Article 6.

Delegation and Exercise of the General Police Power.

§ 153A-121.  General ordinance-making power.

(a)        A county may by ordinance define, regulate, prohibit, or abate acts, omissions, or conditions detrimental to the health, safety, or welfare of its citizens and the peace and dignity of the county; and may define and abate nuisances.

(b)        This section does not authorize a county to regulate or control vehicular or pedestrian traffic on a street or highway under the control of the Board of Transportation, nor to regulate or control any right-of-way or right-of-passage belonging to a public utility, electric or telephone membership corporation, or public agency of the State. In addition, no county ordinance may regulate or control a highway right-of-way in a manner inconsistent with State law or an ordinance of the Board of Transportation.

(c)        This section does not impair the authority of local boards of health to adopt rules and regulations to protect and promote public health. (1963, c. 1060, ss. 1, 1 1/2; 1965, cc. 388, 567, 1083, 1158; 1967, c. 495, s. 2; 1969, c. 36, s. 1; 1971, c. 702, ss. 1-3; 1973, c. 507, s. 5; c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-122.  Territorial jurisdiction of county ordinances.

(a)        Except as otherwise provided in this Article, the board of commissioners may make any ordinance adopted pursuant to this Article applicable to any part of the county not within a city.

(b)        The governing board of a city may by resolution permit a county ordinance adopted pursuant to this Article to be applicable within the city. In the resolution permitting the county ordinance to be applicable within the city, the governing board of the city may specify that any signage required by the county ordinance be in compliance with city ordinances. The city may by resolution withdraw its permission to such an ordinance. If it does so, the city shall give written notice to the county of its withdrawal of permission; 30 days after the day the county receives this notice the county ordinance ceases to be applicable within the city.  (1963, c. 1060, ss. 1, 1 1/2; 1965, cc. 388, 567, 1083, 1158; 1967, c. 495, s. 2; 1969, c. 36, s. 1; 1971, c. 702, ss. 1-3; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 2015-166, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-123.  Enforcement of ordinances.

(a)        A county may provide for fines and penalties for violation of its ordinances and may secure injunctions and abatement orders to further insure compliance with its ordinances, as provided by this section.

(b)        Unless the board of commissioners has provided otherwise, violation of a county ordinance is a misdemeanor or infraction as provided by G.S. 14-4. An ordinance may provide by express statement that the maximum fine, term of imprisonment, or infraction penalty to be imposed for a violation is some amount of money or number of days less than the maximum imposed by G.S. 14-4.

(c)        An ordinance may provide that violation subjects the offender to a civil penalty to be recovered by the county 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.

(c1)      An ordinance may provide for the recovery of a civil penalty by the county for violation of the fire prevention code of the State Building Code as authorized under G.S. 143-139.

(d)       An ordinance may provide that it may be enforced by an appropriate equitable remedy issuing from a court of competent jurisdiction. In such a case, the General Court of Justice has jurisdiction to issue any order that may be appropriate, and it is not a defense to the county's application for equitable relief that there is an adequate remedy at law.

(e)        An ordinance that makes unlawful a condition existing upon or use made of real property may provide that it may be enforced by injunction and order of abatement, and the General Court of Justice has jurisdiction to issue such an order. When a violation of such an ordinance occurs, the county may apply to the appropriate division of the General Court of Justice for a mandatory or prohibitory injunction and order of abatement commanding the defendant to correct the unlawful condition upon or cease the unlawful use of the property. The action shall be governed in all respects by the laws and rules governing civil proceedings, including the Rules of Civil Procedure in general and Rule 65 in particular.

In addition to an injunction, the court may enter an order of abatement as a part of the judgment in the cause. An order of abatement may direct that buildings or other structures on the property be closed, demolished, or removed; that fixtures, furniture, or other movable property be removed from buildings on the property; that grass and weeds be cut; that improvements or repairs be made; or that any other action be taken that is necessary to bring the property into compliance with the ordinance. If the defendant fails or refuses to comply with an injunction or with an order of abatement within the time allowed by the court, he may be cited for contempt and the county may execute the order of abatement. If the county executes the order, it has a lien on the property, in the nature of a mechanic's and materialman's lien, for the costs of executing the order. The defendant may secure cancellation of an order of abatement by paying all costs of the proceedings and posting a bond for compliance with the order. The bond shall be given with sureties approved by the clerk of superior court in an amount approved by the judge before whom the matter was heard and shall be conditioned on the defendant's full compliance with the terms of the order of abatement within the time fixed by the judge. Cancellation of an order of abatement does not suspend or cancel an injunction issued in conjunction with the order.

(f)        Subject to the express terms of the ordinance, a county ordinance may be enforced by any one or more of the remedies authorized by this section.

(g)        A county ordinance may provide, when appropriate, that each day's continuing violation is a separate and distinct offense.

(h)        Notwithstanding any authority under this Article or any local act of the General Assembly, no ordinance regulating trees may be enforced on land owned or operated by a public airport authority.  (1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1985, c. 764, s. 34; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 852, s. 17; 1993, c. 329, s. 5; 2013-331, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-124.  Enumeration not exclusive.

