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Environmental Court

Environmental Court is a joint effort between your court system, Cumberland County, and the City of Fayetteville to make our communities a cleaner, safer and healthier place to live and raise our children.

Our Goal

The goal of the Cumberland County Environmental Court is to improve the quality of life for current and future residents by prioritizing environmental issues, reducing the number of repeat offenders and increasing the public's awareness of problems associated with the environment.

City and County agencies facing continuing noncompliance with local and state codes that impose housing, neighborhood, health, fire, solid waste, building and zoning standards can use the services of Environmental Court to address these issues in a central forum The Twelfth Judicial District has restructured its court resources to create a specialized Environmental Court. The Environmental Court will group all noncompliance cases for hearing on specific dates in a court over which the same judicial official presides to promote consistency.

This concept is spreading throughout the country and our state. Efficient and effective case processing, judicial familiarity with cases, and focusing public attention on making our community a cleaner and safer place are some of the benefits Environmental Court can bring to a growing metropolitan area such as Fayetteville and Cumberland County.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Environmental Court?

A specialized court dealing with environmental issues that impact not only the appearance of city and county, but also the health, safety and welfare of both current and future Cumberland County residents.

What are environmental issues?

Issues that impose housing, neighborhood, health, fire, solid waste, animal control, building, zoning and inspection standards as defined in both state and local codes.

Is violation of an environmental code a serious offense?  

Yes. Environmental court cases may be prosecuted as a criminal misdemeanor.

What is the purpose of environmental court?

To prioritize environmental issues within the court system to reduce the number of repeat offenders and increase public awareness of problems associated with the environment

What agencies are involved in environmental court?

Environmental Court is a joint effort between Cumberland County, the City of Fayetteville, and our Cumberland County court system to improve the quality of life, health and safety for our citizens.

Do cases go directly to environmental court?

No, first city and/or county environmental agencies will contact the offender to notify the offender of environmental code violation(s). Only after the offender has failed to comply with these agencies will the case be turned over to the respective City/County Attorney's Office for intervention.

How does a case get to court?

The respective City/County Attorney will thereafter request a criminal summons be issued by the Magistrate's Office to bring the offender into court. After a summons is issued, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office will serve the summons on the offender. Notice of the court date will be contained in the summons to the offender.

Does the offender have to come to court?

Yes. If the offender fails to come to court, an Order for Arrest may be issued for his/her failure to appear.

What is our court system's role in environmental court?

Key court officials have restructured existing court resources to group all environmental noncompliance cases into a specialized court.

How does environmental court operate?

To promote consistency, efficient and effective case processing and judicial familiarity with cases and repeat offenders, the same judge will preside over all environmental court cases.

Does it matter if the offender lives in the city or county?

No. Offenders living anywhere in Cumberland County, even inside the city limits, may be prosecuted in Environmental Court.

What happens if the offender is convicted in environmental court?

The offender may be sentenced to a probationary judgment, or in some circumstances prison.

Are there any costs?

Costs of court will be the responsibility of the offender. In certain circumstances, the court may also impose fines and/or restitution.

Who do I contact if I suspect someone is violating an environmental code issue?

If you live in the City of Fayetteville, contact the Inspections Department at 433-1701. If you live elsewhere in Cumberland County, contact the Inspections Department at 678-7606.

Who do I call if I have questions about an environmental court case?

If you live in the City of Fayetteville, contact the City Attorney's Office at 433-1985. If you live elsewhere in Cumberland County, contact the County Attorney's Office at 678-7761.