Article 15.

Streets, Traffic and Parking.

§ 160A-296.  Establishment and control of streets; center and edge lines.

(a)        A city shall have general authority and control over all public streets, sidewalks, alleys, bridges, and other ways of public passage within its corporate limits except to the extent that authority and control over certain streets and bridges is vested in the Board of Transportation. General authority and control includes but is not limited to all of the following:

(1)        The duty to keep the public streets, sidewalks, alleys, and bridges in proper repair.

(2)        The duty to keep the public streets, sidewalks, alleys, and bridges open for travel and free from unnecessary obstructions.

(3)        The power to open new streets and alleys, and to widen, extend, pave, clean, and otherwise improve existing streets, sidewalks, alleys, and bridges, and to acquire the necessary land therefor by dedication and acceptance, purchase, or eminent domain.

(4)        The power to close any street or alley either permanently or temporarily.

(5)        The power to regulate the use of the public streets, sidewalks, alleys, and bridges.

(6)        The power to regulate, license, and prohibit digging in the streets, sidewalks, or alleys, or placing therein or thereon any pipes, poles, wires, fixtures, or appliances of any kind either on, above, or below the surface. To the extent a municipality is authorized under applicable law to impose a fee or charge with respect to activities conducted in its rights-of-way, the fee or charge must apply uniformly and on a competitively neutral and nondiscriminatory basis to all comparable activities by similarly situated users of the rights-of-way. No fee or charge for activities conducted in the right-of-way shall be assessed on businesses listed in G.S. 160A-206(b), except the following:

a.         Fees to recover any difference between a city's right-of-way management expenses related to the activities of businesses listed in G.S. 160A-206(b) and distributions under Article 5 of Chapter 105 of the General Statutes.

b.         Payments under agreements subject to G.S. 62-350.

(7)        The power to provide for lighting the streets, alleys, and bridges of the city.

(8)        The power to grant easements in street rights-of-way as permitted by G.S. 160A-273.

(a1)      A city with a population of 250,000 or over according to the most recent decennial federal census may also exercise the power granted by subdivision (a)(3) of this section within its extraterritorial planning jurisdiction. Before a city makes improvements under this subsection, it shall enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Transportation to provide for maintenance.

(b)        Repealed by Session Laws 1991, c. 530, s. 6, effective January 1, 1992.  (1917, c. 136, subch. 5, s. 1; subch. 10, s. 1; 1919, cc. 136, 237; C.S., ss. 2787, 2793; 1925, c. 200; 1963, c. 986; 1971, c. 698, s. 1; 1973, c. 507, s. 5; 1979, c. 598; 1991, c. 530, s. 6; 2001-261, s. 1; 2006-151, s. 14; 2016-103, s. 9(a).)

 

§ 160A-297.  Streets under authority of Board of Transportation.

(a)        A city shall not be responsible for maintaining streets or bridges under the authority and control of the Board of Transportation, and shall not be liable for injuries to persons or property resulting from any failure to do so.

(b)        Nothing in this Article shall authorize any city to interfere with the rights and privileges of the Board of Transportation with respect to streets and bridges under the authority and control of the Board of Transportation. (1925, c. 71, s. 3; 1957, c. 65, s. 11; 1971, c. 698, s. 1; 1973, c. 507, s. 5; 1987, c. 747, s. 3.1.)

 

§ 160A-298.  Railroad crossings.

(a)        A city shall have authority to direct, control, and prohibit the laying of railroad tracks and switches in public streets and alleys and to require that all railroad tracks, crossings, and bridges be constructed so as not to interfere with drainage patterns or with the ordinary travel and use of the public streets and alleys.

(b)        The costs of constructing, reconstructing, and improving public streets and alleys, including the widening thereof, within areas covered by railroad cross ties, including cross timbers, shall be borne equally by the city and the railroad company. The costs of maintaining and repairing such areas after construction shall be borne by the railroad company.

(c)        A city shall have authority to require the installation, construction, erection, reconstruction, and improvement of warning signs, gates, lights, and other safety devices at grade crossings, and the city shall bear ninety percent (90%) of the costs thereof and the railroad company shall bear ten percent (10%) of the costs. The costs of maintaining warning signs, gates, lights, and other safety devices installed after January 1, 1972, shall be borne equally by the city and the railroad company. The maintenance shall be performed by the railroad company and the city shall pay annually to the railroad company fifty percent (50%) of these costs. In maintaining maintenance cost records and determining such costs, the city and the railroad company shall use the same methods and procedures as are now or may hereafter be used by the Board of Transportation.

(d)       A city shall have authority to require that a grade crossing be eliminated and replaced by a railroad bridge or by a railroad underpass, if the council finds as a fact that the grade crossing constitutes an unreasonable hazard to vehicular or pedestrian traffic. In such event, the city shall bear ninety percent (90%) of the costs and the railroad company shall bear ten percent (10%) of the costs. If the city constructs a new street which requires a grade separation and which does not replace an existing street, the city shall bear all of the costs. If a railroad company constructs a new track across at grade, or under, or over an existing street, the railroad company shall pay the entire cost thereof. The city shall pay the costs of maintaining street bridges which cross over railroads. Railroad companies shall pay the cost of maintaining railroad bridges over streets, except that cities shall pay the costs of maintaining street  pavement, sidewalks, street drainage, and street lighting where streets cross under railroads.

