Chapter 153A.

Counties.

Article 1.

Definitions and Statutory Construction.

§ 153A-1.  Definitions.

Unless otherwise specifically provided, or unless otherwise clearly required by the context, the words and phrases defined in this section have the meaning indicated when used in this Chapter.

(1)        "City" means a city as defined by G.S. 160A-1(2), except that it does not include a city that, without regard to its date of incorporation, would be disqualified from receiving gasoline tax allocations by G.S. 136-41.2(a).

(2)        "Clerk" means the clerk to the board of commissioners.

(3)        "County" means any one of the counties listed in G.S. 153A-10.

(4)        "General law" means an act of the General Assembly that applies to all units of local government, to all counties, to all counties within a class defined by population or other criteria, to all cities, or to all cities within a class defined by population or other criteria, including a law that meets the foregoing standards but contains a clause or section exempting from its effect one or more counties, cities, or counties and cities.

(5)        "Local act" means an act of the General Assembly that applies to one or more specific counties, cities, or counties and cities by name. "Local act" is interchangeable with the terms "special act," "special law," "public-local act," and "private act," is used throughout this Chapter in preference to those terms, and means a local act as defined in this subdivision without regard to the terminology employed in local acts or other portions of the General Statutes.

(6)        "Publish," "publication," and other forms of the verb "to publish" mean insertion in a newspaper qualified under G.S. 1-597 to publish legal advertisements in the county. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-2.  Effect on prior laws and actions taken pursuant to prior laws.

The provisions of this Chapter, insofar as they are the same in substance as laws in effect as of December 31, 1973, are intended to continue those laws in effect and not to be new enactments. The enactment of this Chapter does not require the readoption of any county or city ordinance adopted pursuant to laws that were in effect as of December 31, 1973, and that are restated or  revised in this Chapter. The provisions of this Chapter do not affect  any act heretofore done, any liability incurred, any right accrued or vested, or any suit or prosecution begun or cause of action accrued as of January 1, 1974. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-3.  Effect of Chapter on local acts.

(a)        Except as provided in this section, nothing in this Chapter repeals or amends a local act in effect as of January 1, 1974, or any portion of such an act, unless this Chapter or a subsequent enactment of the General Assembly clearly shows a legislative intent to repeal or supersede that local act.

(b)        If this Chapter and a local act each provide a procedure that contains every action necessary for the performance or execution of a power, right, duty, function, privilege, or immunity, the two procedures may be used in the alternative, and a county may follow either one.

(c)        If this Chapter and a local act each provide a procedure for the performance or execution of a power, right, duty, function, privilege, or immunity, but the local act procedure does not contain every action necessary for the performance or execution, the two procedures may be used in the alternative, and a county may follow either one; but the local act procedure shall be supplemented as necessary by this Chapter's procedure. If a local act procedure is being supplemented in such a manner, and there is a conflict or inconsistency between the local act procedure and this Chapter's procedure, the local act procedure shall be followed.

(d)       If a power, right, duty, function, privilege, or immunity is conferred on counties by this Chapter, and a local act enacted earlier than this Chapter omits or expressly denies or limits the same power, right, duty, function, privilege, or immunity, this Chapter supersedes the local act. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-4.  Broad construction.

It is the policy of the General Assembly that the counties of this State should have adequate authority to exercise the powers, rights, duties, functions, privileges, and immunities conferred upon them by law. To this end, the provisions of this Chapter and of local acts shall be broadly construed and grants of power shall be construed to include any powers that are reasonably expedient to the exercise of the power. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-5.  Statutory references deemed amended to conform to Chapter.

If a reference is made in another portion of the General Statutes, in a local act, or in a city or county ordinance, resolution, or order to a portion of Chapter 153, and the reference is to Chapter 153 as it existed immediately before February 1, 1974, the reference is deemed amended to refer to that portion of this Chapter that most nearly corresponds to the repealed or superseded portion of Chapter 153. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§§ 153A-6 through 153A-9.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

 

Article 2.

Corporate Powers.

§ 153A-10.  State has 100 counties.

North Carolina has 100 counties. They are: Alamance, Alexander, Alleghany, Anson, Ashe, Avery, Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Brunswick, Buncombe, Burke, Cabarrus, Caldwell, Camden, Carteret, Caswell, Catawba, Chatham, Cherokee, Chowan, Clay, Cleveland, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Currituck, Dare, Davidson, Davie, Duplin, Durham, Edgecombe, Forsyth, Franklin, Gaston, Gates, Graham, Granville, Greene, Guilford, Halifax, Harnett, Haywood, Henderson, Hertford, Hoke, Hyde, Iredell, Jackson, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Lincoln, Macon, Madison, Martin, McDowell, Mecklenburg, Mitchell, Montgomery, Moore, Nash, New Hanover, Northampton, Onslow, Orange, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Pender, Perquimans, Person, Pitt, Polk, Randolph, Richmond, Robeson, Rockingham, Rowan, Rutherford, Sampson, Scotland, Stanly, Stokes, Surry, Swain, Transylvania, Tyrrell, Union, Vance, Wake, Warren, Washington, Watauga, Wayne, Wilkes, Wilson, Yadkin, and Yancey. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-11.  Corporate powers.

The inhabitants of each county are a body politic and corporate under the name specified in the act creating the county. Under that name they are vested with all the property and rights of property belonging to the corporation; have perpetual succession; may sue and be sued; may contract and be contracted with; may acquire and hold any property and rights of property, real and personal, that may be devised, sold, or in any manner conveyed, dedicated to, or otherwise acquired by the corporation, and from time to time may hold, invest, sell, or dispose of the property and rights of property; may have a common seal and alter and renew it at will; and have and may exercise in conformity with the laws of this State county powers, rights, duties, functions, privileges, and immunities of every name and nature.  (1868, c. 20, ss. 1, 2, 3, 8; 1876-7, c. 141, s. 1; Code, ss. 702, 703, 704, 707; Rev., ss. 1309, 1310, 1318; C.S., ss. 1290, 1291, 1297; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 2011-284, s. 105.)

 

§ 153A-12.  Exercise of corporate power.

Except as otherwise directed by law, each power, right, duty, function, privilege and immunity of the corporation shall be exercised by the board of commissioners. A power, right, duty, function, privilege, or immunity shall be carried into execution as provided by the laws of the State; a power, right, duty, function, privilege, or immunity that is conferred or imposed by law without direction or restriction as to how it is to be exercised or performed  shall be carried into execution as provided by ordinance or resolution of the board of commissioners. (1868, c. 20, ss. 1, 2; 1876-7, c. 141, s. 1; Code, ss. 702, 703; Rev., s. 1309; C.S., s. 1290; 1973, c. 882, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-13.  Continuing contracts.

A county may enter into continuing contracts, some portion or all of which are to be performed in ensuing fiscal years. In order to enter into such a contract, the county must have sufficient funds appropriated to meet any amount to be paid under the contract in the fiscal year in which it is made. In each year, the board of commissioners shall appropriate sufficient funds to meet the amounts to be paid during the fiscal year under continuing contracts previously entered into. (1959, c. 250; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-14.  Grants and loans from other governments.

A county may contract for and accept grants and loans as permitted by G.S. 160A-17.1. (1973, c. 822, s. 1; 2007-91, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-15.  Consent of board of commissioners necessary in certain counties before land may be condemned or acquired by a unit of local government outside the county.

(a)        Notwithstanding the provisions of Chapter 40A of the General Statutes or any other general law or local act conferring the power of eminent domain, before final judgment may be entered in any action of condemnation initiated by a county, city or town, special district, or other unit of local government which is located wholly or primarily outside another county, whereby the condemnor seeks to acquire property located in the other county, the condemnor shall furnish proof that the county board of commissioners of the county where the land is located has consented to the taking.

(b)        Notwithstanding the provisions of G.S. 153A-158, 160A-240.1, 130A-55, or any other general law or local act conferring the power to acquire real property, before any county, city or town, special district, or other unit of local government which is located wholly or primarily outside another county acquires any real property located in the other county by exchange, purchase or lease, it must have the approval of the county board of commissioners of the county where the land is located.

(c)        This section applies to Alamance, Alleghany, Anson, Ashe, Bertie, Bladen, Brunswick, Burke, Buncombe, Cabarrus, Caldwell, Camden, Carteret, Caswell, Catawba, Chatham, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Currituck, Dare, Davidson, Davie, Duplin, Durham, Edgecombe, Forsyth, Franklin, Gaston, Gates, Graham, Granville, Greene, Guilford, Halifax, Harnett, Haywood, Henderson, Hoke, Hyde, Iredell, Jackson, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Lincoln, Macon, Madison, Martin, McDowell, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Nash, New Hanover, Northampton, Onslow, Orange, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Pender, Perquimans, Person, Pitt, Polk, Richmond, Robeson, Rockingham, Rowan, Rutherford, Sampson, Scotland, Stanly, Stokes, Surry, Swain, Transylvania, Union, Vance, Wake, Warren, Watauga, Wayne, Wilkes, and Yancey Counties only.

(d)       This section does not apply as to any condemnation or acquisition of real property or an interest in real property by a city where the property to be condemned or acquired is within the corporate limits of that city.  (1981, c. 134, ss. 1, 2; c. 270, ss. 1, 2; c. 283, ss. 1-3; c. 459, s. 1; c. 941, s. 1; 1981 (Reg. Sess., 1982), c. 1150, s. 1; 1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 973, s. 1; c. 1061, s. 1; 1991, c. 615, s. 3; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 790, s. 1; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 624, s. 1; c. 628, s. 1; 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 681, s. 1; 1997-164, s. 1; 1997-263, s. 1; 1998-110, s. 1; 1998-217, s. 47; 1999-6, s. 1; 2005-33, s. 1; 2013-174, s. 1; 2015-253, s. 13.)

 

§ 153A-15.1.  Agreement to make payment in lieu of future ad valorem taxes required before wetlands acquisition by a unit of local government.

(a)        Condemnation. - Notwithstanding the provisions of G.S. 153A-15, Chapter 40A of the General Statutes, or any other general law or local act conferring the power of eminent domain, before a final judgment may be entered or a final condemnation resolution adopted in an action of condemnation initiated by a unit of local government whose property is exempt from tax under Section 2(3) of Article V of the North Carolina Constitution, whereby the condemnor seeks to acquire land for the purpose of wetlands mitigation, the condemnor shall agree in writing to pay to the county where the land is located a sum equal to the estimated amount of ad valorem taxes that would have accrued to the county for the next 20 years had the land not been acquired by the condemnor.

(b)        Purchase. - Notwithstanding the provisions of G.S. 130A-55, 153A-15, 153A-158, 160A-240.1, or any other general law or local act conferring the power to acquire real property, before any unit of local government whose property is exempt from tax under Section 2(3) of Article V of the North Carolina Constitution purchases any land for the purpose of wetlands mitigation, the unit shall agree in writing to pay to the county where the land is located a sum equal to the estimated amount of ad valorem taxes that would have accrued to the county for the next 20 years had the land not been acquired by the acquiring unit.

(c)        Definition. - For purposes of this section, the "estimated amount of ad valorem taxes that would have accrued for the next 20 years" means the total assessed value of the acquired land excluded from the county's tax base multiplied by the tax rate set by the county board of commissioners in its most recent budget ordinance adopted under Chapter 159 of the General Statutes, and then multiplied by 20.

(d)       Exception. - This section does not apply to any condemnation or acquisition of land by a city or special district if the land to be condemned or acquired is within the corporate limits of that city or special district or within the county where the city or special district is located.

(e)        Application. - This section applies only to land acquired in counties designated as a development tier one area under G.S. 143B-437.08. (2004-188, s. 1; 2006-252, s. 2.17.)

 

§ 153A-16.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

 

Article 3.

Boundaries.

§ 153A-17.  Existing boundaries.

The boundaries of each county shall remain as presently established, until changed in accordance with law. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-18.  Uncertain or disputed boundary.

(a)        If two or more counties are uncertain as to the exact location of the boundary between them, they may cause the boundary to be surveyed, marked, and mapped. The counties may appoint special commissioners to supervise the surveying, marking, and mapping. A commissioner so appointed or a person surveying or marking the boundary may enter upon private property to view and survey the boundary or to erect boundary markers. Upon ratification of the survey by the board of commissioners of each county, a map showing the surveyed boundary shall be recorded in the office of the register of deeds of each county in the manner provided by law for the recordation of maps or plats and in the Secretary of State's office. The map shall contain a reference to the date of each resolution of ratification and to the page in the minutes of each board of commissioners where the resolution may be found. Upon recordation, the map is conclusive as to the location of the boundary.

(b)        If two or more counties dispute the exact location of the boundary between them, and the dispute cannot be resolved pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, any of the counties may apply to a superior court judge who has jurisdiction pursuant to G.S. 7A-47.1 or 7A-48 in any of the districts or sets of districts as defined in G.S. 7A-41.1 in which any of the counties is located for appointment of a boundary commission. The application shall identify the disputed boundary and ask that a boundary commission be appointed. Upon receiving the application, the court shall set a date for a hearing on whether to appoint the commission. The court shall cause notice of the hearing to be served on the other county or counties. If, after the hearing, the court finds that the location of the boundary is disputed, it shall appoint a boundary commission.

The commission shall consist of one resident of each disputing county and a resident of some other county. The court may appoint one or more surveyors to assist the commission. The commission shall locate, survey, and map and may mark the disputed boundary. To do so it may take evidence and hear testimony, and any commissioner and any person surveying or marking the boundary may enter upon private property to view and survey the boundary or to erect boundary markers. Within 45 days after the day it is appointed, unless this time is extended by the court, the commission shall make its report (which shall include a map of the surveyed boundary) to the court. To be sufficient, the report must be concurred in by a majority of the commissioners. If the court is satisfied that the commissioners have made no error of law, it shall ratify the report, after which the map shall be recorded in the office of the register of deeds of each county in the manner provided by law for the recordation of maps or plats and in the Secretary of State's office. Upon recordation, the map is conclusive as to the location of the boundary.

The disputing counties shall divide equally the costs of locating, surveying, marking, and mapping the boundary, unless the court finds that an equal division of the costs would be unjust. In that case the court may determine the division of costs.

(c)        Two or more counties may establish the boundary between them pursuant to subsection (a), above, by the use of base maps prepared from orthophotography, which base maps show the monuments of the United States Geological Survey and North Carolina State Plane Coordinate System established pursuant to Chapter 102 of the General Statutes. Upon ratification of the location of the boundary determined from orthophotography by the board of commissioners of each county, the map showing the boundary and the monuments of the United States Geological Survey and North Carolina State Plane Coordinate System shall be recorded in the Office of the Register of Deeds of each county and in the Secretary of State's office. The map shall contain a reference to the date of each resolution of ratification and to the page in the minutes of each board of commissioners where the resolution may be found. Upon recordation, the map is conclusive as to the location of the boundary. (1836, c. 3; R.C., c. 27; Code, s. 721; Rev., s. 1322; C.S., s. 1299; 1925, c. 251; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1037, s. 121; 1997-299, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-19.  Establishing and naming townships.

(a)        A county may by resolution establish and abolish townships, change their boundaries, and prescribe their names, except that no such resolution may become effective during the period beginning January 1, 1998, and ending January 2, 2000, and any resolution providing that the boundaries of a township shall change automatically with changes in the boundaries of a city shall not be effective during that period. The current boundaries of each township within a county shall at all times be drawn on a map, or set out in a written description, or shown by a combination of these techniques. This current delineation shall be available for public inspection in the office of the clerk.

(b)        Any provision of a city charter or other local act which provides that the boundaries of a township shall change automatically upon a change in a city boundary shall not be effective during the period beginning January 1, 1998, and ending January 2, 2000.

(c)        The county manager or, where there is no county manager, the chairman of the board of commissioners, shall report township boundaries and changes in those boundaries to the United States Bureau of the Census in the Boundary and Annexations Survey. In responding to the surveys, each county manager or, if there is no manager, chairman of the board of commissioners shall consult with the county board of elections and other appropriate local agencies as to the location of township boundaries, so that the Census Bureau's mapping of township boundaries does not disagree with any county voting precinct boundaries that may be based on township boundaries. (1868, c. 20, s. 8; Code, s. 707; Rev., s. 1318; C.S., s. 1297; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1987, c. 715, s. 1; c. 879, s. 2; 1993, c. 352, s. 1; 1995, c. 423, s. 4.)

 

§ 153A-20.  Map of electoral districts.

If a county is divided into electoral districts for the purpose of nominating or electing persons to the board of commissioners, the current boundaries of the electoral districts shall at all times be drawn on a map, or set out in a written description, or shown by a combination of these techniques. This current delineation shall be available for public inspection in the office of  the clerk. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-21.  Repealed by Session Laws 1973, c. 884.

 

§ 153A-22.  Redefining electoral district boundaries.

(a)        If a county is divided into electoral districts for the purpose of nominating or electing persons to the board of commissioners, the board of commissioners may find as a fact whether there is substantial inequality of population among the districts.

(b)        If the board finds that there is substantial inequality of population among the districts, it may by resolution redefine the electoral districts.

(c)        Redefined electoral districts shall be so drawn that the quotients obtained by dividing the population of each district by the number of commissioners apportioned to the district are as nearly equal as practicable, and each district shall be composed of territory within a continuous boundary.

(d)       No change in the boundaries of an electoral district may affect the unexpired term of office of a commissioner residing in the district and serving on the board on the effective date of the resolution. If the terms of office of members of the board do not all expire at the same time, the resolution shall state which seats are to be filled at the initial election held under the resolution.

(e)        A resolution adopted pursuant to this section shall be the basis of electing persons to the board of commissioners at the first general election for members of the board of commissioners occurring after the resolution's effective date, and thereafter. A resolution becomes effective upon its adoption, unless it is adopted during the period beginning 150 days before the day of a primary and ending on the day of the next succeeding general election for membership on the board of commissioners, in which case it becomes effective on the first day after the end of the period.

(f)        Not later than 10 days after the day on which a resolution becomes effective, the clerk shall file in the Secretary of State's office, in the office of the register of deeds of the county, and with the chairman of the county board of elections, a certified copy of the resolution.

(g)        This section shall not apply to counties where under G.S. 153A-58(3)d. or under public or local act, districts are for residence purposes only, and the qualified voters of the entire county nominate all candidates for and elect all members of the board. (1981, c. 795.)

 

§§ 153A-23 through 153A-24.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

 

Article 4.

Form of Government.

Part 1. General Provisions.

§ 153A-25.  Qualifications for appointive office.

The board of commissioners may fix qualifications for any appointive office, including a requirement that a person serving in such an office reside within the county. The board may not waive qualifications fixed by law for an appointive office but may fix additional qualifications for that office. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-26.  Oath of office.

Each person elected by the people or appointed to a county office shall, before entering upon the duties of the office, take and subscribe the oath of office prescribed in Article VI, Sec. 7 of the Constitution. The oath of office shall be administered by some person authorized by law to administer oaths and shall be filed with the clerk to the board of commissioners.

On the first Monday in December following each general election at which county officers are elected, the persons who have been elected to county office in that election shall assemble at the regular meeting place of the board of commissioners. At that time each such officer shall take and subscribe the oath of office. An officer not present at this time may take and subscribe the oath at a later time.  (1868, c. 20, s. 8; 1874-5, c. 237, s. 3; Code, ss. 707, 708; 1895, c. 135, ss. 3, 4; Rev., ss. 1316, 1318; C.S., ss. 1295, 1297; 1965, c. 26; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 2015-24, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-27.  Vacancies on the board of commissioners.

If a vacancy occurs on the board of commissioners, the remaining members of the board shall appoint a qualified person to fill the vacancy. If the number of vacancies on the board is such that a quorum of the board cannot be obtained, the chairman of the board shall appoint enough members to make up a quorum, and the board shall then proceed to fill the remaining vacancies. If the number of vacancies on the board is such that a quorum of the board cannot be obtained and the office of chairman is vacant, the clerk of superior court of the county shall fill the vacancies upon the request of any remaining member of the board or upon the petition of any five registered voters of the county. If for any other reason the remaining members of the board do not fill a vacancy within 60 days after the day the vacancy occurs, the clerk shall immediately report the vacancy to the clerk of superior court of the county. The clerk of superior court shall, within 10 days after the day the vacancy is reported to him, fill the vacancy.

If the member being replaced was serving a two-year term, or if the member was serving a four-year term and the vacancy occurs later than 60 days before the general election held after the first two years of the term, the appointment to fill the vacancy is for the remainder of the unexpired term. Otherwise, the term of the person appointed to fill the vacancy extends to the first Monday in December next following the first general election held more than 60 days after the day the vacancy occurs; at that general election, a person shall be elected to the seat vacated, either to the remainder of the unexpired term or, if the term has expired, to a full term.

To be eligible for appointment to fill a vacancy, a person must (i) be a member of the same political party as the member being replaced, if that member was elected as the nominee of a political party, and (ii) be a resident of the same district as the member being replaced, if the county is divided into electoral districts. The board of commissioners or the clerk of superior court, as the case may be, shall consult the county executive committee of the appropriate political party before filling a vacancy, but neither the board nor the clerk of the superior court is bound by the committee's recommendation. (Code, s. 719; 1895, c. 135, s. 7; Rev., s. 1314; 1909, c. 490, s. 1; C.S., s. 1294; 1959, c. 1325; 1965, cc. 239, 382; 1967, cc. 7, 424, 439, 1022; 1969, cc. 82, 222; 1971, c. 743, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1985, c. 563, ss. 7.3, 7.4.)

 

§ 153A-27.1.  Vacancies on board of commissioners in certain counties.

(a)        If a vacancy occurs on the board of commissioners, the remaining members of the board shall appoint a qualified person to fill the vacancy. If the number of vacancies on the board is such that a quorum of the board cannot be obtained, the chairman of the board shall appoint enough members to make up a quorum, and the board shall then proceed to fill the remaining vacancies. If the number of vacancies on the board is such that a quorum of the board cannot be obtained and the office of chairman is vacant, the clerk of superior court of the county shall fill the vacancies upon the request of any remaining member of the board or upon the petition of any registered voters of the county.

(b)        If the member being replaced was serving a two-year term, or if the member was serving a four-year term and the vacancy occurs later than 60 days before the general election held after the first two years of the term, the appointment to fill the vacancy is for the remainder of the unexpired term. Otherwise, the term of the person appointed to fill the vacancy extends to the first Monday in December next following the first general election held more than 60 days after the day the vacancy occurs; at that general election, a person shall be elected to the seat vacated for the remainder of the unexpired term.

(c)        To be eligible for appointment to fill a vacancy, a person must (i) be a member of the same political party as the member being replaced, if that member was elected as the nominee of a political party, and (ii) be a resident of the same district as the member being replaced, if the county is divided into electoral districts.

(d)       If the member who vacated the seat was elected as a nominee of a political party, the board of commissioners, the chairman of the board, or the clerk of superior court, as the case may be, shall consult the county executive committee of the appropriate political party before filling the vacancy, and shall appoint the person recommended by the county executive committee of the political party of which the commissioner being replaced was a member, if the party makes a recommendation within 30 days of the occurrence of the vacancy.

(e)        Whenever because of G.S. 153A-58(3)b. or because of any local act, only the qualified voters of an area which is less than the entire county were eligible to vote in the general election for the member whose seat is vacant, the appointing authority must accept the recommendation only if the county executive committee restricted voting to committee members who represent precincts all or part of which were within the territorial area of the district of the county commissioner.

(f)        The provisions of any local act which provides that a county executive committee of a political party shall fill any vacancy on a board of county commissioners are repealed.

(g)        Counties subject to this section are not subject to G.S. 153A-27.

(h)        This section shall apply only in the following counties: Alamance, Alexander, Alleghany, Avery, Beaufort, Brunswick, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Carteret, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland, Cumberland, Dare, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Graham, Guilford, Harnett, Haywood, Henderson, Hyde, Jackson, Lee, Lincoln, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mecklenburg, Moore, Pender, Polk, Randolph, Rockingham, Rutherford, Sampson, Stanly, Stokes, Transylvania, and Yancey.  (1981, c. 763, ss. 6, 14; c. 830; 1983, c. 418; 1985, c. 563, s. 7.2; 1987, c. 196, s. 1; 1989, c. 296; c. 497, s. 2; 1991, c. 395, s. 1; c. 558, s. 1; 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 683, s. 1; 1997-88, s. 1; 2009-32, s. 1; 2011-126, s. 2; 2014-6, s. 5(a); 2014-92, s. 2(a).)

 

§ 153A-28.  Compensation of board of commissioners.

The board of commissioners may fix the compensation and allowances of the chairman and other members of the board by inclusion of the compensation and allowances in and adoption of the budget ordinance. In addition, if the chairman or any other member of the board becomes a full-time county official, pursuant to G.S. 153A-81 or 153A-84, his compensation and allowances may be adjusted at any time during his service as a full-time official, for the duration of that service. (Code, s. 709; Rev., s. 2785; 1907, c. 500; C.S., s. 3918; 1969, c. 180, s. 1; 1971, c. 1125, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-29.  Repealed by Session Laws 1975, c. 514, s. 17.

 

§ 153A-30.  Withholding compensation; money judgment against board member.

In addition to any other enforcement available, the finance officer of a county that obtains a final judgment awarding monetary damages against an elected or appointed member of the board of commissioners, either individually or jointly, may enforce that final judgment using any of the remedies set forth in G.S. 105-366(b) or the procedure for attachment and garnishment set forth in G.S. 105-368 as if final judgment awarding monetary damages were delinquent taxes and that finance officer were the tax collector. The provision of G.S. 105-368(a) that limits the amount of compensation that may be garnished to not more than ten percent (10%) for any one pay period shall not apply to this section.  (2014-40, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-31: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-32: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-33: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

Part 2. Structure of the Board of Commissioners.

§ 153A-34.  Structure of boards of commissioners.

Each county is governed by a board of commissioners. The structure and manner of election of the board of commissioners in each county shall remain as it is on February 1, 1974, until changed in accordance with law. (Rev., s. 1311; C.S., s. 1292; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§§ 153A-35 through 153A-38.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

Part 3. Organization and Procedures of the Board of Commissioners.

§ 153A-39.  Selection of chairman and vice-chairman; powers and duties.

On:

(1)        The first Monday in December of each even-numbered year; and

(2)        Its first regular meeting in December of each odd-numbered year,

the board of commissioners shall choose one of its members as chairman for the ensuing year, unless the chairman is elected as such by the people or otherwise designated by law. The board shall also at that time choose a vice-chairman to act in the absence or disability of the chairman. If the chairman and the vice-chairman are both absent from a meeting of the board, the members present may choose a temporary chairman.

The chairman is the presiding officer of the board of commissioners. Unless excused by rule of the board, the presiding officer has the duty to vote on any question before the board, but he has no right to break a tie vote in which he participated. (Code, s. 706; Rev., s. 1317; C.S., s. 1296; 1945, c. 132; 1951, c. 904, s. 1; 1961, c. 154; 1967, c. 617, s. 1; 1969, c. 349, s. 1; c. 1036; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1993, c. 95.)

 

§ 153A-40.  Regular and special meetings.

(a)        The board of commissioners shall hold a regular meeting at least once a month, and may hold more frequent regular meetings. The board may by resolution fix the time and place of its regular meetings. If such a resolution is adopted, at least 10 days before the first meeting to which the resolution is to apply, the board shall cause a copy of it to be posted on the courthouse bulletin board and a summary of it to be published. If no such resolution is adopted, the board shall meet at the courthouse on the first Monday of each month, or on the next succeeding business day if the first Monday is a holiday.

If use of the courthouse or other designated regular meeting place  is made temporarily impossible, inconvenient, or unwise, the board may change the time or place or both of a regular meeting or of all regular meetings within a specified period of time. The board shall cause notice of the temporary change to be posted at or near the regular meeting place and shall take any other action it considers helpful in informing the public of the temporary change.

The board may adjourn a regular meeting from day to day or to a day certain until the business before the board is completed.

(b)        The chairman or a majority of the members of the board may at any time call a special meeting of the board of commissioners by signing a written notice stating the time and place of the meeting and the subjects to be considered. The person or persons calling the meeting shall cause the notice to be delivered to the chairman and each other member of the board or left at the usual dwelling place of each at least 48 hours before the meeting and shall cause a copy of the notice to be posted on the courthouse bulletin board at least 48 hours before the meeting. Only those items of business specified in the notice may be transacted at a special meeting, unless all members are present or those not present have signed a written waiver.

If a special meeting is called to deal with an emergency, the notice requirements of this subsection do not apply. However, the person or persons calling such a special meeting shall take reasonable action to inform the other members and the public of the meeting. Only business connected with the emergency may be discussed at a meeting called pursuant to this paragraph.

In addition to the procedures set out in this subsection, a person  or persons calling a special or emergency meeting of the board of commissioners shall comply with the notice requirements of Article 33B of General Statutes Chapter 143.