The enumeration in this Article or other portions of this Chapter of specific powers to define, regulate, prohibit, or abate acts, omissions, or conditions is not exclusive, nor is it a limit on the general authority to adopt ordinances conferred on counties by G.S. 153A-121. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-125.  Regulation of solicitation campaigns, flea markets and itinerant merchants.

A county may by ordinance regulate, restrict, or prohibit the solicitation of contributions from the public for charitable or eleemosynary purposes, and also the business activities of itinerant merchants, salesmen, promoters, drummers, peddlers, flea market operators and flea market vendors and hawkers. These ordinances may include, but are not limited to, requirements that an application be made and a permit issued, that an investigation be made, that activities be reasonably limited as to time and place, that proper credentials and proof of financial stability be submitted, that not more than a stated percentage of contributions to solicitation campaigns be retained for administrative expenses, and that an adequate bond be posted to protect the public from fraud. A county may charge a fee for a permit issued pursuant to such an ordinance. (1967, c. 80, ss. 1-2 1/2; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1987, c. 708, s. 7.)

 

§ 153A-126.  Regulation of begging.

A county may by ordinance prohibit or regulate begging or otherwise canvassing the public for contributions for the private benefit of the solicitor or any other person. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-127.  Abuse of animals.

A county may by ordinance define and prohibit the abuse of animals. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-128.  Regulation of explosive, corrosive, inflammable, or radioactive substances.

A county may by ordinance regulate, restrict, or prohibit the sale, possession, storage, use or conveyance of any explosive, corrosive, inflammable, or radioactive substance or of any weapon or instrumentality of mass death and destruction. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-129.  (Effective until October 1, 2017) Firearms.

A county may by ordinance regulate, restrict, or prohibit the discharge of firearms at any time or place except when used to take birds or animals pursuant to Chapter 113, Subchapter IV, when used in defense of person or property, or when used pursuant to lawful directions of law-enforcement officers. A county may also regulate the display of firearms on the public roads, sidewalks, alleys, or other public property. This section does not limit a county's authority to take action under Article 1A of Chapter 166A of the General Statutes.  (1973, c. 822, s. 1; 2006-264, s. 16; 2012-12, s. 2(yy).)

 

§ 153A-129.  (Effective October 1, 2017) Firearms.

(a)        Except as provided in this section, a county may by ordinance regulate, restrict, or prohibit the discharge of firearms at any time or place except in any of the following instances:

(1)        When used to take birds or animals pursuant to Chapter 113, Subchapter IV.

(2)        When used in defense of person or property.

(3)        When used pursuant to lawful directions of law-enforcement officers.

(b)        A county may by ordinance prohibit hunting on Sunday as allowed under G.S. 103-2, provided the ordinance complies with all of the following:

(1)        The ordinance shall be applicable from January 1 until December 31 of any year of effectiveness.

(2)        The ordinance shall allow for individuals hunting in an adjacent county with no restriction on Sunday hunting to retrieve any animal lawfully shot from the adjacent county.

(3)        The ordinance shall be applicable to the entire county.

(c)        A county may regulate the display of firearms on the public roads, sidewalks, alleys, or other public property.

(d)       This section does not limit a county's authority to take action under Article 1A of Chapter 166A of the General Statutes.  (1973, c. 822, s. 1; 2006-264, s. 16; 2012-12, s. 2(yy); 2015-144, s. 5(b).)

 

§ 153A-130.  Pellet guns.

A county may by ordinance regulate, restrict, or prohibit the sale, possession, or use of pellet guns or any other mechanism or device designed or used to project a missile by compressed air or mechanical action with less than deadly force. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-131.  Possession or harboring of dangerous animals.

A county may by ordinance regulate, restrict, or prohibit the possession or harboring of animals which are dangerous to persons or property. No such ordinance shall have the effect of permitting any activity or condition with respect to a wild animal which is prohibited or more severely restricted by regulations of the Wildlife Resources Commission. (1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1977, c. 407, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-132.  Removal and disposal of abandoned and junked motor vehicles; abandoned vessels.

(a)        Grant of Power. - A county may by ordinance prohibit the abandonment of motor vehicles on public grounds and private property within the county's ordinance-making jurisdiction and on county-owned property wherever located. The county may enforce the ordinance by removing and disposing of abandoned or junked motor vehicles according to the procedures prescribed in this section.

(b)        Definitions. - "Motor vehicle" includes any machine designed or intended to travel over land or water by self-propulsion or while attached to self-propelled vehicle.

(1)        An "abandoned motor vehicle" is one that:

a.         Is left on public grounds or county-owned property in violation of a law or ordinance prohibiting parking; or

b.         Is left for longer than 24 hours on property owned or operated by the county; or

c.         Is left for longer than two hours on private property without the consent of the owner, occupant, or lessee of the property; or

d.         Is left for longer than seven days on public grounds.

(2)        A "junked motor vehicle" is an abandoned motor vehicle that also:

a.         Is partially dismantled or wrecked; or

b.         Cannot be self-propelled or moved in the manner in which it originally was intended to move; or

c.         Is more than five years old and appears to be worth less than one hundred dollars ($100.00); or

d.         Does not display a current license plate.