(e)        Whenever the widening, improving, or other changes in a street  require that a railroad bridge be relocated, enlarged, heightened, or otherwise reconstructed, the city shall bear ninety percent (90%) of the costs and the railroad company shall bear ten percent (10%) of the costs.

(f)        It is the intent of this section to make uniform the law concerning the construction and maintenance of railroad crossings, bridges, underpasses, and warning devices within cities. To this end, all general laws and local acts in conflict with this section are repealed, and no local act taking effect on or after January 1, 1972, shall be construed to modify, amend, or repeal any portion of this section unless it specifically so provides by express reference to this section. (1917, c. 136, subch. 5, s. 1; 1919, cc. 136, 237; C.S., s. 2787; 1971, c. 698, s. 1; 1973, c. 507, s. 5.)

 

§ 160A-299.  Procedure for permanently closing streets and alleys.

(a)        When a city proposes to permanently close any street or public alley, the council shall first adopt a resolution declaring its intent to close the street or alley and calling a public hearing on the question. The resolution shall be published once a week for four successive weeks prior to the hearing, a copy thereof shall be sent by registered or certified mail to all owners of property adjoining the street or alley as shown on the county tax records, and a notice of the closing and public hearing shall be prominently posted in at least two places along the street or alley. If the street or alley is under the authority and control of the Department of Transportation, a copy of the resolution shall be mailed to the Department of Transportation. At the hearing, any person may be heard on the question of whether or not the closing would be detrimental to the public interest, or the property rights of any individual. If it appears to the satisfaction of the council after the hearing that closing the street or alley is not contrary to the public interest, and that no individual owning property in the vicinity of the street or alley or in the subdivision in which it is located would thereby be deprived of reasonable means of ingress and egress to his property, the council may adopt an order closing the street or alley. A certified copy of the order (or judgment of the court) shall be filed in the office of the register of deeds of the county in which the street, or any portion thereof, is located.

(b)        Any person aggrieved by the closing of any street or alley including the Department of Transportation if the street or alley is under its authority and control, may appeal the council's order to the General Court of Justice within 30 days after its adoption. In appeals of streets closed under this section, all facts and issues shall be heard and decided by a judge sitting without a jury. In addition to determining whether procedural requirements were complied with, the court shall determine whether, on the record as presented to the city council, the council's decision to close the street was in accordance with the statutory standards of subsection (a) of this section and any other applicable requirements of local law or ordinance.

No cause of action or defense founded upon the invalidity of any proceedings taken in closing any street or alley may be asserted, nor shall the validity of the order be open to question in any court upon any ground whatever, except in an action or proceeding begun within 30 days after the order is adopted. The failure to send notice by registered or certified mail shall not invalidate any ordinance adopted prior to January 1, 1989.

(c)        Upon the closing of a street or alley in accordance with this section, subject to the provisions of subsection (f) of this section, all right, title, and interest in the right-of-way shall be conclusively presumed to be vested in those persons owning lots or parcels of land adjacent to the street or alley, and the title of such adjoining landowners, for the width of the abutting land owned by them, shall extend to the centerline of the street or alley.

The provisions of this subsection regarding division of right- of-way in street or alley closings may be altered as to a particular street or alley closing by the assent of all property owners taking title to a closed street or alley by the filing of a plat which shows the street or alley closing and the portion of the closed street or alley to be taken by each such owner. The plat shall be signed by each property owner who, under this section, has an ownership right in the closed street or alley.

(d)       This section shall apply to any street or public alley within a city or its extraterritorial jurisdiction that has been irrevocably dedicated to the public, without regard to whether it has actually been opened. This section also applies to unopened streets or public alleys that are shown on plats but that have not been accepted or maintained by the city, provided that this section shall not abrogate the rights of a dedicator, or those claiming under a dedicator, pursuant to G.S. 136-96.

(e)        No street or alley under the control of the Department of Transportation may be closed unless the Department of Transportation consents thereto.

(f)        A city may reserve a right, title, and interest in any improvements or easements within a street closed pursuant to this section. An easement under this subsection shall include utility, drainage, pedestrian, landscaping, conservation, or other easements considered by the city to be in the public interest. The reservation of an easement under this subsection shall be stated in the order of closing. The reservation also extends to utility improvements or easements owned by private utilities which at the time of the street closing have a utility agreement or franchise with the city.

(g)        The city may retain utility easements, both public and private, in cases of streets withdrawn under G.S. 136-96. To retain such easements, the city council shall, after public hearing, approve a "declaration of retention of utility easements" specifically describing such easements. Notice by certified or registered mail shall be provided to the party withdrawing the street from dedication under G.S. 136-96 at least five days prior to the hearing. The declaration must be passed prior to filing of any plat or map or declaration of withdrawal with the register of deeds. Any property owner filing such plats, maps, or declarations shall include the city declaration with the declaration of withdrawal and shall show the utilities retained on any map or plat showing the withdrawal.  (1971, c. 698, s. 1; 1973, c. 426, s. 47; c. 507, s. 5; 1977, c. 464, s. 34, 1981, c. 401; c. 402, ss. 1, 2; 1989, c. 254; 1993, c. 149, s. 1; 2015-103, s. 1.)

 

§ 160A-299.1.  Applications for intermittent closing of roads within watershed improvement project by municipality; notice; costs; markers.

