Chapter 160D.

Local Planning and Development Regulation.

Article 1.

General Provisions.

160D-101. Application.

(a) The provisions of this Article shall apply to all development regulations and programs adopted pursuant to this Chapter or applicable or related local acts. To the extent there are contrary provisions in local charters or acts, G.S. 160D-111 is applicable unless this Chapter expressly provides otherwise. The provisions of this Article also apply to any other local ordinance that substantially affects land use and development.

(b) The provisions of this Article are supplemental to specific provisions included in other Articles of this Chapter. To the extent there are conflicts between the provisions of this Article and the provisions of other Articles of this Chapter, the more specific provisions shall control.

(c) Local governments may also apply any of the definitions and procedures authorized by this Chapter to any ordinance that does not substantially affect land use and development adopted under the general police power of cities and counties, Article 8 of Chapter 160A of the General Statutes and Article 6 of Chapter 153A of the General Statutes respectively, and may employ any organizational structure, board, commission, or staffing arrangement authorized by this Chapter to any or all aspects of those ordinances.

(d) This Chapter does not expand, diminish, or alter the scope of authority for planning and development regulation authorized by other Chapters of the General Statutes. (2019-111, s. 2.4; 2020-3, s. 4.33(a); 2020-25, s. 51(a), (b), (d).)

 

160D-102. Definitions.

Unless otherwise specifically provided, or unless otherwise clearly required by the context, the words and phrases defined in this section shall have the following meanings indicated when used in this Chapter:

(1) Administrative decision. - Decisions made in the implementation, administration, or enforcement of development regulations that involve the determination of facts and the application of objective standards set forth in this Chapter or local government development regulations. These are sometimes referred to as ministerial decisions or administrative determinations.

(2) Administrative hearing. - A proceeding to gather facts needed to make an administrative decision.

(3) Bona fide farm purposes. - Agricultural activities as set forth in G.S. 160D-903.

(4) Charter. - As defined in G.S. 160A-1(2).

(5) City. - As defined in G.S. 160A-1(2).

(6) Comprehensive plan. - A comprehensive plan that has been officially adopted by the governing board pursuant to G.S. 160D-501.

(7) Conditional zoning. - A legislative zoning map amendment with site-specific conditions incorporated into the zoning map amendment.

(8) County. - Any one of the counties listed in G.S. 153A-10.

(9) Decision-making board. - A governing board, planning board, board of adjustment, historic district board, or other board assigned to make quasi-judicial decisions under this Chapter.

(10) Determination. - A written, final, and binding order, requirement, or determination regarding an administrative decision.

(11) Developer. - A person, including a governmental agency or redevelopment authority, who undertakes any development and who is the landowner of the property to be developed or who has been authorized by the landowner to undertake development on that property.

(12) Development. - Any of the following:

a. The construction, erection, alteration, enlargement, renovation, substantial repair, movement to another site, or demolition of any structure.

b. The excavation, grading, filling, clearing, or alteration of land.

c. The subdivision of land as defined in G.S. 160D-802.

d. The initiation or substantial change in the use of land or the intensity of use of land.

This definition does not alter the scope of regulatory authority granted by this Chapter.

(13) Development approval. - An administrative or quasi-judicial approval made pursuant to this Chapter that is written and that is required prior to commencing development or undertaking a specific activity, project, or development proposal. Development approvals include, but are not limited to, zoning permits, site plan approvals, special use permits, variances, and certificates of appropriateness. The term also includes all other regulatory approvals required by regulations adopted pursuant to this Chapter, including plat approvals, permits issued, development agreements entered into, and building permits issued.

(14) Development regulation. - A unified development ordinance, zoning regulation, subdivision regulation, erosion and sedimentation control regulation, floodplain or flood damage prevention regulation, mountain ridge protection regulation, stormwater control regulation, wireless telecommunication facility regulation, historic preservation or landmark regulation, housing code, State Building Code enforcement, or any other regulation adopted pursuant to this Chapter, or a local act or charter that regulates land use or development.