(c)        Removal of Vehicles. - A county may remove to a storage garage or area an abandoned or junked motor vehicle found to be in violation of an ordinance adopted pursuant to this section. A vehicle may not be removed from private property, however, without the written request of the owner, lessee, or occupant of the premises unless the board of commissioners or a duly authorized county official or employee has declared the vehicle to be a health or safety hazard. Appropriate county officers and employees have a right, upon presentation of proper credentials, to enter on any premises within the county ordinance-making jurisdiction at any reasonable hour in order to determine if any vehicles are health or safety hazards. The county may require a person requesting the removal from private property of an abandoned or junked motor vehicle to indemnify the county against any loss, expense, or liability incurred because of the vehicle's removal, storage, or sale.

When an abandoned or junked motor vehicle is removed, the county shall give notice to the owner as required by G.S. 20-219.11(a) and (b).

(d)       Hearing Procedure. - Regardless of whether a county does its own removal and disposal of motor vehicles or contracts with another person to do so, the county shall provide a hearing procedure for the owner. For purposes of this subsection, the definitions in G.S. 20-219.9 apply.

(1)        If the county operates in such a way that the person who tows the vehicle is responsible for collecting towing fees, all provisions of Article 7A, Chapter 20, apply.

(2)        If the county operates in such a way that it is responsible for collecting towing fees, it shall:

a.         Provide by contract or ordinance for a schedule of reasonable towing fees,

b.         Provide a procedure for a prompt fair hearing to contest the towing,

c.         Provide for an appeal to district court from that hearing,

d.         Authorize release of the vehicle at any time after towing by the posting of a bond or paying of the fees due, and

e.         Provide a sale procedure similar to that provided in G.S. 44A-4, 44A-5, and 44A-6, except that no hearing in addition to the probable cause hearing is required. If no one purchases the vehicle at the sale and if the value of the vehicle is less than the amount of the lien, the county may destroy it.

(e),       (f) Repealed by Session Laws 1983, c. 420, s. 10.

(g)        No Liability. - No person nor any county may be held to answer in a civil or criminal action to any owner or other person legally entitled to the possession of an abandoned, junked, lost, or stolen motor vehicle for disposing of the vehicle as provided in this section.

(h)        Exceptions. - This section does not apply to any vehicle in an enclosed building, to any vehicle on the premises of a business enterprise being operated in a lawful place and manner if the vehicle is necessary to the operation of the enterprise, or to any vehicle in an appropriate storage place or depository maintained in a lawful place and manner by the county.

(i)         A county may by ordinance prohibit the abandonment of vessels in navigable waters within the county's ordinance-making jurisdiction, subject to the provisions of this subsection. The provisions of this section shall apply to abandoned vessels in the same manner that they apply to abandoned or junked motor vehicles to the extent that the provisions may apply to abandoned vessels. For purposes of this subsection, an "abandoned vessel" is one that meets any of the following:

(1)        A vessel that is moored, anchored, or otherwise located for more than 30 consecutive days in any 180 consecutive-day period without permission of the dock owner.

(2)        A vessel that is in danger of sinking, has sunk, is resting on the bottom, or is located such that it is a hazard to navigation or is an immediate danger to other vessels.

Shipwrecks, vessels, cargoes, tackle, and other underwater archeological remains that have been in place for more than 10 years shall not be considered abandoned vessels and shall not be removed under the provisions of this section without the approval of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, which is the legal custodian of these properties pursuant to G.S. 121-22 and G.S. 121-23. This subsection applies only to the counties set out in G.S. 113A-103(2).  (1971, c. 489; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1975, c. 716, s. 5; 1983, c. 420, ss. 8-10; 1997-456, s. 27; 2013-182, s. 2; 2015-241, ss. 14.6(n), (o), 14.30(s).)

 

§ 153A-132.1.  To provide for the removal and disposal of trash, garbage, etc.

The board of county commissioners of any county is hereby authorized to enact ordinances governing the removal, method or manner of disposal, depositing or dumping of any trash, debris, garbage, litter, discarded cans or receptacles or any waste matter whatsoever within the rural areas of the county and outside and beyond the corporate limits of any municipality of said county. An ordinance adopted pursuant hereto may make it unlawful to place, discard, dispose, leave or dump any trash, debris, garbage, litter, discarded cans or receptacles or any waste matter whatsoever upon a street or highway located within that county or upon property owned or operated by the county unless such trash, debris, garbage, litter, discarded cans or receptacles or any waste matter is placed in a designated location or container for removal by a specific garbage or trash service collector.

Boards of county commissioners may also provide by ordinance enacted pursuant to this section, that the placing, discarding, disposing, leaving or dumping of the articles forbidden by this section shall, for each day or portion thereof the articles or matter are left, constitute a separate offense, and that a person in violation of the ordinance may be punished by a fine not exceeding fifty dollars ($50.00) or imprisoned not exceeding 30 days, or both, for each offense. (1973, c. 952.)

 

§ 153A-132.2.  Regulation, restraint and prohibition of abandonment of junked motor vehicles.

(a)        A county may by ordinance regulate, restrain or prohibit the abandonment of junked motor vehicles on public grounds and on private property within the county's ordinance-making jurisdiction upon a finding that such regulation, restraint or prohibition is necessary and desirable to promote or enhance community, neighborhood or area appearance, and may enforce any such ordinance by removing and disposing of junked motor vehicles subject to the ordinance according to the procedures prescribed in this section.  The authority granted by this section shall be supplemental to any other authority conferred upon counties.  Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize a county to require the removal or disposal of a motor vehicle kept or stored at a bona fide "automobile graveyard" or "junkyard" as defined in G.S. 136-143.