(a)        Upon proper application by the board of commissioners of a drainage district established under the provisions of Chapter 156 of the General Statutes by the board of trustees of a watershed improvement district established under the provisions of Article 2 of Chapter 139 of the General Statutes, by the board of county commissioners of any county operating a county watershed improvement program under the provisions of Article 3 of Chapter 139 of the General Statutes, by the board of commissioners of any watershed improvement commission appointed by a board of county commissioners, or by the board of supervisors of any soil and water conservation district designated by a board of county commissioners to exercise authority in carrying out a county watershed improvement program, any municipality for roads or streets coming under its jurisdictional control is hereby authorized to permit the intermittent closing of any highway or public road within the boundaries of any watershed improvement project operated by the applicants, whenever in the judgment of the municipality it is necessary to do so, and when the highway or public road will be intermittently subject to inundation by floodwaters retained by an approved watershed improvement project.

(b)        Before any permit may be issued for the temporary inundation and closing of such a road, an application for such permit shall be made to the appropriate municipality by the public body having jurisdiction over the watershed improvement project. The application shall specify the highway, road, or street involved, and shall request that a permit be granted to the applicant public body to allow the intermittent closing of the road.

(c)        Upon receipt of such an application the municipality shall give public notice of the proposed action by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the county or counties, within which the proposed intermittent closing of road or roads would occur; and such notices shall contain a description of the places of beginning and the places of ending of such intermittent closing. In addition, the municipality shall give notice to all public utilities or common carriers having facilities located within the rights-of-way of any roads being closed by mailing copies of such notices to the appropriate offices of the public utility or common carrier having jurisdiction over the affected facilities of the public utility or common carrier. Not sooner than 14 days after publication and mailing of notices, the municipality may issue its permit with respect to such road.

(d)       All cost in connection with the publication and mailing of notices shall be paid by the applicant. In the event any municipality issues a permit allowing the intermittent closing of a road, the permit shall contain a provision that the applicant public body having jurisdiction over the watershed improvement project causing the potential flooding shall cause suitable markers to be installed on the road to advise the general public of the intermittent closing of the road. (1975, c. 639, s. 2.)

 

§ 160A-300.  Traffic control.

A city may by ordinance prohibit, regulate, divert, control, and limit pedestrian or vehicular traffic upon the public streets, sidewalks, alleys, and bridges of the city. (1917, c. 136, subch. 5, s. 1; 1919, cc. 136, 237; C.S., s. 2787; 1941, c. 153, ss. 1, 2; c. 272; 1947, c. 7; 1953, c. 171; 1965, c. 945; 1971, c. 698, s. 1.)

 

§ 160A-300.1.  Use of traffic control photographic systems.

(a)        A traffic control photographic system is an electronic system consisting of a photographic, video, or electronic camera and a vehicle sensor installed to work in conjunction with an official traffic control device to automatically produce photographs, video, or digital images of each vehicle violating a standard traffic control statute or ordinance.

(b)        Any traffic control photographic system or any device which is a part of that system, as described in subdivision (a) of this section, installed on a street or highway which is a part of the State highway system shall meet requirements established by the North Carolina Department of Transportation. Any traffic control system installed on a municipal street shall meet standards established by the municipality and shall be consistent with any standards set by the Department of Transportation.

(b1)      Any traffic control photographic system installed on a street or highway must be identified by appropriate advance warning signs conspicuously posted not more than 300 feet from the location of the traffic control photographic system. All advance warning signs shall be consistent with a statewide standard adopted by the Department of Transportation in conjunction with local governments authorized to install traffic control photographic systems.

(c)        Municipalities may adopt ordinances for the civil enforcement of G.S. 20-158 by means of a traffic control photographic system, as described in subsection (a) of this section. Notwithstanding the provisions of G.S. 20-176, in the event that a municipality adopts an ordinance pursuant to this section, a violation of G.S. 20-158 at a location at which a traffic control photographic system is in operation shall not be an infraction. An ordinance authorized by this subsection shall provide that:

(1)        The owner of a vehicle shall be responsible for a violation unless the owner can furnish evidence that the vehicle was, at the time of the violation, in the care, custody, or control of another person. The owner of the vehicle shall not be responsible for the violation if the owner of the vehicle, within 30 days after notification of the violation, furnishes the officials or agents of the municipality which issued the citation either of the following:

a.         An affidavit stating the name and address of the person or company who had the care, custody, and control of the vehicle.

b.         An affidavit stating that the vehicle involved was, at the time, stolen. The affidavit must be supported with evidence that supports the affidavit, including insurance or police report information.

(1a)      Subdivision (1) of this subsection shall not apply, and the registered owner of the vehicle shall not be responsible for the violation, if notice of the violation is given to the registered owner of the vehicle more than 90 days after the date of the violation.

(2)        A violation detected by a traffic control photographic system shall be deemed a noncriminal violation for which a civil penalty of fifty dollars ($50.00) shall be assessed, and for which no points authorized by G.S. 20-16(c) shall be assigned to the owner or driver of the vehicle nor insurance points as authorized by G.S. 58-36-65.

(3)        The owner of the vehicle shall be issued a citation which shall clearly state the manner in which the violation may be challenged, and the owner shall comply with the directions on the citation. The citation shall be processed by officials or agents of the municipality and shall be forwarded by personal service or first-class mail to the address given on the motor vehicle registration. If the owner fails to pay the civil penalty or to respond to the citation within the time period specified on the citation, the owner shall have waived the right to contest responsibility for the violation, and shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed one hundred dollars ($100.00). The municipality may establish procedures for the collection of these penalties and may enforce the penalties by civil action in the nature of debt.

