162A-9.1. Adoption and enforcement of ordinances.

(a) An authority shall have the same power as a city under G.S. 160A-175 to assess civil fines and penalties for violation of its ordinances; and, an authority may seek and recover injunctive relief to insure compliance with its ordinances as provided by this section.

(b) An ordinance may provide that its violation shall subject the offender to a civil penalty of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) per violation, to be recovered by the authority in a civil action in the nature of debt if the offender does not pay the penalty within a prescribed period of time after he has been cited for violation of the ordinance. Any person assessed a civil penalty by the authority shall be notified of the assessment by registered or certified mail, and the notice shall specify the reasons for the assessment of the civil penalty. If the person assessed fails to pay the amount of the assessment to the authority within 30 days after receipt of such notice, or such longer period, not to exceed 180 days, as the authority may specify, the authority may institute a civil action in the General Court of Justice of the county in which the violation occurred, or, in the discretion of the authority, in the General Court of Justice of the county in which the person has his or its principal place of business, to recover the amount of the assessment. The validity of the authority's action in assessing the violator may be appealed directly to the General Court of Justice in the county in which the violation occurred, or may be raised at any time in the action to recover the assessment. No failure to contest directly the validity of the authority's action in levying the assessment shall preclude the person assessed from later raising the issue of validity in any action to collect the assessment.

(c) An ordinance may provide that it may be enforced, and it may be enforced, by any appropriate equitable remedy issuing from a court of competent jurisdiction. In such cases, the General Court of Justice shall have jurisdiction and authority to issue such orders as may be appropriate to enforce the ordinances of the authority, and it shall not be a defense to the application made by the authority therefor that there is an adequate remedy at law.

(d) Subject to the express terms of any ordinance, an ordinance adopted by the authority may be enforced by any one, all or a combination of the remedies authorized and prescribed by this section.

(e) An ordinance may provide, when appropriate, that each day's continuing violation thereof shall constitute and be a separate and distinct offense. (1983, c. 820, s. 2.)