     For purposes of this section, the term "junked motor vehicle" means a vehicle that does not display a current license plate and that:

(1)        Is partially dismantled or wrecked; or

(2)        Cannot be self-propelled or moved in the manner in which it originally was intended to move; or

(3)        Is more than five years old and appears to be worth less than one hundred dollars ($100.00).

     (a1)  Any junked motor vehicle found to be in violation of an ordinance adopted pursuant to this section may be removed to a storage garage or area, but no such vehicle shall be removed from private property without the written request of the owner, lessee, or occupant of the premises unless the board of commissioners or a duly authorized county official or employee finds in writing that the aesthetic benefits of removing the vehicle outweigh the burdens imposed on the private property owner.  Such finding shall be based on a balancing of the monetary loss of the apparent owner against the corresponding gain to the public by promoting or enhancing community, neighborhood or area appearance.  The following, among other relevant factors, may be considered:

(1)        Protection of property values;

(2)        Promotion of tourism and other economic development opportunities;

(3)        Indirect protection of public health and safety;

(4)        Preservation of the character and integrity of the community; and

(5)        Promotion of the comfort, happiness, and emotional stability of area residents.

(a2)      The county may require any person requesting the removal of a junked or abandoned motor vehicle from private property to indemnify the county against any loss, expense, or liability incurred because of the removal, storage, or sale thereof.  When an abandoned or junked motor vehicle is removed, the county shall give notice to the owner as required by G.S. 20-219.11(a) and (b).

(a3)      Hearing Procedure. - Regardless of whether a county does its own removal and disposal of motor vehicles or contracts with another person to do so, the county shall provide a prior hearing procedure for the owner.  For purposes of this subsection, the definitions in G.S. 20-219.9 apply.

(1)        If the county operates in such a way that the person who tows the vehicle is responsible for collecting towing fees, all provisions of Article 7A, Chapter 20, apply.

(2)        If the county operates in such a way that it is responsible for collecting towing fees, it shall:

a.         Provide by contract or ordinance for a schedule of reasonable towing fees,

b.         Provide a procedure for a prompt fair hearing to contest the towing,

c.         Provide for an appeal to district court from that hearing,

d.         Authorize release of the vehicle at any time after towing by the posting of a bond or paying of the fees due, and

e.         Provide a sale procedure similar to that provided in G.S. 44A-4, 44A-5, and 44A-6, except that no hearing in addition to the probable cause hearing is required.  If no one purchases the vehicle at the sale and if the value of the vehicle is less than the amount of the lien, the city may destroy it.

(a4)      Any person who removes a vehicle pursuant to this section shall not be held liable for damages for the removal of the vehicle to the owner, lienholder or other person legally entitled to the possession of the vehicle removed; however, any person who intentionally or negligently damages a vehicle in the removal of such vehicle, or intentionally or negligently inflicts injury upon any person in the removal of such vehicle, may be held liable for damages.

     (b)  Any ordinance adopted pursuant to this section shall include a prohibition against removing or disposing of any motor vehicle that is used on a regular basis for business or personal use. (1983, c. 841, s. 1; 1985, c. 737, s. 1; 1987, c. 42, s. 1, c. 451, s. 1; 1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 902, s. 1; 1989, c. 743, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-133.  Noise regulation.

A county may by ordinance regulate, restrict, or prohibit the production or emission of noises or amplified speech, music, or other sounds that tend to annoy, disturb, or frighten its citizens. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-134.  Regulating and licensing businesses, trades, etc.

(a)        A county may by ordinance, subject to the general law of the State, regulate and license occupations, businesses, trades, professions, and forms of amusement or entertainment and prohibit those that may be inimical to the public health, welfare, safety, order, or convenience. In licensing trades, occupations, and professions, the county may, consistent with the general law of the State, require applicants for licenses to be examined and charge a reasonable fee therefor. This section does not authorize a county to examine or license a person holding a license issued by an occupational licensing board of this State as to the profession or trade that he has been licensed to practice or pursue by the State.

(b)        Repealed by Session Laws 2015-237, s. 4, effective October 1, 2015.

(c)        Nothing in this section shall authorize a county to regulate and license a TNC service regulated under Article 10A of Chapter 20 of the General Statutes.  (1868, c. 20, s. 8; Code, s. 707; Rev., s. 1318; C.S., s. 1297; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 2013-413, s. 12.1(c); 2015-237, s. 4.)

 

§ 153A-135.  Regulation of places of amusement.

A county may by ordinance regulate places of amusement and  entertainment, and may regulate, restrict, or prohibit the operation of pool and billiard halls, dance halls, carnivals, circuses, or itinerant shows or exhibitions of any kind. Places of amusement and entertainment include coffeehouses, cocktail lounges, nightclubs, beer halls, and similar establishments, but any regulation of such places shall be consistent with any permit or license issued by the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission. (1963, c. 1060, ss. 1, 1 1/2; 1965, cc. 388, 567, 1083, 1158; 1967, c. 495, s. 2; 1969, c. 36, s. 1; 1971, c. 702, ss. 1-3; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1981, c. 412, ss. 4, 5.)