(c)        The board of commissioners shall hold all its meetings within the county except:

(1)        In connection with a joint meeting of two or more public bodies; provided, however, that such a meeting shall be held within the boundaries of the political subdivision represented by the members of one of the public bodies participating;

(2)        In connection with a retreat, forum, or similar gathering held solely for the purpose of providing members of the board with general information relating to the performance of their public duties; provided, however, that members of the board of commissioners shall not vote upon or otherwise transact public business while in attendance at such a gathering;

(3)        In connection with a meeting between the board of commissioners and its local legislative delegation during a session of the General Assembly; provided, however, that at any such meeting the members of the board of commissioners may not vote upon or otherwise transact public business except with regard to matters directly relating to legislation proposed to or pending before the General Assembly;

(4)        While in attendance at a convention, association meeting or similar gathering; provided, however, that any such meeting may be held solely to discuss or deliberate the board's position concerning convention resolutions, elections of association officers and similar issues that are not legally  binding upon the board of commissioners or its constituents.

All meetings held outside the county shall be deemed "official meetings" within the meaning of G.S. 143-318.10(d). (Code, s. 706; Rev., s. 1317; C.S., s. 1296; 1945, c. 132; 1951, c. 904, s. 1; 1961, c. 154; 1967, c. 617, s. 1; 1969, c. 349, s. 1; c. 1036; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1977, 2nd Sess., c. 1191, s. 6; 1985, c. 745.)

 

§ 153A-41.  Procedures.

The board of commissioners may adopt its own rules of procedure, in keeping with the size and nature of the board and in the spirit of generally accepted principles of parliamentary procedure. (Code, s. 706; Rev., s. 1317; C.S., s. 1296; 1945, c. 132; 1951, c. 904, s. 1; 1961, c. 154; 1967, c. 617, s. 1; 1969, c. 349, s. 1; c. 1036; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-42.  Minutes to be kept; ayes and noes.

The clerk shall keep full and accurate minutes of the proceedings of the board of commissioners, which shall be available for public inspection. The clerk shall record the results of each vote in the minutes; and upon the request of any member of the board, the ayes and noes upon any question shall be taken and recorded. (Code, s. 712; 1905, c. 530; Rev., s. 1325; C.S., s. 1310; 1953, c. 973, s. 3; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-43.  Quorum.

A majority of the membership of the board of commissioners constitutes a quorum. The number required for a quorum is not affected by vacancies. If a member has withdrawn from a meeting without being excused by majority vote of the remaining members present, he shall be counted as present for the purposes of determining whether a quorum is present. The board may compel the attendance of an absent member by ordering the sheriff to take the member into custody. (Code, s. 706; Rev., s. 1317; C.S., s. 1296; 1945, c. 132; 1951, c. 904, s. 1; 1961, c. 154; 1967, c. 617, s. 1; 1969, c. 349, s. 1; c. 1036; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-44.  Members excused from voting.

The board may excuse a member from voting, but only upon questions involving the member's own financial interest or official conduct or on matters on which the member is prohibited from voting under G.S. 14-234, 153A-340(g), or 160A-388(e)(2). For purposes of this section, the question of the compensation and allowances of members of the board does not involve a member's own financial interest or official conduct.  (Code, s. 706; Rev., s. 1317; C.S., s. 1296; 1945, c. 132; 1951, c. 904, s. 1; 1961, c. 154; 1967, c. 617, s. 1; 1969, c. 349, s. 1; c. 1036; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 2001-409, s. 8; 2005-426, s. 5.1(b); 2013-126, s. 6.)

 

§ 153A-45.  Adoption of ordinances.

To be adopted at the meeting at which it is first introduced, an ordinance or any action having the effect of an ordinance (except the budget ordinance, any bond order, or any other ordinance on which a public hearing must be held before the ordinance may be adopted) must receive the approval of all the members of the board of commissioners. If the ordinance is approved by a majority of those voting but not by all the members of the board, or if the ordinance is not voted on at that meeting, it shall be considered at the next regular meeting of the board. If it then or at any time thereafter within 100 days of its introduction receives a majority of the votes cast, a quorum being present, the ordinance is adopted. (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.)

 

§ 153A-46.  Franchises.

No ordinance making a grant, renewal, extension, or amendment of any franchise may be finally adopted until it has been passed at two regular meetings of the board of commissioners. No such grant, renewal, extension, or amendment may be made except by ordinance. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-47.  Technical ordinances.

Subject to G.S. 143-138(e), a county may in an ordinance adopt by reference a published technical code or a standard or regulation promulgated by a public agency. A technical code or standard or regulation so adopted has the force of law in any area of the county in which the ordinance is applicable. An official copy of a technical code or standard or regulation adopted by reference shall be available for public inspection in the office of the clerk and need not be filed in the ordinance book. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-48.  Ordinance book.

The clerk shall maintain an ordinance book, separate from the minute book of the board of commissioners. The ordinance book shall be indexed and shall be available for public inspection in the office of the clerk. Except as provided in this section and in G.S. 153A-47, each county ordinance shall be filed and indexed in the ordinance book.

The budget ordinance and any amendments thereto, any bond order, and any other ordinance of limited interest or transitory nature may be omitted from the ordinance book. However, the ordinance book shall contain a section showing the caption of each omitted ordinance and the page in the commissioners' minute book at which the ordinance may be found.

If a county adopts and issues a code of its ordinances, county ordinances need be recorded and indexed in the ordinance book only until they are placed in the codification. (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.)

 

§ 153A-49.  Code of ordinances.

A county may adopt and issue a code of its ordinances. The code may be reproduced by any method that gives legible and permanent copies, and may be issued as a securely bound book or books with periodic separately bound supplements, or as a loose-leaf book maintained by replacement pages. Supplements or replacement pages should be adopted and issued at least annually, unless there have been no additions to or modifications of the code during the year.

A code may consist of two parts, the "General Ordinances" and the "Technical Ordinances." The technical ordinances may be published as separate books or pamphlets, and may include ordinances regarding the construction of buildings, the installation of plumbing and electric wiring, and the installation of cooling and heating equipment; ordinances regarding the use of public utilities, buildings, or facilities operated by the county; the zoning ordinance; the subdivision control ordinance; and other similar ordinances designated as technical ordinances by the board of commissioners. The board may omit from the code the budget ordinance, any bond orders, and other designated classes of ordinances of limited interest or transitory nature, but the code shall clearly describe the classes of ordinances omitted from it.

The board of commissioners may provide that ordinances (i) establishing or amending the boundaries of county zoning areas or (ii) establishing or amending the boundaries of zoning districts shall be codified by appropriate entries upon official map books to be retained permanently in the office of the clerk or some other county office generally accessible to the public. (1973, c. 822, s. 1; 2014-3, s. 12.3(e).)

 

§ 153A-50.  Pleading and proving county ordinances.

County ordinances shall be pleaded and proved under the rules and procedures of G.S. 160A-79. References to G.S. 160A-77 and G.S. 160A-78 appearing in G.S. 160A-79 are deemed, for purposes of this section, to refer to G.S. 153A-49 and G.S. 153A-48, respectively. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-51.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-52.  Conduct of public hearing.

The board of commissioners may hold public hearings at any place within the county. The board may adopt reasonable rules governing the conduct of public hearings, including but not limited to rules (i) fixing the maximum time allotted to each speaker, (ii) providing for the designation of spokesmen for groups of persons supporting or opposing the same position, (iii) providing for the selection of delegates from groups of persons supporting or opposing the same positions when the number of persons wishing to attend the hearing exceeds the capacity of the hall, and (iv) providing for the maintenance of order and decorum in the conduct of the hearing.

The board may continue a public hearing without further advertisement. If a public hearing is set for a given date and a quorum of the board is not then present, the board shall continue the hearing without further advertisement until its next regular meeting. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-52.1.  Public comment period during regular meetings.

The board of commissioners shall provide at least one period for public comment per month at a regular meeting of the board. The board may adopt reasonable rules governing the conduct of the public comment period, including, but not limited to, rules (i) fixing the maximum time allotted to each speaker, (ii) providing for the designation of spokesmen for groups of persons supporting or opposing the same positions, (iii) providing for the selection of delegates from groups of persons supporting or opposing the same positions when the number of persons wishing to attend the hearing exceeds the capacity of the hall, and (iv) providing for the maintenance of order and decorum in the conduct of the hearing. The board is not required to provide a public comment period under this section if no regular meeting is held during the month. (2005-170, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-53.  Ethics.

(a)        The board of commissioners shall adopt a resolution or policy containing a code of ethics, as required by G.S. 160A-86.

(b)        All members of the board of commissioners, whether elected or appointed, shall receive the ethics education required by G.S. 160A-87.  (2009-403, s. 4.)

 

§ 153A-54: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-55: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-56: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-57: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

Part 4. Modification in the Structure of the Board of Commissioners.

§ 153A-58.  Optional structures.

A county may alter the structure of its board of commissioners by adopting one or any combination of the options prescribed by this section.

(1)        Number of members of the board of commissioners: The board may  consist of any number of members not less than three, except as limited by subdivision (2)d of this section.

(2)        Terms of office of members of the board of commissioners:

a.         Members shall be elected for two-year terms of office.

b.         Members shall be elected for four-year terms of office.

c.         Members shall be elected for overlapping four-year terms of office.

d.         The board shall consist of an odd number of members, who are elected for a combination of four-and two-year terms of office, so that a majority of members is elected each two years. This option may be used only if all members of the board are nominated and elected by the voters of the entire county, and only if the chairman of the board is elected by and from the members of the board.

(3)        Mode of election of the board of commissioners:

a.         The qualified voters of the entire county shall nominate all candidates for and elect all members of the board.

            For options b, c, and d, the county shall be divided into electoral districts, and board members shall be apportioned to the districts so that the quotients obtained by dividing the population of each district by the number of commissioners apportioned to the district are as nearly equal as practicable.

b.         The qualified voters of each district shall nominate candidates and elect members who reside in the district for seats apportioned to that district; and the qualified voters of the entire county shall nominate candidates and elect members apportioned to the county at large, if any.

c.         The qualified voters of each district shall nominate candidates who reside in the district for seats apportioned to that district, and the qualified voters of the entire county shall nominate candidates for seats apportioned to the county at large, if any; and the qualified voters of the entire county shall elect all the members of the board.

d.         Members shall reside in and represent the districts according to the apportionment plan adopted, but the qualified voters of the entire county shall nominate all candidates for and elect all members of the board.

            If any of options b, c, or d is adopted, the board shall divide the county into the requisite number of electoral districts according to the apportionment plan adopted, and shall cause a delineation of the districts so laid out to be drawn up and filed as required by G.S. 153A-20. No more than  half the board may be apportioned to the county at large.

(4)        Selection of chairman of the board of commissioners:

a.         The board shall elect a chairman from among its membership to  serve a one-year term, as provided by G.S. 153A-39.

b.         The chairmanship shall be a separate office. The qualified voters of the entire county nominate candidates for and elect the chairman for a two-or four-year term. (1927, c. 91, s. 3; 1969, c. 717, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-59.  Implementation when board has members serving a combination of four-and two-year terms.

If the structure of the board of commissioners is altered to establish a board with an odd number of members serving a combination of four-and two-year terms of office, the new structure shall be implemented as follows:

At the first election all members of the board shall be elected. A  simple majority of those elected shall be elected for two-year terms, and the remaining members shall be elected for four-year terms. The candidate or candidates receiving the highest number of votes shall be elected for the four-year terms.

At each subsequent general election, a simple majority of the board shall be elected. That candidate who is elected with the least number of votes shall be elected for a two-year term, and the other member or members elected shall be elected for four-year terms. (1927, c. 91, s. 3; 1969, c. 717, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-60.  Initiation of alterations by resolution.

The board of commissioners shall initiate any alteration in the structure of the board by adopting a resolution. The resolution shall:

(1)        Briefly but completely describe the proposed alterations;

(2)        Prescribe the manner of transition from the existing structure to the altered structure;

(3)        Define the electoral districts, if any, and apportion the members among the districts;

(4)        Call a special referendum on the question of adoption of the alterations. The referendum shall be held and conducted by the county board of elections. The referendum may be held only on a date permitted by G.S. 163-287.

Upon its adoption, the resolution shall be published in full.  (1927, c. 91, s. 4; 1969, c. 717, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1977, c. 382; 2013-381, s. 10.23.)

 

§ 153A-61.  Submission of proposition to voters; form of ballot.

A proposition to approve an alteration shall be printed on the ballot in substantially the following form:

"Shall the structure of the board of commissioners be altered? (Describe the effect of the alteration.)

[] YES

[] NO"

The ballot shall be separate from other ballots used at the election.

If a majority of the votes cast on the proposition are in the affirmative, the plan contained in the resolution shall be put into effect as provided in this Part. If a majority of the votes cast are in the negative, the resolution and the plan contained therein are void. (1927, c. 91, s. 4; 1969, c. 717, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-62.  Effective date of any alteration.

Any approved alteration shall be the basis for nominating and electing the members of the board of commissioners at the first succeeding primary and general election for county offices held after approval of the alteration; and the alteration takes effect on the first Monday in December following that general election. (1927, c. 91, s. 4; 1969, c. 717, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-63.  Filing copy of resolution.

A copy of a resolution approved pursuant to this Part shall be filed and indexed in the ordinance book required by G.S. 153A-48. (1927, c. 91, s. 4; 1969, c. 717, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-64.  Filing results of election.

If the proposition is approved under G.S. 153A-61, a certified true copy of the resolution and a copy of the abstract of the election shall be filed with the Secretary of State and with the Legislative Library. (1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 935, s. 1; 1989, c. 191, s. 1.)

 

§§ 153A-65 through 153A-75.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

 

Article 5.

Administration.

Part 1. Organization and Reorganization of County Government.

§ 153A-76.  Board of commissioners to organize county government.

The board of commissioners may create, change, abolish, and consolidate offices, positions, departments, boards, commissions, and agencies of the county government, may impose ex officio the duties of more than one office on a single officer, may change the composition and manner of selection of boards, commissions, and agencies, and may generally organize and reorganize the county government in order to promote orderly and efficient administration of county affairs, subject to the following limitations:

(1)        The board may not abolish an office, position, department, board, commission, or agency established or required by law.

(2)        The board may not combine offices or confer certain duties on the same officer when this action is specifically forbidden by law.

(3)        The board may not discontinue or assign elsewhere a function or duty assigned by law to a particular office, position, department, board, commission, or agency.

(4)        The board may not change the composition or manner of selection of a local board of education, the board of elections, or the board of alcoholic beverage control.

(5)        The board may not abolish nor consolidate into a human services agency a hospital authority assigned to provide public health services pursuant to Section 12 of S.L. 1997-502 or a public health authority assigned the power, duties, and responsibilities to provide public health services as outlined in G.S. 130A-1.1.

(6)        A board may not consolidate an area mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse services board into a consolidated human services board. The board may not abolish an area mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse services board, except as provided in Chapter 122C of the General Statutes. This subdivision shall not apply to any board that has exercised the powers and duties of an area mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse services board as of January 1, 2012.

(7)        The board may not abolish, assume control over, or consolidate into a human services agency a public hospital as defined in G.S. 159-39(a) pursuant to G.S. 153A-77.  (1973, c. 822, s. 1; 2012-126, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-77.  Authority of boards of commissioners over commissions, boards, agencies, etc.

(a)        In the exercise of its jurisdiction over commissions, boards and agencies, the board of county commissioners may assume direct control of any activities theretofore conducted by or through any commission, board or agency by the adoption of a resolution assuming and conferring upon the board of county commissioners all powers, responsibilities and duties of any such commission, board or agency. This section shall apply to the board of health, the social services board, area mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse area board or any other commission, board or agency appointed by the board of county commissioners or acting under and pursuant to authority of the board of county commissioners of said county except as provided in G.S. 153A-76. A board of county commissioners exercising the power and authority under this subsection may, notwithstanding G.S. 130A-25, enforce public health rules adopted by the board through the imposition of civil penalties. If a public health rule adopted by a board of county commissioners imposes a civil penalty, the provisions of G.S. 130A-25 making its violation a misdemeanor shall not be applicable to that public health rule unless the rule states that a violation of the rule is a misdemeanor. The board of county commissioners may exercise the power and authority herein conferred only after a public hearing held by said board pursuant to 30 days' notice of said public hearing given in a newspaper having general circulation in said county.

The board of county commissioners may also appoint advisory boards, committees, councils and agencies composed of qualified and interested county residents to study, interpret and develop community support and cooperation in activities conducted by or under the authority of the board of county commissioners of said county.

A board of county commissioners that has assumed direct control of a local health board after January 1, 2012, and that does not delegate the powers and duties of that board to a consolidated health service board shall appoint an advisory committee consistent with the membership described in G.S. 130A-35.

(b)        In the exercise of its jurisdiction over commissions, boards, and agencies, the board of county commissioners of a county having a county manager pursuant to G.S. 153A-81 may:

(1)        Consolidate certain provisions of human services in the county under the direct control of a human services director appointed and supervised by the county manager in accordance with subsection (e) of this section;

(2)        Create a consolidated human services board having the powers conferred by subsection (c) of this section;

(3)        Create a consolidated county human services agency having the authority to carry out the functions of any combination of commissions, boards, or agencies appointed by the board of county commissioners or acting under and pursuant to authority of the board of county commissioners, including the local health department, the county department of social services, or the area mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse services authority; and

(4)        Assign other county human services functions to be performed by the consolidated human services agency under the direction of the human services director, with policy-making authority granted to the consolidated human services board as determined by the board of county commissioners.

(c)        A consolidated human services board appointed by the board of county commissioners shall serve as the policy-making, rule-making, and administrative board of the consolidated human services agency. The consolidated human services board shall be composed of no more than 25 members. The composition of the board shall reasonably reflect the population makeup of the county and shall include:

(1)        Eight persons who are consumers of human services, public advocates, or family members of clients of the consolidated human services agency, including: one person with mental illness, one person with a developmental disability, one person in recovery from substance abuse, one family member of a person with mental illness, one family member of a person with a developmental disability, one family member of a person with a substance abuse problem, and two consumers of other human services.

(1a)      Notwithstanding subdivision (1) of this subsection, a consolidated human services board not exercising powers and duties of an area mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse services board shall include four persons who are consumers of human services.

(2)        Eight persons who are professionals, each with qualifications in one of these categories: one psychologist, one pharmacist, one engineer, one dentist, one optometrist, one veterinarian, one social worker, and one registered nurse.

(3)        Two physicians licensed to practice medicine in this State, one of whom shall be a psychiatrist.

(4)        One member of the board of county commissioners.

(5)        Other persons, including members of the general public representing various occupations.

The board of county commissioners may elect to appoint a member of the consolidated human services board to fill concurrently more than one category of membership if the member has the qualifications or attributes of more than one category of membership.

All members of the consolidated human services board shall be residents of the county. The members of the board shall serve four-year terms. No member may serve more than two consecutive four-year terms. The county commissioner member shall serve only as long as the member is a county commissioner.

The initial board shall be appointed by the board of county commissioners upon the recommendation of a nominating committee comprised of members of the preconsolidation board of health, social services board, and area mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse services board. In order to establish a uniform staggered term structure for the board, a member may be appointed for less than a four-year term. After the subsequent establishment of the board, its board shall be appointed by the board of county commissioners from nominees presented by the human services board. Vacancies shall be filled for any unexpired portion of a term.

A chairperson shall be elected annually by the members of the consolidated human services board. A majority of the members shall constitute a quorum. A member may be removed from office by the county board of commissioners for (i) commission of a felony or other crime involving moral turpitude; (ii) violation of a State law governing conflict of interest; (iii) violation of a written policy adopted by the county board of commissioners; (iv) habitual failure to attend meetings; (v) conduct that tends to bring the office into disrepute; or (vi) failure to maintain qualifications for appointment required under this subsection. A board member may be removed only after the member has been given written notice of the basis for removal and has had the opportunity to respond.

A member may receive a per diem in an amount established by the county board of commissioners. Reimbursement for subsistence and travel shall be in accordance with a policy set by the county board of commissioners. The board shall meet at least quarterly. The chairperson or three of the members may call a special meeting.

(d)       The consolidated human services board shall have authority to:

(1)        Set fees for departmental services based upon recommendations of the human services director. Fees set under this subdivision are subject to the same restrictions on amount and scope that would apply if the fees were set by a county board of health, a county board of social services, or a mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse area authority.

(2)        Assure compliance with laws related to State and federal programs.

(3)        Recommend creation of local human services programs.

(4)        Adopt local health regulations and participate in enforcement appeals of local regulations.

(5)        Perform regulatory health functions required by State law.

(6)        Act as coordinator or agent of the State to the extent required by State or federal law.

(7)        Plan and recommend a consolidated human services budget.

(8)        Conduct audits and reviews of human services programs, including quality assurance activities, as required by State and federal law or as may otherwise be necessary periodically.

(9)        Advise local officials through the county manager.

(10)      Perform public relations and advocacy functions.

(11)      Protect the public health to the extent required by law.

(12)      Perform comprehensive mental health services planning if the county is exercising the powers and duties of an area mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse services board under the consolidated human services board.

(13)      Develop dispute resolution procedures for human services contractors and clients and public advocates, subject to applicable State and federal dispute resolution procedures for human services programs, when applicable.

Except as otherwise provided, the consolidated human services board shall have the powers and duties conferred by law upon a board of health, a social services board, and an area mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse services board.

Local employees who serve as staff of a consolidated county human services agency are subject to county personnel policies and ordinances only and are not subject to the provisions of the North Carolina Human Resources Act, unless the county board of commissioners elects to subject the local employees to the provisions of that Act. All consolidated county human services agencies shall comply with all applicable federal laws, rules, and regulations requiring the establishment of merit personnel systems.

(e)        The human services director of a consolidated county human services agency shall be appointed and dismissed by the county manager with the advice and consent of the consolidated human services board. The human services director shall report directly to the county manager. The human services director shall:

(1)        Appoint staff of the consolidated human services agency with the county manager's approval.

(2)        Administer State human services programs.

(3)        Administer human services programs of the local board of county commissioners.

(4)        Act as secretary and staff to the consolidated human services board under the direction of the county manager.

(5)        Plan the budget of the consolidated human services agency.

(6)        Advise the board of county commissioners through the county manager.

(7)        Perform regulatory functions of investigation and enforcement of State and local health regulations, as required by State law.

(8)        Act as an agent of and liaison to the State, to the extent required by law.

(9)        Appoint, with the county manager's approval, an individual that meets the requirements of G.S. 130A-40(a).

Except as otherwise provided by law, the human services director or the director's designee shall have the same powers and duties as a social services director, a local health director, or a director of an area mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse services authority.

(f)        Repealed by Session Laws 2012-126, s. 1, effective June 29, 2012.  (1973, c. 454, ss. 1-21/2; 1985, c. 589, s. 56; c. 754, s. 1; 1987, c. 217, ss. 1, 2; 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 690, s. 3; 2001-120, s. 1; 2012-126, s. 1; 2013-382, s. 9.1(c).)

 

§ 153A-77.1.  Single portal of entry.

A county may develop for human services a single portal of entry, a consolidated case management system, and a common data base; provided that if the county is part of a district health department or multicounty public health authority or a multicounty area mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse authority, such action must be approved by the district board of health or public health authority board or the area mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse board to affect any matter within the jurisdiction of that board. Nothing in this section shall be construed to abrogate a patient's right to confidentiality as provided by law. (1987, c. 422, s. 1; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 1030, s. 47; 1997-502, s. 5.)

 

§ 153A-78.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-79.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-80.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

Part 2.  Administration in Counties Having Managers.

§ 153A-81.  Adoption of county-manager plan; appointment or designation of manager.

The board of commissioners may by resolution adopt or discontinue the county-manager plan. If it adopts the county-manager plan, the board may, in the alternative:

(1)        Appoint a county manager to serve at its pleasure. The manager  shall be appointed solely on the basis of his executive and administrative qualifications. He need not be a resident of the county or the State at the time of his appointment.

(2)        Confer upon the chairman or some other member of the board of commissioners the duties of county manager. If this is done, the chairman or member shall become a full-time county official, and the board may increase his salary pursuant to G.S. 153A-28.

(3)        Confer upon any other officer, employee, or agent of the county the duties of county manager.

As used in this Part, the word "manager" includes the chairman or any member of the board of commissioners exercising the duties of manager or any officer, employee, or agent of a county exercising the duties of manager. (1927, c. 91, ss. 5, 8; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-82.  Powers and duties of manager.

The manager is the chief administrator of county government. He is responsible to the board of commissioners for the administration of all departments of county government under the board's general control and has the following powers and duties:

(1)        He shall appoint with the approval of the board of commissioners and suspend or remove all county officers, employees, and agents except those who are elected by the people or whose appointment is otherwise provided for by law. The board may by resolution permit the manager to appoint officers, employees, and agents without first securing the board's approval. The manager shall make his appointments, suspensions, and removals in accordance with any general personnel rules, regulations, policies, or ordinances that the board may adopt. The board may require the manager to report each suspension or removal to the board at the board's first regular meeting following the suspension or removal; and, if the board has permitted the manager to make appointments without board approval, the board may require the manager to report each appointment to the board at the board's first regular meeting following the appointment.

(2)        He shall direct and supervise the administration of all county offices, departments, boards, commissions and agencies under the general control of the board of commissioners, subject to the general direction and control of the board.

(3)        He shall attend all meetings of the board of commissioners and recommend any measures that he considers expedient.

(4)        He shall see that the orders, ordinances, resolutions, and regulations of the board of commissioners are faithfully executed within the county.

(5)        He shall prepare and submit the annual budget and capital program to the board of commissioners.

(6)        He shall annually submit to the board of commissioners and make available to the public a complete report on the finances and administrative activities of the county as of the end of the fiscal year.

(7)        He shall make any other reports that the board of commissioners may require concerning the operations of county offices, departments, boards, commissions, and agencies.

(8)        He shall perform any other duties that may be required or authorized by the board of commissioners. (1927, c. 91, ss. 6, 7; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-83.  Acting county manager.

By letter filed with the clerk, the manager may designate, subject to the approval of the board of commissioners, a qualified person to exercise the powers and perform the duties of manager during the manager's temporary absence or disability. During an absence or disability, the board may revoke the designation at any time and appoint another person to serve until the manager returns or his disability ceases. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-84.  Interim county manager.

Whenever the position of county manager is vacant, the board of commissioners shall designate a qualified person to exercise the powers and perform the duties of manager until the vacancy is filled. The board may designate the chairman or some other member as interim manager; for the interim the chairman or member shall become a full-time county official, and the board may increase his salary pursuant to G.S. 153A-28. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§§ 153A-85 through 153A-86.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

Part 3. Administration in Counties Not Having Managers.

§ 153A-87.  Administration in counties not having managers.

In a county that has not adopted or does not operate under the county-manager plan, the board of commissioners shall appoint, suspend, and remove all county officers, employees, and agents except those who are elected by the people or whose appointment is otherwise provided for by law. The board may delegate to the head of any county department the power to appoint, suspend, and remove county officers or employees assigned to his department. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-88.  Acting department heads.

By letter filed with the clerk, the head of a department may designate, subject to the approval of the board of commissioners, a qualified person to exercise the powers and perform the duties of head of that department during the department head's temporary absence or disability. During an absence or disability, the board may revoke the designation at any time and appoint another person to serve until the department head returns or his disability ceases. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-89.  Interim department heads.

Whenever the position of head of a department is vacant, the board may designate a qualified person to exercise the powers and perform the duties of head of the department until the vacancy is filled. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§§ 153A-90 through 153A-91.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

Part 4. Personnel.

§ 153A-92.  Compensation.

(a)        Subject to the limitations set forth in subsection (b) of this section, the board of commissioners shall fix or approve the schedule of pay, expense allowances, and other compensation of all county officers and employees, whether elected or appointed, and may adopt position classification plans.

(b)        In exercising the authority granted by subsection (a) of this section, the board of commissioners is subject to the following limitations:

(1)        The board of commissioners may not reduce the salary, allowances, or other compensation paid to an officer elected by the people for the duties of his elective office if the reduction is to take effect during the term of office for which the incumbent officer has been elected, unless the officer agrees to the reduction or unless the Local Government Commission pursuant to Chapter 159, Article 10, orders a reduction.

(2)        During the year of a general election, the board of commissioners may reduce the salary, allowances, or other compensation of an officer to be elected at the general election only in accordance with this subdivision. The board of commissioners shall by resolution give notice of intention to make the reduction no later than 14 days before the last day for filing notice of candidacy for the office. The resolution shall set forth the reduced salary, allowances, and other compensation and shall provide that the reduction is to take effect at the time the person elected to the office in the general election takes office. Once adopted, the resolution may not be altered until the person elected to the office in the general election has taken office. The filing fee for the office shall be determined by reference to the reduced salary.

(3)        If the board of commissioners reduces the salaries, allowances, or other compensation of employees assigned to an officer elected by the people, and the reduction does not apply alike to all county offices and departments, the elected officer involved must approve the reduction. If the elected officer refuses to approve the reduction, he and the board of commissioners shall meet and attempt to reach agreement. If agreement cannot be reached, either the board or the officer may refer the dispute to arbitration by the senior resident superior court judge of the superior court district or set of districts as defined in G.S. 7A-41.1 in which the county is located. The judge shall make an award within 30 days after the day the matter is referred to him. The award may extend for no more than two fiscal years, including the fiscal year for which it is made.

