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Karen M. Kemerait

Karen M. Kemerait


T (919) 755-8764
F (919) 838-3106

As a committed advocate and creative problem solver, Karen Kemerait focuses her practice in the areas of utilities, zoning and land use, telecommunications, and administrative law.  Karen represents numerous privately-owned and municipal water and wastewater companies, natural gas companies, and telecommunications companies in regulatory matters before the North Carolina Utilities Commission and in the purchase, sale, and construction of facilities.  She also regularly represents telecommunications clients before state governmental agencies, permitting officials, and local zoning boards throughout North Carolina, as well as in appeals in state and federal courts.  She frequently appears before Boards of Commissioners and City and Town Councils to obtain rezonings, special use and conditional permits, ordinance interpretations, and variances.  Additionally, Karen defends complaints and handles hearings for professionals before administrative agencies, including the North Carolina Medical Board, the North Carolina Real Estate Commission, the North Carolina Board of Electrical Contractors, and the State Revenue Department.

Karen is a regular contributor for the Elements for Growth Blog,, which provides news, information, and resources about infrastructure and economic development in the Southeast.

Karen began her legal career as a law clerk at the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

When away from the office, Karen is involved with her three sons’ school and sporting activities.  In addition to her legal practice, Karen is a competitive runner, cyclist, and triathlete.     




  • Regulatory approvals for new water and wastewater facilities and transfer of facilities to private companies and municipalities
  • Preparation and negotiation of Asset Purchase Agreements
  • Approvals for rate increases


  • Permits for numerous wireless communications facilities and networks throughout the State
  • Appeals in state and appellate courts

Land Use and Zoning

  • Local government approvals for land development projects throughout the State, including rezonings, conditional rezonings, special use and conditional use permits, and variances
  • Appeals in state and appellate courts


  • Complaint proceedings and contested hearings before professional licensing boards and agencies
  • Complaint proceedings before the North Carolina Utilities Commission

* Past success does not indicate the likelihood of success in any future legal representation.

Thought Leadership


October, 2009
Water, Water (not quite) Everywhere, UNC School of Law Festival of Legal Learning

Published Works

  • Posts on the Elements for Growth Blog
  • “Smart Phones, Here, There, Everywhere”, 2012 NC Planning Conference
  • “Land Use Implications of Next Generation Energy Production and Transport”, NC Bar Association, 2012 Annual Meeting (with M. Gray Styers, Jr. and Charlotte Mitchell)
  • “Revenue Requirements and Rate Design for Private, Regulated Water and Wastewater Systems”, 2011 American Water Works Association Conference
  • “Water, Water (Not Quite) Everywhere”, Zoning, Planning, Land Use Section, North Carolina Bar Association, 2009 Annual Meeting
  • Vice Chair, WakeUP Wake County
    • Chair, Water Team
  • Board of Directors, Raleigh Area Masters Swim Team
  • Wake County Guardian ad Litem
  • Davidson College, B.A., English, 1988
  • Wake Forest University School of Law, J.D., 1991
  • North Carolina
  • United States District Court, Eastern District of North Carolina
  • Chair, Board of Adjustment for the City of Raleigh
  • North Carolina Bar Association
    • CLE Chairperson, Zoning, Planning, and Land Use Law Section
    • Women in the Profession Committee
  • Wake County Bar Association

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