(15) Dwelling. - Any building, structure, manufactured home, or mobile home, or part thereof, used and occupied for human habitation or intended to be so used, and includes any outhouses and appurtenances belonging thereto or usually enjoyed therewith. For the purposes of Article 12 of this Chapter, the term does not include any manufactured home, mobile home, or recreational vehicle, if used solely for a seasonal vacation purpose.

(16) Evidentiary hearing. - A hearing to gather competent, material, and substantial evidence in order to make findings for a quasi-judicial decision required by a development regulation adopted under this Chapter.

(17) Governing board. - The city council or board of county commissioners. The term is interchangeable with the terms "board of aldermen" and "boards of commissioners" and means any governing board without regard to the terminology employed in charters, local acts, other portions of the General Statutes, or local customary usage.

(18) Landowner or owner. - The holder of the title in fee simple. Absent evidence to the contrary, a local government may rely on the county tax records to determine who is a landowner. The landowner may authorize a person holding a valid option, lease, or contract to purchase to act as his or her agent or representative for the purpose of making applications for development approvals.

(19) Legislative decision. - The adoption, amendment, or repeal of a regulation under this Chapter or an applicable local act. The term also includes the decision to approve, amend, or rescind a development agreement consistent with the provisions of Article 10 of this Chapter.

(20) Legislative hearing. - A hearing to solicit public comment on a proposed legislative decision.

(21) Local act. - As defined in G.S. 160A-1(5).

(22) Local government. - A city or county.

(23) Manufactured home or mobile home. - A structure as defined in G.S. 143-145(7).

(24) Person. - An individual, partnership, firm, association, joint venture, public or private corporation, trust, estate, commission, board, public or private institution, utility, cooperative, interstate body, the State of North Carolina and its agencies and political subdivisions, or other legal entity.

(25) Planning and development regulation jurisdiction. - The geographic area defined in Part 2 of this Chapter within which a city or county may undertake planning and apply the development regulations authorized by this Chapter.

(26) Planning board. - Any board or commission established pursuant to G.S. 160D-301.

(27) Property. - All real property subject to land-use regulation by a local government. The term includes any improvements or structures customarily regarded as a part of real property.

(28) Quasi-judicial decision. - A decision involving the finding of facts regarding a specific application of a development regulation and that requires the exercise of discretion when applying the standards of the regulation. The term includes, but is not limited to, decisions involving variances, special use permits, certificates of appropriateness, and appeals of administrative determinations. Decisions on the approval of subdivision plats and site plans are quasi-judicial in nature if the regulation authorizes a decision-making board to approve or deny the application based not only upon whether the application complies with the specific requirements set forth in the regulation, but also on whether the application complies with one or more generally stated standards requiring a discretionary decision on the findings to be made by the decision-making board.

(29) Site plan. - A scaled drawing and supporting text showing the relationship between lot lines and the existing or proposed uses, buildings, or structures on the lot. The site plan may include site-specific details such as building areas, building height and floor area, setbacks from lot lines and street rights-of-way, intensities, densities, utility lines and locations, parking, access points, roads, and stormwater control facilities that are depicted to show compliance with all legally required development regulations that are applicable to the project and the site plan review. A site plan approval based solely upon application of objective standards is an administrative decision and a site plan approval based in whole or in part upon the application of standards involving judgment and discretion is a quasi-judicial decision. A site plan may also be approved as part of a conditional zoning decision.

(30) Special use permit. - A permit issued to authorize development or land uses in a particular zoning district upon presentation of competent, material, and substantial evidence establishing compliance with one or more general standards requiring that judgment and discretion be exercised as well as compliance with specific standards. The term includes permits previously referred to as conditional use permits or special exceptions.

(31) Subdivision. - The division of land for the purpose of sale or development as specified in G.S. 160D-802.

(32) Subdivision regulation. - A subdivision regulation authorized by Article 8 of this Chapter.

(33) Repealed by Session Laws 2020-25, s. 3, effective June 19, 2020.