(4)        The board of commissioners shall fix their own salaries, allowances, and other compensation in accordance with G.S. 153A-28.

(5)        The board of commissioners shall fix the salaries, allowances and other compensation of county employees subject to the North Carolina Human Resources Act according to the procedures set forth in Chapter 126. The board may make these employees subject to a county position classification plan only as provided in Chapter 126.

(c)        In counties with a county manager, the manager is responsible for preparing position classification and pay plans for submission to the board of commissioners and for administering the pay plan and any position classification plan in accordance with general policies and directives adopted by the board. In counties without a county manager, the board of commissioners shall appoint or designate a personnel officer, who shall then be responsible for administering the pay plan and any position classification plan in accordance with general policies and directives adopted by the board.

(d)       A county may purchase life insurance or health insurance or both for the benefit of all or any class of county officers and employees as a part of their compensation. A county may provide other fringe benefits for county officers and employees. In providing health insurance to county officers and employees, a county shall not provide abortion coverage greater than that provided by the State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees under Article 3B of Chapter 135 of the General Statutes.  (1927, c. 91, s. 8; 1953, c. 1227, ss. 1-3; 1969, c. 358, s. 1; c. 1017; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1037, s. 122; 2013-366, s. 2(b); 2013-382, s. 9.1(c).)

 

§ 153A-93.  Retirement benefits.

(a)        The board of commissioners may provide for enrolling county officers and employees in the Local Governmental Employees' Retirement System, the Law-Enforcement Officers' Benefit and Relief Fund, the Firemen's Pension Fund, or a retirement plan certified to be actuarially sound by a qualified actuary as defined in subsection (c) of this section and may make payments into such a retirement system or plan on behalf of its employees.

(b)        No county may make payments into a retirement system or plan established or authorized by a local act unless the system or plan is certified to be actuarially sound by a qualified actuary as defined in subsection (c) of this section.

(c)        A qualified actuary means a member of the American Academy of Actuaries or an individual certified as qualified by the Commissioner of Insurance.

(d)       A county which is providing health insurance under G.S. 153A-92(d) may provide health insurance for all or any class of former officers and employees of the county. Such health insurance may be paid entirely by the county, partly by the county and former officer or employee, or entirely by the former officer or employee, at the option of the county.

(d1)     On and after October 1, 2009, a county which is providing health insurance under G.S. 153A-92(d) may provide health insurance for all or any class of former officers and employees of the county who have obtained at least 10 years of service with the county prior to separation from the county and who are not receiving benefits under subsection (a) of this section. Such health insurance may be paid entirely by the county, partly by the county and former officer or employee, or entirely by the former officer or employee, at the option of the county.

(d2)     Notwithstanding subsection (d) of this section, any county that has elected to and is covering its active employees only, or its active and retired employees, under the State Health Plan, or elects such coverage under the Plan, may not provide health insurance through the State Health Plan to all or any class of former officers and employees who are not receiving benefits under subsection (a) of this section. The county may, however, provide health insurance to such former officers and employees by any other means authorized by G.S. 153A-92(d). The health insurance premium may be paid entirely by the county, partly by the county and former officer or employee, or entirely by the former officer or employee, at the option of the county.

(e)        The board of commissioners may provide a deferred compensation plan. Where the board of commissioners provides a deferred compensation plan, the investment of funds for the plan shall be exempt from the provisions of G.S. 159-30 and G.S. 159-31. Counties may invest deferred compensation plan funds in life insurance, fixed or variable annuities and retirement income contracts, regulated investment trusts, or other forms of investments approved by the Board of Trustees of the North Carolina Public Employee Deferred Compensation Plan.  (1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1981, c. 347, s. 1; 1991, c. 277, s. 1; 2009-564, ss. 1, 2.)

 

§ 153A-94.  Personnel rules; office hours, workdays, and holidays.

(a)        The board of commissioners may adopt or provide for rules and regulations or ordinances concerning but not limited to annual leave, sick leave, special leave with full pay or with partial pay supplementing workers' compensation payments for employees injured in accidents arising out of and in the course of employment, working conditions, service award and incentive award programs, other personnel policies, and any other measures that promote the hiring and retention of capable, diligent, and honest career employees.

(b)        The board of commissioners may prescribe the office hours, workdays, and holidays to be observed by the various offices, departments, boards, commissions, and agencies of the county. (1959, c. 251; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1991, c. 636, s. 3.)

 

§ 153A-94.1.  (See note on condition precedent) Smallpox vaccination policy.

All counties that employ firefighters, law enforcement officers, paramedics, other first responders, or health department employees shall, not later than 90 days after this section becomes law, enact a policy regarding sick leave and salary continuation for those employees for absence from work due to an adverse medical reaction resulting from the employee receiving in employment vaccination against smallpox incident to the Administration of Smallpox Countermeasures by Health Professionals, section 304 of the Homeland Security Act, Pub. L. No. 107-296 (Nov. 25, 2002) (to be codified at 42 U.S.C. § 233(p)). (2003-169, s. 6.)

 

§ 153A-94.2.  Criminal history record checks of employees permitted.

The board of commissioners may adopt or provide for rules and regulations or ordinances concerning a requirement that any applicant for employment be subject to a criminal history record check of State and National Repositories of Criminal Histories conducted by the Department of Public Safety in accordance with G.S. 143B-945. The local or regional public employer may consider the results of these criminal history record checks in its hiring decisions.  (2005-358, s. 2; 2014-100, s. 17.1(mmm).)

 

§ 153A-95.  Personnel board.

The board of commissioners may establish a personnel board with authority, as regards employees in offices, departments, boards, commissions, and agencies under the general control of the board of commissioners, to administer tests designed to determine the merit and fitness of candidates for appointment or promotion, to conduct hearings upon the appeal of employees who have been suspended, demoted, or discharged, to hear employee grievances, or to undertake any other duties relating to personnel administration that the board of commissioners may direct. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-96.  Participation in the Social Security Act.

The board of commissioners may take any action necessary to allow county officers and employees to participate fully in benefits provided by the Federal Social Security Act. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-97.  Defense of officers, employees and others.

A county may, pursuant to G.S. 160A-167, provide for the defense of:

(1)        Any county officer or employee, including the county board of elections or any county election official.

(2)        Any member of a volunteer fire department or rescue squad which receives public funds.

(2a)      Any soil and water conservation supervisor, and any local soil and water conservation employee, whether the employee is a county employee or an employee of a soil and water conservation district.

(3)        Any person or professional association who at the request of the board of county commissioners provides medical or dental services to inmates in the custody of the sheriff and is sued pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 with respect to the services. (1957, c. 436; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1977, c. 307, s. 1; 1989, c. 733, s. 2; 2001-300, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-98.  Privacy of employee personnel records.

(a)        Notwithstanding the provisions of G.S. 132-6 or any other general law or local act concerning access to public records, personnel files of employees, former employees, or applicants for employment maintained by a county are subject to inspection and may be disclosed only as provided by this section. For purposes of this section, an employee's personnel file consists of any information in any form gathered by the county with respect to that employee and, by way of illustration but not limitation, relating to his application, selection or nonselection, performance, promotions, demotions, transfers, suspension and other disciplinary actions, evaluation forms, leave, salary, and termination of employment. As used in this section, "employee" includes former employees of the county.

(b)        The following information with respect to each county employee is a matter of public record:

(1)        Name.

(2)        Age.

(3)        Date of original employment or appointment to the county service.

(4)        The terms of any contract by which the employee is employed whether written or oral, past and current, to the extent that the county has the written contract or a record of the oral contract in its possession.

(5)        Current position.

(6)        Title.

(7)        Current salary.

(8)        Date and amount of each increase or decrease in salary with that county.

(9)        Date and type of each promotion, demotion, transfer, suspension, separation or other change in position classification with that county.

(10)      Date and general description of the reasons for each promotion with that county.

(11)      Date and type of each dismissal, suspension, or demotion for disciplinary reasons taken by the county. If the disciplinary action was a dismissal, a copy of the written notice of the final decision of the county setting forth the specific acts or omissions that are the basis of the dismissal.

(12)      The office to which the employee is currently assigned.

(b1)      For the purposes of this subsection, the term "salary" includes pay, benefits, incentives, bonuses, and deferred and all other forms of compensation paid by the employing entity.

(b2)      The board of county commissioners shall determine in what form and by whom this information will be maintained. Any person may have access to this information for the purpose of inspection, examination, and copying, during regular business hours, subject only to such rules and regulations for the safekeeping of public records as the board of commissioners may have adopted. Any person denied access to this information may apply to the appropriate division of the General Court of Justice for an order compelling disclosure, and the court shall have jurisdiction to issue such orders.

(c)        All information contained in a county employee's personnel file, other than the information made public by subsection (b) of this section, is confidential and shall be open to inspection only in the following instances:

(1)        The employee or his duly authorized agent may examine all portions of his personnel file except (i) letters of reference solicited prior to employment, and (ii) information concerning a medical disability, mental or physical, that a prudent physician would not divulge to his patient.

(2)        A licensed physician designated in writing by the employee may examine the employee's medical record.

(3)        A county employee having supervisory authority over the employee may examine all material in the employee's personnel file.

(4)        By order of a court of competent jurisdiction, any person may examine such portion of an employee's personnel file as may be ordered by the court.

(5)        An official of an agency of the State or federal government, or any political subdivision of the State, may inspect any portion of a personnel file when such inspection is deemed by the official having custody of such records to be inspected to be necessary and essential to the pursuance of a proper function of the inspecting agency, but no information shall be divulged for the purpose of assisting in a criminal prosecution of the employee, or for the purpose of assisting in an investigation of the employee's tax liability. However, the official having custody of such records may release the name, address, and telephone number from a personnel file for the purpose of assisting in a criminal investigation.

(6)        An employee may sign a written release, to be placed with his personnel file, that permits the person with custody of the file to provide, either in person, by telephone, or by mail, information specified in the release to prospective employers, educational institutions, or other persons specified in the release.

(7)        The county manager, with concurrence of the board of county commissioners, or, in counties not having a manager, the board of county commissioners may inform any person of the employment or nonemployment, promotion, demotion, suspension or other disciplinary action, reinstatement, transfer, or termination of a county employee and the reasons for that personnel action. Before releasing the information, the manager or board shall determine in writing that the release is essential to maintaining public confidence in the administration of county services or to maintaining the level and quality of county services. This written determination shall be retained in the office of the manager or the county clerk, is a record available for public inspection and shall become part of the employee's personnel file.

(c1)      Even if considered part of an employee's personnel file, the following information need not be disclosed to an employee nor to any other person:

(1)        Testing or examination material used solely to determine individual qualifications for appointment, employment, or promotion in the county's service, when disclosure would compromise the objectivity or the fairness of the testing or examination process.

(2)        Investigative reports or memoranda and other information concerning the investigation of possible criminal actions of an employee, until the investigation is completed and no criminal action taken, or until the criminal action is concluded.

(3)        Information that might identify an undercover law enforcement officer or a law enforcement informer.

(4)        Notes, preliminary drafts and internal communications concerning an employee. In the event such materials are used for any official personnel decision, then the employee or his duly authorized agent shall have a right to inspect such materials.

(c2)      The board of county commissioners may permit access, subject to limitations they may impose, to selected personnel files by a professional representative of a training, research, or academic institution if that person certifies that he will not release information identifying the employees whose files are opened and that the information will be used solely for statistical, research, or teaching purposes. This certification shall be retained by the county as long as each personnel file so examined is retained.

(c3)      Repealed by Session Laws 2016-108, s. 2(g), effective July 22, 2016.

(c4)      Even if considered part of an employee's personnel file, the following information regarding any sworn law enforcement officer shall not be disclosed to an employee or any other person, unless disclosed in accordance with G.S. 132-1.4, or in accordance with G.S. 132-1.10, or for the personal safety of that sworn law enforcement officer or any other person residing in the same residence:

(1)        Information that might identify the residence of a sworn law enforcement officer.

(2)        Emergency contact information.

(3)        Any identifying information as defined in G.S. 14-113.20.

(d)       The board of commissioners of a county that maintains personnel files containing information other than the information mentioned in subsection (b) of this section shall establish procedures whereby an employee who objects to material in his file on grounds that it is inaccurate or misleading may seek to have the material removed from the file or may place in the file a statement relating to the material.

(e)        A public official or employee who knowingly, willfully, and with malice permits any person to have access to information contained in a personnel file, except as is permitted by this section, is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor and upon conviction shall only be fined an amount not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00).

(f)        Any person, not specifically authorized by this section to have access to a personnel file designated as confidential, who shall knowingly and willfully examine in its official filing place, remove or copy any portion of a confidential personnel file shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor and upon conviction shall only be fined in the discretion of the court but not in excess of five hundred dollars ($500.00).  (1975, c. 701, s. 1; 1981, c. 926, ss. 1, 5-8; 1993, c. 539, ss. 1059, 1060; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 2007-508, s. 6; 2008-194, s. 11(d); 2010-169, s. 18(e); 2015-225, s. 1; 2016-108, s. 2(g).)

 

§ 153A-99.  County employee political activity.

(a)        Purpose.  The purpose of this section is to ensure that county employees are not subjected to political or partisan coercion while performing their job duties, to ensure that employees are not restricted from political activities while off duty, and to ensure that public funds are not used for political or partisan activities.

It is not the purpose of this section to allow infringement upon the rights of employees to engage in free speech and free association.  Every county employee has a civic responsibility to support good government by every available means and in every appropriate manner.  Employees shall not be restricted from affiliating with civic organizations of a partisan or political nature, nor shall employees, while off duty, be restricted from attending political meetings, or advocating and supporting the principles or policies of civic or political organizations, or supporting partisan or nonpartisan candidates of their choice in accordance with the Constitution and laws of the State and the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.

(b)        Definitions.  For the purposes of this section:

(1)        "County employee" or "employee" means any person employed by a county or any department or program thereof that is supported, in whole or in part, by county funds;

(2)        "On duty" means that time period when an employee is engaged in the duties of his or her employment; and

(3)        "Workplace" means any place where an employee engages in his or her job duties.

(c)        No employee while on duty or in the workplace may:

(1)        Use his or her official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election or nomination for political office; or

(2)        Coerce, solicit, or compel contributions for political or partisan purposes by another employee.

(d)       No employee may be required as a duty or condition of employment, promotion, or tenure of office to contribute funds for political or partisan purposes.

(e)        No employee may use county funds, supplies, or equipment for partisan purposes, or for political purposes except where such political uses are otherwise permitted by law.

(f)        To the extent that this section conflicts with the provisions of any local act, local ordinance, resolution, or policy, this section prevails to the extent of the conflict. (1991, c. 619, s. 1; 1993, c. 298, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-99.1.  County verification of employee work authorization.

(a)        Counties Must Use E-Verify. - Each county shall register and participate in E-Verify to verify the work authorization of new employees hired to work in the United States.

(b)        E-Verify Defined. - As used in this section, the term "E-Verify" means the federal E-Verify program operated by the United States Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies, or any successor or equivalent program used to verify the work authorization of newly hired employees pursuant to federal law.

(c)        Nondiscrimination. - This section shall be enforced without regard to race, religion, gender, ethnicity, or national origin.  (2011-263, s. 4.)

 

§ 153A-100.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

Part 5.  Board of Commissioners and Other Officers, Boards, Departments, and Agencies of the County.

§ 153A-101.  Board of commissioners to direct fiscal policy of the county.

The board of commissioners has and shall exercise the responsibility of developing and directing the fiscal policy of the county government under the provisions and procedures of the Local Government Budget and Fiscal Control Act. (1777, c. 129, s. 4, P.R.; R.C., c. 28, s. 16; Code, s. 753; Rev., s. 1379; C.S., s. 1325; 1927, c. 91, s. 11; 1953, c. 973, s. 2; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-102.  Commissioners to fix fees.

The board of commissioners may fix the fees and commissions charged by county officers and employees for performing services or duties permitted or required by law. The board may not, however, fix fees in the General Court of Justice or modify the fees of the register of deeds prescribed by G.S. 161-10 or the fees of the board of elections prescribed by G.S. 163-107. (1953, c. 1227, ss. 1-3; 1969, c. 358, s. 1; c. 1017; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-102.1.  Notice of new fees and fee increases; public comment period.

(a)        A county shall provide notice to interested parties of the imposition of or increase in fees or charges applicable solely to the construction of development subject to the provisions of Part 2 of Article 18 of this Chapter at least seven days prior to the first meeting where the imposition of or increase in the fees or charges is on the agenda for consideration. The county shall employ at least two of the following means of communication in order to provide the notice required by this section:

(1)        Notice of the meeting in a prominent location on a Web site managed or maintained by the county.

(2)        Notice of the meeting in a prominent physical location, including, but not limited to, any government building, library, or courthouse within the county.

(3)        Notice of the meeting by electronic mail to a list of interested parties that is created by the county for the purpose of notification as required by this section.

(4)        Notice of the meeting by facsimile to a list of interested parties that is created by the county for the purpose of notification as required by this section.

(a1)      If a county manages or maintains a Web site, it may provide the notice required pursuant to G.S. 160A-4.1, 130A-64.1, or 162A-9 on its Web site at the request of a city, sanitary district, or water and sewer authority that does not manage or maintain a Web site of its own. Any county that elects to provide such notice shall post the notice to its Web site within seven days of the request made by the city, sanitary district, or water and sewer authority.

(b)        During the consideration of the imposition of or increase in fees or charges as provided in subsection (a) of this section, the governing body of the county shall permit a period of public comment.

(c)        This section shall not apply if the imposition of or increase in fees or charges is contained in a budget filed in accordance with the requirements of G.S. 159-12.  (2009-436, s. 1; 2010-180, s. 11(a).)

 

§ 153A-103.  Number of employees in offices of sheriff and register of deeds.

 

Subject to the limitations set forth below, the board of commissioners may fix the number of salaried employees in the offices of the sheriff and the register of deeds. In exercising the authority granted by this section, the board of commissioners is subject to the following limitations:

(1)        Each sheriff and register of deeds elected by the people has the exclusive right to hire, discharge, and supervise the employees in his office. However, the board of commissioners must approve the appointment by such an officer of a relative by blood or marriage of nearer kinship than first cousin or of a person who has been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude.

(2)        Each sheriff and register of deeds elected by the people is entitled to at least two deputies who shall be reasonably compensated by the county, provided that the register of deeds justifies to the Board of County Commissioners the necessity of the second deputy.  Each deputy so appointed shall serve at the pleasure of the appointing officer.

Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, approval of the board of commissioners is not required for the reappointment or continued employment of a near relative of a sheriff or register of deeds who was not related to the appointing officer at the time of initial appointment. (1953, c. 1227, ss. 1, 2; 1969, c. 358, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1977, c. 36; 1979, c. 551; 1987, c. 362.)

 

§ 153A-104.  Reports from officers, employees, and agents of the county.

The board of commissioners may require any officer, employee, or agent of the county to make to the board, either directly or through the county manager, periodic or special reports concerning any matter connected with the officer's, employee's or agent's duties. The board may require that such a report be made under oath. If a person fails or refuses to obey a reasonable order to make a report, issued pursuant to this section, the board may apply to the appropriate division of the General Court of Justice for an order requiring that its order be obeyed. The court has jurisdiction to issue these orders. (1868, c. 20, s. 8; Code, s. 707; Rev., s. 1318; C.S., s. 1297; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§§ 153A-105 through 153A-110.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

Part 6. Clerk to the Board of Commissioners.

§ 153A-111.  Appointment; powers and duties.

The board of commissioners shall appoint or designate a clerk to the board. The board may designate the register of deeds or any other county officer or employee as clerk. The clerk shall perform any duties that may be required by law or the board of commissioners. The clerk shall serve as such at the pleasure of the board. (Const., art. 7, s. 2; Code, s. 710; 1895, c. 135, s. 4; Rev., s. 1324; C.S., s. 1309; 1955, c. 247, s. 1; 1963, c. 372; 1969, c. 207; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§§ 153A-112 through 153A-113.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

Part 7. County Attorney.

§ 153A-114.  Appointment; duties.

The board of commissioners shall appoint a county attorney to serve at its pleasure and to be its legal adviser. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§§ 153A-115 through 153A-120.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

 

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).)

 

 

Article 7.

Taxation.

§ 153A-146.  General power to impose taxes.

(a)        Authority. - A county may impose taxes only as specifically authorized by act of the General Assembly. Except when the statute authorizing a tax provides for penalties and interest, the power to impose a tax includes the power to impose reasonable penalties for failure to declare tax liability, if required, and to impose penalties or interest for failure to pay taxes lawfully due within the time prescribed by law or ordinance. In determining the liability of any taxpayer for a tax, a county may not employ an agent who is compensated in whole or in part by the county for services rendered on a contingent basis or any other basis related to the amount of tax, interest, or penalty assessed against or collected from the taxpayer. The power to impose a tax also includes the power to provide for its administration in a manner not inconsistent with the statute authorizing the tax.

(b)        Prohibition. - A county may not impose a license, franchise, or privilege tax on a person engaged in any of the businesses listed in this subsection:

(1)        Supplying piped natural gas.

(2)        Providing telecommunications service taxed under G.S. 105-164.4(a)(4c).

(3)        Providing video programming taxed under G.S. 105-164.4(a)(6).

(4)        Providing electricity.  (1868, c. 20, s. 8; Code, s. 707; Rev., s. 1318; C.S., s. 1297; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 2012-152, s. 4; 2012-194, s. 61.5(b); 2015-6, s. 2.18(b); 2015-109, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-147.  Remedies for collecting taxes other than property taxes.

In addition to any other remedies provided by law, a county may collect any county tax by use of the remedies of levy and sale and attachment and garnishment, under the rules and according to the procedures prescribed by the Machinery Act (Chapter 105, Subchapter II) for the enforcement of tax liability against personal property. However, these remedies become available only on the due date of the tax and not before that time. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-148.  Continuing taxes.

Except for taxes levied on property under the Machinery Act (Chapter 105, Subchapter II), a county may impose any authorized tax by a permanent ordinance that shall stand from year to year until amended or repealed, and it is not necessary to reimpose the tax in each annual budget ordinance. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-148.1.  Disclosure of certain information prohibited.

(a)        Disclosure Prohibited. - Notwithstanding Chapter 132 of the General Statutes or any other law regarding access to public records, local tax records that contain information about a taxpayer's income or receipts are not public records. A current or former officer, employee, or agent of a county who in the course of service to or employment by the county has access to information about the amount of a taxpayer's income or receipts may not disclose the information to any other person unless the disclosure is made for one of the following purposes:

(1)        To comply with a court order or a law.

(2)        Review by the Attorney General or a representative of the Attorney General.

(3)        To sort, process, or deliver tax information on behalf of the county, as necessary to administer a tax.

(4)        To exchange information with a regional public transportation authority or a regional transportation authority created pursuant to Article 26 or Article 27 of Chapter 160A of the General Statutes, when the information is needed to fulfill a duty imposed on the authority or on the county.

(5)        To exchange information with the Department of Revenue, when the information is needed to fulfill a duty imposed on the Department or on the county.

(6)        To include on a property tax receipt the amount of property taxes due and the amount of property taxes deferred on a residence classified under G.S. 105-277.1B, the property tax homestead circuit breaker.

(7)        To disclose to the authorized finance officer of any municipality located within the county tax information in the possession of the county, as necessary to administer a tax.

(b)        Punishment. - A person who violates this section is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. If the person committing the violation is an officer or employee, that person shall be dismissed from public office or public employment and may not hold any public office or public employment in this State for five years after the violation.  (1993, c. 485, s. 33; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 14, s. 66; 1998-139, s. 2; 2008-35, s. 1.4; 2016-92, s. 3.1(a).)

 

§ 153A-149.  Property taxes; authorized purposes; rate limitation.

(a)        Pursuant to Article V, Sec. 2(5) of the Constitution of North Carolina, the General Assembly confers upon each county in this State the power to levy, within the limitations set out in this section, taxes on property having a situs within the county under the rules and according to the procedures prescribed in the Machinery Act (Chapter 105, Subchapter II).

(b)        Each county may levy property taxes without restriction as to rate or amount for the following purposes:

(1)        Courts. - To provide adequate facilities for and the county's share of the cost of operating the General Court of Justice in the county.

(2)        Debt Service. - To pay the principal of and interest on all general obligation bonds and notes of the county.

(3)        Deficits. - To supply an unforeseen deficiency in the revenue (other than revenues of public enterprises), when revenues actually collected or received fall below revenue estimates made in good faith and in accordance with the Local Government Budget and Fiscal Control Act.

(4)        Elections. - To provide for all federal, State, district and county elections.

(5)        Jails. - To provide for the operation of a jail and other local confinement facilities.

(6)        Joint Undertakings. - To cooperate with any other county, city, or political subdivision in providing any of the functions, services, or activities listed in this subsection.

(7)        Schools. - To provide for the county's share of the cost of kindergarten, elementary, secondary, and post-secondary public education.

(8)        Social Services. - To provide for public assistance required by Chapters 108A and 111 of the General Statutes.

(c)        Each county may levy property taxes for one or more of the purposes listed in this subsection up to a combined rate of one dollar and fifty cents ($1.50) on the one hundred dollars ($100.00) appraised value of property subject to taxation. Authorized purposes subject to the rate limitation are:

(1)        To provide for the general administration of the county through the board of county commissioners, the office of the county manager, the office of the county budget officer, the office of the county finance officer, the office of the county assessor, the office of the county tax collector, the county purchasing agent, and the county attorney, and for all other general administrative costs not allocated to a particular board, commission, office, agency, or activity of the county.

(2)        Agricultural Extension. - To provide for the county's share of the cost of maintaining and administering programs and services offered to agriculture by or through the Agricultural Extension Service or other agencies.

(3)        Air Pollution. - To maintain and administer air pollution control programs.

(4)        Airports. - To establish and maintain airports and related aeronautical facilities.

(5)        Ambulance Service. - To provide ambulance services, rescue squads, and other emergency medical services.

(6)        Animal Protection and Control. - To provide animal protection and control programs.

(6a)      Arts Programs and Museums. - To provide for arts programs and museums as authorized in G.S. 160A-488.

(6b)      Auditoriums, coliseums, and convention and civic centers. - To provide public auditoriums, coliseums, and convention and civic centers.

(7)        Beach Erosion and Natural Disasters. - To provide for shoreline protection, beach erosion control, and flood and hurricane protection.

(8)        Cemeteries. - To provide for cemeteries.

(9)        Civil Preparedness. - To provide for civil preparedness programs.

(10)      Debts and Judgments. - To pay and discharge any valid debt of the county or any judgment lodged against it, other than debts and judgments evidenced by or based on bonds and notes.

(10a)    Defense of Employees and Officers. - To provide for the defense of, and payment of civil judgments against, employees and officers or former employees and officers, as authorized by this Chapter.

(10b)    Economic Development. - To provide for economic development as authorized by G.S. 158-7.1.

(10c)    Energy Financing. - To provide financing for renewable energy and energy efficiency in accordance with a program established under G.S. 153A-455.

(11)      Fire Protection. - To provide fire protection services and fire prevention programs.

(12)      Forest Protection. - To provide forest management and protection programs.

(13)      Health. - To provide for the county's share of maintaining and administering services offered by or through the local health department.

(14)      Historic Preservation. - To undertake historic preservation programs and projects.

(15)      Hospitals. - To establish, support and maintain public hospitals and clinics, and other related health programs and facilities, or to aid any private, nonprofit hospital, clinic, related facility, or other health program or facility.

(15a)    Housing Rehabilitation. - To provide for housing rehabilitation programs authorized by G.S. 153A-376, including personnel costs related to the planning and administration of these programs. This subdivision applies only to counties with a population of 400,000 or more, according to the most recent decennial federal census.

(15b)    Housing. - To undertake housing programs for low- and moderate-income persons as provided in G.S. 153A-378.

(16)      Human Relations. - To undertake human relations programs.

(16a)    Industrial Development. - To provide for industrial development as authorized by G.S. 158-7.1.

(17)      Joint Undertakings. - To cooperate with any other county, city, or political subdivision in providing any of the functions, services, or activities listed in this subsection.

(18)      Law Enforcement. - To provide for the operation of the office of the sheriff of the county and for any other county law-enforcement agency not under the sheriff's jurisdiction.

(19)      Libraries. - To establish and maintain public libraries.

(20)      Mapping. - To provide for mapping the lands of the county.

(21)      Medical Examiner. - To provide for the county medical examiner or coroner.

(22)      Mental Health. - To provide for the county's share of the cost of maintaining and administering services offered by or through the area mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse authority.

(23)      Open Space. - To acquire open space land and easements in accordance with Article 19, Part 4, Chapter 160A of the General Statutes.

(24)      Parking. - To provide off-street lots and garages for the parking and storage of motor vehicles.