(4)        The municipality shall institute a nonjudicial administrative hearing to review objections to citations or penalties issued or assessed under this section.

(c1)      The duration of the yellow light change interval at intersections where traffic control photographic systems are in use shall be no less than the yellow light change interval duration specified on the traffic signal plan of record signed and sealed by a professional engineer, licensed in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 89C of the General Statutes, and shall comply with the provisions of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

(d)       This section applies only to the Cities of Albemarle, Charlotte, Durham, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Greenville, High Point, Locust, Lumberton, Newton, Rocky Mount, and Wilmington, to the Towns of Chapel Hill, Cornelius, Huntersville, Matthews, Nags Head, Pineville, and Spring Lake, and to the municipalities in Union County.  (1997-216, ss. 1, 2; 1999-17, s. 1; 1999-181, ss. 1, 2; 1999-182, s. 2; 1999-456, s. 48(c); 2000-37, s. 1; 2000-97, s. 2; 2001-286, ss. 1, 2; 2001-487, s. 37; 2003-86, s. 1; 2003-380, s. 2; 2007-341, s. 2; 2010-132, s. 17.)

 

§ 160A-300.5: Repealed by Session Laws 2009-459, s. 2, effective October 1, 2009.

 

§ 160A-300.6.  Regulation of golf carts on streets, roads, and highways.

(a)        Notwithstanding the provisions of G.S. 20-50 and G.S. 20-54, a city may, by ordinance, regulate the operation of golf carts, as defined in G.S. 20-4.01(12b), on any public street, road, or highway where the speed limit is 35 miles per hour or less within its municipal limits or on any property owned or leased by the city.

(b)        By ordinance, a city may require the registration of golf carts, charge a fee for the registration, specify who is authorized to operate golf carts, and specify the required equipment, load limits, and the hours and methods of operation of golf carts. No person less than 16 years of age may operate a golf cart on a public street, road, or highway.  (2009-459, s. 3.)

 

§ 160A-301.  Parking.

(a)        On-Street Parking. - A city may by ordinance regulate, restrict, and prohibit the parking of vehicles on the public streets, alleys, and bridges within the city. When parking is permitted for a specified period of time at a particular location, a city may install a parking meter at that location and require any person parking a vehicle therein to place the meter in operation for the entire time that the vehicle remains in that location, up to the maximum time allowed for parking there. Parking meters may be activated by coins, tokens, cash, credit cards, debit cards, or electronic means. Proceeds from the use of parking meters on public streets must be used to defray the cost of enforcing and administering traffic and parking ordinances and regulations.

(b)        Off-Street Parking. - A city may by ordinance regulate the use of lots, garages, or other facilities owned or leased by the city and designated for use by the public as parking facilities. The city may impose fees and charges for the use of these facilities, and may provide for the collection of these fees and charges through parking meters, attendants, automatic gates, or any other feasible means. The city may make it unlawful to park any vehicle in an off-street parking facility without paying the established fee or charge and may ordain other regulations pertaining to the use of such facilities.

Revenues realized from off-street parking facilities may be pledged to amortize bonds issued to finance such facilities, or used for any other public purpose.

(c)        Nothing contained in Public Laws 1921, Chapter 2, Section 29, or Public Laws 1937, Chapter 407, Section 61, shall be construed to affect the validity of a parking meter ordinance or the revenues realized therefrom.

(d)       The governing body of any city may, by ordinance, regulate the stopping, standing, or parking of vehicles in specified areas of any parking areas or driveways of a hospital, shopping center, apartment house, condominium complex, or commercial office complex, or any other privately owned public vehicular area, or prohibit such stopping, standing, or parking during any specified hours, provided the owner or person in general charge of the operation and control of that area requests in writing that such an ordinance be adopted. The owner of a vehicle parked in violation of an ordinance adopted pursuant to this subsection shall be deemed to have appointed any appropriate law-enforcement officer as his agent for the purpose of arranging for the transportation and safe storage of such vehicle.

(e)        The registered owner of a vehicle that has been leased or rented to another person or company shall not be liable for a violation of an ordinance adopted pursuant to this section if, after receiving notification of the civil violation within 90 days of the date of occurrence, the owner, within 30 days thereafter, files with the officials or agents of the municipality an affidavit including the name and address of the person or company that leased or rented the vehicle. If notification is given to the owner of the vehicle after 90 days have elapsed from the date of the violation, the owner is not required to provide the name and address of the lessee or renter, and the owner shall not be held responsible for the violation.  (1917, c. 136, subch. 5, s. 1; 1919, cc. 136, 237; C.S., s. 2787; 1941, c. 153, ss. 1, 2; c. 272; 1947, c. 7; 1953, c. 171; 1965, c. 945; 1971, c. 698, s. 1; 1973, c. 426, s. 48; 1979, c. 745, s. 2; 2003-380, s. 1; 2015-226, s. 1.)

 

§ 160A-302.  Off-street parking facilities.