(34) Zoning map amendment or rezoning. - An amendment to a zoning regulation for the purpose of changing the zoning district that is applied to a specified property or properties. The term also includes (i) the initial application of zoning when land is added to the territorial jurisdiction of a local government that has previously adopted zoning regulations and (ii) the application of an overlay zoning district or a conditional zoning district. The term does not include (i) the initial adoption of a zoning map by a local government, (ii) the repeal of a zoning map and readoption of a new zoning map for the entire planning and development regulation jurisdiction, or (iii) updating the zoning map to incorporate amendments to the names of zoning districts made by zoning text amendments where there are no changes in the boundaries of the zoning district or land uses permitted in the district.

(35) Zoning regulation. - A zoning regulation authorized by Article 7 of this Chapter. (2019-111, s. 2.4; 2020-3, s. 4.33(a); 2020-25, ss. 3, 51(a), (b), (d).)

 

160D-103. Unified development ordinance.

A local government may elect to combine any of the regulations authorized by this Chapter into a unified ordinance. Unless expressly provided otherwise, a local government may apply any of the definitions and procedures authorized by law to any or all aspects of the unified ordinance and may employ any organizational structure, board, commission, or staffing arrangement authorized by law to any or all aspects of the ordinance. Inclusion of a regulation authorized by this Chapter or local act in a unified development ordinance does not expand, diminish, or alter the scope of authority for those regulations. (2019-111, s. 2.4; 2020-3, s. 4.33(a); 2020-25, s. 51(a), (b), (d).)

 

160D-104. Development approvals run with the land.

Unless provided otherwise by law, all rights, privileges, benefits, burdens, and obligations created by development approvals made pursuant to this Chapter attach to and run with the land. (2019-111, s. 2.4; 2020-3, s. 4.33(a); 2020-25, s. 51(a), (b), (d).)

 

160D-105. Maps.

(a) Zoning Map. - Zoning district boundaries adopted pursuant to this Chapter shall be drawn on a map that is adopted or incorporated within a duly adopted development regulation. Zoning district maps that are so adopted shall be maintained for public inspection in the office of the local government clerk or such other office as specified in the development regulation. The maps may be in paper or a digital format approved by the local government.

(b) Incorporation by Reference. - Development regulations adopted pursuant to this Chapter may reference or incorporate by reference flood insurance rate maps, watershed boundary maps, or other maps officially adopted or promulgated by State and federal agencies. For these maps a regulation text or zoning map may reference a specific officially adopted map or may incorporate by reference the most recent officially adopted version of such maps. When zoning district boundaries are based on these maps, the regulation may provide that the zoning district boundaries are automatically amended to remain consistent with changes in the officially promulgated State or federal maps, provided a copy of the currently effective version of any incorporated map shall be maintained for public inspection as provided in subsection (a) of this section.

(c) Copies. - Copies of the zoning district map may be reproduced by any method of reproduction that gives legible and permanent copies and, when certified by the local government clerk in accordance with G.S. 160A-79 or G.S. 153A-50, shall be admissible into evidence and shall have the same force and effect as would the original map. (2019-111, s. 2.4; 2020-3, s. 4.33(a); 2020-25, s. 51(a), (b), (d).)

 

160D-106. Refund of illegal fees.

If a local government is found to have illegally imposed a tax, fee, or monetary contribution for development or a development approval not specifically authorized by law, the local government shall return the tax, fee, or monetary contribution plus interest of six percent (6%) per annum to the person who made the payment or as directed by a court if the person making the payment is no longer in existence. (2019-111, s. 2.4; 2020-3, s. 4.33(a); 2020-25, s. 51(a), (b), (d).)

 

160D-107. Moratoria.

(a) Authority. - As provided in this section, local governments may adopt temporary moratoria on any development approval required by law, except for the purpose of developing and adopting new or amended plans or development regulations governing residential uses. The duration of any moratorium shall be reasonable in light of the specific conditions that warrant imposition of the moratorium and may not exceed the period of time necessary to correct, modify, or resolve such conditions.

