153A-205. Improvements to subdivision and residential streets.

(a) A county may finance the local share of the cost of improvements made under the supervision of the Department of Transportation to subdivision and residential streets that are a part of the State maintained system located in the county and outside of a city and shall levy and collect pursuant to the procedures of Article 9 of Chapter 153A of the General Statutes special assessments against benefited property to recoup that portion of the costs financed by the county. The local share is that share required by policies of the Department of Transportation and may be paid by the county from funds not otherwise limited as to use by law. Land owned, leased, or controlled by a railroad company is exempt from such assessments to the same extent that it would be exempt from street assessments of a city under G.S. 160A-222. No project may be commenced under this section unless it has been approved by the Department of Transportation.

(b) A county may finance the local share of the cost of improvements made under the supervision of the Department of Transportation to subdivision and residential streets located in the county and outside of a city in order to bring those streets up to the standards of the Department of Transportation so that they may become a part of the State-maintained system and shall levy and collect pursuant to the procedures of Article 9 of Chapter 153A of the General Statutes special assessments against benefited property to recoup that portion of the costs financed by the county. The local share is that share required by policies of the Department of Transportation and may be paid by the county from funds not otherwise limited as to use by law. Land owned, leased, or controlled by a railroad company is exempt from such assessments to the same extent that it would be exempt from street assessments of a city under G.S. 160A-222. No project may be commenced under this section unless it has been approved by the Department of Transportation.

(c) Before a county may finance all or a portion of the cost of improvements to a subdivision or residential street, it must receive a petition for the improvements signed by at least seventy-five percent (75%) of the owners of property to be assessed, who must represent at least seventy-five percent (75%) of all the lineal feet of frontage of the lands abutting on the street or portion thereof to be improved. The petition shall state that portion of the cost of the improvement to be assessed, which shall be the local share required by policies of the Department of Transportation. A county may treat as a unit and consider as one street two or more connecting State-maintained subdivision or residential streets in a petition filed under this subsection calling for the improvement of subdivision or residential streets subject to property owner sharing in the cost of improvement under policies of the Department of Transportation.

Property owned by the United States shall not be included in determining the lineal feet of frontage on the improvement, nor shall the United States be included in determining the number of owners of property abutting the improvement. Property owned by the State of North Carolina shall be included in determining frontage and the number of owners only if the State has consented to assessment as provided in G.S. 153A-189. Property owned, leased, or controlled by railroad companies shall be included in determining frontage and the number of owners to the extent the property is subject to assessment under G.S. 160A-222. Property owned, leased, or controlled by railroad companies that is not subject to assessment shall not be included in determining frontage or the number of owners.

No right of action or defense asserting the invalidity of street assessments on grounds that the county did not comply with this subsection in securing a valid petition may be asserted except in an action or proceeding begun within 90 days after the day of publication of the notice of adoption of the preliminary assessment resolution.

(d) This section is intended to provide a means of assisting in financing improvements to subdivision and residential streets that are on the State highway system or that will, as a result of the improvements, become a part of the system. By financing improvements under this section, a county does not thereby acquire or assume any responsibility for the street or streets involved, and a county has no liability arising from the construction of such an improvement or the maintenance of such a street. Nothing in this section shall be construed to alter the conditions and procedures under which State system streets or other public streets are transferred to municipal street systems pursuant to G.S. 136-66.1 and 136-66.2 upon annexation by, or incorporation of, a municipality. (1975, c. 487, s. 2; c. 716, s. 7; 1981, c. 768; 2014-115, s. 59.)