(25)      Parks and Recreation. - To establish, support and maintain public parks and programs of supervised recreation.

(26)      Planning. - To provide for a program of planning and regulation of development in accordance with Article 18 of this Chapter and Article 19, Parts 3A and 6, of Chapter 160A of the General Statutes.

(26a)    Ports and Harbors. - To participate in programs with the North Carolina Ports Authority and provide for harbor masters.

(27)      Public Transportation. - To provide public transportation by rail, motor vehicle, or another means of conveyance other than a ferry, including any facility or equipment needed to provide the public transportation. This subdivision does not authorize a county to provide public roads in the county in violation of G.S. 136-51.

(27a)    Railway Corridor Preservation. - To acquire property for railroad corridor preservation as authorized by G.S. 160A-498.

(28)      Register of Deeds. - To provide for the operation of the office of the register of deeds of the county.

(28a)    Roads. - To provide for the maintenance of county roads as authorized by G.S. 153A-301(d).

(29)      Sewage. - To provide sewage collection and treatment services as defined in G.S. 153A-274(2).

(30)      Social Services. - To provide for the public welfare through the maintenance and administration of public assistance programs not required by Chapters 108A and 111 of the General Statutes, and by establishing and maintaining a county home.

(31)      Solid Waste. - To provide solid waste collection and disposal services, and to acquire and operate landfills.

(31a)    Stormwater. - To provide structural and natural stormwater and drainage systems of all types.

(32)      Surveyor. - To provide for a county surveyor.

(33)      Veterans' Service Officer. - To provide for the county's share of the cost of services offered by or through the county veterans' service officer.

(34)      Water. - To provide water supply and distribution systems.

(35)      Watershed Improvement. - To undertake watershed improvement projects.

(36)      Water Resources. - To participate in federal water resources development projects.

(37)      Armories. - To supplement available State or federal funds to be used for the construction (including the acquisition of land), enlargement or repair of armory facilities for the North Carolina National Guard.

(d)       With an approving vote of the people, any county may levy property taxes for any purpose for which the county is authorized by law to appropriate money. Any property tax levy approved by a vote of the people shall not be counted for purposes of the rate limitation imposed in subsection (c).

The county commissioners may call a referendum on approval of a property tax levy. The referendum may be held at the same time as any other referendum or election, but may not be otherwise held within the period of time beginning 30 days before and ending 10 days after any other referendum or election to be held in the county and already validly called or scheduled by law at the time the tax referendum is called. The referendum shall be conducted by the county board of elections. The clerk to the board of commissioners shall publish a notice of the referendum at least twice. The first publication shall be not less than 14 days and the second publication not less than seven days before the last day on which voters may register for the referendum. The notice shall state the date of the referendum, the purpose for which it is being held, and a statement as to the last day for registration for the referendum under the election laws then in effect.

The proposition submitted to the voters shall be substantially in one of the following forms:

(1)        Shall ____ County be authorized to levy annually a property tax at a rate not in excess of ____ cents on the one hundred dollars ($100.00) value of property subject to taxation for the purpose of ____?

(2)        Shall ____ County be authorized to levy annually a property tax at a rate not in excess of that which will produce $____ for the purpose of ____?

(3)        Shall ____ County be authorized to levy annually a property tax without restriction as to rate or amount for the purpose of ____?

If a majority of those participating in the referendum approve the proposition, the board of commissioners may proceed to levy annually a property tax within the limitations (if any) described in the proposition.

The board of elections shall canvass the referendum and certify the results to the board of commissioners. The board of commissioners shall then certify and declare the result of the referendum and shall publish a statement of the result once, with the following statement appended: "Any action or proceeding challenging the regularity or validity of this tax referendum must be begun within 30 days after (date of publication)." The statement of results shall be filed in the clerk's office and inserted in the minutes of the board.

Any action or proceeding in any court challenging the regularity or validity of a tax referendum must be begun within 30 days after the publication of the results of the referendum. After the expiration of this period of limitation, no right of action or defense based upon the invalidity of or any irregularity in the referendum shall be asserted, nor shall the validity of the referendum be open to question in any court upon any ground whatever, except in an action or proceeding begun within the period of limitation prescribed herein.

Except for supplemental school taxes and except for tax referendums on functions not included in subsection (c) of this section, any referendum held before July 1, 1973, on the levy of property taxes is not valid for the purposes of this subsection. Counties in which such referendums have been held may support programs formerly supported by voted property taxes within the general rate limitation set out in subsection (c) at any appropriate level and are not subject to the former voted rate limitation.

(e)        With an approving vote of the people, any county may increase the property tax rate limitation imposed in subsection (c) and may call a referendum for that purpose. The referendum may be held at the same time as any other referendum or election, but may not be otherwise held within the period of time beginning 30 days before and ending 30 days after any other referendum or election. The referendum shall be conducted by the county board of elections.

The proposition submitted to the voters shall be substantially in the following form: "Shall the property tax rate limitation applicable to ____ County be increased from ____ on the one hundred dollars ($100.00) value of property subject to taxation to ____ on the one hundred dollars ($100.00) value of property subject to taxation?"

If a majority of those participating in the referendum approve the proposition, the rate limitation imposed in subsection (c) shall be increased for the county.

(f)        With respect to any of the categories listed in subsections (b) and (c) of this section, the county may provide the necessary personnel, land, buildings, equipment, supplies, and financial support from property tax revenues for the program, function, or service.

(g)        This section does not authorize any county to undertake any program, function, joint undertaking, or service not otherwise authorized by law. It is intended only to authorize the levy of property taxes within the limitations set out herein to finance programs, functions, or services authorized by other portions of the General Statutes or by local acts.  (1973, c. 803, s. 1; c. 822, s. 2; c. 963; c. 1446, s. 25; 1975, c. 734, s. 17; 1977, c. 148, s. 5; c. 834, s. 3; 1979, c. 619, s. 4; 1981, c. 66, s. 2; c. 562, s. 11; c. 692, s. 1; 1983, c. 511, ss. 1, 2; 1985, c. 589, s. 57; 1987, c. 45, s. 2; c. 697, s. 2; 1989, c. 600, s. 5; c. 625, s. 25; c. 643, s. 1; 1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 1005, ss. 3-5; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 764, s. 1; c. 896, s. 1; 1993, c. 378, s. 2; 1997-502, s. 6; 1999-366, s. 3; 2002-159, s. 50(a); 2002-172, s. 2.4(a); 2003-416, s. 2; 2009-281, s. 1; 2010-167, s. 4(b); 2013-360, s. 15.28(f).)

 

§ 153A-150.  Reserve for reappraisal.

Before the beginning of the fiscal year immediately following the effective date of a reappraisal of real property conducted as required by G.S. 105-286, the county budget officer shall present to the board of commissioners a budget for financing the cost of the next reappraisal. The budget shall estimate the cost of the reappraisal and shall propose a plan for raising the necessary funds in annual installments during the intervening years between reappraisals, with all installments as nearly uniform as practicable. The board shall consider this budget, making any amendments to the budget it deems advisable, and shall adopt a resolution establishing a special reserve fund for the next reappraisal. In the budget ordinance of the first fiscal year of the plan, the board of commissioners shall appropriate to the special reappraisal reserve fund the amount set out in the plan for the first year's installment. When the county budget for each succeeding fiscal year is in preparation, the board shall review the reappraisal budget with the budget officer and shall amend it, if necessary, so that it will reflect the probable cost at that time of the reappraisal and will produce the necessary funds at the end of the intervening period. In the budget ordinance for each succeeding fiscal year, the board shall appropriate to the special reappraisal reserve fund the amount set out in the plan as due in that year.

Moneys appropriated to the special reappraisal reserve fund shall not be available or expended for any purpose other than the reappraisal of real property required by G.S. 105-286, except that the funds may be deposited at interest or invested as permitted by G.S. 159-30. If there is a fund balance in the reserve fund following payment for the required reappraisal, it shall be retained in the fund for use in financing the next required reappraisal.

Within 10 days after the adoption of each annual budget ordinance, the county finance officer shall report to the Department of Revenue, on forms to be supplied by the Department, the terms of the county's reappraisal budget, the current condition of the special reappraisal reserve fund, and the amount appropriated to the reserve fund in the current fiscal year.  (1959, c. 704, s. 6; 1971, c. 806, s. 4; c. 931, s. 2; 1973, c. 476, s. 193; c. 822, s. 1; 2008-146, s. 1.3.)

 

§ 153A-151.  Sales tax.

A county may levy a local sales and use tax under the rules and according to the procedures prescribed by the Local Government Sales and Use Tax Act (Chapter 105, Subchapter VIII). (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-152: Repealed by Session Laws 2014-3, s. 12.3(b), effective July 1, 2015.

 

§ 153A-152.1: Repealed by Session Laws 2014-3, s. 12.3(b), effective July 1, 2015.

 

§ 153A-153.  Animal tax.

A county may levy an annual license tax on the privilege of keeping dogs and other pets within the county. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-154: Repealed by Session Laws 2006-151, s. 11, effective January 1, 2007.

 

§ 153A-154.1.  Uniform penalties for local meals taxes.

(a)        Penalties. - Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the civil and criminal penalties that apply to State sales and use taxes under Chapter 105 of the General Statutes apply to local meals taxes. The governing board of a taxing county has the same authority to waive the penalties for a local meals tax that the Secretary of Revenue has to waive the penalties for State sales and use taxes.

(b)        Scope. - This section applies to every county authorized by the General Assembly to levy a meals tax. As used in this section, the term "meals tax" means a tax on prepared food and drink. (2001-264, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-155.  Uniform provisions for room occupancy taxes.

(a)        Scope. - This section applies only to counties the General Assembly has authorized to levy room occupancy taxes.

(b)        Levy. - A room occupancy tax may be levied only by resolution, after not less than 10 days' public notice and after a public hearing held pursuant thereto. A room occupancy tax shall become effective on the date specified in the resolution levying the tax. That date must be the first day of a calendar month, however, and may not be earlier than the first day of the second month after the date the resolution is adopted.

(c)        Collection. - A retailer who is required to remit to the Department of Revenue the State sales tax imposed by G.S. 105-164.4(a)(3) on accommodations is required to remit a room occupancy tax to the taxing county on and after the effective date of the levy of the room occupancy tax. The room occupancy tax applies to the same gross receipts as the State sales tax on accommodations and is calculated in the same manner as that tax. A rental agent or a facilitator, as defined in G.S. 105-164.4(a)(3), has the same responsibility and liability under the room occupancy tax as the rental agent or facilitator has under the State sales tax on accommodations.

If a taxable accommodation is furnished as part of a package, the bundled transaction provisions in G.S. 105-164.4D apply in determining the sales price of the taxable accommodation. If those provisions do not address the type of package offered, the person offering the package may determine an allocated price for each item in the package based on a reasonable allocation of revenue that is supported by the person's business records kept in the ordinary course of business and calculate tax on the allocated price of the taxable accommodation.

A retailer must separately state the room occupancy tax. Room occupancy taxes paid to a retailer are held in trust for and on account of the taxing county.

The taxing county shall design and furnish to all appropriate businesses and persons in the county the necessary forms for filing returns and instructions to ensure the full collection of the tax. A retailer who collects a room occupancy tax may deduct from the amount remitted to the taxing county a discount equal to the discount the State allows the retailer for State sales and use tax.

(d)       Administration. - The taxing county shall administer a room occupancy tax it levies. A room occupancy tax is due and payable to the county finance officer in monthly installments on or before the 20th day of the month following the month in which the tax accrues. Every person, firm, corporation, or association liable for the tax shall, on or before the 20th day of each month, prepare and render a return on a form prescribed by the taxing county. The return shall state the total gross receipts derived in the preceding month from rentals upon which the tax is levied. A room occupancy tax return filed with the county finance officer is not a public record and may not be disclosed except in accordance with G.S. 153A-148.1 or G.S. 160A-208.1.

(e)        Penalties. - A person, firm, corporation, or association who fails or refuses to file a room occupancy tax return or pay a room occupancy tax as required by law is subject to the civil and criminal penalties set by G.S. 105-236 for failure to pay or file a return for State sales and use taxes. The governing board of the taxing county has the same authority to waive the penalties for a room occupancy tax that the Secretary of Revenue has to waive the penalties for State sales and use taxes.

(f)        Repeal or Reduction. - A room occupancy tax levied by a county may be repealed or reduced by a resolution adopted by the governing body of the county. Repeal or reduction of a room occupancy tax shall become effective on the first day of a month and may not become effective until the end of the fiscal year in which the resolution was adopted. Repeal or reduction of a room occupancy tax does not affect a liability for a tax that was attached before the effective date of the repeal or reduction, nor does it affect a right to a refund of a tax that accrued before the effective date of the repeal or reduction.

(f1)      Use. - The proceeds of a room occupancy tax shall not be used for development or construction of a hotel or another transient lodging facility.

(g)        Applicability. - Subsection (c) of this section applies to all counties and county districts that levy an occupancy tax. To the extent subsection (c) conflicts with any provision of a local act, subsection (c) supersedes that provision. The remainder of this section applies only to Alleghany, Anson, Brunswick, Buncombe, Burke, Cabarrus, Camden, Carteret, Caswell, Chatham, Cherokee, Chowan, Clay, Craven, Cumberland, Currituck, Dare, Davie, Duplin, Durham, Edgecombe, Forsyth, Franklin, Graham, Granville, Halifax, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Madison, Martin, McDowell, Montgomery, Moore, Nash, New Hanover, Northampton, Pasquotank, Pender, Perquimans, Person, Randolph, Richmond, Rockingham, Rowan, Rutherford, Sampson, Scotland, Stanly, Swain, Transylvania, Tyrrell, Vance, Washington, Wayne, and Wilson Counties, to New Hanover County District U, to Surry County District S, to Watauga County District U, to Wilkes County District K, to Yadkin County District Y, and to the Township of Averasboro in Harnett County and the Ocracoke Township Taxing District.  (1997-102, s. 3; 1997-255, s. 2; 1997-342, s. 2; 1997-364, s. 3; 1997-410, s. 6; 1998-14, s. 2; 1999-155, s. 2; 1999-205, s. 2; 1999-286, s. 2; 2000-103, s. 5; 2001-162, s. 2; 2001-305, s. 2; 2001-321, s. 3; 2001-381, s. 10; 2001-434, s. 1; 2001-439, s. 18.2; 2001-468, s. 3; 2001-480, s. 14; 2001-484, s. 2; 2002-138, s. 5; 2004-106, s. 2; 2004-120, s. 3; 2004-170, ss. 36(a), 42(a); 2004-199, s. 60(a); 2005-16, s. 2; 2005-46, s. 1.2; 2005-53, s. 2; 2005-197, s. 6; 2005-233, s. 6.1; 2006-120, s. 8.1; 2006-127, s. 2; 2006-128, s. 6; 2006-129, s. 2; 2006-162, s. 20(a); 2006-167, s. 7(e); 2006-264, s. 81(a); 2007-19, s. 3; 2007-63, s. 3; 2007-223, s. 3; 2007-224, s. 5; 2007-265, s. 2; 2007-315, s. 2; 2007-318, s. 2; 2007-337, s. 3; 2007-340, s. 9; 2007-527, ss. 23, 43; 2008-33, s. 2; 2008-134, s. 12(b); 2008-187, s. 31; 2009-112, s. 4; 2009-157, s. 2; 2009-297, s. 3; 2010-31, ss. 31.6(c), (d); 2010-78, s. 10; 2010-123, s. 10.2; 2011-113, s. 4; 2011-115, s. 4; 2011-170, s. 5; 2012-100, s. 1; 2012-144, s. 4; 2012-194, s. 35; 2013-255, s. 3; 2015-128, s. 7; 2015-255, s. 6.1.)

 

§ 153A-156.  Gross receipts tax on short-term leases or rentals.

(a)        As a substitute for and in replacement of the ad valorem tax, which is excluded by G.S. 105-275(42), a county may levy a gross receipts tax on the gross receipts from the short-term lease or rental of vehicles at retail to the general public. The tax rate shall not exceed one and one-half percent (1.5%) of the gross receipts from such short-term leases or rentals.

(b)        If a county enacts the substitute and replacement gross receipts tax pursuant to this section, any entity required to collect the tax shall include a provision in each retail short-term lease or rental agreement noting that the percentage amount enacted by the county of the total lease or rental price, excluding highway use tax, is being charged as a tax on gross receipts. For purposes of this section, the transaction giving rise to the tax shall be deemed to have occurred at the location of the entity from which the customer takes delivery of the vehicle. The tax shall be collected at the time of lease or rental and placed in a segregated account until remitted to the county.

(c)        The collection and use of taxes under this section are not subject to highway use tax and are not included in the gross receipts of the entity. The proceeds collected under this section belong to the county and are not subject to creditor liens against the entity.

(d)       A tax levied under this section shall be collected by the county but otherwise administered in the same manner as the tax levied under G.S. 105-164.4(a)(2).

(e)        The following definitions apply in this section:

(1)        Short-term lease or rental. - Defined in G.S. 105-187.1(4).

(2)        Vehicle. - Any of the following:

a.         A motor vehicle of the passenger type, including a passenger van, minivan, or sport utility vehicle.

b.         A motor vehicle of the cargo type, including cargo van, pickup truck, or truck with a gross vehicle weight of 26,000 pounds or less used predominantly in the transportation of property for other than commercial freight and that does not require the operator to possess a commercial drivers license.

c.         A trailer or semitrailer with a gross vehicle weight of 6,000 pounds or less.

(f)        The penalties and remedies that apply to local sales and use taxes levied under Subchapter VIII of Chapter 105 of the General Statutes apply to a tax levied under this section. The county board of commissioners may exercise any power the Secretary of Revenue may exercise in collecting local sales and use taxes. (2000-2, s. 2; 2000-140, s. 75(b).)

 

§ 153A-156.1.  Heavy equipment gross receipts tax in lieu of property tax.

(a)        Definitions. - The following definitions apply in this section:

(1)        Heavy equipment. - Earthmoving, construction, or industrial equipment that is mobile, weighs at least 1,500 pounds, and meets any of the descriptions listed in this subdivision. The term includes an attachment for heavy equipment, regardless of the weight of the attachment.

a.         It is a self-propelled vehicle that is not designed to be driven on a highway.

b.         It is industrial lift equipment, industrial material handling equipment, industrial electrical generation equipment, or a similar piece of industrial equipment.

(2)        Short-term lease or rental. - Defined in G.S. 105-187.1.

(b)        Tax Authorized. - A county may, by resolution, impose a tax at the rate of one and two-tenths percent (1.2%) on the gross receipts from the short-term lease or rental of heavy equipment by a person whose principal business is the short-term lease or rental of heavy equipment at retail. The heavy equipment subject to this tax is exempt from property tax under G.S. 105-275, and this tax provides an alternative to a property tax on the equipment. A person is not considered to be in the short-term lease or rental business if the majority of the person's lease and rental gross receipts are derived from leases and rentals to a person who is a related person under G.S. 105-163.010.

The tax authorized by this section applies to gross receipts that are subject to tax under G.S. 105-164.4(a)(2). Gross receipts from the short-term lease or rental of heavy equipment are subject to a tax imposed by a county under this section if the place of business from which the heavy equipment is delivered is located in the county.

(c)        Payment. - A person whose principal business is the short-term lease or rental of heavy equipment is required to remit a tax imposed by this section to the county finance officer. The tax is payable quarterly and is due by the last day of the month following the end of the quarter. The tax is intended to be added to the amount charged for the short-term lease or rental of heavy equipment and paid to the heavy equipment business by the person to whom the heavy equipment is leased or rented.

(d)       Enforcement. - The penalties and collection remedies that apply to the payment of sales and use taxes under Article 5 of Chapter 105 of the General Statutes apply to a tax imposed under this section. The county finance officer has the same authority as the Secretary of Revenue in imposing these penalties and remedies.

(e)        Effective Date. - A tax imposed under this section becomes effective on the date set in the resolution imposing the tax. The date must be the first day of a calendar quarter and may not be sooner than the first day of the calendar quarter that begins at least two months after the date the resolution is adopted.

(f)        Repeal. - A county may, by resolution, repeal a tax imposed under this section. The repeal is effective on the date set in the resolution. The date must be the first day of a calendar quarter and may not be sooner than the first day of the calendar quarter that begins at least two months after the date the resolution is adopted.  (2008-144, s. 2.)

 

 

Article 8.

County Property.

Part 1.  Acquisition of Property.

§ 153A-157:  Recodified as § 153A-158.1(a) by Session Laws 1995, c.  17, s. 15(a).

 

§ 153A-158.  Power to acquire property.

A county may acquire, by gift, grant, devise, exchange, purchase, lease, or any other lawful method, the fee or any lesser interest in real or personal property for use by the county or any department, board, commission, or agency of the county. In exercising the power of eminent domain a county shall use the procedures of Chapter 40A.  (1868, c. 20, ss. 3, 8; 1879, c. 144, s. 1; Code, ss. 704, 707; Rev., ss. 1310, 1318; C.S., ss. 1291, 1297; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1981, c. 919, s. 21; 1995, c. 17, s. 14; 2011-284, s. 106.)

 

§ 153A-158.1.  Acquisition and improvement of school property.

(a)        Acquisition by County. - A county may acquire, by any lawful method, any interest in real or personal property for use by a school administrative unit within the county. In exercising the power of eminent domain a county shall use the procedures of Chapter 40A. The county shall use its authority under this subsection to acquire property for use by a school administrative unit within the county only upon the request of the board of education of that school administrative unit and after a public hearing.

(b)        Construction or Improvement by County. - A county may construct, equip, expand, improve, renovate, or otherwise make available property for use by a school administrative unit within the county. The local board of education shall be involved in the design, construction, equipping, expansion, improvement, or renovation of the property to the same extent as if the local board owned the property.

(c)        Lease or Sale by Board of Education. - Notwithstanding the provisions of G.S. 115C-518 and G.S. 160A-274, a local board of education may, in connection with additions, improvements, renovations, or repairs to all or part of any of its property, lease or sell the property to the board of commissioners of the county in which the property is located for any price negotiated between the two boards.

(d)       Board of Education May Contract for Construction. - Notwithstanding the provisions of G.S. 115C-40 and G.S. 115C-521, a local board of education may enter into contracts for the erection of school buildings upon sites owned in fee simple by one or more counties in which the local school administrative unit is located.

(e)        Scope. - This section applies in every county. (1868, c. 20, ss. 3, 8; 1879, c. 144, s. 1; Code, ss. 704, 707; Rev., ss. 1310, 1318; C.S., ss. 1291, 1297; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1981, c. 919, s. 21; 1991, cc. 120, 533; 1991, c. 1001, s. 2; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 832, s. 1;  c. 848, s. 1; c. 865, s. 1; c. 1001, s. 1; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 611, ss. 1.1, 2; c. 612, ss. 1-3; c. 614, ss. 1-4; c. 622, ss. 1-3; c. 623, ss. 1-3; c. 642, s. 3(a), (c), (d); c. 655, ss. 1-3; 1995, c. 17, ss. 15(a), (b), 16; c. 251, ss. 1, 2; 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 651, s. 1; c. 702, s. 1; c. 703, s. 1; c. 705, s. 1; c. 737, s. 1; 1996, 2nd Ex. Sess., c. 11, s. 1; 1997-24, s. 1; 1997-162, s. 1; 1997-190, s. 1; 1997-236, s. 3; 1997-409, s. 1; 1998-33, s. 1; 1998-48, s. 1; 1998-201, s. 1; 1999-65, s. 1; 2001-76, s. 1; 2001-427, s. 7(a); 2003-89, s. 1; 2003-355, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-158.2.  Acquisition and improvement of community college property.

(a)        Acquisition. - A county may acquire, by any lawful method, any interest in real or personal property for use by a community college within the county. In exercising the power of eminent domain for real property, a county shall use the procedures of Chapter 40A of the General Statutes.

(b)        Construction; Disposition. - A county may construct, equip, expand, improve, renovate, repair, or otherwise make available property for use by a community college within the county and may lease, sell, or otherwise dispose of property for use by a community college within the county for any price and on any terms negotiated by the board of county commissioners and the board of trustees of the community college.

(c)        Public Hearing. - A county may use its authority under this section to acquire an interest in real or personal property for use by a community college within the county only upon request of the board of trustees of the community college for which property is to be made available. The board of county commissioners shall hold a public hearing prior to final action. A notice of the public hearing shall be published at least once at least 10 days before the date fixed for the hearing. (1999-115, s. 1.)

 

§§ 153A-159 through 153A-162.  Repealed by Session Laws 1981, c. 919, s. 20.

 

§ 153A-163.  Acquisition of property at a judicial sale, execution sale, or sale pursuant to a power of sale; disposition of such property.

A county, city, or other unit of local government may purchase real property at a judicial sale, an execution sale, or a sale made pursuant to a power of sale, to secure a debt due the county, city, or other unit. The purchasing government may sell any property so acquired by private sale for not less than the amount of its bid or may sell or exchange the property for any amount according  to the procedures prescribed by Chapter 160A, Article 12. (1868, c. 20, s. 8; 1879, c. 144, s. 1; Code, s. 707; Rev., s. 1318; C.S., s. 1297; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-164.  Joint buildings.

Two or more counties, cities, other units of local government (including local boards of education), or any combination of such governments may jointly acquire or construct public buildings to house offices, departments, bureaus, agencies, or facilities of each government. The governments may acquire any land necessary for a joint building or may use land already held by one of the governments.

In exercising the powers granted by this section, the governments shall proceed according to the procedures and provisions of Chapter 160A, Article 20, Part 1. (1965, c. 682, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-165.  Leases.

A county may lease as lessee, with or without option to purchase, any real or personal property for any authorized public purpose. A lease of personal property with an option to purchase is subject to Chapter 143, Article 8. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§§ 153A-166 through 153A-168.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

Part 2. Use of County Property.

§ 153A-169.  Care and use of county property; sites of county buildings.

The board of commissioners shall supervise the maintenance, repair, and use of all county property. The board may issue orders and adopt by ordinance or resolution regulations concerning the use of county property, may designate and redesignate the location of any county department, office, or agency, and may designate and redesignate the site for any county building, including the courthouse. Before it may redesignate the site of the courthouse, the  board of commissioners shall cause notice of its intention to do so to be published once at least four weeks before the meeting at which the redesignation is made. (1868, c. 20, ss. 3, 8; Code, ss. 704, 707; Rev., ss. 1310, 1318; C.S., ss. 1291, 1297; 1925, c. 229; 1927, c. 91, ss. 11, 13; 1957, c. 909, s. 1; 1961, c. 811; 1967, c. 581, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-170.  Regulation of parking on county property.

A county may by ordinance regulate parking of motor vehicles on county-owned property. Such an ordinance may be enforced pursuant to G.S. 153A-123. In addition, the ordinance may provide that vehicles parked in violation thereof may be removed from the property by the county or an agent of the county to a storage area or garage. If a vehicle is so removed, the owner, as a condition of regaining possession of the vehicle, shall be required to pay to the county all reasonable costs incidental to the removal and storage of the vehicle and any fine or penalty due for the violation. (1961, c. 191; 1971, c. 109; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§§ 153A-171 through 153A-175.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

Part 3. Disposition of County Property.

§ 153A-176.  Disposition of property.

A county may dispose of any real or personal property belonging to it according to the procedures prescribed in Chapter 160A, Article 12. For purposes of this section references in Chapter 160A, Article 12, to the "city," the "council," or a specific city official are deemed to refer, respectively, to the county, the board of commissioners, and the county official who most nearly performs the same duties performed by the specified city official. For purposes of this section, references in G.S. 160A-266(c) to "one or more city officials" are deemed to refer to one or more county officials designated by the board of county commissioners. (1868, c. 20, ss. 3, 8; Code, ss. 704, 707; Rev., ss. 1310, 1318; C.S., ss. 1291, 1297; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1983, c. 130, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-177.  Reconveyance of property donated to a local government.

If real or personal property is conveyed without consideration to a county, city, or other unit of local government to be used for a specific purpose set out in the instrument of conveyance and the governing body of the county, city, or other unit of local government determines that the property will not be used for that purpose, the county, city, or other unit of local government may reconvey the property without consideration to the grantor or his heirs, assigns, or nominees. Before it may make a reconveyance, the county, city, or other unit of local government shall publish once a week for two weeks notice of its intention to do so. (1937, c. 441; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-178.  Disposition of county property for a State psychiatric hospital.

When the Secretary of Health and Human Services selects a county for the location of a new State psychiatric hospital as authorized by law, the county selected for the location of the new State psychiatric hospital is authorized under the general law to acquire real and personal property and convey it to the State under G.S. 160A-274 or other applicable law for use as a psychiatric hospital. The county may acquire the property by eminent domain, and the power under this section is supplementary to any other power the county may have to take property by eminent domain. (2003-314, s. 3.2.)

 

§§ 153A-179 through 153A-184.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

 

Article 9.

Special Assessments.

§ 153A-185.  Authority to make special assessments.