(b) Hearing Required. - Except in cases of imminent and substantial threat to public health or safety, before adopting a development regulation imposing a development moratorium with a duration of 60 days or any shorter period, the governing board shall hold a legislative hearing and shall publish a notice of the hearing in a newspaper having general circulation in the area not less than seven days before the date set for the hearing. A development moratorium with a duration of 61 days or longer, and any extension of a moratorium so that the total duration is 61 days or longer, is subject to the notice and hearing requirements of G.S. 160D-601.

(c) Exempt Projects. - Absent an imminent threat to public health or safety, a development moratorium adopted pursuant to this section does not apply to any project for which a valid building permit issued pursuant to G.S. 160D-1108 is outstanding, to any project for which a special use permit application has been accepted as complete, to development set forth in a site-specific vesting plan approved pursuant to G.S. 160D-108.1, to development for which substantial expenditures have already been made in good-faith reliance on a prior valid development approval, or to preliminary or final subdivision plats that have been accepted for review by the local government prior to the call for a hearing to adopt the moratorium. Any preliminary subdivision plat accepted for review by the local government prior to the call for a hearing, if subsequently approved, shall be allowed to proceed to final plat approval without being subject to the moratorium. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if a complete application for a development approval has been submitted prior to the effective date of a moratorium, G.S. 160D-108(b) applies when permit processing resumes.

(d) Required Statements. - Any development regulation establishing a development moratorium must include, at the time of adoption, each of the following:

(1) A statement of the problems or conditions necessitating the moratorium and what courses of action, alternative to a moratorium, were considered by the local government and why those alternative courses of action were not deemed adequate.

(2) A statement of the development approvals subject to the moratorium and how a moratorium on those approvals will address the problems or conditions leading to imposition of the moratorium.

(3) A date for termination of the moratorium and a statement setting forth why that duration is reasonably necessary to address the problems or conditions leading to imposition of the moratorium.

(4) A statement of the actions, and the schedule for those actions, proposed to be taken by the local government during the duration of the moratorium to address the problems or conditions leading to imposition of the moratorium.

(e) Limit on Renewal or Extension. - No moratorium may be subsequently renewed or extended for any additional period unless the local government has taken all reasonable and feasible steps proposed to be taken in its ordinance establishing the moratorium to address the problems or conditions leading to imposition of the moratorium and unless new facts and conditions warrant an extension. Any ordinance renewing or extending a development moratorium must include, at the time of adoption, the findings set forth in subdivisions (1) through (4) of subsection (d) of this section, including what new facts or conditions warrant the extension.

(f) Expedited Judicial Review. - Any person aggrieved by the imposition of a moratorium on development approvals required by law may apply to the General Court of Justice for an order enjoining the enforcement of the moratorium. Actions brought pursuant to this section shall be scheduled for expedited hearing, and subsequent proceedings in those actions shall be accorded priority by the trial and appellate courts. In such actions, the local government has the burden of showing compliance with the procedural requirements of this subsection. (2019-111, s. 2.4; 2020-3, s. 4.33(a); 2020-25, ss. 4, 51(a), (b), (d).)

 

160D-108. Permit choice and vested rights.

(a) Findings. - The General Assembly recognizes that local government approval of development typically follows significant investment in site evaluation, planning, development costs, consultant fees, and related expenses. The General Assembly finds that it is necessary and desirable to provide for the establishment of certain vested rights in order to ensure reasonable certainty, stability, and fairness in the development regulation process, to secure the reasonable expectations of landowners, and to foster cooperation between the public and private sectors in land-use planning and development regulation. The provisions of this section and G.S. 160D-108.1 strike an appropriate balance between private expectations and the public interest.

(b) Permit Choice. - If a land development regulation is amended between the time a development permit application was submitted and a development permit decision is made or if a land development regulation is amended after a development permit decision has been challenged and found to be wrongfully denied or illegal, G.S. 143-755 applies.

(c) Vested Rights. - Amendments in land development regulations are not applicable or enforceable without the written consent of the owner with regard to any of the following:

(1) Buildings or uses of buildings or land for which a development permit application has been submitted and subsequently issued in accordance with G.S. 143-755.

