Article 6.

Development Regulation.

160D-601. Procedure for adopting, amending, or repealing development regulations.

(a) Hearing with Published Notice. - Before adopting, amending, or repealing any ordinance or development regulation authorized by this Chapter, the governing board shall hold a legislative hearing. A notice of the hearing shall be given once a week for two successive calendar weeks in a newspaper having general circulation in the area. The notice shall be published the first time not less than 10 days nor more than 25 days before the date scheduled for the hearing. In computing such period, the day of publication is not to be included but the day of the hearing shall be included.

(b) Notice to Military Bases. - If the adoption or modification would result in changes to the zoning map or would change or affect the permitted uses of land located five miles or less from the perimeter boundary of a military base, the local government shall provide written notice of the proposed changes by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the commander of the military base not less than 10 days nor more than 25 days before the date fixed for the hearing. If the commander of the military base provides comments or analysis regarding the compatibility of the proposed development regulation or amendment with military operations at the base, the governing board of the local government shall take the comments and analysis into consideration before making a final determination on the ordinance.

(c) Ordinance Required. - A development regulation adopted pursuant to this Chapter shall be adopted by ordinance.

(d) Down-Zoning. - No amendment to zoning regulations or a zoning map that down-zones property shall be initiated nor is it enforceable without the written consent of all property owners whose property is the subject of the down-zoning amendment, unless the down-zoning amendment is initiated by the local government. For purposes of this section, "down-zoning" means a zoning ordinance that affects an area of land in one of the following ways:

(1) By decreasing the development density of the land to be less dense than was allowed under its previous usage.

(2) By reducing the permitted uses of the land that are specified in a zoning ordinance or land development regulation to fewer uses than were allowed under its previous usage. (2019-111, s. 2.4; 2020-3, s. 4.33(a); 2020-25, ss. 12, 50(a), 51(a), (b), (d).)

 

160D-602. Notice of hearing on proposed zoning map amendments.

(a) Mailed Notice. - Subject to the limitations of this Chapter, an ordinance shall provide for the manner in which zoning regulations and the boundaries of zoning districts are to be determined, established, and enforced, and from time to time amended, supplemented, or changed, in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter. The owners of affected parcels of land and the owners of all parcels of land abutting that parcel of land shall be mailed a notice of the hearing on a proposed zoning map amendment by first-class mail at the last addresses listed for such owners on the county tax abstracts. For the purpose of this section, properties are "abutting" even if separated by a street, railroad, or other transportation corridor. This notice must be deposited in the mail at least 10 but not more than 25 days prior to the date of the hearing. If the zoning map amendment is being proposed in conjunction with an expansion of municipal extraterritorial planning and development regulation jurisdiction under G.S. 160D-202, a single hearing on the zoning map amendment and the boundary amendment may be held. In this instance, the initial notice of the zoning map amendment hearing may be combined with the boundary hearing notice and the combined hearing notice mailed at least 30 days prior to the hearing.

(b) Optional Notice for Large-Scale Zoning Map Amendments. - The first-class mail notice required under subsection (a) of this section is not required if the zoning map amendment proposes to change the zoning designation of more than 50 properties, owned by at least 50 different property owners, and the local government elects to use the expanded published notice provided for in this subsection. In this instance, a local government may elect to make the mailed notice provided for in subsection (a) of this section or, as an alternative, elect to publish notice of the hearing as required by G.S. 160D-601, provided that each advertisement shall not be less than one-half of a newspaper page in size. The advertisement is effective only for property owners who reside in the area of general circulation of the newspaper that publishes the notice. Property owners who reside outside of the newspaper circulation area, according to the address listed on the most recent property tax listing for the affected property, shall be notified according to the provisions of subsection (a) of this section.

(c) Posted Notice. - When a zoning map amendment is proposed, the local government shall prominently post a notice of the hearing on the site proposed for the amendment or on an adjacent public street or highway right-of-way. The notice shall be posted within the same time period specified for mailed notices of the hearing. When multiple parcels are included within a proposed zoning map amendment, a posting on each individual parcel is not required but the local government shall post sufficient notices to provide reasonable notice to interested persons.

(d) Repealed by Session Laws 2020-25, s. 13, effective June 19, 2020.

(e) Optional Communication Requirements. - When a zoning map amendment is proposed, a zoning regulation may require communication by the person proposing the map amendment to neighboring property owners and residents and may require the person proposing the zoning map amendment to report on any communication with neighboring property owners and residents. (2019-111, s. 2.4; 2020-3, s. 4.33(a); 2020-25, ss. 13, 50(a), 51(a), (b), (d).)

 

160D-603. Citizen comments.