A county may make special assessments against benefited property within the county for all or part of the costs of:

(1)        Constructing, reconstructing, extending, or otherwise building or improving water systems;

(2)        Constructing, reconstructing, extending, or otherwise building or improving sewage collection and disposal systems of all types, including septic tank systems or other on-site collection or disposal facilities or systems;

(3)        Acquiring, constructing, reconstructing, extending, renovating, enlarging, maintaining, operating, or otherwise building or improving

a.         Beach erosion control or flood and hurricane protection works; and

b.         Watershed improvement projects, drainage projects and water resources development projects (as those projects are defined in G.S. 153A-301).

(4)        Constructing, reconstructing, paving, widening, installing curbs and gutters, and otherwise building and improving streets, as provided in G.S. 153A-205.

(5)        Providing street lights and street lighting in a residential subdivision, as provided in G.S. 153A-206.

A county may not assess property within a city pursuant to subdivision (1) or (2) of this section unless the governing board of the city has by resolution approved the project. (1963, c. 985, s. 1; 1965, c. 714; 1969, c. 474, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1975, c. 487, s. 1; 1979, c. 619, s. 11; 1983, c. 321, s. 1; 1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 923, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-186.  Bases for making assessments.

(a)        For water or sewer projects, assessments may be made on the basis of:

(1)        The frontage abutting on the project, at an equal rate per foot of frontage; or

(2)        The street frontage of the lots served, or subject to being served, by the project, at an equal rate per foot of frontage; or

(3)        The area of land served, or subject to being served, by the project, at an equal rate per unit of area; or

(4)        The valuation of land served, or subject to being served, by the project, being the value of the land without improvements as shown on the tax records of the county, at an equal rate per dollar of valuation; or

(5)        The number of lots served, or subject to being served, by the project when the project involves extension of an existing system to a residential or commercial subdivision, at an equal rate per lot; or

(6)        A combination of two or more of these bases.

(b)        For beach erosion control or flood and hurricane protection works, watershed improvement projects, drainage projects and water resources development projects, assessments may be made on the basis of:

(1)        The frontage abutting on the project, at an equal rate per foot of frontage; or

(2)        The frontage abutting on a beach or shoreline or watercourse protected or benefited by the project, at an equal rate per foot of frontage; or

(3)        The area of land benefited by the project, at an equal rate per unit of area; or

(4)        The valuation of land benefited by the project, being the value of the land without improvements as shown on the tax records of the county, at an equal rate per dollar of valuation; or

(5)        A combination of two or more of these bases.

(c)        Whenever the basis selected for assessment is either area or  valuation, the board of commissioners shall provide for the laying out of one or more benefit zones according (i), in water or sewer projects, to the distance of benefited property from the project being undertaken and (ii), in beach erosion control or flood and hurricane protection works, watershed improvement projects, drainage projects and water resources development projects, to the distance from the shoreline or watercourse, the distance from the project, the elevation of the land, or other relevant factors. If more than one benefit zone is established, the board shall establish differing rates of assessment to apply uniformly throughout each benefit zone.

(d)       For each project, the board of commissioners shall endeavor to  establish an assessment method from among the bases set out in this section that will most accurately assess each lot or parcel of land according to the benefit conferred upon it by the project. The board's decision as to the method of assessment is final and not subject to further review or challenge. (1963, c. 985, s. 1; 1965, c. 714; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1983, c. 321, ss. 2, 3.)

 

§ 153A-187.  Corner lot exemptions.

The board of commissioners may establish schedules of exemptions from assessments for water or sewer projects for corner lots when water or sewer lines are installed along both sides of the lots. A schedule of exemptions shall be based on categories of land use (residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural) and shall be uniform for each category. A schedule may not allow exemption of more than seventy-five percent (75%) of the frontage of any side of a corner lot, or 150 feet, whichever is greater. (1963, c. 985, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-188.  Lands exempt from assessment.

Except as provided in this Article, no land within a county is exempt from special assessments except land belonging to the United States that is exempt under the provisions of federal statutes and, in the case of water or sewer projects, land within any floodway delineated by a local government pursuant to Chapter 143, Article 21, Part 6. In addition, in the case of water or sewer projects, land owned, leased, or controlled by a railroad company is exempt from assessments by a county to the same extent that it would be exempt from assessments by a city under G.S. 160A-222. (1963, c. 958, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-189.  State participation in improvement projects.

If a county proposes to undertake a project that would benefit land owned by the State of North Carolina or a board, agency, commission, or institution of the State and to finance all or a part of the project by special assessments, the board of commissioners may request the Council of State to authorize the State to pay its ratable part of the cost of the project, and the Council of State may authorize these payments. The Council of State may authorize the Secretary of Administration to approve or disapprove requests from counties for payment pursuant to this section, but a county may appeal to the Council of State if the Secretary disapproves a request. The Council of State may direct that any payment authorized pursuant to this section be made from the Contingency and Emergency Fund of the State of North Carolina or from any other available funds. Except as State payments are authorized pursuant to this section, state-owned property is exempt from assessment under this Article. (1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1975, c. 879, s. 46.)

 

§ 153A-190.  Preliminary resolution; contents.

Whenever the board of commissioners decides to finance all or part of a proposed project by special assessments, it shall first adopt a preliminary assessment resolution containing the following:

(1)        A statement of intent to undertake the project;

(2)        A general description of the nature and location of the project;

(3)        A statement as to the proposed basis for making assessments,  which shall include a general description of the boundaries of the area benefited if the basis of assessment is either area or valuation;

(4)        A statement as to the percentage of the cost of the work that is to be specially assessed;

(5)        A statement as to which, if any, assessments shall be held in abeyance and for how long;

(6)        A statement as to the proposed terms of payment of the assessment; and

(7)        An order setting a time and place for a public hearing on all matters covered by the preliminary assessment resolution. The hearing shall be not earlier than three weeks and not later than 10 weeks from the day on which the preliminary resolution is adopted. (1963, c. 985, s. 1; 1965, c. 714; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-191.  Notice of preliminary resolution.

At least 10 days before the date set for the public hearing, the board of commissioners shall publish a notice that a preliminary assessment resolution has been adopted and that a public hearing on it will be held at a specified time and place. The notice shall describe generally the nature and location of the improvement. In addition, at least 10 days before the date set for the hearing, the board shall cause a copy of the preliminary assessment resolution to be mailed by first-class mail to each owner, as shown on the county tax records, of property subject to assessment if the project is undertaken. The person designated to mail these resolutions shall file with the board a certificate stating that they were mailed by first-class mail and on what date. In the absence of fraud, the certificate is conclusive as to compliance with the mailing requirements of this section. (1963, c. 985, s. 1; 1965, c. 714; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-192.  Hearing on preliminary resolution; assessment resolution.

At the public hearing, the board of commissioners shall hear all interested persons who appear with respect to any matter covered by the preliminary assessment resolution. At or after the hearing, the board may adopt a final assessment resolution directing that the project or portions thereof be undertaken. The final assessment resolution shall describe the project in general terms (which may be by reference to projects described in the preliminary resolution) and shall set forth the following:

(1)        The basis on which the special assessments will be made, together with a general description of the boundaries of the areas benefited if the basis of assessment is either area or valuation;

(2)        The percentage of the cost of the work that is to be specially assessed; and

(3)        The terms of payment, including the conditions, if any, under which assessments are to be held in abeyance.

The percentage of cost to be assessed may not be different from the percentage proposed in the preliminary assessment resolution, nor may the project authorized be greater in scope than the project described in that resolution. If the board decides that a different percentage of the cost should be assessed than that proposed in the preliminary assessment resolution, or that the project should be greater in scope than that described in that resolution, it shall adopt and advertise a new preliminary assessment resolution as provided in this Article. (1963, c. 985, s. 1; 1965, c. 714; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-193.  Determination of costs.

When a project is complete, the board of commissioners shall determine the project's total cost. In determining total cost, the board may include construction costs, the cost of necessary legal services, the amount of interest paid during construction, the cost of rights-of-way, and the cost of publishing and mailing notices and resolutions. The board's determination of the total cost of a project is conclusive. (1963, c. 985, s. 1; 1965, c. 714; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-193.1.  Discounts authorized.

The board of commissioners is authorized to establish a schedule of discounts to be applied to assessments paid before the expiration of 30 days from the date that notice is published of confirmation of the assessment roll pursuant to G.S. 153A-196. Such a schedule of discounts may be established even though it was not included among the terms of payment as specified in the preliminary assessment resolution or final assessment resolution. The amount of any discount may not exceed thirty percent (30%). (1983, c. 381, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-194.  Preliminary assessment roll; publication.

When the total cost of a project has been determined, the board of commissioners shall cause a preliminary assessment roll to be prepared. The roll shall contain a brief description of each lot, parcel, or tract of land assessed, the basis for the assessment, the amount assessed against each, the terms of payment, including the schedule of discounts, if such a schedule is to be established and the name of the owner of each lot, parcel, or tract as far as this can be ascertained from the county tax records. A map of the project on which is shown each lot, parcel, or tract assessed, the basis of its assessment, the amount assessed against it, and the name of its owner as far as this can be ascertained from the county tax records is a sufficient assessment roll.

After the preliminary assessment roll has been completed, the board shall cause the roll to be filed in the clerk's office, where it shall be available for public inspection, and shall set the time and place for a public hearing on the roll. At least 10 days before the date set for the hearing, the board shall publish a notice that the preliminary assessment roll has been completed. The notice shall describe the project in general terms, note that the roll in the clerk's office is  available for inspection, and state the time and place for the hearing on the roll. In addition, at least 10 days before the date set for the hearing, the board shall cause a notice of the hearing to be mailed by first-class mail to each owner of property listed on the roll. The mailed notice shall state the time and place of the hearing, note that the roll in the clerk's office is available for inspection, and state the amount as shown on the roll of the assessment against the property of the owner. The person designated to mail these notices shall file with the board a certificate stating that they were mailed by first-class mail and on what date. In the absence of fraud, the certificate is conclusive as to compliance with the mailing requirements of this section. (1963, c. 985, s. 1; 1965, c. 714; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1983,  c. 381, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-195.  Hearing on preliminary assessment roll; revision; confirmation; lien.

At the public hearing the board of commissioners shall hear all interested persons who appear with respect to the preliminary assessment roll. At or after the hearing, the board shall annul, modify, or confirm the assessments, in whole or in part, either by confirming the preliminary assessments against any lot, parcel, or tract described in the preliminary assessment roll or by cancelling, increasing, or reducing the assessments as may be proper in compliance with the basis of assessment. If any property is found to be omitted from the preliminary assessment roll, the board may place it on the roll and make the proper assessment. When the board confirms assessments for a project, the clerk shall enter in the minutes of the board the date, hour, and minute of confirmation. From the time of confirmation, each assessment is a lien on the property assessed of the same nature and to the same extent as the lien for county or city property taxes, under the priorities set out in G.S. 153A-200. After the assessment roll is confirmed, the board shall cause a copy of it to be delivered to the county tax collector for collection in the same manner (except as provided in this Article) as property taxes. (1963, c. 985, s. 1; 1965, c. 714; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-196.  Publication of notice of confirmation of assessment roll.

No earlier than 20 days from the date the assessment roll is confirmed, the county tax collector shall publish once a notice that the roll has been confirmed. The notice shall also state that assessments may be paid without interest at any time before the expiration of 30 days from the date that the notice is published and that if they are not paid within this time, all installments thereof shall bear interest as determined by the board of commissioners. The notice shall also state the schedule of discounts, if one has been established, to be applied to assessments paid before the expiration date for payment of assessments without interest. (1963, c. 985, s. 1; 1965, c. 714; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1983, c. 381, s. 3.)

 

§ 153A-197.  Appeal to the General Court of Justice.

If the owner of, or any person having an interest in, a lot, parcel, or tract of land against which an assessment is made is dissatisfied with the amount of the assessment, he may, within 10 days after the day the assessment roll is confirmed, file a notice of appeal to the appropriate division of the General Court of Justice. He shall then have 20 days after the day the roll is confirmed to serve on the board of commissioners or the clerk a statement of facts upon which the appeal is based. The appeal shall be tried like other actions at law. (1963, c. 985, s. 1; 1965, c. 714; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-198.  Reassessment.

When in its judgment an irregularity, omission, error, or lack of jurisdiction has occurred in any proceeding related to a special assessment made by it, the board of commissioners may set aside the assessment and make a reassessment. In that case, the board may include in the total project cost all additional interest paid, or to be paid, as a result of the delay in confirming the assessment. A reassessment proceeding shall, as far as practicable, follow the comparable procedures of an original assessment proceeding. A reassessment has the same force as if it originally had been made properly. (1963, c. 985, s. 1; 1965, c. 714; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-199.  Payment of assessments in full or by installments.

Within 30 days after the day that notice of confirmation of the assessment roll is published, each owner of assessed property shall pay his assessment in full, unless the board of commissioners has provided that assessments may be paid in annual installments. If payment by installments is permitted, any portion of an assessment not paid within the 30-day period shall be paid in annual installments. The board shall in the assessment resolution determine whether payment may be made by annual installments and set the number of installments, which may not be more than 10. With respect to payment by installment, the board may provide

(1)        That the first installment with interest is due on the date when property taxes are due, and one installment with interest is due on the same date in each successive year until the assessment is paid in full, or

(2)        That the first installment with interest is due 60 days after the date that the assessment roll is confirmed, and one installment with interest is due on that same day in each successive year until the assessment is paid in full. (1963, c. 985, s. 1; 1965, c. 714; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-200.  Enforcement of assessments; interest; foreclosure; limitations.

(a)        Any portion of an assessment that is not paid within 30 days after the day that notice of confirmation of the assessment roll is published shall, until paid, bear interest at a rate to be fixed in the assessment resolution. The maximum rate at which interest may be set is eight percent (8%) per annum.

(b)        If an installment of an assessment is not paid on or before the due date, all of the installments remaining unpaid immediately become due, unless the board of commissioners waives acceleration. The board may waive acceleration and permit the property owner to pay all installments in arrears together with interest due thereon and the cost to the county of attempting to obtain payment. If this is done, any remaining installments shall be reinstated so that they fall due as if there had been no default. The board may waive acceleration and reinstate further installments at any time before foreclosure proceedings have been instituted.

(c)        A county may foreclose assessment liens under any procedure provided by law for the foreclosure of property tax liens, except that (i) lien sales and lien sale certificates are not required and (ii) foreclosure may be begun at any time after 30 days after the due date. The county is not entitled to a deficiency judgment in an action to foreclose an assessment lien. The lien of special assessments is inferior to all prior and subsequent liens for State, local, and federal taxes, and superior to all other liens.

(d)       No county may maintain an action or proceeding to foreclose any special assessment lien unless the action or proceeding is begun within 10 years from the date that the assessment or the earliest installment thereof included in the action or proceeding became due. Acceleration of installments under subsection (b) of this section does not have the effect of shortening the time within which foreclosure may be begun; in that event the statute of limitations continues to run as to each installment as if acceleration had not occurred. (1963, c. 985, s. 1; 1965, c. 714; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-201.  Authority to hold assessments in abeyance.

The assessment resolution may provide that assessments made pursuant to this Article shall be held in abeyance without interest for any benefited property assessed. Water or sewer assessments may be held in abeyance until improvements on the assessed property are connected to the water or sewer system for which the assessment was made, or until a date certain not more than 10 years from the date of confirmation of the assessment roll, whichever event occurs first. Beach erosion control or flood and hurricane protection assessments may be held in abeyance for not more than 10 years from the date of confirmation of the assessment roll. When the period of abeyance ends, the assessment is payable in accordance with the terms set out in the assessment resolution.

If assessments are to be held in abeyance, the assessment resolution shall classify the property assessed according to general land use, location with respect to the water or sewer system (for water or sewer assessments), or other relevant factors. The resolution shall also provide that the period of abeyance shall be the same for all assessed property in the same class.

Statutes of limitations are suspended during the time that any assessment is held in abeyance without interest. (1963, c. 985, s. 1; 1965, c. 714; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-202.  Assessments on property held by tenancy for life or years; contribution.

(a)        Assessments upon real property in the possession or enjoyment of a tenant for life or a tenant for a term of years shall be paid pro rata by the tenant and the remaindermen after the life estate or by the tenant and the owner in fee after the expiration of the tenancy for years according to their respective interests in the land as calculated pursuant to G.S. 37-13.

(b)        If a person having an interest in land held by tenancy for life or years pays more than his pro rata share of an assessment against the property, he may maintain an action in the nature of a suit for contribution against any delinquent party to recover from that party his pro rata share of the assessment, with interest thereon from the date of the payment; and in addition, he is subrogated to the right of the county to a lien on the property for the delinquent party's share of the assessment. (1963, c. 985, c. 1; 1965, c. 714; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-203.  Lien in favor of a cotenant or joint owner paying special assessments.

Any one of several tenants in common or joint tenants (other than copartners) may pay the whole or any part of a special assessment made against property held in common or jointly. Any amount so paid that exceeds his share of the assessment and that was not paid through agreement with or on behalf of the other joint owners is a lien in his favor upon the shares of the other joint owners. This lien may be enforced in a proceeding for actual partition, a proceeding for partition and sale, or by any other appropriate judicial proceeding. This lien is not effective against an innocent purchaser for value until notice of the lien is filed in the office of the clerk of superior court in the county in which the land lies and indexed and docketed in the same manner as other liens required by law to be filed in that clerk's office. (1963, c. 985, s. 1; 1965, c. 714; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-204.  Apportionment of assessments.

If a special assessment has been made against property that has been or is about to be subdivided, the board of commissioners may, with the consent of the owner of the property, (i) apportion the assessment among the lots or tracts within the subdivision, or (ii) release certain lots or tracts from the assessment if, in the board's opinion, the released lots or tracts are not benefited by the project, or (iii) both. Upon an apportionment each of the lots or tracts in the subdivision is released from the lien of the original assessment, and  the portion of the original assessment assessed against each lot or tract has, as to that lot or tract, the same force as the original assessment. At the time the board makes an apportionment under this section, the clerk shall enter on the minutes of the board the date, hour, and minute of apportionment and a statement to the effect that the apportionment is made with the consent of the owners of the property affected, which entry is conclusive in the absence of fraud.  The apportionment is effective at the time shown in the minute book. Apportionments may include past due installments with interest, as well as installments not then due; and any installment not then due shall fall due at the same date as it would have under the original assessment. (1963, c. 985, s. 1; 1965, c. 714; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-204.1.  Maintenance assessments.

(a)        In order to pay for the costs of maintaining and operating a project, the board of commissioners may annually or at less frequent intervals levy maintenance and operating assessments for any project purpose set forth in G.S. 153A-185(3) on the same basis as the original assessment. The amount of these assessments shall be determined by the board of commissioners on the basis of the board's estimate of the cost of maintaining and operating a project during the ensuing budget period, and the board's decision as to the amount of the assessment is conclusive. In determining the total cost to be included in the assessment the board may include estimated costs of maintaining and operating the project, of necessary legal services, of interest payments, of rights-of-way, and of publishing and mailing notices and resolutions. References to "total costs" in provisions of  this Article that apply to maintenance and operating assessments shall be construed to mean "total estimated costs." Within the meaning of this section a "budget period" may be one year or such other budget period as the board determines.

(b)        All of the provisions of this Article shall apply to maintenance and operating assessments, except for G.S. 153A-190 through G.S. 153A-193. (1983, c. 321, s. 4.)

 

§ 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.)

 

§ 153A-206.  Street light assessments.

(a)        Authorization.  A county may annually levy special assessments against benefited property in a residential subdivision within the county and not within a city for the costs of providing street lights and street lighting pursuant to the procedures provided in this Article.  The provisions of this Article, other than G.S. 153A-186, G.S. 153A-187 and G.S. 153A-190 through G.S. 153A-193, apply to street light assessments under this section.

(b)        Basis of Assessment.  The estimated costs of providing street lights and street lighting shall be apportioned among all benefited property on the basis of the number of lots served, or subject to being served, by the street lights, at an equal rate per lot.

(c)        Amount of Assessment.  The county shall determine the amount of the assessments on the basis of an estimate of the cost of constructing or operating the street lights during the ensuing year, and the board of commissioners' determination of the amount of the assessment is conclusive.  In determining the total cost to be included in the assessment, the board may also include estimated costs of necessary legal services, projected utility rate increases, and the costs to the county of administering and collecting the assessment.

(d)       Procedure.  The county may approve the levy of street light assessments under this section upon petition of at least two-thirds of the owners of the lots within the subdivision.  The request or petition shall include an estimate from the appropriate utility of the charge for providing street lights and street lighting within the subdivision for one year.  Upon approval of the petition, the petitioning owner or owners shall pay to the tax collector the total estimated assessment amount for the ensuing year as determined by the county.  This payment shall be set aside by the county tax office in escrow as security for payment of the assessments.

(e)        Collection and Administration.  The county shall levy the street light assessments on an annual basis and shall pay the costs of providing street lights and street lighting to the appropriate utility on a periodic basis.  The assessment amount shall be adjusted on an annual basis in order to maintain in the escrow account an amount equal to the estimated cost of providing street lighting plus related expenses for the ensuing year. (1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 923, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-207:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-208:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-209:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-210:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

 

Article 9A.

Special Assessments for Critical Infrastructure Needs.

§ 153A-210.1.  (Article has an expiration note - see note) Purpose; sunset.

(a)        Purpose. - This Article enables counties that face increased demands for infrastructure improvements as a result of rapid growth and development to issue revenue bonds payable from special assessments imposed under this Article on benefited property. This Article supplements the authority counties have in Article 9 of this Chapter. The provisions of Article 9 of this Chapter apply to this Article, to the extent they do not conflict with this Article.

(a1)      Purpose of Dam Repair. - The General Assembly finds that dam repair is a public purpose promoting flood control and public safety.

(b)        Sunset. - This Article expires July 1, 2020. For projects authorized in G.S. 153A-210.2(a1), this Article expires July 1, 2019. The expiration does not affect the validity of assessments imposed or bonds issued or authorized under the provisions of this Article prior to the effective date of the expiration.  (2008-165, s. 2; 2013-371, ss. 1(a), 3; 2014-89, ss. 1, 2; 2015-121, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-210.2.  (Article has an expiration date - see note) Assessments.

(a)        Projects. - The board of commissioners of a county may make special assessments as provided in this Article against benefited property within the county for the purpose of financing the capital costs of projects for which project development financing debt instruments may be issued under G.S. 159-103 or for the purpose of financing the installation of distributed generation renewable energy sources or energy efficiency improvements that are permanently fixed to residential, commercial, industrial, or other real property.

(a1)      Dam Repair Project. - The board of commissioners of a county may make special assessments as provided in this Article against property that is contiguous to a lake, and benefits from access to the same lake, for the purpose of repairing the dam of that lake. The provisions of this subsection only apply to a privately owned dam formerly used for textile mill purposes, forming a lake between 225 and 325 acres in area.

(b)        Costs. - The board of commissioners must determine a project's total estimated cost. In addition to the costs allowed under G.S. 153A-193, the costs may include any expenses allowed under G.S. 159-84. A preliminary assessment roll may be prepared before the costs are incurred based on the estimated cost of the project.

(c)        Method. - The board of commissioners must establish an assessment method that will most accurately assess each lot or parcel of land subject to the assessments according to the benefits conferred upon it by the project for which the assessment is made. In addition to other bases upon which assessments may be made under G.S. 153A-186, the board may select any other method designed to allocate the costs in accordance with benefits conferred. In doing so, the board may provide that the benefits conferred are measured on the basis of use being made on the lot or parcel of land and provide for adjustments of assessments upon a change in use, provided that the total amount of all assessments is sufficient to pay the costs of the project after the adjustments have been made.  (2008-165, s. 2; 2008-187, s. 47.5(a); 2009-525, s. 1(a); 2013-371, ss. 1(b), 3; 2014-89, s. 3.)

 

§ 153A-210.3.  (Article has an expiration date - see note) Petition required.

(a)        Petition. - The board of commissioners may not impose a special assessment under this Article unless it receives a petition for the project to be financed by the assessment signed by (i) at least a majority of the owners of real property to be assessed and (ii) owners who represent at least sixty-six percent (66%) of the assessed value of all real property to be assessed. For purposes of determining whether the petition has been signed by a majority of owners, an owner who holds title to a parcel of real property alone shall be treated as having one vote each, and an owner who shares title to a parcel of real property with one or more other owners shall have a vote equal to one vote multiplied by a fraction, the numerator of which is one, and the denominator of which is the total number of owners of the parcel. For purposes of determining whether the assessed value represented by those signing the petition constitutes at least sixty-six percent (66%) of the assessed value of all real property to be assessed, an owner who holds title to a parcel of real property alone shall have the full assessed value of the parcel included in the calculation, and an owner who shares title to a parcel of real property with one or more other owners shall have their proportionate share of the full assessed value of the parcel included in the calculation. The petition must include the following:

(1)        A statement of the project proposed to be financed in whole or in part by the imposition of an assessment under this Article.

(2)        An estimate of the cost of the project.

(3)        An estimate of the portion of the cost of the project to be assessed.

(b)        Petition Withdrawn. - The board of commissioners must wait at least 10 days after the public hearing on the preliminary assessment resolution before adopting a final assessment resolution. A petition submitted under subsection (a) of this section may be withdrawn if notice of petition withdrawal is given in writing to the board signed by at least a majority of the owners who signed the petition submitted under subsection (a) of this section representing at least fifty percent (50%) of the assessed value of all real property to be assessed. The board may not adopt a final assessment resolution if it receives a timely notice of petition withdrawal.

(c)        Validity of Assessment. - No right of action or defense asserting the invalidity of an assessment on grounds that the county did not comply with this section may be asserted except in an action or proceeding begun within 90 days after publication of the notice of adoption of the preliminary assessment resolution.  (2008-165, s. 2; 2013-371, ss. 1(c), 3.)

 

§ 153A-210.4.  (Article has an expiration date - see note) Financing a project for which an assessment is imposed.

(a)        Financing Sources. - A board of commissioners may provide for the payment of the cost of a project for which an assessment may be imposed under this Article from one or more of the financing sources listed in this subsection. The assessment resolution must include the estimated cost of the project and the amount of the cost to be derived from each respective financing source.

(1)        Revenue bonds issued under G.S. 153A-210.6.

(2)        Project development financing debt instruments issued under the North Carolina Project Development Financing Act, Article 6 of Chapter 159 of the General Statutes.

(3)        General obligation bonds issued under the Local Government Bond Act, Article 4 of Chapter 159 of the General Statutes.

(4)        General revenues.

(b)        Assessments Pledged. - An assessment imposed under this Article may be pledged to secure revenue bonds under G.S. 153A-210.6 or as additional security for a project development financing debt instrument under G.S. 159-111. If an assessment imposed under this Article is pledged to secure financing, the board of commissioners must covenant to enforce the payment of the assessments.  (2008-165, s. 2; 2009-525, s. 1(b); 2013-371, s. 3.)

 

§ 153A-210.5.  (Article has an expiration date - see note) Payment of assessments by installments.

An assessment imposed under this Article is payable in annual installments. The board of commissioners must set the number of annual installments, which may not be more than 25. The installments are due on the date that property taxes are due.  (2008-165, s. 2; 2013-371, s. 3; 2015-121, s. 3.)

 

§ 153A-210.6.  (Article has an expiration date - see note) Revenue bonds.

(a)        Authorization. - A board of commissioners that imposes an assessment under this Article may issue revenue bonds under Article 5 of Chapter 159 of the General Statutes to finance the project for which the assessment is imposed and use the proceeds of the assessment imposed as revenues pertaining to the project.

(b)        Modifications. - This Article specifically modifies the authority of a county to issue revenue bonds under Article 5 of Chapter 159 of the General Statutes by extending the authority in that Article to include a project for which an assessment may be imposed under this Article. In applying the provisions of Article 5, the following definitions apply:

(1)        Revenue bond project. - Defined in G.S. 159-81(3). The term includes projects for which an assessment is imposed under this Article.

(2)        Revenues. - Defined in G.S. 159-81(4). The term includes assessments imposed under this Article to finance a project allowed under this Article.  (2008-165, s. 2; 2013-371, s. 3.)

 

§ 153A-210.7.  (Article has an expiration date - see note) Project implementation.

A county may act directly, through one or more contracts with other public agencies, through one or more contracts with private agencies, or by any combination thereof to implement the project financed in whole or in part by the imposition of an assessment imposed under this Article. If no more than twenty-five percent (25%) of the estimated cost of a project is to be funded from the proceeds of general obligation bonds or general revenue, a private agency that enters into a contract with a county for the implementation of all or part of the project is subject to the provisions of Article 8 of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes only to the extent specified in the contract. In the event any contract relating to construction a substantial portion of which is to be performed on publicly owned property is excluded from the provisions of Article 8 of Chapter 143, the county or any trustee or fiduciary responsible for disbursing funds shall obtain certification acceptable to the county in the amount due for work done or materials supplied for which payment will be paid from such disbursement. If the county or any trustee or fiduciary responsible for disbursing funds receives notice of a claim from any person who would be entitled to a mechanic's or materialman's lien but for the fact that the claim relates to work performed on or supplies provided to publicly owned property, then either no disbursement of funds may be made until the county, trustee, or fiduciary receives satisfactory proof of resolution of the claim or funds in the amount of the claim shall be set aside for payment thereof upon resolution of the claim.  (2009-525, s. 1(c); 2013-371, s. 3.)

