160D-705. Quasi-judicial zoning decisions.

(a) Provisions of Ordinance. - The zoning or unified development ordinance may provide that the board of adjustment, planning board, or governing board hear and decide quasi-judicial zoning decisions. The board shall follow quasi-judicial procedures as specified in G.S. 160D-406 when making any quasi-judicial decision.

(b) Appeals. - Except as otherwise provided by this Chapter, the board of adjustment shall hear and decide appeals from administrative decisions regarding administration and enforcement of the zoning regulation or unified development ordinance and may hear appeals arising out of any other ordinance that regulates land use or development. The provisions of G.S. 160D-405 and G.S. 160D-406 are applicable to these appeals.

(c) Special Use Permits. - The regulations may provide that the board of adjustment, planning board, or governing board hear and decide special use permits in accordance with principles, conditions, safeguards, and procedures specified in the regulations. Reasonable and appropriate conditions and safeguards may be imposed upon these permits. Where appropriate, such conditions may include requirements that street and utility rights-of-way be dedicated to the public and that provision be made for recreational space and facilities. Conditions and safeguards imposed under this subsection shall not include requirements for which the local government does not have authority under statute to regulate nor requirements for which the courts have held to be unenforceable if imposed directly by the local government, including, without limitation, taxes, impact fees, building design elements within the scope of G.S. 160D-702(b), driveway-related improvements in excess of those allowed in G.S. 136-18(29) and G.S. 160A-307, or other unauthorized limitations on the development or use of land.

The regulations may provide that defined minor modifications to special use permits that do not involve a change in uses permitted or the density of overall development permitted may be reviewed and approved administratively. Any other modification or revocation of a special use permit shall follow the same process for approval as is applicable to the approval of a special use permit. If multiple parcels of land are subject to a special use permit, the owners of individual parcels may apply for permit modification so long as the modification would not result in other properties failing to meet the terms of the special use permit or regulations. Any modifications approved apply only to those properties whose owners apply for the modification. The regulation may require that special use permits be recorded with the register of deeds.

(d) Variances. - When unnecessary hardships would result from carrying out the strict letter of a zoning regulation, the board of adjustment shall vary any of the provisions of the zoning regulation upon a showing of all of the following:

(1) Unnecessary hardship would result from the strict application of the regulation. It is not necessary to demonstrate that, in the absence of the variance, no reasonable use can be made of the property.

(2) The hardship results from conditions that are peculiar to the property, such as location, size, or topography. Hardships resulting from personal circumstances, as well as hardships resulting from conditions that are common to the neighborhood or the general public, may not be the basis for granting a variance. A variance may be granted when necessary and appropriate to make a reasonable accommodation under the Federal Fair Housing Act for a person with a disability.

(3) The hardship did not result from actions taken by the applicant or the property owner. The act of purchasing property with knowledge that circumstances exist that may justify the granting of a variance is not a self-created hardship.

(4) The requested variance is consistent with the spirit, purpose, and intent of the regulation, such that public safety is secured and substantial justice is achieved.

No change in permitted uses may be authorized by variance. Appropriate conditions may be imposed on any variance, provided that the conditions are reasonably related to the variance. Any other development regulation that regulates land use or development may provide for variances from the provisions of those ordinances consistent with the provisions of this subsection. (2019-111, s. 2.4; 2020-3, s. 4.33(a); 2020-25, ss. 17, 50(b), 51(a), (b), (d).)