(2) Subdivisions of land for which a development permit application authorizing the subdivision has been submitted and subsequently issued in accordance with G.S. 143-755.

(3) A site-specific vesting plan pursuant to G.S. 160D-108.1.

(4) A multi-phased development pursuant to subsection (f) of this section.

(5) A vested right established by the terms of a development agreement authorized by Article 10 of this Chapter.

The establishment of a vested right under any subdivision of this subsection does not preclude vesting under one or more other subdivisions of this subsection or vesting by application of common law principles. A vested right, once established as provided for in this section or by common law, precludes any action by a local government that would change, alter, impair, prevent, diminish, or otherwise delay the development or use of the property allowed by the applicable land development regulation or regulations, except where a change in State or federal law mandating local government enforcement occurs after the development application is submitted that has a fundamental and retroactive effect on the development or use.

(d) Duration of Vesting. - Upon issuance of a development permit, the statutory vesting granted by subsection (c) of this section for a development project is effective upon filing of the application in accordance with G.S. 143-755, for so long as the permit remains valid pursuant to law. Unless otherwise specified by this section or other statute, local development permits expire one year after issuance unless work authorized by the permit has substantially commenced. A local land development regulation may provide for a longer permit expiration period. For the purposes of this section, a permit is issued either in the ordinary course of business of the applicable governmental agency or by the applicable governmental agency as a court directive.

Except where a longer vesting period is provided by statute or land development regulation, the statutory vesting granted by this section, once established, expires for an uncompleted development project if development work is intentionally and voluntarily discontinued for a period of not less than 24 consecutive months, and the statutory vesting period granted by this section for a nonconforming use of property expires if the use is intentionally and voluntarily discontinued for a period of not less than 24 consecutive months. The 24-month discontinuance period is automatically tolled during the pendency of any board of adjustment proceeding or civil action in a State or federal trial or appellate court regarding the validity of a development permit, the use of the property, or the existence of the statutory vesting period granted by this section. The 24-month discontinuance period is also tolled during the pendency of any litigation involving the development project or property that is the subject of the vesting.

(e) Multiple Permits for Development Project. - Subject to subsection (d) of this section, where multiple local development permits are required to complete a development project, the development permit applicant may choose the version of each of the local land development regulations applicable to the project upon submittal of the application for the initial development permit. This provision is applicable only for those subsequent development permit applications filed within 18 months of the date following the approval of an initial permit. For purposes of the vesting protections of this subsection, an erosion and sedimentation control permit or a sign permit is not an initial development permit.

(f) Multi-Phased Development. - A multi-phased development is vested for the entire development with the land development regulations then in place at the time a site plan approval is granted for the initial phase of the multi-phased development. A right which has been vested as provided for in this subsection remains vested for a period of seven years from the time a site plan approval is granted for the initial phase of the multi-phased development.

(g) Continuing Review. - Following issuance of a development permit, a local government may make subsequent inspections and reviews to ensure compliance with the applicable land development regulations in effect at the time of the original application.

(h) Process to Claim Vested Right. - A person claiming a statutory or common law vested right may submit information to substantiate that claim to the zoning administrator or other officer designated by a land development regulation, who shall make an initial determination as to the existence of the vested right. The decision of the zoning administrator or officer may be appealed under G.S. 160D-405. On appeal, the existence of a vested right shall be reviewed de novo. In lieu of seeking such a determination or pursuing an appeal under G.S. 160D-405, a person claiming a vested right may bring an original civil action as provided by G.S. 160D-1403.1.

(i) Miscellaneous Provisions. - The vested rights granted by this section run with the land except for the use of land for outdoor advertising governed by G.S. 136-131.1 and G.S. 136-131.2 in which case the rights granted by this section run with the owner of a permit issued by the North Carolina Department of Transportation. Nothing in this section precludes judicial determination, based on common law principles or other statutory provisions, that a vested right exists in a particular case or that a compensable taking has occurred. Except as expressly provided in this section, nothing in this section shall be construed to alter the existing common law.

(j) [Definitions. -] As used in this section, the following definitions apply:

(1) Development. - As defined in G.S. 143-755(e)(1).

