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  • Writer's pictureNC Leaks

No Certificate of Occupancy Actually Needed!

Updated: Mar 10, 2020

Certificate of Occupancy. This is a pretty important part of any residential or commercial construction process. Without a CO, a building must go unused. Unless you are Tony Merritt of Merritt's Gravel Pit at 3200 Damascus Church Road (an address located in Chapel Hill, but annexed by the Town of Carrboro and therefore, under its control as an ETJ in a watershed area).

Tony Merritt has his business in and appears to reside in a structure at 3200 Damascus Church which has never had a CO. On April 5, 2019, Robert Hornik, attorney for the Town of Carrboro, wrote in an email to us that "To the best of our knowledge, there has not been a CO issued for that structure." The entire TOC planning department was copied on this email. TOC took nearly three months just to answer the question.

In 2002, Martin Roupe, Development Review Administrator, reachable via email (click his name to the left) or at 919-918-7333, was a took action to compel the Orange County District Attorney's Office to press criminal charges against Tony Merritt for 11 violations of the town's land use ordinance. All charges were eventually dismissed (or PJC'd), despite the fact that many of the violations exist as we write this AND the fact that a district court judge found Merritt guilty FOUR times (the assistant district attorney dismissed those guilty charges on appeal). This might be a good time for you to know that Tony Merritt's cousin is Sheriff Charles Blackwood.

So, Carrboro staff and Town Council have known about Merritt's violations since at least 2002. And still, the violations exist. Why? Jackie Gist has been on the board for over three decades! She has the clearest understanding of this problem, and still takes no action. Gist is not doing her job! TOC is not doing its job!

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