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Licensing issues delay plans for Raleigh's Moore Square

Posted August 6, 2013

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— In April 2011, more than a year after winning Raleigh’s Moore Square Redesign Contest, Christopher Counts received a surprising piece of news from the North Carolina Board of Landscape Architecture – because neither he nor his firm was licensed in the state, he was to immediately cease and desist any and all work on the project.

The initial legal issues with the question over licensing have since been cleared up, but now a second complaint is delaying work on the Moore Square redesign. The team working on the project is now waiting for a ruling from the NCBLA so they can get back to work.

Although North Carolina statutes prohibit any individual or firm without the requisite licensure from practicing their services in the state, the language does not explicitly state whether a license is required for the earliest, master-planning stages of a project, which is what Counts had been hired to create.

Both Counts and the city — as confirmed by Chief Planning and Development Director Mitchell Silver — had interpreted the law to mean that a licensed landscape architect is required only for the construction document phase. That’s the final point of the design process before drawings are approved for construction.

Read the entire story at raleighpublicrecord.org.


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  • archmaker Aug 7, 2013

    second, for the city: you dropped the ball to. yes, i realize you are leasing the land and the square is yours to use, but you forgot that the square is owned by the state of north carolina. and you forgot to inform them of your plans when you held this contest. AND you forgot to get their approval to the changes that this "designer" wanted to make to our square.

    yes, you dropped the ball - design competitions are nice, but usually won by people who are not busy with paying work - therefore they are usually won by people who don't know what they are doing. hire some designers that know what they are doing and know that they need to have a license!

  • archmaker Aug 7, 2013

    yes, someone did drop the ball on this one - and it is both the city and the designer.

    first, for the designer: if you are in-state, you have no business touching moore square because you are obviously ignorant about your own profession. if you are out-of-state, then you should know that the first thing you should do is contact the board and know the rules. in north Carolina, you can not even solicit professional services as an architect, engineer, or landscape architect without being licensed by the boards. for the person asking what public good is being done here - you should know that these professionals are not here to draw pretty pictures. we are licensed by the state to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public. if you ever survive a burning building, your first line of defense was these people - not the heroes in the fire department.

  • whoodathunk Aug 6, 2013

    Mitch Silver's planning department is a cronies' dream. He makes up the rules with radical reinterpretations like this all the time and should be let go like Russell Allen for his hubris and disservice to citizens who deserve policy decisions made by elected officials not self-serving bureaucrats. This novel legal theory carving out of thin air an ex-post-facto exception to the law is par for the course with Mitch Silver. So, is Mitch Silver also licensed to practice law, or are there exceptions to the practice of law allowing city planning directors to concoct their own novel legal theories to exactly match their own shenanigans? Why does the city of Raleigh have its planning director inappropriately making up legal theories and expounding them as if he were the city's attorney or an elected official? I''m tired of this hubris and game playing with the rules. Mitch Silver needs to go.

  • whoodathunk Aug 6, 2013

    When the head of Raleigh's planning department pretends not to know the clear rules of licensure per the plain text of the statute, you have to wonder how he chooses to bend the rules on a daily basis to serve his own interests and those of his cronies, regardless of how it might hurt the citizens and neighborhood residents.

  • whoodathunk Aug 6, 2013

    Moore Square shouldn't be touched. It is a historic open space and was never intended to be Disney World with huge crowds trampling it into oblivion. One wonders not how Raleigh survived almost 200 years but how it will continue to thrive with these boosters running the show based on pre-scripted public meetings run by 20-something lemmings who will agree to anything in exchange for a few free beers and some bad live music.

  • dmccall Aug 6, 2013

    The amount of dumb going into this project appears to be limitless.

  • Frank Downtown Aug 6, 2013

    The square is actually State property and the City cannot do anything with it.

  • Scubagirl Aug 6, 2013

    So someBODY, not the designer, hugely dropped this ball. Wouldn't you THINK they would know the rules ?????

  • SayItLikeItIs Aug 6, 2013

    Government bureaucracy at it's finest. Can someone tell me what public good is being served here?

  • ciaobella4168 Aug 6, 2013

    The statute seems pretty clear... http://www.ncbola.org/laws.lasso?-session=LASession:5KQPoKdMD5dCdkrLPG556Kgtig6dC77AAFD8BF#89A1