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Chad Essick

t: 919.783.2896

Chad primarily represents land owners and developers before local Boards of Adjustment, Planning Commissions, City Councils, and County Commissioners on matters related to zoning, permitting, variances, annexations, special use permits, site plans, subdivisions, and road closings.

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Chad represents land owners, developers, and local governments in state and federal court and administrative proceedings on a myriad of land use, zoning, and real estate issues. These include vested rights, constitutional matters, zoning ordinance interpretations, local government authority, title issues, and property tax disputes.

Areas of Focus

+Land Use, Zoning, & Environmental

  • Has represented multiple developers in obtaining rezoning, special use permit, text changes to ordinances, and other entitlement approvals for commercial, office, residential, and recreational development.
  • Has obtained local and state government approvals and favorable court decisions for numerous controversial land use projects, including landfill facilities, solid waste transfer stations, surface mining operations, concrete and asphalt plants, automobile dealerships, migrant housing, adult establishments, and religious institutions.
  • Has obtained approvals and favorable court decisions on behalf of property owners developing controversial land use projects within designated Historic Districts.
  • Has represented adjacent land owners and organized neighborhood associations in mitigating adverse impacts of nearby developments as well as opposing and defeating certain land use projects, including a conditional use permit for a proposed industrial wind turbine facility spanning thousands of acres in northeastern NC.
Visit our Land Use, Zoning, & Environmental page   ▶

+Real Estate Development

  • Reviews and drafts real estate purchase contracts, lease agreements, service contracts, and other commercial agreements, and represents clients in litigation regarding the same.
  • Regularly represents buyers, sellers, and lenders in multi-million dollar real estate transactions.
  • Has represented clients in all types of real estate litigation, including boundary, title, and restrictive covenant disputes.
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  • Has represented and obtained favorable court decisions and settlements on behalf of municipalities and counties concerning a wide array of local government issues, including zoning, land use, constitutional matters, and taxation.
  • Has obtained favorable outcomes for local governments and taxpayers in property tax disputes before the North Carolina Property Tax Commission and the NC Court of Appeals.
  • Has represented companies and individuals in obtaining dismissals or favorable settlements of disciplinary actions before licensing boards and the Office of Administrative Hearings.
Visit our Government page   ▶



Campbell University School of Law, J.D., 2006

North Carolina State University, B.A., 2003, summa cum laude

+Notable Accomplishments

Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® (Real Estate Law) 2023-2024, (Land Use and Zoning Law) 2023-2024

Recognized as a Leading Attorney by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use), 2016-2024

Ranked in Business North Carolina magazine’s “Legal Elite” (Real Estate) 2016 and 2018, Young Guns 2014

Ranked among Super Lawyers magazine’s North Carolina “Rising Stars” (Land Use/Zoning), 2012-2015, and 2018

North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers Advocacy Award

Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, and Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Societies

+Professional & Community Activities

NC Legal Aid Volunteer, Lawyer on the Line Program

NC Big Sweep, Board of Directors, 2007-2013, Chairman of the Board 2012, 2013

North Carolina Bar Association – 2019-2020 Chair of the Zoning, Planning & Land Use Section Council

Urban Land Institute (ULI) Triangle, Advisory Board

Leadership Raleigh 27, Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, 2011-2012

Wake County Bar Association

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