 

§ 153A-136.  Regulation of solid wastes.

(a)        A county may by ordinance regulate the storage, collection, transportation, use, disposal, and other disposition of solid wastes. Such an ordinance may:

(1)        Regulate the activities of persons, firms, and corporations, both public and private.

(2)        Require each person wishing to commercially collect or dispose of solid wastes to secure a license from the county and prohibit any person from commercially collecting or disposing of solid wastes without a license. A fee may be charged for a license.

(3)        Grant a franchise to one or more persons for the exclusive right to commercially collect or dispose of solid wastes within all or a defined portion of the county and prohibit any other person from commercially collecting or disposing of solid wastes in that area. The board of commissioners may set the terms of any franchise, except that no franchise may be granted for a period exceeding 30 years, nor may any franchise by its terms impair the authority of the board of commissioners to regulate fees as authorized by this section.

(4)        Regulate the fees, if any, that may be charged by licensed or franchised persons for collecting or disposing of solid wastes.

(5)        Require the source separation of materials prior to collection of solid waste for disposal.

(6)        Require participation in a recycling program by requiring separation of designated materials by the owner or occupant of the property prior to disposal. An owner of recovered materials as defined by G.S. 130A-290(a)(24) retains ownership of the recovered materials until the owner conveys, sells, donates, or otherwise transfers the recovered materials to a person, firm, company, corporation, or unit of local government. A county may not require an owner to convey, sell, donate, or otherwise transfer recovered materials to the county or its designee. If an owner places recovered materials in receptacles or delivers recovered materials to specific locations, receptacles, and facilities that are owned or operated by the county or its designee, then ownership of these materials is transferred to the county or its designee.

(6a)      Regulate the illegal disposal of solid waste, including littering on public and private property, provide for enforcement by civil penalties as well as other remedies, and provide that such regulations may be enforced by county employees specially appointed as environmental enforcement officers.

(7)        Include any other proper matter.

(b)        Any ordinance adopted pursuant to this section shall be consistent with and supplementary to any rules adopted by the Commission for Public Health or the Department of Environmental Quality.

(c)        The board of commissioners of a county shall consider alternative sites and socioeconomic and demographic data and shall hold a public hearing prior to selecting or approving a site for a new sanitary landfill that receives residential solid waste that is located within one mile of an existing sanitary landfill within the State. The distance between an existing and a proposed site shall be determined by measurement between the closest points on the outer boundary of each site. The definitions set out in G.S. 130A-290 apply to this subsection. As used in this subsection:

(1)        "Approving a site" refers to prior approval of a site under G.S. 130A-294(a)(4).

(2)        "Existing sanitary landfill" means a sanitary landfill that is in operation or that has been in operation within the five-year period immediately prior to the date on which an application for a permit is submitted.

(3)        "New sanitary landfill" means a sanitary landfill that includes areas not within the legal description of an existing sanitary landfill as set out in the permit for the existing sanitary landfill.

(4)        "Socioeconomic and demographic data" means the most recent socioeconomic and demographic data compiled by the United States Bureau of the Census and any additional socioeconomic and demographic data submitted at the public hearing.

(d)       As used in this section, "solid waste" means nonhazardous solid waste, that is, solid waste as defined in G.S. 130A-290 but not including hazardous waste.

(e)        A county that has planning jurisdiction over any portion of the site of a sanitary landfill may employ a local government landfill liaison. No person who is responsible for any aspect of the management or operation of the landfill may serve as a local government landfill liaison. A local government landfill liaison shall have a right to enter public or private lands on which the landfill facility is located at reasonable times to inspect the landfill operation in order to:

(1)        Ensure that the facility meets all local requirements.

(2)        Identify and notify the Department of suspected violations of applicable federal or State laws, regulations, or rules.

(3)        Identify and notify the Department of potentially hazardous conditions at the facility.

(f)        Entry pursuant to subsection (e) of this section shall not constitute a trespass or taking of property.  (1955, c. 1050; 1957, cc. 120, 376; 1961, c. 40; c. 514, s. 1; cc. 711, 803; c. 806, s. 1; 1965, c. 452; 1967, cc. 34, 90; c. 183, s. 1; cc. 304, 339; c. 495, s. 4; 1969, cc. 79, 155, 176; c. 234, s. 1; c. 452; c. 1003, s. 4; 1973, c. 476, s. 128; c. 822, s. 1; 1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 1009, s. 1; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 1013, s. 1; 1993, c. 165, s. 1; 1997-443, s. 11A.123; 2001-512, s. 5; 2007-182, s. 2; 2007-550, s. 11(a); 2015-241, s. 14.30(u).)

 

§ 153A-137: Repealed by Session Laws 2006-151, s. 10, effective January 1, 2007.

 

§ 153A-138.  Registration of mobile homes, house trailers, etc.

A county may by ordinance provide for the annual registration of mobile homes, house trailers and similar vehicular equipment designed for use as living or business quarters and for the display of a sticker or other device thereon as evidence of such registration. No fee shall be charged for such registration. (1975, c. 693.)