A city shall have authority to own, acquire, establish, regulate, operate, and control off-street parking lots, parking garages, and other facilities for parking motor vehicles, and to make a charge for the use of such facilities. (1917, c. 136, subch. 5, s. 1; 1919, cc. 136, 237; C.S., s. 2787; 1941, c. 153, ss. 1, 2; c. 272; 1947, c. 7; 1953, c. 171; 1965, c. 945; 1971, c. 698, s. 1.)

 

§ 160A-302.1.  Fishing from bridges regulated.

The governing body of any city is hereby authorized to enact an ordinance prohibiting or regulating fishing from any bridge for the purpose of protecting persons fishing on the bridge from passing vehicular or rail traffic. Such ordinance may also prohibit or regulate fishing from any bridge one mile beyond the corporate limits of the city where the board or boards of county commissioners by resolution agree to such prohibition or regulation; provided, however, that the board or boards of county commissioners may upon 30 days' written notice withdraw their respective approval of the municipal ordinance, and that ordinance shall have no further effect within that county's jurisdiction. The ordinance shall provide that signs shall be posted on any bridge where fishing is prohibited or regulated reflecting such prohibition or regulation. In any event, no one may fish from the drawspan of any regularly attended drawbridge.

The police department of the city is hereby vested with the jurisdiction and authority to enforce any ordinance passed pursuant to this section.

The authority granted under the provisions of this section shall be subject to the authority of the Board of Transportation to prohibit fishing on any bridge on the State highway system. (1971, c. 690, ss. 2, 3, 6; c. 896, s. 15; 1973, c. 426, s. 49; c. 507, s. 5.)

 

§ 160A-303.  Removal and disposal of junked and abandoned motor vehicles.

(a)        A city may by ordinance prohibit the abandonment of motor vehicles on the public streets or on public or private property within the city, and may enforce any such ordinance by removing and disposing of junked or abandoned motor vehicles according to the procedures prescribed in this section.

(b)        A motor vehicle is defined to include all machines designed or intended to travel over land or water by self-propulsion or while attached to any self-propelled vehicle.

(b1)      An abandoned motor vehicle is one that:

(1)        Has been left upon a street or highway in violation of a law or ordinance prohibiting parking; or

(2)        Is left on property owned or operated by the city for longer than 24 hours; or

(3)        Is left on private property without the consent of the owner, occupant, or lessee thereof for longer than two hours; or

(4)        Is left on any public street or highway for longer than seven days or is determined by law enforcement to be a hazard to the motoring public.

(b2)      A junked motor vehicle is an abandoned motor vehicle that also:

(1)        Is partially dismantled or wrecked; or

(2)        Cannot be self-propelled or moved in the manner in which it was originally intended to move; or

(3)        Is more than five years old and worth less than one hundred dollars ($100.00) or is more than five years old and worth less than five hundred dollars ($500.00) as provided by the municipality in an ordinance adopted under this section; or

(3a)      Repealed by Session Laws 2009-97, s. 1, effective October 1, 2009.

(4)        Does not display a current license plate.

(c)        Any junked or abandoned motor vehicle found to be in violation of an ordinance adopted under this section may be removed to a storage garage or area, but no such vehicle shall be removed from private property without the written request of the owner, lessee, or occupant of the premises unless the council or a duly authorized city official or employee has declared it to be a health or safety hazard. The city may require any person requesting the removal of a junked or abandoned motor vehicle from private property to indemnify the city against any loss, expense, or liability incurred because of the removal, storage, or sale thereof. When an abandoned or junked motor vehicle is removed, the city shall give notice to the owner as required by G.S. 20-219.11(a) and (b).

(d)       Hearing Procedure. - Regardless of whether a city does its own removal and disposal of motor vehicles or contracts with another person to do so, the city, shall provide a hearing procedure for the owner. For purposes of this subsection, the definitions in G.S. 20-219.9 apply.

(1)        If the city operates in such a way that the person who tows the vehicle is responsible for collecting towing fees, all provisions of Article 7A, Chapter 20, apply.

(2)        If the city operates in such a way that it is responsible for collecting towing fees, it shall:

a.         Provide by contract or ordinance for a schedule of reasonable towing fees,

b.         Provide a procedure for a prompt fair hearing to contest the towing,

c.         Provide for an appeal to district court from that hearing,

d.         Authorize release of the vehicle at any time after towing by the posting of a bond or paying of the fees due, and

e.         Provide a sale procedure similar to that provided in G.S. 44A-4, 44A-5, and 44A-6, except that no hearing in addition to the probable cause hearing is required. If no one purchases the vehicle at the sale and if the value of the vehicle is less than the amount of the lien, the city may destroy it.

(e)        Repealed by Session Laws 1983, c. 420, s. 13.

(f)        No person shall be held to answer in any civil or criminal action to any owner or other person legally entitled to the possession of any abandoned, lost, or stolen motor vehicle for disposing of the vehicle as provided in this section.

(g)        Nothing in this section shall apply to any vehicle in an enclosed building or any vehicle on the premises of a business enterprise being operated in a lawful place and manner if the vehicle is necessary to the operation of the enterprise, or to any vehicle in an appropriate storage place or depository maintained in a lawful place and manner by the city.

(h)        Repealed by Session Laws 1983, c. 420, s. 13, effective July 1, 1983.  (1965, c. 1156; 1967, cc. 1215, 1250; 1971, c. 698, s. 1; 1973, c. 426, s. 50; 1975, c. 716, s. 5; 1983, c. 420, ss. 11-13; 1997-456. s. 27; 2005-10, ss. 1, 3; 2006-15, s. 1; 2006-166, s. 2; 2006-171, s. 1; 2007-208, s. 1; 2009-97, s. 1; 2010-132, s. 20.)