 

 

Article 10.

Law Enforcement and Confinement Facilities.

Part 1. Law Enforcement.

§ 153A-211.  Training and development programs for law enforcement.

A county may plan and execute training and development programs for law-enforcement agencies, and for that purpose may:

(1)        Contract with other counties, cities, and the State and federal governments and their agencies;

(2)        Accept, receive, and disburse funds, grants, and services;

(3)        Pursuant to the procedures and provisions of Chapter 160A, Article 20, Part 1, create joint agencies to act for and on behalf of the participating counties and cities;

(4)        Apply for, receive, administer, and expend federal grant funds;

(5)        Appropriate funds not otherwise limited as to use by law. (1969, c. 1145, s. 2; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-212.  Cooperation in law-enforcement matters.

A county may cooperate with the State and other local governments in law-enforcement matters, as permitted by G.S. 160A-283 (joint auxiliary police), by G.S. 160A-288 (emergency aid), G.S. 160A-288.1 (assistance by State law-enforcement officers), and by Chapter 160A, Article 20, Part 1. (1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1979, c. 639, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-212.1.  Resources to protect the public.

Subject to the requirements of G.S. 7A-41, 7A-44.1, 7A-64, 7A-102, 7A-133, and 7A-498.7, a county may appropriate funds under contract with the State for the provision of services for the speedy disposition of cases involving drug offenses, domestic violence, or other offenses involving threats to public safety. Nothing in this section shall be construed to obligate the General Assembly to make any appropriation to implement the provisions of this section. Further, nothing in this section shall be construed to obligate the Administrative Office of the Courts or the Office of Indigent Defense Services to maintain positions or services initially provided for under this section. (1999-237, s. 17.17(b); 2000-67, s. 15.4(e); 2001-424, s. 22.11(e).)

 

§ 153A-212.2.  Neighborhood crime watch programs.

A county may establish neighborhood crime watch programs within the county to encourage residents and business owners to promote citizen involvement in securing homes, businesses, and personal property against criminal activity and to report suspicious activities to law enforcement officials. (2006-181, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-213.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-214.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-215.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

Part 2.  Local Confinement Facilities.

§ 153A-216.  Legislative policy.

The policy of the General Assembly with respect to local confinement facilities is:

(1)        Local confinement facilities should provide secure custody of persons confined therein in order to protect the community and should be operated so as to protect the health and welfare of prisoners and provide for their humane treatment.

(2)        Minimum statewide standards should be provided to guide and assist local governments in planning, constructing, and maintaining confinement facilities and in developing programs that provide for humane treatment of prisoners and contribute to the rehabilitation of offenders.

(3)        The State should provide services to local governments to help improve the quality of administration and local confinement facilities.  These services should include inspection, consultation, technical assistance, and other appropriate services.

(4)        Adequate qualifications and training of the personnel of local confinement facilities are essential to improving the quality of these facilities.  The State shall establish entry level employment standards for jailers and supervisory and administrative personnel of local confinement facilities to include training as a condition of employment in a local confinement facility pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 17C and Chapter 17E and the rules promulgated thereunder. (1967, c. 581, s. 2; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1983, c. 745, s. 4.)

 

§ 153A-217.  Definitions.

Unless otherwise clearly required by the context, the words and phrases defined in this section have the meanings indicated when used in this Part:

(1)        "Commission" means the Social Services Commission.

(2)        "Secretary" means the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

(3)        "Department" means the Department of Health and Human Services.

(4)        "Governing body" means the governing body of a county or city or the policy-making body for a district or regional confinement facility.

(5)        "Local confinement facility" includes a county or city jail, a local lockup, a regional or district jail, a juvenile detention facility, a detention facility for adults operated by a local government, and any other facility operated by a local government for confinement of persons awaiting trial or serving sentences except that it shall not include a county satellite jail/work release unit governed by Part 3 of Article 10 of Chapter 153A.

(6)        "Prisoner" includes any person, adult or juvenile, confined or detained in a confinement facility.

(7)        "Unit," "unit of local government," or "local government" means a county or city. (1967, c. 581, s. 2; 1969, c. 981, s. 1; 1973, c. 476, s. 138; c. 822, s. 1; 1987, c. 207, s. 2; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a); 1998-202, s. 4(cc).)

 

§ 153A-218.  County confinement facilities.

A county may establish, acquire, erect, repair, maintain, and operate local confinement facilities and may for these purposes appropriate funds not otherwise limited as to use by law. A juvenile detention facility may be located in the same facility as a county jail provided that the juvenile detention facility meets the requirements of this Article and G.S. 147-33.40. (1868, c. 20, s. 8; Code, s. 707; Rev., s. 1318; 1915, c. 140; C.S., s. 1297; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1998-202, s. 4(dd).)

 

§ 153A-219.  District confinement facilities.

(a)        Two or more units of local government may enter into and carry out an agreement to establish, finance, and operate a district confinement facility. The units may construct such a facility or may designate an existing facility as a district confinement facility. In addition, two or more units of local government may enter into and carry out agreements under which one unit may use the local confinement facility owned and operated by another. In exercising the  powers granted by this section, the units shall proceed according to the procedures and provisions of Chapter 160A, Article 20, Part 1.

(b)        If a district confinement facility is established, the units involved shall provide for a jail administrator for the facility. The administrator need not be the sheriff or any other official of a participating unit. The administrator and the other custodial personnel of a district confinement facility have the authority of law-enforcement officers for the purposes of receiving, maintaining custody of, and transporting prisoners.

(c)        If a district confinement facility is established, or if one unit contracts to use the local confinement facility of another, the law-enforcement officers of the contracting units and the custodial personnel of the facility may transport prisoners to and from the facility.

(d)       The Department shall provide technical and other assistance to  units wishing to exercise any of the powers granted by this section. (1933, c. 201; 1967, c. 581, s. 2; 1969, c. 743; 1971, c. 341, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-220.  Jail and detention services.

The Commission has policy responsibility for providing and  coordinating State services to local government with respect to local  confinement facilities. The Department shall:

(1)        Consult with and provide technical assistance to units of local government with respect to local confinement facilities.

(2)        Develop minimum standards for the construction and operation  of local confinement facilities.

(3)        Visit and inspect local confinement facilities; advise the sheriff, jailer, governing board, and other appropriate officials as to deficiencies and recommend improvements; and submit written reports on the inspections to appropriate local officials.

(4)        Review and approve plans for the construction and major modification of local confinement facilities.

(5)        Repealed by Session Laws 1983, c. 745, s. 5, effective September 1, 1983.

(6)        Perform any other duties that may be necessary to carry out the State's responsibilities concerning local confinement facilities. (1967, c. 581, s. 2; 1973, c. 476, s. 138; c. 822, s. 1; 1983, c. 745, s. 5.)

 

§ 153A-221.  Minimum standards.

(a)        The Secretary shall develop and publish minimum standards for the operation of local confinement facilities and may from time to time develop and publish amendments to the standards. The standards shall be developed with a view to providing secure custody of prisoners and to protecting their health and welfare and providing for their humane treatment. The standards shall provide for:

(1)        Secure and safe physical facilities;

(2)        Jail design;

(3)        Adequacy of space per prisoner;

(4)        Heat, light, and ventilation;

(5)        Supervision of prisoners;

(6)        Personal hygiene and comfort of prisoners;

(7)        Medical care for prisoners, including mental health, mental retardation, and substance abuse services;

(8)        Sanitation;

(9)        Food allowances, food preparation, and food handling;

(10)      Any other provisions that may be necessary for the safekeeping, privacy, care, protection, and welfare of prisoners.

(b)        In developing the standards and any amendments thereto, the Secretary shall consult with organizations representing local government and local law enforcement, including the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, the North Carolina League of Municipalities, the North Carolina Sheriffs' Association, and the North Carolina Police Executives' Association. The Secretary shall also consult with interested State departments and agencies, including the Division of Adult Correction of the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Insurance, and the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission, and the North Carolina Sheriffs' Education and Training Standards Commission.

(c)        Before the standards or any amendments thereto may become effective, they must be approved by the Commission and the Governor. Upon becoming effective, they have the force and effect of law.

(d)       Notwithstanding any law or rule to the contrary, each dormitory in a county detention facility may house up to 64 inmates as long as the dormitory provides all of the following:

(1)        A minimum floor space of 70 square feet per inmate, including both the sleeping and dayroom areas.

(2)        One shower per eight inmates, one toilet per eight inmates, one sink with a security mirror per eight inmates, and one water fountain.

(3)        A telephone jack or other telephone arrangement provided within the dormitory.

(4)        Space designed to allow a variety of activities.

(5)        Sufficient seating and tables for all inmates.

(6)        A way for officers to observe the entire area from the entrance.  (1967, c. 581, s. 2; 1973, c. 476, ss. 128, 133, 138; c. 822, s. 1; 1983, c. 745, s. 6; c. 768, s. 20; 1991, c. 237, s. 1; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a); 2008-194, ss. 10(a), (b); 2011-145, s. 19.1(h); 2011-324, s. 1; 2014-22, s. 1.)

 

Part 2. Local Confinement Facilities.

§ 153A-221.1.  Standards and inspections.

The legal responsibility of the Division of Juvenile Justice of the Department of Public Safety for State services to county juvenile detention homes under this Article is hereby confirmed and shall include the following: development of State standards under the prescribed procedures; inspection; consultation; technical assistance; and training.

The Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretary of Public Safety, shall also develop standards under which a local jail may be approved as a holdover facility for not more than five calendar days pending placement in a juvenile detention home which meets State standards, providing the local jail is so arranged that any child placed in the holdover facility cannot converse with, see, or be seen by the adult population of the jail while in the holdover facility. The personnel responsible for the administration of a jail with an approved holdover facility shall provide close supervision of any child placed in the holdover facility for the protection of the child.  (1973, c. 1230, s. 2; c. 1262, s. 10; 1975, c. 426, s. 2; 1983, c. 768, s. 21; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a); 1998-202, s. 13(nn); 1999-423, s. 12; 2000-137, s. 4(hh); 2012-172, s. 2; 2013-360, s. 16D.7(c).)

 

§ 153A-222.  Inspections of local confinement facilities.

Department personnel shall visit and inspect each local confinement facility at least semiannually. The purpose of the inspections is to investigate the conditions of confinement, the treatment of prisoners, the maintenance of entry level employment standards for jailers and supervisory and administrative personnel of local confinement facilities as provided for in G.S. 153A-216(4), and to determine whether the facilities meet the minimum standards published pursuant to G.S. 153A-221. The inspector shall make a written report of each inspection and submit it within 30 days after the day the inspection is completed to the governing body and other local officials responsible for the facility. The report shall specify each way in which the facility does not meet the minimum standards. The governing body shall consider the report at its first regular meeting after receipt of the report and shall promptly initiate any action necessary to bring the facility into conformity with the standards. Notwithstanding the provisions of G.S. 8-53 or any other provision of law relating to the confidentiality of communications between physician and patient, the representatives of the Department of Health and Human Services who make these inspections may review any writing or other record in any recording medium which pertains to the admission, discharge, medication, treatment, medical condition, or history of persons who are or have been inmates of the facility being inspected. Physicians, psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, and anyone else involved in giving treatment at or through a facility who may be interviewed by representatives of the Department may disclose to these representatives information related to an inquiry, notwithstanding the existence of the physician-patient privilege in G.S. 8-53 or any other rule of law; provided the patient, resident or client has not made written objection to such disclosure. The facility, its employees, and any person interviewed during these inspections shall be immune from liability for damages resulting from the disclosure of any information to the Department. Any confidential or privileged information received from review of records or interviews shall be kept confidential by the Department and not disclosed without written authorization of the inmate or legal representative, or unless disclosure is ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction. The Department shall institute appropriate policies and procedures to ensure that this information shall not be disclosed without authorization or court order. The Department shall not disclose the name of anyone who has furnished information concerning a facility without the consent of that person. Neither the names of persons furnishing information nor any confidential or privileged information obtained from records or interviews shall be considered "public records" within the meaning of G.S. 132-1. Prior to releasing any information or allowing any inspections referred to in this section the patient, resident or client must be advised in writing that he has the right to object in writing to such release of information or review of his records and that by an objection in writing he may prohibit the inspection or release of his records. (1947, c. 915; 1967, c. 581, s. 2; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1981, c. 586, s. 6; 1983, c. 745, s. 7; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a).)

 

§ 153A-223.  Enforcement of minimum standards.

If an inspection conducted pursuant to G.S. 153A-222 discloses that the jailers and supervisory and administrative personnel of a local confinement facility do not meet the entry level employment standards established pursuant to Chapter 17C or Chapter 17E or that a local confinement facility does not meet the minimum standards published pursuant to G.S. 153A-221 and, in addition, if the Secretary determines that conditions in the facility jeopardize the safe custody, safety, health, or welfare of persons confined in the facility, the Secretary may order corrective action or close the facility, as provided in this section:

(1)        The Secretary shall give notice of his determination to the governing body and each other local official responsible for the facility. The Secretary shall also send a copy of this notice, along with a copy of the inspector's report, to the senior resident superior court judge of the superior court district or set of districts as defined in G.S. 7A-41.1 in which the facility is located. Upon receipt of the Secretary's notice, the governing body shall call a public hearing to consider the report. The hearing shall be held within 20 days after the day the Secretary's notice is received. The inspector shall appear at this hearing to advise and consult with the governing body concerning any corrective action necessary to bring the facility into conformity with the standards.

(2)        The governing body shall, within 30 days after the day the Secretary's notice is received, request a contested case hearing, initiate appropriate corrective action or close the facility. The corrective action must be completed within a reasonable time.

(3)        A contested case hearing, if requested, shall be conducted pursuant to G.S. 150B, Article 3. The issues shall be: (i) whether the facility meets the minimum standards; (ii) whether the conditions in the facility jeopardize the safe custody, safety, health, or welfare of persons confined therein; and (iii) the appropriate corrective action to be taken and a reasonable time to complete that action.

(4)        If the governing body does not, within 30 days after the day the Secretary's notice is received, or within 30 days after service of the final decision if a contested case hearing is held, either initiate corrective action or close the facility, or does not complete the action within a reasonable time, the Secretary may order that the facility be closed.

(5)        The governing body may appeal an order of the Secretary or a final decision to the senior resident superior court judge. The governing body shall initiate the appeal by giving by registered mail to the judge and to the Secretary notice of its intention to appeal. The notice must be given within 15 days after the day the Secretary's order or the final decision is received. If notice is not given within the 15-day period, the right to appeal is terminated.

(6)        The senior resident superior court judge shall hear the appeal. He shall cause notice of the date, time, and place of the hearing to be given to each interested party, including the Secretary, the governing body, and each other local official involved. The Office of Administrative Hearings, if a contested case hearing has been held, shall file the official record, as defined in G.S. 150B-37, with the senior resident superior court judge and shall serve a copy on each person who has been given notice of the hearing. The judge shall conduct the hearing without a jury. He shall consider the official record, if any, and may accept evidence from the Secretary, the governing body, and each other local official which he finds appropriate. The issue before the court shall be whether the facility continues to jeopardize the safe custody, safety, health, or welfare of persons confined therein. The court may affirm, modify, or reverse the Secretary's order.  (1947, c. 915; 1967, c. 581, s. 2; 1973, c. 476, s. 138; c. 822, s. 1; 1981, c. 614, ss. 20, 21; 1983, c. 745, s. 8; 1987, c. 827, s. 1; 1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1037, s. 123; 2011-398, s. 55.)

 

§ 153A-224.  Supervision of local confinement facilities.

(a)        No person may be confined in a local confinement facility unless custodial personnel are present and available to provide continuous supervision in order that custody will be secure and that, in event of emergency, such as fire, illness, assaults by other prisoners, or otherwise, the prisoners can be protected.  These personnel shall supervise prisoners closely enough to maintain safe custody and control and to be at all times informed of the prisoners' general health and emergency medical needs.

(b)        In a medical emergency, the custodial personnel shall secure emergency medical care from a licensed physician according to the unit's plan for medical care.  If a physician designated in the plan is not available, the personnel shall secure medical services from any licensed physician who is available.  The unit operating the facility shall pay the cost of emergency medical services unless the inmate has third-party insurance, in which case the third-party insurer shall be the initial payor and the medical provider shall bill the third-party insurer.  The county shall only be liable for costs not reimbursed by the third-party insurer, in which event the county may recover from the inmate the cost of the non-reimbursed medical services.

(c)        If a person violates any provision of this section, he is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. (1967, c. 581, s. 2; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1993, c. 510, c. 539, s. 1061; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)

 

§ 153A-225.  Medical care of prisoners.

(a)        Each unit that operates a local confinement facility shall develop a plan for providing medical care for prisoners in the facility. The plan:

(1)        Shall be designed to protect the health and welfare of the prisoners and to avoid the spread of contagious disease;

(2)        Shall provide for medical supervision of prisoners and emergency medical care for prisoners to the extent necessary for their health and welfare;

(3)        Shall provide for the detection, examination and treatment of prisoners who are infected with tuberculosis or venereal diseases; and

(4)        May utilize Medicaid coverage for inpatient hospitalization or for any other Medicaid services allowable for eligible prisoners, provided that the plan includes a reimbursement process which pays to the State the State portion of the costs, including the costs of the services provided and any administrative costs directly related to the services to be reimbursed, to the State's Medicaid program.

The unit shall develop the plan in consultation with appropriate local officials and organizations, including the sheriff, the county physician, the local or district health director, and the local medical society. The plan must be approved by the local or district health director after consultation with the area mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse authority, if it is adequate to protect the health and welfare of the prisoners. Upon a determination that the plan is adequate to protect the health and welfare of the prisoners, the plan must be adopted by the governing body.

As a part of its plan, each unit may establish fees of not more than twenty dollars ($20.00) per incident for the provision of nonemergency medical care to prisoners and a fee of not more than ten dollars ($10.00) for a 30-day supply or less of a prescription drug. In establishing fees pursuant to this section, each unit shall establish a procedure for waiving fees for indigent prisoners.

(b)        If a prisoner in a local confinement facility dies, the medical examiner and the coroner shall be notified immediately. Within five days after the day of the death, the administrator of the facility shall make a written report to the local or district health director and to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The report shall be made on forms developed and distributed by the Department of Health and Human Services.

(b1)      Whenever a local confinement facility transfers a prisoner from that facility to another local confinement facility, the transferring facility shall provide the receiving facility with any health information or medical records the transferring facility has in its possession pertaining to the transferred prisoner.

(c)        If a person violates any provision of this section (including the requirements regarding G.S. 130-97 and 130-121), he is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.  (1967, c. 581, s. 2; 1973, c. 476, ss. 128, 138; c. 822, s. 1; 1973, c. 1140, s. 3; 1989, c. 727, s. 204; 1991, c. 237, s. 2; 1993, c. 539, s. 1062; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 1995, c. 385, s. 1; 1997-443, s. 11A.112; 2003-392, s. 1; 2004-199, s. 46(a); 2011-145, s. 31.26(f); 2011-192, s. 7(n); 2013-387, s. 2; 2013-389, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-225.1.  Duty of custodial personnel when prisoners are unconscious or semiconscious.

(a)        Whenever a custodial officer of a local confinement facility takes custody of a prisoner who is unconscious, semiconscious, or otherwise apparently suffering from some disabling condition and unable to provide information on the causes of the condition, the officer should make a reasonable effort to determine if the prisoner is wearing a bracelet or necklace containing the Medic Alert Foundation's emergency alert symbol to indicate that the prisoner suffers from diabetes, epilepsy, a cardiac condition or any other form of illness which would cause a loss of consciousness. If such a symbol is found indicating that the prisoner suffers from one of those conditions, the officer must make a reasonable effort to have appropriate medical care provided.

(b)        Failure of a custodial officer of a local confinement facility  to make a reasonable effort to discover an emergency alert symbol as required by this section does not by itself establish negligence of the officer but may be considered along with other evidence to determine if the officer took reasonable precautions to ascertain the emergency medical needs of the prisoner in his custody.

(c)        A prisoner who is provided medical care under the provisions of this section is liable for the reasonable costs of that care unless he is indigent.

(d)       Repealed by Session Laws 1975, c. 818, s. 2. (1975, c. 306, s. 2; c. 818, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-225.2.  Payment of medical care of prisoners.

(a)        Counties shall reimburse those providers and facilities providing requested or emergency medical care outside of the local confinement facility the lesser amount of either a rate of seventy percent (70%) of the provider's then-current prevailing charge or two times the then-current Medicaid rate for any given service. Each county shall have the right to audit any provider from whom the county has received a bill for services under this section but only to the extent necessary to determine the actual prevailing charge to ensure compliance with this section.

(b)        Nothing in this section shall preclude a county from contracting with a provider for services at rates that provide greater documentable cost avoidance for the county than do the rates contained in subsection (a) of this subsection or at rates that are less favorable to the county but that will ensure the continued access to care.

(c)        The county shall make reasonable efforts to equitably distribute prisoners among all hospitals or other appropriate health care facilities located within the same county and shall do so based upon the licensed acute care bed capacity at each of the hospitals located within the same county. Counties with more than one hospital or other appropriate health care facility shall provide semiannual reports conspicuously posted on the county's Web site that detail compliance with this section, including information on the distribution of prisoner health care services among different hospitals and health care facilities.

(d)       For the purposes of this section, "requested or emergency medical care" shall include all medically necessary and appropriate care provided to an individual from the time that individual presents to the provider or facility in the custody of county law enforcement officers until the time that the individual is safely transferred back to the care of county law enforcement officers or medically discharged to another community setting, as appropriate.  (2013-387, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-226.  Sanitation and food.

(a)        The Commission for Public Health shall adopt rules governing the sanitation of local confinement facilities, including the kitchens and other places where food is prepared for prisoners. The rules shall address, but not be limited to, the cleanliness of floors, walls, ceilings, storage spaces, utensils, ventilation equipment, and other facilities; adequacy of lighting, water, lavatory facilities, bedding, food protection facilities, treatment of eating and drinking utensils, and waste disposal; methods of food preparation, handling, storage, and serving; and any other item necessary to the health of the prisoners or the public.

(b)        The Commission for Public Health shall prepare a score sheet to be used by local health departments in inspecting local confinement facilities. The local health departments shall inspect local confinement facilities as often as may be required by the Commission for Public Health. If an inspector of the Department finds conditions that reflect hazards or deficiencies in the sanitation or food service of a local confinement facility, he shall immediately notify the local health department. The health department shall promptly inspect the facility. After making its inspection, the local health department shall forward a copy of its report to the Department of Health and Human Services and to the unit operating the facility, on forms prepared by the Department of Environmental Quality. The report shall indicate whether the facility and its kitchen or other place for preparing food is approved or disapproved for public health purposes. If the facility is disapproved, the situation shall be rectified according to the procedures of G.S. 153A-223.  (1967, c. 581, s. 2; 1973, c. 476, s. 128; c. 822, s. 1; 1989, c. 727, s. 205; 1993, c. 262, s. 5; 1997-443, ss. 11A.113, 11A.118(a); 2007-182, s. 2; 2015-241, s. 14.30(u).)

 

§ 153A-227: Repealed by Session Laws 1983, c.  745, s. 9.

 

§ 153A-228.  Separation of sexes.

Male and female prisoners shall be confined in separate facilities or in separate quarters in local confinement facilities. (1967, c. 581, s. 2; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-229.  Jailers' report of jailed defendants.

The person having administrative control of a local confinement facility must furnish to the clerk of superior court a report listing such information reasonably at his disposal as is necessary to enable said clerk of superior court to comply with the provisions of G.S. 7A-109.1. (1973, c. 1286, s. 23; 1981, c. 522.)

 

Part 3.  Satellite Jail/Work Release Units.

§ 153A-230.  Legislative policy.

The policy of the General Assembly with respect to satellite jail/work release units is:

(1)        To encourage counties to accept responsibility for incarcerated misdemeanants thereby relieving the State prison system of its misdemeanant population;

(2)        To assist counties in providing suitable facilities for certain misdemeanants who receive active sentences;

(3)        To allow more misdemeanants who are employed at the time of sentencing to retain their jobs by eliminating the time involved in processing persons through the State system;

(4)        To enable misdemeanants to pay for their upkeep while serving time, to pay restitution, to continue to support their dependents, and to remain near the communities and families to which they will return after serving their time;

(5)        To provide more appropriate, cost effective housing for certain minimum custody misdemeanants and to utilize vacant buildings where possible and suitable for renovation;

(6)        To provide a rehabilitative atmosphere for non-violent misdemeanants who otherwise would face a substantial threat of imprisonment; and

(7)        To encourage the use of alternative to incarceration programs. (1987, c. 207, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-230.1.  Definitions.

Unless otherwise clearly required by the context, the words and phrases defined in this section have the meanings indicated when used in this Part:

(1)        "Office" means the Office of State Budget and Management.

(2)        "Satellite Jail/Work Release Unit" means a building or designated portion of a building primarily designed, staffed, and used for the housing of misdemeanants participating in a work release program. These units shall house misdemeanants only, except that, if he so chooses, the Sheriff may accept responsibility from the Division of Adult Correction of the Department of Public Safety for the housing of felons who do not present security risks, who have achieved work release status, and who will be employed on work release, or for felons committed directly to his custody pursuant to G.S. 15A-1352(b). These units shall be operated on a full time basis, i.e., seven days/nights a week.  (1987, c. 207, s. 1; 1987, (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1106, s. 1; 2000-140, s. 93.1(a); 2001-424, s. 12.2(b); 2011-145, s. 19.1(h).)

 

§ 153A-230.2.  Creation of Satellite Jail/Work Release Unit Fund.

(a)        There is created in the Office of State Budget and Management the County Satellite Jail/Work Release Unit Fund to provide State grant funds for counties or groups of counties for construction of satellite jail/work release units for certain misdemeanants who receive active sentences. A county or group of counties may apply to the Office for a grant under this section. The application shall be in a form established by the Office. The Office shall:

(1)        Develop application and grant criteria based on the basic requirements listed in this Part,

(2)        Provide all Boards of County Commissioners and Sheriffs with the criteria and appropriate application forms, technical assistance, if requested, and a proposed written agreement,

(3)        Review all applications,

(4)        Select grantees and award grants,

(5)        Award no more than seven hundred fifty thousand dollars ($750,000) for any one county or group of counties except that if a group of counties agrees to jointly operate one unit for males and one unit for females, the maximum amount may be awarded for each unit,

(6)        Take into consideration the potential number of misdemeanants and the percentage of the county's or counties' misdemeanant population to be diverted from the State prison system,

(7)        Take into consideration the utilization of existing buildings suitable for renovation where appropriate,

(8)        Take into consideration the timeliness with which a county proposes to complete and occupy the unit,

(9)        Take into consideration the appropriateness and cost effectiveness of the proposal,

(10)      Take into consideration the plan with which the county intends to coordinate the unit with other community service programs such as intensive supervision, community penalties, and community service.

When considering the items listed in subdivisions (6) through (10), the Office shall determine the appropriate weight to be given each item.

(b)        A county or group of counties is eligible for a grant under this section if it agrees to abide by the basic requirements for satellite jail/work release units established in G.S. 153A-230.3. In order to receive a grant under this section, there must be a written agreement to abide by the basic requirements for satellite jail/work release units set forth in G.S. 153A-230.3. The written agreement shall be signed by the Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners, with approval of the Board of County Commissioners and after consultation with the Sheriff, and a representative of the Office of State Budget and Management. If a group of counties applies for the grant, then the agreement must be signed by the Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners of each county. Any variation from, including termination of, the original signed agreement must be approved by both the Office of State Budget and Management and by a vote of the Board of County Commissioners of the county or counties.

When the county or group of counties receives a grant under this section, the county or group of counties accepts ownership of the satellite jail/work release unit and full financial responsibility for maintaining and operating the unit, and for the upkeep of its occupants who comply with the eligibility criteria in G.S. 153A-230.3(a)(1). The county shall receive from the Division of Adult Correction of the Department of Public Safety the amount paid to local confinement facilities under G.S. 148-32.1 for prisoners which are in the unit, but do not meet the eligibility of requirements under G.S. 153A-230.3(a)(1).  (1987, c. 207, s. 1; 1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1106, ss. 2, 3; 1989, c. 761, s. 2; 2000-140, s. 93.1(a); 2001-424, s. 12.2(b); 2009-372, s. 7; 2011-145, s. 19.1(h).)

 

§ 153A-230.3.  Basic requirements for satellite jail/work release units.