 

§ 153A-139.  Regulation of traffic at parking areas and driveways.

The governing body of any county may, by ordinance, regulate the stopping, standing, or parking of vehicles in specified areas of any parking areas or driveways of a hospital, shopping center, apartment house, condominium complex, or commercial office complex or any other privately owned public vehicular area, or prohibit such stopping, standing, or parking during any specified hours, provided the owner or person in general charge of the operation and control of that area requests in writing that such an ordinance be adopted. The owner of a vehicle parked in violation of an ordinance adopted pursuant to this subsection shall be deemed to have appointed any appropriate law-enforcement officer as his agent for the purpose of arranging for the transportation and safe storage of such vehicle. (1979, c. 745, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-140.  Abatement of public health nuisances.

A county shall have authority, subject to the provisions of Article 57 of Chapter 106 of the General Statutes, to remove, abate, or remedy everything that is dangerous or prejudicial to the public health or safety. Pursuant to this section, a board of commissioners may order the removal of a swimming pool and its appurtenances upon a finding that the swimming pool or its appurtenances is dangerous or prejudicial to public health or safety. The expense of the action shall be paid by the person in default, and, if not paid, shall be a lien upon the land or premises where the nuisance arose, and shall be collected as unpaid taxes. The authority granted by this section may only be exercised upon adequate notice, the right to a hearing, and the right to appeal to the General Court of Justice. Nothing in this section shall be deemed to restrict or repeal the authority of any municipality to abate or remedy health nuisances pursuant to G.S. 160A-174, 160A-193, or any other general or local law. This section shall not affect bona fide farms, but any use of farm property for nonfarm purposes is subject to this section. (1981 (Reg. Sess., 1982), c. 1314, s. 1; 2002-116, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-140.1.  Stream-clearing programs.

(a)        A county shall have the authority to remove natural and man-made obstructions in stream channels and in the floodway of streams that may impede the passage of water during rain events.

(b)        The actions of a county to clear obstructions from a stream shall not create or increase the responsibility of the county for the clearing or maintenance of the stream, or for flooding of the stream. In addition, actions by a county to clear obstructions from a stream shall not create in the county any ownership in the stream, obligation to control the stream, or affect any otherwise existing private property right, responsibility, or entitlement regarding the stream. These provisions shall not relieve a county for negligence that might be found under otherwise applicable law.

(c)        Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing rights of the State to control or regulate streams or activities within streams. In implementing a stream-clearing program, the county shall comply with all requirements in State or federal statutes and rules. (2005-441, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-140.2.  Annual notice to chronic violators of public nuisance ordinance.

A county may notify a chronic violator of the county's public nuisance ordinance that, if the violator's property is found to be in violation of the ordinance, the county shall, without further notice in the calendar year in which notice is given, take action to remedy the violation, and the expense of the action shall become a lien upon the property and shall be collected as unpaid taxes. The notice shall be sent by certified mail. A chronic violator is a person who owns property whereupon, in the previous calendar year, the county gave notice of violation at least three times under any provision of the public nuisance ordinance.  (2009-287, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-141:  Repealed by Session Laws 1995, c.  501. s. 3.

 

§ 153A-142.  Curfews.

A county may by an appropriate ordinance impose a curfew on persons of any age less than 18. (1997-189, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-143.  Regulation of outdoor advertising.

(a)        As used in this section, the term "off-premises outdoor advertising" includes off-premises outdoor advertising visible from the main-traveled way of any road.

(b)        A county may require the removal of an off-premises outdoor advertising sign that is nonconforming under a local ordinance and may regulate the use of off-premises outdoor advertising within the jurisdiction of the county in accordance with the applicable provisions of this Chapter.

(c)        A county shall give written notice of its intent to require removal of off-premises outdoor advertising by sending a letter by certified mail to the last known address of the owner of the outdoor advertising and the owner of the property on which the outdoor advertising is located.

(d)       No county may enact or amend an ordinance of general applicability to require the removal of any nonconforming, lawfully erected off-premises outdoor advertising sign without the payment of monetary compensation to the owners of the off-premises outdoor advertising, except as provided below. The payment of monetary compensation is not required if:

(1)        The county and the owner of the nonconforming off-premises outdoor advertising enter into a relocation agreement pursuant to subsection (g) of this section.

(2)        The county and the owner of the nonconforming off-premises outdoor advertising enter into an agreement pursuant to subsection (k) of this section.

(3)        The off-premises outdoor advertising is determined to be a public nuisance or detrimental to the health or safety of the populace.

(4)        The removal is required for establishing, extending, enlarging, or improving any of the public enterprises listed in G.S. 153A-274, and the county allows the off-premises outdoor advertising to be relocated to a comparable location.

(5)        The off-premises outdoor advertising is subject to removal pursuant to statutes, ordinances or regulations generally applicable to the demolition or removal of damaged structures.

(e)        Monetary compensation is the fair market value of the off-premises outdoor advertising in place immediately prior to its removal and without consideration of the effect of the ordinance or any diminution in value caused by the ordinance requiring its removal. Monetary compensation shall be determined based on:

(1)        The factors listed in G.S. 105-317.1(a); and

(2)        The listed property tax value of the property and any documents regarding value submitted to the taxing authority.