 

§ 160A-303.1.  Regulation of the placing of trash, refuse and garbage within municipal limits.

The governing body of any municipality is hereby authorized to enact an ordinance prohibiting the placing, discarding, disposing or leaving of any trash, refuse or garbage upon a street or highway located within that municipality or upon property owned or operated by the municipality unless such garbage, refuse or trash is placed in a designated location or container for removal by a specific garbage or trash service collector. Any ordinance adopted pursuant hereto may prohibit the placing, discarding, disposing or leaving of any trash, refuse or garbage upon private property located within the municipality without the consent of the owner, occupant, or lessee thereof and may provide that the placing, discarding, disposing or leaving of the articles forbidden by this section shall, for each day or portion thereof the articles or matter are left, constitute a separate offense.

The governing body of a municipality, in any ordinance adopted pursuant hereto, may provide that a person who violates the ordinance may be punished by a fine not exceeding fifty dollars ($50.00) or imprisoned not exceeding 30 days, or both, for each offense. (1973, c. 953.)

 

§ 160A-303.2.  Regulation of abandonment of junked motor vehicles.

(a)        A municipality may by ordinance regulate, restrain or prohibit the abandonment of junked motor vehicles on public grounds and on private property within the municipality's ordinance-making jurisdiction upon a finding that such regulation, restraint or prohibition is necessary and desirable to promote or enhance community, neighborhood or area appearance, and may enforce any such ordinance by removing or disposing of junked motor vehicles subject to the ordinance according to the procedures prescribed in this section. The authority granted by this section shall be supplemental to any other authority conferred upon municipalities. Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize a municipality to require the removal or disposal of a motor vehicle kept or stored at a bona fide "automobile graveyard" or "junkyard" as defined in G.S. 136-143.

For purposes of this section, the term "junked motor vehicle" means a vehicle that does not display a current license plate and that:

(1)        Is partially dismantled or wrecked; or

(2)        Cannot be self-propelled or moved in the manner in which it originally was intended to move; or

(3)        Is more than five years old and appears to be worth less than one hundred dollars ($100.00) or is more than five years old and appears to be worth less than five hundred dollars ($500.00) as provided by the municipality in an ordinance adopted under this section.

(4)        Repealed by Session Laws 2009-97, s. 2, effective October 1, 2009.

(a1)      Any junked motor vehicle found to be in violation of an ordinance adopted pursuant to this section may be removed to a storage garage or area, but no such vehicle shall be removed from private property without the written request of the owner, lessee, or occupant of the premises unless the council or a duly authorized city official or employee finds in writing that the aesthetic benefits of removing the vehicle outweigh the burdens imposed on the private property owner. Such finding shall be based on a balancing of the monetary loss of the apparent owner against the corresponding gain to the public by promoting or enhancing community, neighborhood or area appearance. The following, among other relevant factors, may be considered:

(1)        Protection of property values;

(2)        Promotion of tourism and other economic development opportunities;

(3)        Indirect protection of public health and safety;

(4)        Preservation of the character and integrity of the community; and

(5)        Promotion of the comfort, happiness, and emotional stability of area residents.

(a2)      The city may require any person requesting the removal of a junked or abandoned motor vehicle from private property to indemnify the city against any loss, expense, or liability incurred because of the removal, storage, or sale thereof. When an abandoned or junked motor vehicle is removed, the city shall give notice to the owner as required by G.S. 20-219.11(a) and (b).

(a3)      Hearing Procedure. - Regardless of whether a city does its own removal and disposal of motor vehicles or contracts with another person to do so, the city shall provide a prior hearing procedure for the owner. For purposes of this subsection, the definitions in G.S. 20-219.9 apply.

(1)        If the city operates in such a way that the person who tows the vehicle is responsible for collecting towing fees, all provisions of Article 7A, Chapter 20, apply.

(2)        If the city operates in such a way that it is responsible for collecting towing fees, it shall:

a.         Provide by contract or ordinance for a schedule of reasonable towing fees,

b.         Provide a procedure for a prompt fair hearing to contest the towing,

c.         Provide for an appeal to district court from that hearing,

d.         Authorize release of the vehicle at any time after towing by the posting of a bond or paying of the fees due, and

e.         Provide a sale procedure similar to that provided in G.S. 44A-4, 44A-5, and 44A-6, except that no hearing in addition to the probable cause hearing is required. If no one purchases the vehicle at the sale and if the value of the vehicle is less than the amount of the lien, the city may destroy it.

(a4)      Any person who removes a vehicle pursuant to this section shall not be held liable for damages for the removal of the vehicle to the owner, lienholder or other person legally entitled to the possession of the vehicle removed; however, any person who intentionally or negligently damages a vehicle in the removal of such vehicle, or intentionally or negligently inflicts injury upon any person in the removal of such vehicle, may be held liable for damages.

(b)        Any ordinance adopted pursuant to this section shall include a prohibition against removing or disposing of any motor vehicle that is used on a regular basis for business or personal use.  (1983, c. 841, s. 2; 1985, c. 737, s. 2; 1987, c. 42, s. 2; c. 451, s. 2; 1989, c. 3; c. 743, s. 2; 2005-10, ss. 2, 3; 2006-15, s. 3; 2006-166, s. 2; 2006-171, s. 1; 2007-208, s. 2; 2007-505, s. 3; 2009-97, s. 2.)