(2) Development permit. - As defined in G.S. 143-755(e)(2).

(3) Land development regulation. - As defined in G.S. 143-755(e)(3).

(4) Multi-phased development. - A development containing 25 acres or more that is both of the following:

a. Submitted for development permit approval to occur in more than one phase.

b. Subject to a master development plan with committed elements showing the type and intensity of use of each phase. (2019-111, s. 2.4; 2020-3, s. 4.33(a); 2020-25, ss. 5(a), 50(b), 51(a), (b), (d).)

 

160D-108.1. Vested rights - site-specific vesting plans.

(a) Site-Specific Vesting Plan. - A site-specific vesting plan consists of a plan submitted to a local government in which the applicant requests vesting pursuant to this section, describing with reasonable certainty on the plan the type and intensity of use for a specific parcel or parcels of property. The plan may be in the form of, but not be limited to, any of the following plans or approvals: a planned unit development plan, a subdivision plat, a preliminary or general development plan, a special use permit, a conditional district zoning plan, or any other land-use approval designation as may be utilized by a local government. Unless otherwise expressly provided by the local government, the plan shall include the approximate boundaries of the site; significant topographical and other natural features affecting development of the site; the approximate location on the site of the proposed buildings, structures, and other improvements; the approximate dimensions, including height, of the proposed buildings and other structures; and the approximate location of all existing and proposed infrastructure on the site, including water, sewer, roads, and pedestrian walkways. What constitutes a site-specific vesting plan under this section that would trigger a vested right shall be finally determined by the local government pursuant to a development regulation, and the document that triggers the vesting shall be so identified at the time of its approval. A variance does not constitute a site-specific vesting plan, and approval of a site-specific vesting plan with the condition that a variance be obtained does not confer a vested right unless and until the necessary variance is obtained. If a sketch plan or other document fails to describe with reasonable certainty the type and intensity of use for a specified parcel or parcels of property, it may not constitute a site-specific vesting plan.

(b) Establishment of Vested Right. - A vested right is established with respect to any property upon the valid approval, or conditional approval, of a site-specific vesting plan as provided in this section. Such a vested right confers upon the landowner the right to undertake and complete the development and use of the property under the terms and conditions of the site-specific vesting plan, including any amendments thereto.

(c) Approval and Amendment of Plans. - If a site-specific vesting plan is based on an approval required by a local development regulation, the local government shall provide whatever notice and hearing is required for that underlying approval. A duration of the underlying approval that is less than two years does not affect the duration of the site-specific vesting plan established under this section. If the site-specific vesting plan is not based on such an approval, a legislative hearing with notice as required by G.S. 160D-602 shall be held.

A local government may approve a site-specific vesting plan upon any terms and conditions that may reasonably be necessary to protect the public health, safety, and welfare. Conditional approval results in a vested right, although failure to abide by the terms and conditions of the approval will result in a forfeiture of vested rights. A local government shall not require a landowner to waive the landowner's vested rights as a condition of developmental approval. A site-specific vesting plan is deemed approved upon the effective date of the local government's decision approving the plan or another date determined by the governing board upon approval. An approved site-specific vesting plan and its conditions may be amended with the approval of the owner and the local government as follows: any substantial modification must be reviewed and approved in the same manner as the original approval; minor modifications may be approved by staff, if such are defined and authorized by local regulation.

(d) Continuing Review. - Following approval or conditional approval of a site-specific vesting plan, a local government may make subsequent reviews and require subsequent approvals by the local government to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of the original approval, provided that these reviews and approvals are not inconsistent with the original approval. The local government may, pursuant to G.S. 160D-403(f), revoke the original approval for failure to comply with applicable terms and conditions of the original approval or the applicable local development regulations.

(e) Duration and Termination of Vested Right. -

(1) A vested right for a site-specific vesting plan remains vested for a period of two years. This vesting shall not be extended by any amendments or modifications to a site-specific vesting plan unless expressly provided by the local government.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (1) of this subsection, a local government may provide for rights to be vested for a period exceeding two years but not exceeding five years where warranted in light of all relevant circumstances, including, but not limited to, the size and phasing of development, the level of investment, the need for the development, economic cycles, and market conditions or other considerations. These determinations are in the sound discretion of the local government and shall be made following the process specified for the particular form of a site-specific vesting plan involved in accordance with subsection (a) of this section.