Subject to the limitations of this Chapter, zoning regulations may from time to time be amended, supplemented, changed, modified, or repealed. If any resident or property owner in the local government submits a written statement regarding a proposed amendment, modification, or repeal to a zoning regulation, including a text or map amendment that has been properly initiated as provided in G.S. 160D-601, to the clerk to the board at least two business days prior to the proposed vote on such change, the clerk to the board shall deliver such written statement to the governing board. If the proposed change is the subject of a quasi-judicial proceeding under G.S. 160D-705 or any other statute, the clerk shall provide only the names and addresses of the individuals providing written comment, and the provision of such names and addresses to all members of the board shall not disqualify any member of the board from voting. (2019-111, s. 2.4; 2020-3, s. 4.33(a); 2020-25, ss. 14, 50(b), 51(a), (b), (d).)

 

160D-604. Planning board review and comment.

(a) Initial Zoning. - In order to exercise zoning powers conferred by this Chapter for the first time, a local government shall create or designate a planning board under the provisions of this Article or of a special act of the General Assembly. The planning board shall prepare or shall review and comment upon a proposed zoning regulation, including the full text of such regulation and maps showing proposed district boundaries. The planning board may hold public meetings and legislative hearings in the course of preparing the regulation. Upon completion, the planning board shall make a written recommendation regarding adoption of the regulation to the governing board. The governing board shall not hold its required hearing or take action until it has received a recommendation regarding the regulation from the planning board. Following its required hearing, the governing board may refer the regulation back to the planning board for any further recommendations that the board may wish to make prior to final action by the governing board in adopting, modifying and adopting, or rejecting the regulation.

(b) Zoning Amendments. - Subsequent to initial adoption of a zoning regulation, all proposed amendments to the zoning regulation or zoning map shall be submitted to the planning board for review and comment. If no written report is received from the planning board within 30 days of referral of the amendment to that board, the governing board may act on the amendment without the planning board report. The governing board is not bound by the recommendations, if any, of the planning board.

(c) Review of Other Ordinances and Actions. - Any development regulation other than a zoning regulation that is proposed to be adopted pursuant to this Chapter may be referred to the planning board for review and comment. Any development regulation other than a zoning regulation may provide that future proposed amendments of that ordinance be submitted to the planning board for review and comment. Any other action proposed to be taken pursuant to this Chapter may be referred to the planning board for review and comment.

(d) Plan Consistency. - When conducting a review of proposed zoning text or map amendments pursuant to this section, the planning board shall advise and comment on whether the proposed action is consistent with any comprehensive plan that has been adopted and any other officially adopted plan that is applicable. The planning board shall provide a written recommendation to the governing board that addresses plan consistency and other matters as deemed appropriate by the planning board, but a comment by the planning board that a proposed amendment is inconsistent with the comprehensive plan shall not preclude consideration or approval of the proposed amendment by the governing board. If a zoning map amendment qualifies as a "large-scale rezoning" under G.S. 160D-602(b), the planning board statement describing plan consistency may address the overall rezoning and describe how the analysis and policies in the relevant adopted plans were considered in the recommendation made.

(e) Separate Board Required. - Notwithstanding the authority to assign duties of the planning board to the governing board as provided by this Chapter, the review and comment required by this section shall not be assigned to the governing board and must be performed by a separate board. (2019-111, s. 2.4; 2020-3, s. 4.33(a); 2020-25, s. 51(a), (b), (d).)

 

160D-605. Governing board statement.

(a) Plan Consistency. - When adopting or rejecting any zoning text or map amendment, the governing board shall approve a brief statement describing whether its action is consistent or inconsistent with an adopted comprehensive plan. The requirement for a plan consistency statement may also be met by a clear indication in the minutes of the governing board that at the time of action on the amendment the governing board was aware of and considered the planning board's recommendations and any relevant portions of an adopted comprehensive plan. If a zoning map amendment is adopted and the action was deemed inconsistent with the adopted plan, the zoning amendment shall have the effect of also amending any future land-use map in the approved plan, and no additional request or application for a plan amendment shall be required. A plan amendment and a zoning amendment may be considered concurrently. The plan consistency statement is not subject to judicial review. If a zoning map amendment qualifies as a "large-scale rezoning" under G.S. 160D-602(b), the governing board statement describing plan consistency may address the overall rezoning and describe how the analysis and policies in the relevant adopted plans were considered in the action taken.

(b) Additional Reasonableness Statement for Rezonings. - When adopting or rejecting any petition for a zoning map amendment, a statement analyzing the reasonableness of the proposed rezoning shall be approved by the governing board. This statement of reasonableness may consider, among other factors, (i) the size, physical conditions, and other attributes of the area proposed to be rezoned, (ii) the benefits and detriments to the landowners, the neighbors, and the surrounding community, (iii) the relationship between the current actual and permissible development on the tract and adjoining areas and the development that would be permissible under the proposed amendment; (iv) why the action taken is in the public interest; and (v) any changed conditions warranting the amendment. If a zoning map amendment qualifies as a "large-scale rezoning" under G.S. 160D-602(b), the governing board statement on reasonableness may address the overall rezoning.

(c) Single Statement Permissible. - The statement of reasonableness and the plan consistency statement required by this section may be approved as a single statement. (2019-111, s. 2.4; 2020-3, s. 4.33(a); 2020-25, s. 51(a), (b), (d).)