 

§ 160A-304.  Regulation of taxis.

(a)        A city may by ordinance license and regulate all vehicles operated for hire in the city. The ordinance may require that the drivers and operators of taxicabs engaged in the business of transporting passengers for hire over the public streets shall obtain a license or permit from the city; provided, however, that the license or permit fee for taxicab drivers shall not exceed fifteen dollars ($15.00). As a condition of licensure, the city may require an applicant for licensure to pass a controlled substance examination. The ordinances may also specify the types of taxicab services that are legal in the municipality; provided, that in all cases shared-ride services as well as exclusive-ride services shall be legal. Shared-ride service is defined as a taxi service in which two or more persons with either different origins or with different destinations, or both, occupy a taxicab at one time. Exclusive-ride service is defined as a taxi service in which the first passenger or party requests exclusive use of the taxicab. In the event the applicant is to be subjected to a national criminal history background check, the ordinance shall specifically authorize the use of FBI records. The ordinance shall require any applicant who is subjected to a national criminal history background check to be fingerprinted.

The Department of Public Safety may provide a criminal record check to the city for a person who has applied for a license or permit through the city. The city shall provide to the Department of Public Safety, along with the request, the fingerprints of the applicant, any additional information required by the Department of Public Safety, and a form signed by the applicant consenting to the check of the criminal record and to the use of the fingerprints and other identifying information required by the State or national repositories. The applicant's fingerprints shall be forwarded to the State Bureau of Investigation for a search of the State's criminal history record file, and the State Bureau of Investigation shall forward a set of the fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a national criminal history check. The city shall keep all information pursuant to this subsection privileged, in accordance with applicable State law and federal guidelines, and the information shall be confidential and shall not be a public record under Chapter 132 of the General Statutes.

The Department of Public Safety may charge each applicant a fee for conducting the checks of criminal history records authorized by this subsection.

The following factors shall be deemed sufficient grounds for refusing to issue a permit or for revoking a permit already issued:

(1)        Conviction of a felony against this State, or conviction of any offense against another state which would have been a felony if committed in this State;

(2)        Violation of any federal or State law relating to the use, possession, or sale of alcoholic beverages or narcotic or barbiturate drugs;

(3)        Addiction to or habitual use of alcoholic beverages or narcotic or barbiturate drugs;

(4)        Violation of any federal or State law relating to prostitution;

(5)        Noncitizenship in the United States;

(6)        Habitual violation of traffic laws or ordinances.

The ordinance may also require operators and drivers of taxicabs to display prominently in each taxicab, so as to be visible to the passengers, the city taxi permit, the schedule of fares, a photograph of the driver, and any other identifying matter that the council may deem proper and advisable. The ordinance may also establish rates that may be charged by taxicab operators, may limit the number of taxis that may operate in the city, and may grant franchises to taxicab operators on any terms that the council may deem advisable.

(b)        When a city ordinance grants a taxi franchise for operation of a stated number of taxis within the city, the holder of the franchise shall report at least quarterly to the council the average number of taxis actually in operation during the preceding quarter. The council may amend a taxi franchise to reduce the number of authorized vehicles by the average number not in actual operation during the preceding quarter, and may transfer the unused allotment to another franchised operator. Such amendments of taxi franchises shall not be subject to G.S. 160A-76. Allotments of taxis among franchised operators may be transferred only by the city council, and it shall be unlawful for any franchised operator to sell, assign, or otherwise transfer allotments under a taxi franchise.

(c)        Nothing in this Chapter authorizes a city to adopt an ordinance doing any of the following with respect to a TNC service regulated under Article 10A of Chapter 20 of the General Statutes:

(1)        Requiring licensing or regulating.

(2)        through (5) Repealed by Session Laws 2015-237, s. 6, effective October 1, 2015.

(6)        Requiring or prohibiting taxi franchises or taxi operators from contracting with a transportation network company regulated under Article 10A of Chapter 20 of the General Statutes.  (1943, c. 639, s. 1; 1945, c. 564, s. 2; 1971, c. 698, s. 1; 1981, c. 412, s. 4; c. 606, s. 5; c. 747, s. 66; 1987, c. 777, s. 7; 2002-147, s. 14; 2003-65, s. 1; 2013-413, s. 12.1(b); 2014-100, s. 17.1(o); 2014-115, s. 17; 2015-237, s. 6.)

 

§ 160A-305.  Agreements under National Highway Safety Act.

Any city is hereby authorized to enter into agreements with the State of North Carolina and its agencies, and with the federal government and its agencies, to secure the full benefits available to the city under the National Highway Safety Act of 1966, and to cooperate with State and federal agencies, other public and private agencies, interested organizations, and individuals, to effectuate the purposes of the act and subsequent amendments thereof. (1967, c. 1255; 1971, c. 698, s. 1.)

 

§ 160A-306.  Building setback lines.

(a)        A city shall have authority to (i) classify all or a portion of the streets in the city according to their size, present and anticipated traffic loads, and other characteristics relevant to the achievement of the purposes of this section, and (ii) establish by ordinance minimum distances that buildings and other permanent structures or improvements constructed along each class or type of street shall be set back from the right-of-way line or the center line of an existing or proposed street. Portions of any street may be classified in a manner different from other portions of the same street where the characteristics of the portions differ.