(3) Upon issuance of a building permit, the provisions of G.S. 160D-1111 and G.S. 160D-1115 apply, except that a permit does not expire and shall not be revoked because of the running of time while a vested right under this section is outstanding.

(4) A right vested as provided in this section terminates at the end of the applicable vesting period with respect to buildings and uses for which no valid building permit applications have been filed.

(f) Subsequent Changes Prohibited; Exceptions. -

(1) A vested right, once established as provided for in this section, precludes any zoning action by a local government which would change, alter, impair, prevent, diminish, or otherwise delay the development or use of the property as set forth in an approved site-specific vesting plan, except under one or more of the following conditions:

a. With the written consent of the affected landowner.

b. Upon findings, by ordinance after notice and an evidentiary hearing, that natural or man-made hazards on or in the immediate vicinity of the property, if uncorrected, would pose a serious threat to the public health, safety, and welfare if the project were to proceed as contemplated in the site-specific vesting plan.

c. To the extent that the affected landowner receives compensation for all costs, expenses, and other losses incurred by the landowner, including, but not limited to, all fees paid in consideration of financing, and all architectural, planning, marketing, legal, and other consulting fees incurred after approval by the local government, together with interest as provided under G.S. 160D-106. Compensation shall not include any diminution in the value of the property which is caused by the action.

d. Upon findings, by ordinance after notice and an evidentiary hearing, that the landowner or the landowner's representative intentionally supplied inaccurate information or made material misrepresentations that made a difference in the approval by the local government of the site-specific vesting plan or the phased development plan.

e. Upon the enactment or promulgation of a State or federal law or regulation that precludes development as contemplated in the site-specific vesting plan or the phased development plan, in which case the local government may modify the affected provisions, upon a finding that the change in State or federal law has a fundamental effect on the plan, by ordinance after notice and an evidentiary hearing.

(2) The establishment of a vested right under this section does not preclude the application of overlay zoning or other development regulations which impose additional requirements but do not affect the allowable type or intensity of use, or ordinances or regulations which are general in nature and are applicable to all property subject to development regulation by a local government, including, but not limited to, building, fire, plumbing, electrical, and mechanical codes. Otherwise applicable new regulations become effective with respect to property which is subject to a site-specific vesting plan upon the expiration or termination of the vesting rights period provided for in this section.

(3) Notwithstanding any provision of this section, the establishment of a vested right does not preclude, change, or impair the authority of a local government to adopt and enforce development regulations governing nonconforming situations or uses.

(g) Miscellaneous Provisions. -

(1) A vested right obtained under this section is not a personal right, but attaches to and runs with the applicable property. After approval of a site-specific vesting plan, all successors to the original landowner are entitled to exercise these rights.

(2) Nothing in this section precludes judicial determination, based on common law principles or other statutory provisions, that a vested right exists in a particular case or that a compensable taking has occurred. Except as expressly provided in this section, nothing in this section shall be construed to alter the existing common law.

(3) In the event a local government fails to adopt a development regulation setting forth what constitutes a site-specific vesting plan triggering a vested right, a landowner may establish a vested right with respect to property upon the approval of a zoning permit, or otherwise may seek appropriate relief from the Superior Court Division of the General Court of Justice. (2020-25, ss. 5(b), 50(b).)

 

160D-109. Conflicts of interest.

(a) Governing Board. - A governing board member shall not vote on any legislative decision regarding a development regulation adopted pursuant to this Chapter where the outcome of the matter being considered is reasonably likely to have a direct, substantial, and readily identifiable financial impact on the member. A governing board member shall not vote on any zoning amendment if the landowner of the property subject to a rezoning petition or the applicant for a text amendment is a person with whom the member has a close familial, business, or other associational relationship.

