east-west direction through the southwest corner of Rowan County and the northwest corner of Cabarrus County.

Topaz is making multiple claims for relief, including:

• A declaration that Archer Ridge subdivision is in Rowan County.

• A declaration that the plaintiff’s rights to equal protection and substantive due process under the N.C. Constitution have been violated

• A declaration that the actions of Cabarrus County have amounted to inverse condemnation.

• A declaration for Topaz Development to recover reasonable attorney fees.

A representative of Cabarrus County declined to comment on a pending legal matter. No response was received from Rowan County officials by deadline.