(a)        Eligibility for Unit. - The following rules shall govern which misdemeanants are housed in a satellite jail/work release unit:

(1)        Any convicted misdemeanant who:

a.         Receives an active sentence in the county or group of counties operating the unit,

b.         Is employed in the area or can otherwise earn his keep by working at the unit on maintenance and other jobs related to upkeep and operation of the unit or by assignment to community service work, and

c.         Consents to placement in the unit under these conditions,

shall not be sent to the State prison system except by written findings of the sentencing judge that the misdemeanant is violent or otherwise a threat to the public and therefore unsuitable for confinement in the unit.

(2)        The County shall offer work release programs to both male and female misdemeanants, through local facilities for both, or through a contractual agreement with another entity for either, provided that such arrangement is in reasonable proximity to the misdemeanant's workplace.

(3)        The sentencing judge shall make a finding of fact as to whether the misdemeanant is qualified for occupancy in the unit pursuant to G.S. 15A-1352(a). If the sentencing judge determines that the misdemeanant is qualified for occupancy in the unit and the misdemeanant meets the requirements of subdivision (1), then the custodian of the local confinement facility may transfer the misdemeanant to the unit. If at any time either prior to or after placement of an inmate into the unit the Sheriff determines that there is an indication of violence, unsuitable behavior, or other threat to the public that could make the prisoner unsuitable for the unit, the Sheriff may place the prisoner in the county jail.

(4)        The Sheriff may accept work release misdemeanants from other counties provided that those inmates agree to pay for their upkeep, that space is available, and that the Sheriff is willing to accept responsibility for the prisoner after screening.

(5)        The Sheriff may accept work release misdemeanants or felons from the Division of Adult Correction of the Department of Public Safety provided that those inmates agree to pay for their upkeep, that space is available, and that the Sheriff is willing to accept responsibility for the prisoner after screening.

(a1)      Non-eligible for unit. - If the sentencing judge finds that the misdemeanant does not meet the eligibility criteria set forth in G.S. 135A-230.3(a)(1)b, but is otherwise eligible for placement in the unit, then the Sheriff may transfer the misdemeanant from the local confinement facility to the unit if the misdemeanant meets the eligibility criteria at a later date. The Sheriff may also transfer prisoners who were placed in the unit pursuant to G.S. 148-32.1(b) to the local confinement facility when space becomes available.

(b)        Operation of Satellite Jail/Work Release Unit. - A county or group of counties operating a satellite jail/work release unit shall comply with the following requirements concerning operation of the unit:

(1)        The county shall make every effort to ensure that at least eighty percent (80%) of the unit occupants shall be employed and on work release, and that the remainder shall earn their keep by working at the unit on maintenance and other jobs related to the upkeep and operation of the unit or by assignment to community service work, and that alcohol and drug rehabilitation be available through community resources.

(2)        The county shall require the occupants to give their earnings, less standard payroll deduction required by law and premiums for group health insurance coverage, to the Sheriff. The county may charge a per day charge from those occupants who are employed or otherwise able to pay from other resources available to the occupants. The per day charge shall be calculated based on the following formula: The charge shall be either the amount that the Division of Adult Correction of the Department of Public Safety deducts from a prisoner's work-release earnings to pay for the cost of the prisoner's keep or fifty percent (50%) of the occupant's net weekly income, whichever is greater, but in no event may the per day charge exceed an amount that is twice the amount that the Division of Adult Correction of the Department of Public Safety pays each local confinement facility for the cost of providing food, clothing, personal items, supervision, and necessary ordinary medical expenses. The per day charge may be adjusted on an individual basis where restitution and/or child support has been ordered, or where the occupant's salary or resources are insufficient to pay the charge.

The county also shall accumulate a reasonable sum from the earnings of the occupant to be returned to him when he is released from the unit. The county also shall follow the guidelines established for the Division of Adult Correction of the Department of Public Safety in G.S. 148-33.1(f) for determining the amount and order of disbursements from the occupant's earnings.

(3)        Any and all proceeds from daily fees shall belong to the county's General Fund to aid in offsetting the operation and maintenance of the satellite unit.

(4)        The unit shall be operated on a full-time basis, i.e., seven days/nights a week, but weekend leave may be granted by the Sheriff. In granting weekend leave, the Sheriff shall follow the policies and procedures of the Division of Adult Correction of the Department of Public Safety for granting weekend leave for Level 3 minimum custody inmates.

(5)        Earned time shall be applied to these county prisoners in the same manner as prescribed in G.S. 15A-1340.20 and G.S. 148-13 for State prisoners.

(6)        The Sheriff shall maintain complete and accurate records on each inmate. These records shall contain the same information as required for State prisoners that are housed in county local confinement facilities.  (1987, c. 207, s. 1; 1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1106, ss. 4, 5; 1989, c. 761, ss. 4, 7; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 767, s. 3; 2011-145, s. 19.1(h).)

 

§ 153A-230.4.  Standards.

The county satellite jail/work release units for misdemeanants shall not be subject to the standards promulgated for local confinement facilities pursuant to G.S. 153A-221. The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall develop and enforce standards for satellite/work release units. The Secretary shall take into consideration that they are to house only screened misdemeanants most of whom are on work release and therefore occupy the premises only in their off-work hours. After consultation with the North Carolina Sheriff's Association, the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, and the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall promulgate standards suitable for these units by January 1, 1988, and shall include these units in the Department's monitoring and inspection responsibilities. Further, the North Carolina Sheriffs' Education and Training Standards Commission shall include appropriate training for Sheriffs and other county law enforcement personnel in regard to the operation, management and guidelines for county work release centers pursuant to its authority under G.S. 17E-4. (1987, c. 207, s. 1; 1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1106, s. 6; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a).)

 

§ 153A-230.5.  Satellite jails/work release units built with non-State funds.

(a)        If a county is operating a satellite jail/work release unit prior to the enactment of this act, the county may apply to the Office of State Budget and Management for grant funds to recover any verifiable construction or renovation costs for those units and for improvement funds except that the total for reimbursement and improvement shall not exceed seven hundred fifty thousand dollars ($750,000). Any county accepting such a grant or any other State monies for county satellite jails must agree to all of the basic requirements listed in G.S. 153A-230.2 and G.S. 153A-230.3.

(b)        If a county operates a non-State funded satellite jail/work release unit that does not comply with the basic requirements listed in G.S. 153A-230.2 and G.S. 153A-230.3, then the satellite jail shall be subject to the standards, rules, and regulations to be promulgated by the Secretary of Health and Human Services pursuant to Part 2 of Article 10 of Chapter 153A. If a county is reimbursed for the cost of a prisoner's keep from an inmate's work release earnings in an amount equal to or greater than that paid by the Division of Adult Correction of the Department of Public Safety to local confinement facilities under G.S. 148-32.1, the county may not receive additional payments from the Division for the cost of a prisoner's keep. However, if reimbursement to the county for the cost of a prisoner's keep is less than the amount allowed under G.S. 148-32.1, the county may receive from the Division of Adult Correction of the Department of Public Safety the difference in the amount received from work release earnings and the amount paid by the Division to local confinement facilities. The Division may promulgate rules regarding such payment arrangements.  (1987, c. 207, s. 1; 1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1106, s. 7; 1989, c. 761, s. 5; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a); 2000-140, s. 93.1(a); 2001-424, s. 12.2(b); 2011-145, s. 19.1(h).)

 

§§ G.S. 153A-231 through 153A-232.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

 

Article 11.

Fire Protection.

§ 153A-233.  Fire-fighting and prevention services.

A county may establish, organize, equip, support, and maintain a fire department; may prescribe the duties of the fire department; may provide financial assistance to incorporated volunteer fire departments; may contract for fire-fighting or prevention services with one or more counties, cities, or other units of local government or with an agency of the State government, or with one or more incorporated volunteer fire departments; and may for these purposes appropriate funds not otherwise limited as to use by law. The county may also designate fire districts or parts of existing districts and prescribe the boundaries thereof for insurance grading purposes. (1945, c. 244; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1977, c. 158.)

 

§ 153A-234.  Fire marshal.

A county may appoint a fire marshal and employ persons as his assistants. A county may also impose any duty that might be imposed on a fire marshal on any other officer or employee of the county. The board of commissioners shall set the duties of the fire marshal, which may include but are not limited to:

(1)        Advising the board on improvements in the fire-fighting or fire prevention activities under the county's supervision or control.

(2)        Coordinating fire-fighting and training activities under the county's supervision or control.

(3)        Coordinating fire prevention activities under the county's supervision or control.

(4)        Assisting incorporated volunteer fire departments in developing and improving their fire-fighting or fire prevention capabilities.

(5)        Making fire prevention inspections, including the periodic inspections and reports of school buildings required by Chapter 115 and the inspections of child care facilities required by Chapter 110. A fire marshal shall not make electrical inspections unless he is qualified to do so under G.S. 153A-351. (1959, c. 290; 1969, c. 1064, s. 2; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1997-506, s. 62.)

 

§ 153A-235:  Repealed by Session Laws 1989, c.  681, s. 14.

 

§ 153A-236.  Honoring deceased or retiring firefighters.

A fire department established by a county pursuant to this Article may, in the discretion of the board of commissioners, award to a retiring firefighter or a surviving relative of a deceased firefighter, upon request, the fire helmet of the deceased or retiring firefighter, at a price determined in a manner authorized by the board. The price may be less than the fair market value of the helmet. (2003-145, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-237.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

 

Article 12.

Roads and Bridges.

§ 153A-238.  Public road defined for counties.

(a)        In this Article "public road" or "road" means any road, street, highway, thoroughfare, or other way of passage that has been irrevocably dedicated to the public or in which the public has acquired rights by prescription, without regard to whether it is open for travel, except that in G.S. 153A-239.1, the word "road" means both private roads and public roads.

(b)        Repealed by Session Laws 1993, c. 62, s. 1. (1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1319, s. 1; 1981, c. 568; 1983, cc. 98, 299; 1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), cc. 900, 906; 1989, c. 335, s. 1; 1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), cc. 836, 854, 911; 1991, c. 9, s. 1; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 778, s. 1, c. 849, ss. 1, 2.1, c. 936, s. 1; 1993, c. 62, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-239:  Repealed by Session Laws 1993, c.  62, s. 2.

 

§ 153A-239.1.  Naming roads and assigning street numbers in unincorporated areas for counties.

(a)        A county may by ordinance name or rename any road within the county and not within a city, and may pursuant to a procedure established by ordinance assign or reassign street numbers for use on such a road. In naming or renaming a road, a county may not:

(1)        Change the name, if any, given to the road by the Board of Transportation, unless the Board of Transportation agrees;

(2)        Change the number assigned to the road by the Board of Transportation, but may give the road a name in addition to its number; or

(3)        Give the road a name that is deceptively similar to the name of any other public road in the vicinity.

A county shall not name or rename a road or adopt an ordinance to establish a procedure to assign or reassign street numbers on a road until it has held a public hearing on the matter. At least 10 days before the day of the hearing to name or rename a road, the board of commissioners shall cause notice of the time, place and subject matter of the hearing to be prominently posted at the county courthouse, in at least two public places in the township or townships where the road is located, and shall publish a notice of such hearing in a newspaper of general circulation published in the county. At least 10 days before the day of the hearing to adopt an ordinance to establish a procedure to assign or reassign street numbers on a road, the board of commissioners shall publish a notice of such hearing in a newspaper of general circulation in the county. After naming or renaming a road, or assigning or reassigning street numbers on a road, a county shall cause notice of its action to be given to the local postmaster with jurisdiction over the road, to the Board of Transportation, and to any city within five miles of the road. Names may be initially assigned to new roads by recordation of an approved subdivision plat without following the procedure established by this section.

(b)        Repealed by Session Laws 1993, c. 62, s. 3. (1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1319, s. 2; 1981, c. 568; 1983, cc. 98, 299; 1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), cc. 900, 906; 1989, c. 335, s. 1; 1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), cc. 836, 854, 911; 1991, c. 9, s. 2; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 778, s. 2; c. 849, ss. 2, 2.2; c. 936, s. 2; 1993, c. 62, s. 3; 2001-145, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-240:  Repealed by Session Laws 1993, c.  62, s. 4.

 

§ 153A-241.  Closing public roads or easements.

A county may permanently close any public road or any easement within the county and not within a city, except public roads or easements for public roads under the control and supervision of the Department of Transportation. The board of commissioners shall first adopt a resolution declaring its intent to close the public road or easement and calling a public hearing on the question. The board shall cause a notice of the public hearing reasonably calculated to give full and fair disclosure of the proposed closing to be published once a week for three successive weeks before the hearing, a copy of the resolution to be sent by registered or certified mail to each owner as shown on the county tax records of property adjoining the public road or easement who did not join in the request to have the road or easement closed, and a notice of the closing and public hearing to be prominently posted in at least two places along the road or easement. At the hearing the board shall hear all interested persons who appear with respect to whether the closing would be detrimental to the public interest or to any individual property rights. If, after the hearing, the board of commissioners is satisfied that closing the public road or easement is not contrary to the public interest and (in the case of a road) that no individual owning property in the vicinity of the road or in the subdivision in which it is located would thereby be deprived of reasonable means of ingress and egress to his property, the board may adopt an order closing the road or easement. A certified copy of the order (or judgment of the court) shall be filed in the office of the register of deeds of the county.

Any person aggrieved by the closing of a public road or an easement may appeal the board of commissioners' order to the appropriate division of the General Court of Justice within 30 days after the day the order is adopted. The court shall hear the matter de novo and has jurisdiction to try the issues arising and to order the road or easement closed upon proper findings of fact by the trier of fact.

No cause of action founded upon the invalidity of a proceeding taken in closing a public road or an easement may be asserted except in an action or proceeding begun within 30 days after the day the order is adopted.

Upon the closing of a public road or an easement pursuant to this section, all right, title, and interest in the right-of-way is vested in those persons owning lots or parcels of land adjacent to the road or easement, and the title of each adjoining landowner, for the width of his abutting land, extends to the center line of the public road or easement. However, the right, title or interest vested in an adjoining landowner by this paragraph remains subject to any public utility use or facility located on, over, or under the road or easement immediately before its closing, until the landowner or any successor thereto pays to the utility involved the reasonable cost of removing and relocating the facility. (1949, c. 1208, ss. 1-3; 1957, c. 65, s. 11; 1965, cc. 665, 801; 1971, c. 595; 1973, c. 507, s. 5; c. 822, s. 1; 1977, c. 464, s. 34; 1995, c. 374, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-242.  Regulation or prohibition of fishing from bridges.

A county may by ordinance regulate or prohibit fishing from any bridge within the county and not within a city. In addition, the governing board of a city may by resolution permit a county to regulate or prohibit fishing from any bridge within the city. The city may by resolution withdraw its permission to the county ordinance. If it does so, the city shall give written notice to the county of its withdrawal of permission; 30 days after the date the county receives this notice the county ordinance ceases to be applicable within the city. An ordinance adopted pursuant to this section shall provide for signs to be posted on each bridge affected, summarizing the regulation or prohibition pertaining to that bridge.

No person may fish from the drawspan of a regularly attended bridge, and no county may permit any person to do so.

The authority granted by this section is subject to the authority of the Department of Transportation to prohibit fishing from any bridge on the State highway system. (1971, c. 690, ss. 1, 6; 1973, c. 507, s. 5; c. 822, s. 1; 1977, c. 464, s. 34.)

 

§ 153A-243.  Authorizing bridges over navigable waters.

A county may grant to persons who between them own or occupy real property on both sides of a body of navigable water lying wholly within the county the right to construct and maintain across the body of water a bridge connecting the property. The board of commissioners shall first adopt a resolution declaring its intent to grant the right and calling a public hearing on the question. The board shall cause the resolution to be published once a week for four successive weeks before the hearing. At the hearing the board shall hear all interested persons who appear with respect to whether the grant would be in the public interest. If, after the hearing, the board finds that the grant is not contrary to the public interest, it may adopt an order granting the right to construct the bridge. The board may place reasonable terms and conditions, including time limitations, on the grant.

A person aggrieved by a grant may appeal the board of commissioners' order to the appropriate division of the General Court of Justice within 30 days after the day it is adopted. The court shall hear the matter de novo and has jurisdiction to try the issues arising and to grant the right to construct the bridge.

Before construction may be commenced on any bridge authorized pursuant to this section, the bridge's location and plans must be submitted to and approved by the Chief of Engineers of the United States Army and the Secretary of the Army. (Pub. Loc. 1191, c. 227; C.S., s. 1297; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-244.  Railroad revitalization programs.

Any county is authorized to participate in State and federal railroad revitalization programs necessary to insure continued or improved rail service to the county, as are authorized in Article 2D of Chapter 136 of the General Statutes. County participation includes the authority to enter into contracts with the North Carolina Department of Transportation to provide for the nonfederal matching funds for railroad revitalization programs. Such funds may be comprised of State funds distributed to the counties under the provisions of G.S. 136-44.38 and of county funds. County governments are also authorized to levy local property tax for railroad revitalization programs subject to G.S. 153A-149(d). County funds for any project may not exceed ten percent (10%) of total project costs. (1979, c. 658, s. 4.)

 

§ 153A-245.  Regulation of golf carts on streets, roads, and highways.

(a)        Notwithstanding the provisions of G.S. 20-50 and G.S. 20-54, a county may, by ordinance, regulate the operation of golf carts, as defined in G.S. 20-4.01(12a), on any public street, road, or highway where the speed limit is 35 miles per hour or less within the county that is located in any unincorporated areas of the county or on any property owned or leased by the county.

(b)        By ordinance, a county may require the registration of golf carts, charge a fee for the registration, specify who is authorized to operate golf carts, and specify the required equipment, load limits, and the hours and methods of operation of golf carts. No person less than 16 years of age may operate a golf cart on a public street, road, or highway.  (2009-459, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-246.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

 

Article 13.

Health and Social Services.

Part 1. Health Services.

§ 153A-247.  Provision for public health and mental health.

A county may provide for and regulate the public health pursuant to Chapter 130A of the General Statutes and any other law authorizing local public health activities and may provide mental health[,] mental retardation, and substance abuse programs pursuant to Chapter 122C of the General Statutes. (1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1985, c. 589, s. 58.)

 

§ 153A-248.  Health-related appropriations.

(a)        A county may appropriate revenues not otherwise limited as to use by law:

(1)        To a licensed facility for the mentally retarded, whether publicly or privately owned, to assist in maintaining and developing facilities and treatment, if the board of commissioners determines that the care offered by the facility is available to residents of the county. The facility need not be located within the county.

(2)        To a sheltered workshop or other private, nonprofit, charitable organization offering work or training activities to the physically or mentally handicapped, and may otherwise assist such an organization.

(3)        To an orthopedic hospital, whether publicly or privately owned, to assist in maintaining and developing facilities and treatment, if the board of commissioners determines that the care offered by the hospital is available to residents of the county. The hospital need not be located within the county.

(4)        To a training center or other private, nonprofit, charitable  organization offering education, treatment, rehabilitation, or developmental programs to the physically or mentally handicapped, and may otherwise assist such organizations; provided, however, such action shall be with the concurrence of the county board of education; and provided, further, that within 30 days after receipt of the request for concurrence, the county board of education shall notify the board of county commissioners whether it concurs, and should it fail to so notify the board of county commissioners within such period, it shall be deemed to have concurred.

(b)        The ordinance making the appropriation shall state specifically what the appropriation is to be used for, and the board of commissioners shall require that the recipient account for the appropriation at the close of the fiscal year. (1967, cc. 464, 1074; 1969, c. 802; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1977, c. 474; 1979, c. 1074, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-249.  Hospital services.

A county may provide and support hospital services pursuant to Chapters 122C, 131 and 131E of the General Statutes. (1868, c. 20, s. 8; Code, s. 707; Rev., s. 1318; C.S., s. 1297; 1923, c. 81; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1985, c. 589, s. 59.)

 

§ 153A-250.  Ambulance services.

(a)        A county may by ordinance franchise ambulance services provided in the county to the public at large, whether the service is based inside or outside the county. The ordinance may:

(1)        Grant franchises to ambulance operators on terms set by the board of commissioners;

(2)        Make it unlawful to provide ambulance services or to operate an ambulance in the county without such a franchise;

(3)        Limit the number of ambulances that may be operated within the county;

(4)        Limit the number of ambulances that may be operated by each franchised operator;

(5)        Determine the areas of the county that may be served by each franchised operator;

(6)        Establish and from time to time revise a schedule of rates, fees, and charges that may be charged by franchised operators;

(7)        Set minimum limits of liability insurance for each franchised operator;

(8)        Establish other necessary regulations consistent with and supplementary to any statute or any Department of Health and Human Services regulation relating to ambulance services.

Before it may adopt an ordinance pursuant to this subsection, the board of commissioners must first hold a public hearing on the need for ambulance services. The board shall cause notice of the hearing to be published once a week for two successive weeks before the hearing. After the hearing the board may adopt an ordinance if it finds that to do so is necessary to assure the provision of adequate and continuing ambulance service and to preserve, protect, and promote the public health, safety, and welfare.

If a person, firm, or corporation is providing ambulance services in a county or any portion thereof on the effective date of an ordinance adopted pursuant to this subsection, the person, firm, or corporation is entitled to a franchise to continue to serve that part of the county in which the service is being provided. The board of commissioners shall determine whether the person, firm, or corporation so entitled to a franchise is in compliance with Chapter 131E, Article 7; and if that is the case, the board shall grant the franchise.

(b)        In lieu of or in addition to adopting an ordinance pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, a county may operate or contract for ambulance services in all or a portion of the county. A county may appropriate for ambulance services any revenues not otherwise limited as to use by law, and may establish and from time to time revise schedules of rates, fees, charges, and penalties for the ambulance services. A county may operate its ambulance services as a line department or may create an ambulance commission and vest in it authority to operate the ambulance services.

(c)        A city may adopt an ordinance pursuant to and under the procedures of subsection (a) of this section and may operate or contract for ambulance services pursuant to subsection (b) of this section if (i) the county in which the city is located has adopted a resolution authorizing the city to do so or (ii) the county has not, within 180 days after being requested by the city to do so, provided for ambulance services within the city pursuant to this section. Any action taken by a city pursuant to this subsection shall apply only within the corporate limits of the city.

If a city is exercising a power granted by this subsection, the county in which the city is located may thereafter take action to provide for ambulance service within the city, either under subsection (a) or subsection (b) of this section, only after having given to the city 180 days' notice of the county's intention to take action. At the end of the 180 days, the city's authority under this subsection is preempted by the county.

(d)       A county or a city may contract with a franchised ambulance operator or with another county or city for ambulance service to be provided upon the call of a department or agency of the county or city. A county may contract with a franchised ambulance operator for transportation of indigents or persons certified by the county department of social services to be public assistance recipients.

(e)        Each county or city operating ambulance services is subject to the provisions of Chapter 131E, Article 7 ("Regulation of Emergency Medical Services"). (1967, c. 343, s. 5; 1969, c. 147; 1973, c. 476, s. 128; c. 822, s. 1; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a); 2002-159, s. 51.)

 

§§ 153A-251 through 153A-254.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

Part 2.  Social Service Provisions.

§ 153A-255.  Authority to provide social service programs.

Each county shall provide social service programs pursuant to Chapter 108A and Chapter 111 and may otherwise undertake, sponsor, organize, engage in, and support other social service programs intended to further the health, welfare, education, employment, safety, comfort, and convenience of its citizens. (1868, c. 20, s. 8; Code, s. 707; Rev., s. 1318; C.S., s. 1297; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1981, c. 562, s. 12; 1997-443, s. 12.13.)

 

§ 153A-256.  County home.

A county may establish, erect, acquire, lease as lessor or lessee, equip, support, operate, and maintain a county home for aged and infirm persons and may appropriate funds for these purposes.

The superintendent of each county home shall make an annual report on its operation to the board of commissioners of the county operating the home and to the Department of Health and Human Services. The report shall contain any information that the board of commissioners and the Department of Health and Human Services, respectively, require, and the Department may provide forms for this report. (1876-7, c. 277, s. 3; Code, ss. 3541, 3543; 1891, c. 138; Rev., ss. 1328, 1329; 1919, c. 72; C.S., ss. 1336, 1337, 1338; 1961, c. 139, s. 1; 1973, c. 476, s. 138; c. 822, s. 1; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a).)

 

§ 153A-257.  Legal residence for social service purposes.

(a)        Legal residence in a county determines which county is responsible (i) for financial support of a needy person who meets the eligibility requirements for a public assistance or medical care program offered by the county or (ii) for other social services required by the person.

Legal residence in a county is determined as follows:

(1)        Except as modified below, a person has legal residence in the county in which he resides.

(2)        If a person is in a hospital, mental institution, nursing home, boarding home, confinement facility, or similar institution or facility, he does not, solely because of that fact, have legal residence in the county in which the institution or facility is located.

(3)        A minor has the legal residence of the parent or other relative with whom he resides. If the minor does not reside with a parent or relative and is not in a foster home, hospital, mental institution, nursing home, boarding home, educational institution, confinement facility, or similar institution or facility, he has the legal residence of the person with whom he resides. Any other minor has the legal residence of his mother, or if her residence is not known then the legal residence of his father; if his mother's or father's residence is not known, the minor is a legal resident of the county in which he is found.

(b)        A legal residence continues until a new one is acquired, either within or outside this State. When a new legal residence is acquired, all former legal residences terminate.

(c)        This section is intended to replace the law defining "legal settlement." Therefore any general law or local act that refers to "legal settlement" is deemed to refer to this section and the rules contained herein.

(d)       If two or more county departments of social services disagree regarding the legal residence of a minor in a child abuse, neglect, or dependency case, any one of the county departments of social services may refer the issue to the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Social Services, for resolution. The Director of the Division of Social Services or the Director's designee shall review the pertinent background facts of the case and shall determine which county department of social services shall be responsible for providing protective services and financial support for the minor in question. (1777, c. 117, s. 16, P.R.; R.C., c. 86, s. 12; Code, s. 3544; Rev., s. 1333; C.S., s. 1342; 1931, c. 120; 1943, c. 753, s. 2; 1959, c. 272; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 2003-304, s. 7.)

 

§ 153A-258.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

Part 3. Health and Social Services Contracts.

§ 153A-259.  Counties authorized to contract with other entities for health and social services.

A county is authorized to contract with any governmental agency, person, association, or corporation for the provision of health or social services provided that the expenditure of funds pursuant to such contracts shall be for the purpose for which the funds were appropriated and is not otherwise prohibited by law. (1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1094, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-260.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

 

Article 14.

Libraries.

§ 153A-261.  Declaration of State policy.

The General Assembly recognizes that the availability of adequate, modern library services and facilities is in the general interest of the people of North Carolina and a proper concern of the State and of local governments. Therefore it is the policy of the State of North Carolina to promote the establishment and development of public library services throughout the State. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-262.  Library materials defined.

For purposes of this Article, the phrase "library materials" includes, without limitation, books, plates, pictures, engravings, maps, magazines, pamphlets, newspapers, manuscripts, films, transparencies, microforms, recordings, or other specimens, works of literature, or objects of art, historical significance, or curiosity. (1953, c. 721; 1963, c. 945; 1971, c. 698, s. 3; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-263.  Public library systems authorized.

A county or city may:

(1)        Establish, operate, and support public library systems;

(2)        Set apart lands and buildings for a public library system;

(3)        Acquire real property for a public library system by gift, grant, purchase, lease, exercise of the power of eminent domain, or any other lawful method. If a library board of trustees is appointed, a county or city shall, before acquiring real property by purchase, lease, or exercise of the power of eminent domain, seek the recommendations of the board of trustees regarding the proposed acquisition;

(4)        Provide, acquire, construct, equip, operate, and maintain buildings and other structures for a public library system;

(5)        Acquire library materials by purchase, exchange,  devise, gift, or any other lawful method;

(6)        Appropriate funds to carry out the provisions of this Article;

(7)        Accept any gift, grant, lease, loan, exchange, or devise of real or personal property for a public library system. Devises, grants, and gifts may be accepted and held subject to any term or condition that may be imposed by the grantor or trustor, except that no county or city may accept or administer any term or condition that requires it to discriminate among its citizens on the basis of race, sex, or religion.  (1953, c. 721; 1963, c. 945; 1971, c. 698, s. 3; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 2011-284, s. 107.)

 

§ 153A-264.  Free library services.

If a county or city, pursuant to this Article, operates or makes contributions to the support of a library, any resident of the county or city, as the case may be, is entitled to the free use of the library. (1953, c. 721; 1963, c. 945; 1971, c. 698, s. 3; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-265.  Library board of trustees.

The governing body of a county or city may appoint a library board of trustees. The governing body shall determine the number of members of the board of trustees (which may not be more than 12), the length of their terms, the manner of filling vacancies, and the amount, if any, of their compensation and allowances. The governing body may remove a trustee at any time for incapacity, unfitness, misconduct, or neglect of duty. (1953, c. 721; 1963, c. 945; 1971, c. 698, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-266.  Powers and duties of trustees.