(f)        If the parties are unable to reach an agreement on monetary compensation to be paid by the county to the owner of the nonconforming off-premises outdoor advertising sign for its removal, and the county elects to proceed with the removal, the county may bring an action in superior court for a determination of the monetary compensation to be paid. In determining monetary compensation, the court shall consider the factors set forth in subsection (e) of this section. Upon payment of monetary compensation for the sign, the county shall own the sign.

(g)        In lieu of paying monetary compensation, a county may enter into an agreement with the owner of a nonconforming off-premises outdoor advertising sign to relocate and reconstruct the sign. The agreement shall include the following:

(1)        Provision for relocation of the sign to a site reasonably comparable to or better than the existing location. In determining whether a location is comparable or better, the following factors shall be taken into consideration:

a.         The size and format of the sign.

b.         The characteristics of the proposed relocation site, including visibility, traffic count, area demographics, zoning, and any uncompensated differential in the sign owner's cost to lease the replacement site.

c.         The timing of the relocation.

(2)        Provision for payment by the county of the reasonable costs of relocating and reconstructing the sign including:

a.         The actual cost of removing the sign.

b.         The actual cost of any necessary repairs to the real property for damages caused in the removal of the sign.

c.         The actual cost of installing the sign at the new location.

d.         An amount of money equivalent to the income received from the lease of the sign for a period of up to 30 days if income is lost during the relocation of the sign.

(h)        For the purposes of relocating and reconstructing a nonconforming off-premises outdoor advertising sign pursuant to subsection (g) of this section, a county, consistent with the welfare and safety of the community as a whole, may adopt a resolution or adopt or modify its ordinances to provide for the issuance of a permit or other approval, including conditions as appropriate, or to provide for dimensional, spacing, setback, or use variances as it deems appropriate.

(i)         If a county has offered to enter into an agreement to relocate a nonconforming off-premises outdoor advertising sign pursuant to subsection (g) of this section, and within 120 days after the initial notice by the county the parties have not been able to agree that the site or sites offered by the county for relocation of the sign are reasonably comparable or better than the existing site, the parties shall enter into binding arbitration to resolve their disagreements. Unless a different method of arbitration is agreed upon by the parties, the arbitration shall be conducted by a panel of three arbitrators. Each party shall select one arbitrator and the two arbitrators chosen by the parties shall select the third member of the panel. The American Arbitration Association rules shall apply to the arbitration unless the parties agree otherwise.

(j)         If the arbitration results in a determination that the site or sites offered by the county for relocation of the nonconforming sign are not reasonably comparable to or better than the existing site, and the county elects to proceed with the removal of the sign, the parties shall determine the monetary compensation under subsection (e) of this section to be paid to the owner of the sign. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement regarding monetary compensation within 30 days of the receipt of the arbitrators' determination, and the county elects to proceed with the removal of the sign, then the county may bring an action in superior court for a determination of the monetary compensation to be paid by the county to the owner for the removal of the sign. In determining monetary compensation, the court shall consider the factors set forth in subsection (e) of this section. Upon payment of monetary compensation for the sign, the county shall own the sign.

(k)        Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, a county and an off-premises outdoor advertising sign owner may enter into a voluntary agreement allowing for the removal of the sign after a set period of time in lieu of monetary compensation. A county may adopt an ordinance or resolution providing for a relocation, reconstruction, or removal agreement.

(l)         A county has up to three years from the effective date of an ordinance enacted under this section to pay monetary compensation to the owner of the off-premises outdoor advertising provided the affected property remains in place until the compensation is paid.

(m)       This section does not apply to any ordinance in effect on the effective date of this section. A county may repeal or amend an ordinance in effect on the effective date of this section so long as an amendment to the existing ordinance does not reduce the period of amortization in effect on the effective date of this section.

(n)        The provisions of this section shall not be used to interpret, construe, alter, or otherwise modify the exercise of the power of eminent domain by an entity pursuant to Chapter 40A or Chapter 136 of the General Statutes.

(o)        Nothing in this section shall limit a county's authority to use amortization as a means of phasing out nonconforming uses other than off-premises outdoor advertising. (2004-152, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-144.  Limitations on regulating solar collectors.

(a)        Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, no county ordinance shall prohibit, or have the effect of prohibiting, the installation of a solar collector that gathers solar radiation as a substitute for traditional energy for water heating, active space heating and cooling, passive heating, or generating electricity for a residential property. No person shall be denied permission by a county to install a solar collector that gathers solar radiation as a substitute for traditional energy for water heating, active space heating and cooling, passive heating, or generating electricity for a residential property. As used in this section, the term "residential property" means property where the predominant use is for residential purposes.

(b)        This section does not prohibit an ordinance regulating the location or screening of solar collectors as described in subsection (a) of this section, provided the ordinance does not have the effect of preventing the reasonable use of a solar collector for a residential property.

(c)        This section does not prohibit an ordinance that would prohibit the location of solar collectors as described in subsection (a) of this section that are visible by a person on the ground:

(1)        On the facade of a structure that faces areas open to common or public access;

(2)        On a roof surface that slopes downward toward the same areas open to common or public access that the facade of the structure faces; or

(3)        Within the area set off by a line running across the facade of the structure extending to the property boundaries on either side of the facade, and those areas of common or public access faced by the structure.