(b)        Any setback line shall be designed

(1)        To promote the public safety by providing adequate sight distances for persons using the street and its sidewalks, lessening congestion in the street and sidewalks, facilitating the safe movement of vehicular and pedestrian traffic on the street and sidewalks and providing adequate fire lanes between buildings, and

(2)        To protect the public health by keeping dwellings and other structures an adequate distance from the dust, noise, and fumes created by traffic on the street and by insuring an adequate supply of light and air.

(c)        A setback-line ordinance shall permit affected property owners to appeal to the council for variance or modification of setback requirements as they apply to a particular piece of property. The council may vary or modify the requirements upon a showing that

(1)        The peculiar nature of the property results in practical difficulties or unnecessary hardships that impede carrying out the strict letter of the requirement,

(2)        The property will not yield a reasonable return or cannot be put to reasonable use unless relief is granted, and

(3)        Balancing the public interest in enforcing the setback requirements and the interest of the owner, the grant of relief is required by considerations of justice and equity.

In granting relief, the council may impose reasonable and appropriate  conditions and safeguards to protect the interest of neighboring properties. The council may delegate authority to hear appeals under setback-line ordinances to any authorized body to hear appeals under zoning ordinances. If this is done, appeal to the council from the board shall be governed by the same laws and rules as appeals from decisions granting or denying variances or modifications under the zoning ordinance. (1971, c. 698, s. 1; 1987, c. 747. ss. 13, 14.)

 

§ 160A-307.  Curb cut regulations.

(a)        A city may by ordinance regulate the size, location, direction of traffic flow, and manner of construction of driveway connections into any street or alley. The ordinance may require the construction or reimbursement of the cost of construction and public dedication of medians, acceleration and deceleration lanes, and traffic storage lanes for driveway connections into any street or alley if all of the following apply:

(1)        The need for such improvements is reasonably attributable to the traffic using the driveway.

(2)        The improvements serve the traffic of the driveway.

(b)        No street or alley under the control of the Department of Transportation may be improved without the consent of the Department of Transportation. A city shall not require the applicant to acquire right-of-way from property not owned by the applicant. However, an applicant may voluntarily agree to acquire such right-of-way.  (1971, c. 698, s. 1; 1987, c. 747, s. 16; 2019-111, s. 1.16.)

 

§ 160A-307.1.  Limitation on city requirements for street improvements related to schools.

A city may only require street improvements related to schools that are required for safe ingress and egress to the municipal street system and that are physically connected to a driveway on the school site. The required improvements shall not exceed those required pursuant to G.S. 136-18(29). G.S. 160A-307 shall not apply to schools. A city may only require street improvements related to schools as provided in G.S. 160A-372. The cost of any improvements to the municipal street system pursuant to this section shall be reimbursed by the city. Any agreement between a school and a city to make improvements to the municipal street system shall not include a requirement for acquisition of right-of-way by the school, unless the school is owned by an entity that has eminent domain power. Any right-of-way costs incurred by a school for required improvements pursuant to this section shall be reimbursed by the city. Notwithstanding any provision of this Chapter to the contrary, a city may not condition the approval of any zoning, rezoning, or permit request on the waiver or reduction of any provision of this section. The term "school," as used in this section, means any facility engaged in the educational instruction of children in any grade or combination of grades from kindergarten through the twelfth grade at which attendance satisfies the compulsory attendance law and includes charter schools authorized under G.S. 115C-218.5.  (2017-57, s. 34.6A(b); 2017-197, s. 7.5; 2018-5, s. 34.18(a); 2018-97, s. 7.4(a); 2018-114, s. 26.)

 

§ 160A-308.  Regulation of dune buggies.

A municipality may by ordinance regulate, restrict and prohibit the use of dune or beach buggies, jeeps, motorcycles, cars, trucks, or any other form of power-driven vehicle specified by the governing body of the municipality on the foreshore, beach strand and the barrier dune system.  Violation of any ordinance adopted by the governing body of a municipality pursuant to this section is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Provided, a municipality shall not prohibit the use of such specified vehicles from the foreshore, beach strand and barrier dune system by commercial fishermen for commercial activities.  Commercial fishermen, however, shall abide by all other regulations or restrictions duly enacted by municipalities under this section. (1973, cc. 856, 1401; 1993, c. 539, s. 1086; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 14, s. 68, c. 24, s. 14(c).)

 

§ 160A-309.  Intersection and roadway improvements.

A city may contract with a developer or property owner, or with a private party who is under contract with the developer or property owner, for public intersection or roadway improvements that are adjacent or ancillary to a private land development project. Such a contract is not subject to Article 8 of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes if the public cost will not exceed two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) and the city or its designated agency determines that: (i) the public cost will not exceed the estimated cost of providing for those public intersection or roadway improvements through either eligible force account qualified labor or through a public contract let pursuant to Article 8 of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes; or (ii) the coordination of separately constructed public intersection or roadway improvements, and the adjacent or ancillary private land development improvements would be impracticable. A city may enact ordinances and policies setting forth the procedures, requirements, and terms for agreements authorized by this section. (2005-426, s. 8(c).)

 

§ 160A-310.  Reserved for future codification purposes.