(b) Appointed Boards. - Members of appointed boards shall not vote on any advisory or legislative decision regarding a development regulation adopted pursuant to this Chapter where the outcome of the matter being considered is reasonably likely to have a direct, substantial, and readily identifiable financial impact on the member. An appointed board member shall not vote on any zoning amendment if the landowner of the property subject to a rezoning petition or the applicant for a text amendment is a person with whom the member has a close familial, business, or other associational relationship.

(c) Administrative Staff. - No staff member shall make a final decision on an administrative decision required by this Chapter if the outcome of that decision would have a direct, substantial, and readily identifiable financial impact on the staff member or if the applicant or other person subject to that decision is a person with whom the staff member has a close familial, business, or other associational relationship. If a staff member has a conflict of interest under this section, the decision shall be assigned to the supervisor of the staff person or such other staff person as may be designated by the development regulation or other ordinance.

No staff member shall be financially interested or employed by a business that is financially interested in a development subject to regulation under this Chapter unless the staff member is the owner of the land or building involved. No staff member or other individual or an employee of a company contracting with a local government to provide staff support shall engage in any work that is inconsistent with his or her duties or with the interest of the local government, as determined by the local government.

(d) Quasi-Judicial Decisions. - A member of any board exercising quasi-judicial functions pursuant to this Chapter shall not participate in or vote on any quasi-judicial matter in a manner that would violate affected persons' constitutional rights to an impartial decision maker. Impermissible violations of due process include, but are not limited to, a member having a fixed opinion prior to hearing the matter that is not susceptible to change, undisclosed ex parte communications, a close familial, business, or other associational relationship with an affected person, or a financial interest in the outcome of the matter.

(e) Resolution of Objection. - If an objection is raised to a board member's participation at or prior to the hearing or vote on a particular matter and that member does not recuse himself or herself, the remaining members of the board shall by majority vote rule on the objection.

(f) Familial Relationship. - For purposes of this section, a "close familial relationship" means a spouse, parent, child, brother, sister, grandparent, or grandchild. The term includes the step, half, and in-law relationships. (2019-111, s. 2.4; 2020-3, s. 4.33(a); 2020-25, s. 51(a), (b), (d).)

 

160D-110. Chapter construction.

(a) G.S. 153A-4 and G.S. 160A-4 are applicable to this Chapter.

(b) "Written" or "in writing" is deemed to include electronic documentation.

(c) Unless specified otherwise, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, delivery by first-class mail shall be deemed received on the third business day following deposit of the item for mailing with the United States Postal Service, and delivery by electronic mail shall be deemed received on the date sent. (2019-111, s. 2.4; 2020-3, s. 4.33(a); 2020-25, s. 51(a), (b), (d).)

 

160D-111. Effect on prior laws.

(a) The enactment of this Chapter does not require the readoption of any local government ordinance enacted pursuant to laws that were in effect before January 1, 2020 and are restated or revised herein. The provisions of this Chapter do not affect any act heretofore done, any liability incurred, any right accrued or vested, or any suit or prosecution begun or cause of action accrued as of January 1, 2020. The enactment of this Chapter does not amend the geographic area within which local government development regulations adopted prior to January 1, 2020, are effective.

(b) G.S. 153A-3 and G.S. 160A-3 are applicable to this Chapter. Nothing in this Chapter repeals or amends a charter or local act in effect as of June 19, 2020 unless this Chapter or a subsequent enactment of the General Assembly clearly shows a legislative intent to repeal or supersede that charter or local act.

(c) Whenever a reference is made in another section of the General Statutes or any local act, or any local government ordinance, resolution, or order, to a portion of Article 19 of Chapter 160A of the General Statutes or Article 18 of Chapter 153A of the General Statutes that is repealed or superseded by this Chapter, the reference is deemed amended to refer to that portion of this Chapter that most nearly corresponds to the repealed or superseded portion of Article 19 of Chapter 160A or Article 18 of Chapter 153A of the General Statutes. (2019-111, s. 2.4; 2020-3, s. 4.33(a); 2020-25, ss. 6, 51(a)-(d).)