(d)       In any civil action arising under this section, the court may award costs and reasonable attorneys' fees to the prevailing party.  (2007-279, s. 2; 2009-553, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-145.  Limitations on regulating cisterns and rain barrels.

No county ordinance may prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting the installation and maintenance of cisterns and rain barrel collection systems used to collect water for irrigation purposes. A county may regulate the installation and maintenance of those cisterns and rain barrel collection systems for the purpose of protecting the public health and safety and for the purpose of preventing them from becoming a public nuisance.  (2011-394, s. 12(d).)

 

§ 153A-145.1.  Transportation impact mitigation ordinances prohibited.

No county may enact or enforce an ordinance, rule, or regulation that requires an employer to assume financial, legal, or other responsibility for the mitigation of the impact of his or her employees' commute or transportation to or from the employer's workplace, which may result in the employer being subject to a fine, fee, or other monetary, legal, or negative consequences.  (2013-413, s. 10.1(b).)

 

§ 153A-145.2.  Limitations on regulating soft drink sizes.

No county ordinance may prohibit the sale of soft drinks above a particular size. This section does not prohibit any ordinance regulating the sanitation or other operational aspect of a device for the dispensing of soft drinks. For purposes of this section, "soft drink" shall have the meaning set forth in G.S. 105-164.3.  (2013-309, s. 3.)

 

§ 153A-145.3.  Counties enforce ordinances within public trust areas.

(a)        Notwithstanding the provisions of G.S. 113-131 or any other provision of law, a county may, by ordinance, define, prohibit, regulate, or abate acts, omissions, or conditions upon the State's ocean beaches and prevent or abate any unreasonable restriction of the public's rights to use the State's ocean beaches. In addition, a county may, in the interest of promoting the health, safety, and welfare of the public, regulate, restrict, or prohibit the placement, maintenance, location, or use of equipment, personal property, or debris upon the State's ocean beaches. A county may enforce any ordinance adopted pursuant to this section or any other provision of law upon the State's ocean beaches located within the county's jurisdictional boundaries to the same extent that a county may enforce ordinances within the county's jurisdictional boundaries. A county may enforce an ordinance adopted pursuant to this section by any remedy provided for in G.S. 153A-123. For purposes of this section, the term "ocean beaches" has the same meaning as in G.S. 77-20(e).

(b)        Nothing in this section shall be construed to (i) limit the authority of the State or any State agency to regulate the State's ocean beaches as authorized by G.S. 113-131, or common law as interpreted and applied by the courts of this State; (ii) limit any other authority granted to counties by the State to regulate the State's ocean beaches; (iii) deny the existence of the authority recognized in this section prior to the date this section becomes effective; (iv) impair the right of the people of this State to the customary free use and enjoyment of the State's ocean beaches, which rights remain reserved to the people of this State as provided in G.S. 77-20(d); (v) change or modify the riparian, littoral, or other ownership rights of owners of property bounded by the Atlantic Ocean; or (vi) apply to the removal of permanent residential or commercial structures and appurtenances thereto from the State's ocean beaches.  (2015-70, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-145.4.  Limitations on standards of care for farm animals.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no county ordinance may regulate standards of care for farm animals. For purposes of this section, "standards of care for farm animals" includes the following: the construction, repair, or improvement of farm animal shelter or housing; restrictions on the types of feed or medicines that may be administered to farm animals; and exercise and social interaction requirements. For purposes of this section, the term "farm animals" includes the following domesticated animals: cattle, oxen, bison, sheep, swine, goats, horses, ponies, mules, donkeys, hinnies, llamas, alpacas, lagomorphs, ratites, and poultry.  (2015-192, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-145.5.  Adoption of sanctuary ordinance prohibited.

(a)        No county may have in effect any policy, ordinance, or procedure that limits or restricts the enforcement of federal immigration laws to less than the full extent permitted by federal law.

(b)        No county shall do any of the following related to information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual:

(1)        Prohibit law enforcement officials or agencies from gathering such information.

(2)        Direct law enforcement officials or agencies not to gather such information.

(3)        Prohibit the communication of such information to federal law enforcement agencies.  (2015-294, s. 15(a).)

 

§ 153A-145.6.  Requiring compliance with voluntary State regulations and rules prohibited.

(a)        If a State department or agency declares a regulation or rule to be voluntary or the General Assembly delays the effective date of a regulation or rule proposed or adopted by the Environmental Management Commission, or any other board or commission, a county shall not require or enforce compliance with the applicable regulation or rule, including any regulation or rule previously or hereafter incorporated as a condition or contractual obligation imposed by, agreed upon, or accepted by the county in any zoning, land use, subdivision, or other developmental approval, including, without limitation, a development permit issuance, development agreement, site-specific development plan, or phased development plan.

(b)        This section shall apply to the following regulations and rules:

(1)        Those currently in effect.

(2)        Those repealed or otherwise expired.

(3)        Those temporarily or permanently held in abeyance.

(4)        Those adopted but not yet effective.

(c)        This section shall not apply to any water usage restrictions during either extreme or exceptional drought conditions as determined by the Drought Management Advisory Council pursuant to G.S. 143-355.1.  (2015-246, s. 2(a).)