Part 5. Community Appearance Commissions.

160D-960. Powers and duties of commission.

A community appearance commission shall make careful study of the visual problems and needs of the local government within its planning and development regulation jurisdiction and shall make any plans and carry out any programs that will, in accordance with the provisions of this Part, enhance and improve the visual quality and aesthetic characteristics of the local government. To this end, the governing board may confer upon the appearance commission the following powers and duties:

(1) To initiate, promote, and assist in the implementation of programs of general community beautification in the local government.

(2) To coordinate the activities of individuals, agencies, and organizations, public and private, whose plans, activities, and programs bear upon the appearance of the local government.

(3) To provide leadership and guidance in matters of area or community design and appearance to individuals, to public and private organizations, and to agencies.

(4) To make studies of the visual characteristics and problems of the local government, including surveys and inventories of an appropriate nature, and to recommend standards and policies of design for the entire area, any portion or neighborhood thereof, or any project to be undertaken.

(5) To prepare both general and specific plans for the improved appearance of the local government. These plans may include the entire area or any part thereof and may include private as well as public property. The plans shall set forth desirable standards and goals for the aesthetic enhancement of the local government or any part thereof within its area of planning and development regulation jurisdiction, including public ways and areas, open spaces, and public and private buildings and projects.

(6) To participate, in any way deemed appropriate by the governing board of the local government and specified in the ordinance establishing the commission, in the implementation of its plans. To this end, the governing board may include in the ordinance the following powers:

a. To request from the proper officials of any public agency or body, including agencies of the State and its political subdivisions, its plans for public buildings, facilities, or projects to be located within the local government's planning and development regulation jurisdiction.

b. To review these plans and to make recommendations regarding their aesthetic suitability to the appropriate agency or to the planning or governing board. All plans shall be reviewed by the commission in a prompt and expeditious manner, and all recommendations of the commission with regard to any public project shall be made in writing. Copies of the recommendations shall be transmitted promptly to the planning or governing board and to the appropriate agency.

c. To formulate and recommend to the appropriate planning or governing board the adoption or amendment of ordinances, including zoning regulations, subdivision regulations, and other local development regulations, that will, in the opinion of the commission, serve to enhance the appearance of the city or county and surrounding areas.

d. To direct the attention of local government officials to needed enforcement of any ordinance that may in any way affect the appearance of the city or county.

e. To seek voluntary adherence to the standards and policies of its plans.

f. To enter, in the performance of its official duties and at reasonable times, upon private lands and make examinations or surveys.

g. To promote public interest in and an understanding of its recommendations, studies, and plans, and, to that end, prepare, publish, and distribute to the public such studies and reports that will, in the opinion of the commission, advance the cause of improved appearance.

h. To conduct public meetings and hearings, giving reasonable notice to the public thereof. (2019-111, s. 2.4; 2020-3, s. 4.33(a); 2020-25, s. 51(a), (b), (d).)