If a board of trustees is appointed, it shall elect a chairman and may elect other officers. The governing body may delegate to the board of trustees any of the following powers:

(1)        To formulate and adopt programs, policies, and regulations for the government of the library;

(2)        To make recommendations to the governing body concerning the construction and improvement of buildings and other structures for the library system;

(3)        To supervise and care for the facilities of the library system;

(4)        To appoint a chief librarian or director of library services and, with his advice, to appoint other employees of the library system. If some other body or official is to appoint the chief librarian or director of library services, to advise that body or official concerning that appointment;

(5)        To establish, a schedule of fines and charges for late return of, failure to return, damage to, and loss of library materials, and to take other measures to protect and regulate the use of such materials;

(6)        To participate in preparing the annual budget of the library system;

(7)        To extend the privileges and use of the library system to nonresidents of the county or city establishing or supporting the system, on any terms or conditions the board may prescribe.

(8)        To otherwise advise the board of commissioners on library matters.

The board of trustees shall make an annual report on the operations of the library to the governing body of the county or city and shall make an annual report to the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources as required by G.S. 125-5. If no board of trustees is established, the governing body shall make the annual report to the Department.  (1953, c. 721; 1963, c. 945; 1969, c. 488; 1971, c. 698, s. 3; 1973, c. 476, s. 84; c. 822, s. 1; 2015-241, s. 14.30(s).)

 

§ 153A-267.  Qualifications of chief librarian; library employees.

(a)        To be eligible for appointment and service as chief administrative officer of a library system (whether designated chief librarian, director of library services, or some other title), a person must have a professional librarian certificate issued by the Secretary of Natural and Cultural Resources, pursuant to G.S. 125-9, under regulations for certification of public librarian as established by the North Carolina Public Librarian Certification Commission pursuant to the provisions of G.S. 143B-67.

(b)        The employees of a county or city library system are, for all purposes, employees of the county or city, as the case may be.  (1953, c. 721; 1963, c. 945; 1969, c. 488; 1971, c. 698, s. 3; 1973, c. 476, s. 53; c. 822, s. 1; 1975, c. 516; 2015-241, s. 14.30(t).)

 

§ 153A-268.  Financing library systems.

A county or city may appropriate for library purposes any funds not otherwise limited as to use by law. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-269.  Title to library property.

The title to all property acquired by a county or city for library purposes shall be in the name of the county or city. If property is given, granted, devised, or otherwise conveyed to the board of trustees of a county or city library system, it shall be deemed to have been conveyed to the county or city and shall be held in the name of the county or city.  (1953, c. 721; 1963, c. 945; 1971, c. 698, s. 3; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 2011-284, s. 108.)

 

§ 153A-270.  Joint libraries; contracts for library services.

Two or more counties or cities or counties and cities may establish a joint library system or contract for library services, according to the procedures and provisions of Chapter 160A, Article 20, Part 1. (1953, c. 721; 1963, c. 945; 1971, c. 698, s. 3; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-271.  Library systems operated under local acts brought under this Article.

If a county or city operates a library system pursuant to a local act, the governing body of the county or city may by ordinance provide that the library system is to be operated pursuant to this Article. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-272.  Designation of library employees to register voters.

The governing body of each public library with four or more employees shall designate at least one employee of the library to be appointed by the county board of elections to register voters pursuant to G.S. 163-80(a)(6). With the approval of the board of elections, additional employees may also be designated for this purpose by the governing body. (1983, c. 588, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-273.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

 

Article 15.

Public Enterprises.

Part 1. General Provisions.

§ 153A-274.  Public enterprise defined.

As used in this Article, "public enterprise" includes:

(1)        Water supply and distribution systems.

(2)        Wastewater collection, treatment, and disposal systems of all types, including septic tank systems or other on-site collection or disposal facilities or systems.

(3)        Solid waste collection and disposal systems and facilities.

(4)        Airports.

(5)        Off-street parking facilities.

(6)        Public transportation systems.

(7)        Stormwater management programs designed to protect water quality by controlling the level of pollutants in, and the quantity and flow of, stormwater and structural and natural stormwater and drainage systems of all types. (1965, c. 370; 1957, c. 266, s. 3; 1961, c. 514, s. 1; c. 1001, s. 1; 1971, c. 568; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; c. 1214; 1977, c. 514, s. 1; 1979, c. 619, s. 1; 1989, c. 643, s. 2; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 944, s. 13; 2000-70, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-274.1.  Flood control activities under stormwater management programs.

(a)        Findings. - The General Assembly finds that it is in the best interest of the residents of North Carolina to promote and fund the implementation of stormwater management programs to control and manage water quantity and flow in order to reduce the chances of loss of life and damage to property due to flooding. The General Assembly also finds that a county has an integral role in furthering this public purpose by promoting and funding implementation of stormwater management programs within the county's territorial jurisdiction to reduce reliance on emergency response services, to reduce negative financial impacts on the community and the public from flooding, including the cost of public infrastructure repairs, to decrease the number of flood-prone homes and businesses, to increase infiltration of stormwater into the ground, and to reduce pollutants from entering the streams.

(b)        Scope. - For purposes of operating a public enterprise under this Article, a county is authorized to do any of the following activities within its stormwater management program:

(1)        Purchase property for the purpose of demolishing flood-prone buildings.

(2)        Implement flood damage reduction techniques that result in improvements to private property in accordance with subsection (c) of this section, to include:

a.         Elevating structures or their associated components.

b.         Demolishing flood-prone structures.

c.         Retrofitting flood-prone structures.

(c)        Policy Document. - The county may engage in the activities listed in subdivision (2) of subsection (b) of this section only under the circumstances contained in a policy document approved by the board of county commissioners. The policy document shall, at a minimum, establish, and may elaborate on, the following:

(1)        Private property owner's written consent must be obtained prior to implementation of flood reduction improvements on the owner's property.

(2)        The county has determined that improving the stormwater system is not practically feasible or cost-effective, and the activities in subdivision (2) of subsection (b) provide savings to the stormwater fund.

(3)        The improvements to private property are the minimum necessary to accomplish the stormwater benefit.

(4)        Funding provided by the county, above a certain amount, to the property owner or expended upon improvements to the property shall be reimbursed to the county if the property is sold within five years of the completion of the flood reduction improvement project. The amount of reimbursement due to the county may be calculated as the difference between the established premitigation fair market value and the sale price of the property, not to exceed the total funding provided by the county.

(5)        The minimum financial contribution the private property owner must make to the project.

(d)       Advisory Committee. - An existing stormwater advisory committee established by the board of commissioners and having specific charges, duties, and representation as set forth by the board of county commissioners must review and approve projects that implement flood damage reduction techniques under subdivision (2) of subsection (b) of this section. The committee shall submit an annual report to the board of county commissioners for its review.

(e)        Application. - This section applies only to counties with a population of 910,000 or greater according to the most recent annual population estimates certified by the State Budget Officer.  (2014-14, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-275.  Authority to operate public enterprises.

(a)        A county may acquire, lease as lessor or lessee, construct, establish, enlarge, improve, extend, maintain, own, operate, and contract for the operation of public enterprises in order to furnish services to the county and its citizens. A county may acquire, construct, establish, enlarge, improve, maintain, own, and operate outside its borders any public enterprise.

(b)        A county may adopt adequate and reasonable rules to protect and regulate a public enterprise belonging to or operated by it. The rules shall be adopted by ordinance, shall apply to the public enterprise system both within and outside the county, and may be enforced with the remedies available under any provision of law. (1955, c. 370; 1957, c. 266, s. 3; 1961, c. 514, s. 1; c. 1001, s. 1; 1967, c. 462; 1971, c. 568; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 836, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-276.  Financing public enterprises.

Subject to the restrictions, limitations, procedures, and regulations otherwise provided by law, a county may finance the cost of a public enterprise by levying taxes, borrowing money, and appropriating any other revenues, and by accepting and administering gifts and grants from any source. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-277.  Authority to fix and enforce rates.

(a)        A county may establish and revise from time to time schedules of rents, rates, fees, charges, and penalties for the use of or the services furnished by a public enterprise. Schedules of rents, rates, fees, charges, and penalties may vary for the same class of service in different areas of the county and may vary according to classes of service, and different schedules may be adopted for services provided outside of the county. A county may include a fee relating to subsurface discharge wastewater management systems and services on the property tax bill for the real property where the system for which the fee is imposed is located.

(a1)     (1)        Before it establishes or revises a schedule of rates, fees, charges, or penalties for stormwater management programs and structural and natural stormwater and drainage systems under this section, the board of commissioners shall hold a public hearing on the matter. A notice of the hearing shall be given at least once in a newspaper having general circulation in the area, not less than seven days before the public hearing. The hearing may be held concurrently with the public hearing on the proposed budget ordinance.

(2)        The fees established under this subsection must be made applicable throughout the area of the county outside municipalities. Schedules of rates, fees, charges, and penalties for providing stormwater management programs and structural and natural stormwater and drainage system service may vary according to whether the property served is residential, commercial, or industrial property, the property's use, the size of the property, the area of impervious surfaces on the property, the quantity and quality of the runoff from the property, the characteristics of the watershed into which stormwater from the property drains, and other factors that affect the stormwater drainage system. Rates, fees, and charges imposed under this subsection may not exceed the county's cost of providing a stormwater management program and a structural and natural stormwater and drainage system. The county's cost of providing a stormwater management program and a structural and natural stormwater and drainage system includes any costs necessary to assure that all aspects of stormwater quality and quantity are managed in accordance with federal and State laws, regulations, and rules.

(3)        No stormwater utility fee may be levied under this subsection whenever two or more units of local government operate separate stormwater management programs or separate structural and natural stormwater and drainage system services in the same area within a county. However, two or more units of local government may allocate among themselves the functions, duties, powers, and responsibilities for jointly operating a stormwater management program and structural and natural stormwater and drainage system service in the same area within a county, provided that only one unit may levy a fee for the service within the joint service area. For purposes of this subsection, a unit of local government shall include a regional authority providing stormwater management programs and structural and natural stormwater and drainage system services.

(b)        A county may collect delinquent accounts by any remedy provided by law for collecting and enforcing private debts, and may specify by ordinance the order in which partial payments are to be applied among the various enterprise services covered by a bill for the services. A county may also discontinue service to a customer whose account remains delinquent for more than 10 days. If a delinquent customer is not the owner of the premises to which the services are delivered, the payment of the delinquent account may not be required before providing services at the request of a new and different tenant or occupant of the premises. If water or sewer services are discontinued for delinquency, it is unlawful for a person other than a duly authorized agent or employee of the county to reconnect the premises to the water or sewer system.

(b1)      A county shall not do any of the following in its debt collection practices:

(1)        Suspend or disconnect service to a customer because of a past-due and unpaid balance for service incurred by another person who resides with the customer after service has been provided to the customer's household, unless one or more of the following apply:

a.         The customer and the person were members of the same household at a different location when the unpaid balance for service was incurred.

b.         The person was a member of the customer's current household when the service was established, and the person had an unpaid balance for service at that time.

c.         The person is or becomes responsible for the bill for the service to the customer.

(2)        Require that in order to continue service, a customer must agree to be liable for the delinquent account of any other person who will reside in the customer's household after the customer receives the service, unless one or more of the following apply:

a.         The customer and the person were members of the same household at a different location when the unpaid balance for service was incurred.

b.         The person was a member of the customer's current household when the service was established, and the person had an unpaid balance for service at that time.

(b2)      Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (b1) of this section, if a customer misrepresents his or her identity in a written or verbal agreement for service or receives service using another person's identity, the county shall have the power to collect a delinquent account using any remedy provided by subsection (b) of this section from that customer.

(c)        Rents, rates, fees, charges, and penalties for enterprisory services are in no case a lien upon the property or premises served and, except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, are legal obligations of the person contracting for them, provided that no contract shall be necessary in the case of structural and natural stormwater and drainage systems.

(d)       Rents, rates, fees, charges, and penalties for enterprisory services are legal obligations of the owner of the property or premises served when:

(1)        The property or premises is leased or rented to more than one tenant and services rendered to more than one tenant are measured by the same meter; or

(2)        Charges made for use of a sewerage system are billed separately from charges made for the use of a water distribution system.  (1961, c. 1001, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1991, c. 591, s. 2; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 932, s. 3; c. 1007, s. 45; 2000-70, s. 2; 2009-302, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-278.  Joint provision of enterprisory services.

Two or more counties, cities, or other units of local government may cooperate in the exercise of any power granted by this Article according to the procedures and provisions of Chapter 160A, Article 20, Part 1. (1961, c. 1001, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-279.  Limitations on rail transportation liability.

(a)        As used in this section:

(1)        "Claim" means a claim, action, suit, or request for damages, whether compensatory, punitive, or otherwise, made by any person or entity against:

a.         The County, a railroad, or an operating rights railroad; or

b.         An officer, director, trustee, employee, parent, subsidiary, or affiliated corporation as defined in G.S. 105-130.2, or agent of: the County, a railroad, or an operating rights railroad.

(2)        "Operating rights railroad" means a railroad corporation or railroad company that, prior to January 1, 2001, was granted operating rights by a State-Owned Railroad Company or operated over the property of a State-owned railroad company under a claim of right over or adjacent to facilities used by or on behalf of the County.

(3)        "Passenger rail services" means the transportation of rail passengers by or on behalf of the County and all services performed by a railroad pursuant to a contract with the County in connection with the transportation of rail passengers, including, but not limited to, the operation of trains; the use of right-of-way, trackage, public or private roadway and rail crossings, equipment, or station areas or appurtenant facilities; the design, construction, reconstruction, operation, or maintenance of rail-related equipment, tracks, and any appurtenant facilities; or the provision of access rights over or adjacent to lines owned by the County or a railroad, or otherwise occupied by the County or a railroad, pursuant to charter grant, fee-simple deed, lease, easement, license, trackage rights, or other form of ownership or authorized use.

(4)        "Railroad" means a railroad corporation or railroad company, including a State-Owned Railroad Company as defined in G.S. 124-11, that has entered into any contracts or operating agreements of any kind with the County concerning passenger rail services.

(b)        Contracts Allocating Financial Responsibility Authorized. - The County may contract with any railroad to allocate financial responsibility for passenger rail services claims, including, but not limited to, the execution of indemnity agreements, notwithstanding any other statutory, common law, public policy, or other prohibition against same, and regardless of the nature of the claim or the conduct giving rise to such claim.

(c)        Insurance Required. -

(1)        If the County enters into any contract authorized by subsection (b) of this section, the contract shall require the County to secure and maintain, upon and after the commencement of the operation of trains by or on behalf of the county, a liability insurance policy covering the liability of the parties to the contract, a State-Owned Railroad Company as defined in G.S. 124-11 that owns or claims an interest in any real property subject to the contract, and any operating rights railroad for all claims for property damage, personal injury, bodily injury, and death arising out of or related to passenger rail services. The policy shall name the parties to the contract, a State-Owned Railroad Company as defined in G.S. 124-11 that owns or claims an interest in any real property subject to the contract, and any operating rights railroad as named insureds and shall have policy limits of not less than two hundred million dollars ($200,000,000) per single accident or incident, and may include a self-insured retention in an amount of not more than five million dollars ($5,000,000).

(2)        If the County does not enter into any contract authorized by subsection (b) of this section, upon and after the commencement of the operation of trains by or on behalf of the County, the County shall secure and maintain a liability insurance policy, with policy limits and a self-insured retention consistent with subdivision (1) of this subsection, for all claims for property damage, personal injury, bodily injury, and death arising out of or related to passenger rail services.

(d)       Liability Limit. - The aggregate liability of the County, the parties to the contract or contracts authorized by subsection (b) of this section, a State-Owned Railroad Company as defined in G.S. 124-11, and any operating rights railroad for all claims arising from a single accident or incident related to passenger rail services for property damage, personal injury, bodily injury, and death is limited to two hundred million dollars ($200,000,000) per single accident or incident or to any proceeds available under any insurance policy secured pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, whichever is greater.

(e)        Effect on Other Laws. - This section shall not affect the damages that may be recovered under the Federal Employers' Liability Act, 45 U.S.C. § 51, et seq., (1908); or under Article 1 of Chapter 97 of the General Statutes.

(f)        Applicability. - This section shall apply only to counties that have entered into a transit governance interlocal agreement with, among other local governments, a city with a population of more than 500,000 persons.  (2002-78, s. 2; 2012-79, s. 1.14(e).)

 

§ 153A-280.  Public enterprise improvements.

(a)        Authorization. - A county may contract with a developer or property owner, or with a private party who is under contract with the developer or property owner, for public enterprise improvements that are adjacent or ancillary to a private land development project. Such a contract shall allow the county to reimburse the private party for costs associated with the design and construction of improvements that are in addition to those required by the county's land development regulations. Such a contract is not subject to Article 8 of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes if the public cost will not exceed two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) and the county determines that: (i) the public cost will not exceed the estimated cost of providing for those improvements through either eligible force account qualified labor or through a public contract let pursuant to Article 8 of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes; or (ii) the coordination of separately constructed improvements would be impracticable. A county may enact ordinances and policies setting forth the procedures, requirements, and terms for agreements authorized by this section.

(b)        Property Acquisition. - The improvements may be constructed on property owned or acquired by the private party or on property owned or acquired by the county. The private party may assist the county in obtaining easements in favor of the county from private property owners on those properties that will be involved in or affected by the project. The contract between the county and the private party may be entered into before the acquisition of any real property necessary to the project. (2005-426, s. 8(e).)

 

§ 153A-281.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-282.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

Part 2. Special Provisions for Water and Sewer Services.

§ 153A-283.  Nonliability for failure to furnish water or sewer services.

In no case may a county be held liable for damages for failure to furnish water or sewer services. (1961, c. 1001, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-284.  Power to require connections.

(a)        A county may require the owner of developed property on which there are situated one or more residential dwelling units or commercial establishments located so as to be served by a water line or sewer collection line owned, leased as lessee, or operated by the county or on behalf of the county to connect the owner's premises with the water or sewer line and may fix charges for these connections.

(b)        In the case of improved property that would qualify for the issuance of a building permit for the construction of one or more residential dwelling units or commercial establishments and where the county has installed water or sewer lines or a combination thereof directly available to the property, the county may require payment of a periodic availability charge, not to exceed the minimum periodic service charge for properties that are connected.

(c)        In accordance with G.S. 87-97.1, when developed property is located so as to be served by a county water line and the property owner has connected to that water line, the property owner may continue to use any private water well located on the property for nonpotable purposes as long as the water well is not interconnected to the county water line and the county shall not require the owner of any such water well to abandon, cap, or otherwise compromise the integrity of the water well. (1963, c. 985, s. 1; 1965, c. 969, s. 2; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1979, c. 619, s. 13; 1995, c. 511, s. 3; 2015-246, s. 3.5(e).)

 

§ 153A-284.1.  Notes or deeds of trust to reserve wastewater treatment capacity unenforceable if capacity unused.

No note or deed of trust granted to a county for the purpose of securing or reserving wastewater treatment capacity is valid or enforceable if that capacity is not utilized by the maker or grantor.  (2013-386, s. 6.)

 

§ 153A-285:  Repealed by Session Laws 1993, c.  348, s. 4.

 

§ 153A-286.  Law with respect to riparian rights not changed.

Nothing in this Article changes or modifies existing common or statute law with respect to the relative rights of riparian owners or others concerning the use of or disposal of water in the streams of North Carolina. (1961, c. 1001, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-287:  Repealed by Session Laws 1993, c.  348, s. 5.

 

§ 153A-288.  Venue for actions by riparian owners.

Any riparian owner alleging injury as a result of an act taken pursuant to this Article by a county or city acting jointly or by a joint agency may maintain an action for relief against the act (i) in the county where the land of the riparian owner lies, (ii) in the county taking the action, or (iii) in any county in which the city or joint agency is located or operates. (1961, c. 1001, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-289.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-290.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

Part 3. Special Provisions for Solid Waste Collection and Disposal.

§ 153A-291.  Cooperation between the Department of Transportation and any county in establishing or operating solid waste disposal facilities.

A county and the Department of Transportation may enter into an agreement under which the Department of Transportation will make available to the county the use of equipment and prison and other labor in order to establish or operate solid waste disposal facilities within the county. The county shall reimburse the Department of Transportation for the cost of providing the equipment and labor. The agreement shall specify the work to be done thereunder and shall set forth the basis for reimbursement. (1967, c. 707; 1973, c. 507, s. 5; c. 822, s. 1; 1977, c. 464, s. 34.)

 

§ 153A-292.  County collection and disposal facilities.

(a)        The board of county commissioners of any county may establish and operate solid waste collection and disposal facilities in areas outside the corporate limits of a city. The board may by ordinance regulate the use of a disposal facility provided by the county, the nature of the solid wastes disposed of in a facility, and the method of disposal. The board may contract with any city, individual, or privately owned corporation to collect and dispose of solid waste in the area. Counties and cities may establish and operate joint collection and disposal facilities. A joint agreement shall be in writing and executed by the governing bodies of the participating units of local government.

(b)        The board of county commissioners may impose a fee for the collection of solid waste. The fee may not exceed the costs of collection.

The board of county commissioners may impose a fee for the use of a disposal facility provided by the county. Except as provided in this subsection, the fee for use may not exceed the cost of operating the facility. The fee may exceed those costs if the county enters into a contract with another local government located within the State to accept the other local government's solid waste and the county by ordinance levies a surcharge on the fee. The fee authorized by this paragraph may only be used to cover the costs of operating the facility. The surcharge authorized by this paragraph may be used for any purpose for which the county may appropriate funds. A fee under this paragraph may be imposed only on those who use the facility. The fee for use may vary based on the amount, characteristics, and form of recyclable materials present in solid waste brought to the facility for disposal. A county may not impose a fee for the use of a disposal facility on a city located in the county or a contractor or resident of the city unless the fee is based on a schedule that applies uniformly throughout the county.

The board of county commissioners may impose a fee for the availability of a disposal facility provided by the county. A fee for availability may not exceed the cost of providing the facility and may be imposed on all improved property in the county that benefits from the availability of the facility. A county may not impose an availability fee on property whose solid waste is collected by a county, a city, or a private contractor for a fee if the fee imposed by a county, a city, or a private contractor for the collection of solid waste includes a charge for the availability and use of a disposal facility provided by the county. Property served by a private contractor who disposes of solid waste collected from the property in a disposal facility provided by a private contractor that provides the same services as those provided by the county disposal facility is not considered to benefit from a disposal facility provided by the county and is not subject to a fee imposed by the county for the availability of a disposal facility provided by the county. To the extent that the services provided by the county disposal facility differ from the services provided by the disposal facility provided by a private contractor in the same county, the county may charge an availability fee to cover the costs of the additional services provided by the county disposal facility.

In determining the costs of providing and operating a disposal facility, a county may consider solid waste management costs incidental to a county's handling and disposal of solid waste at its disposal facility, including the costs of the methods of solid waste management specified in G.S. 130A-309.04(a) of the Solid Waste Management Act of 1989. A fee for the availability or use of a disposal facility may be based on the combined costs of the different disposal facilities provided by the county.

(b1)      The collection, disposal, and availability fees authorized by this section may be used to cover the cost of waste management programs in the jurisdiction, including the collection of waste and the collection of litter along public roadways.

(c)        The board of county commissioners may use any suitable vacant land owned by the county for the site of a disposal facility, subject to the permit requirements of Article 9 of Chapter 130A of the General Statutes. If the county does not own suitable vacant land for a disposal facility, it may acquire suitable land by purchase or condemnation. The board may erect a gate across a highway that leads directly to a disposal facility operated by the county. The gate may be erected at or in close proximity to the boundary of the disposal facility. The county shall pay the cost of erecting and maintaining the gate.

(d),      (e) Repealed by Session Laws 1991, c. 652, s. 1.

(f)        This section does not prohibit a county from providing aid to low-income persons to pay all or part of the cost of solid waste management services for those persons.  (1961, c. 514, s. 1; 1971, c. 568; 1973, c. 535; c. 822, s. 2; 1981, c. 919, s. 22; 1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 1009, s. 3; 1991, c. 652, s. 1; 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 594, s. 27; 2007-550, s. 10(a); 2013-413, s. 59.4(a); 2014-115, s. 60.)

 

§ 153A-293.  (See editor's note) Collection of fees for solid waste disposal facilities and solid waste collection services.

A county may adopt an ordinance providing that any fee imposed under G.S. 153A-292 may be billed with property taxes, may be payable in the same manner as property taxes, and, in the case of nonpayment, may be collected in any manner by which delinquent personal or real property taxes can be collected.  If an ordinance states that delinquent fees can be collected in the same manner as delinquent real property taxes, the fees are a lien on the real property described on the bill that includes the fee. (1989, c. 591; 1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 905, c. 938, c. 940, c. 974, c. 1017; 1991, c. 652, s. 2; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 1007, s. 26.)

 

§ 153A-294.  Solid waste defined.

As used in this Article, "solid waste" means nonhazardous solid waste, that is, solid waste as defined in G.S. 130A-290 but not including hazardous waste. (1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 1013, s. 4.)

 

§§ G.S. 153A-295 through 153A-299.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

Part 4.  Long Term Contracts for Disposal of Soild Waste.

§§ 153A-299.1 through 153A-299.6:  Repealed by Session Laws 1991 (Regular Session, 1992), c. 1013, 5.

 

 

Article 16.

County Service Districts; County Research and Production Service Districts; County Economic Development and Training Districts.

Part 1. County Service Districts.

§ 153A-300.  Title; effective date.

This Article may be cited as "The County Service District Act of 1973," and is enacted pursuant to Article V, Sec. 2(4) of the Constitution of North Carolina, effective July 1, 1973. (1973, c. 489, s. 1; c. 822, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-301.  Purposes for which districts may be established.

(a)        The board of commissioners of any county may define any number of service districts in order to finance, provide, or maintain for the districts one or more of the following services, facilities and functions in addition to or to a greater extent than those financed, provided or maintained for the entire county:

(1)        Beach erosion control and flood and hurricane protection works.

(2)        Fire protection.

(3)        Recreation.

(4)        Sewage collection and disposal systems of all types, including septic tank systems or other on-site collection or disposal facilities or systems.

(5)        Solid waste collection and disposal systems.

(6)        Water supply and distribution systems.

(7)        Ambulance and rescue.

(8)        Watershed improvement projects, including but not limited to watershed improvement projects as defined in Chapter 139 of the General Statutes; drainage projects, including but not limited to the drainage projects provided for by Chapter 156 of the General Statutes; and water resources development projects, including but not limited to the federal water resources development projects provided for by Article 21 of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes.

(9)        Cemeteries.

(10)      Law enforcement if all of the following apply:

a.         The population of the county is (i) over 900,000 according to the most recent federal decennial census, and (ii) less than ten percent (10%) of the population of the county is in an unincorporated area according to the most recent federal decennial census.

b.         The county has an interlocal agreement or agreements with a municipality or municipalities for the provision of law enforcement services in the unincorporated area of the county.

c.         Repealed by Session Laws 2008-134, s. 76(c), effective July 28, 2008.

(11)      Services permitted under Article 24 of this Chapter if the district is subject to G.S. 153A-472.1.

(b)        The General Assembly finds that coastal-area counties have a special problem with lack of maintenance of platted rights-of-way, resulting in ungraded sand travelways deviating from the original rights-of-way and encroaching on private property, and such cartways exhibit poor drainage and are blocked by junk automobiles.

(c)        To address the problem described in subsection (b), the board of commissioners of any coastal-area county as defined by G.S. 113A-103(2) may define any number of service districts in order to finance, provide, or maintain for the districts one or more of the following services, facilities and functions in addition to or to a greater extent than those financed, provided or maintained for the entire county:

(1)        Removal of junk automobiles; and

(2)        Street maintenance.

(d)       The board of commissioners of a county that contains a protected mountain ridge, as defined by G.S. 113A-206(6), may define any number of service districts, composed of subdivision lots within one or more contiguous subdivisions that are served by common public roads, to finance for the district the maintenance of such public roads that are either located in the district or provide access to some or all lots in the district from a State road, where some portion of those roads is not subject to compliance with the minimum standards of the Board of Transportation set forth in G.S. 136-102.6. The service district or districts created shall include only subdivision lots within the subdivision, and one or more additional contiguous subdivisions, where the property owners' association, whose purpose is to represent these subdivision lots, agrees to be included in the service district. For subdivision lots in an additional contiguous subdivision or for other adjacent or contiguous property to be annexed according to G.S. 153A-303, the property owners' association representing the subdivision or property to be annexed must approve the annexation. For the purposes of this subsection: (i) "subdivision lots" are defined as either separate tracts appearing of record upon a recorded plat, or other lots, building sites, or divisions of land for sale or building development for residential purposes; and (ii) "public roads" are defined as roads that are in actual open use as public vehicular areas, or dedicated or offered for dedication to the public use as a road, highway, street, or avenue, by a deed, grant, map, or plat, and that have been constructed and are in use by the public, but that are not currently being maintained by any public authority.

(e)        The board of commissioners of a county that adjoins or contains a lake, river, or tributary of a river or lake that has an identified noxious aquatic weed problem may define any number of noxious aquatic weed control service districts composed of property that is contiguous to the water or that provides direct access to the water through a shared, certified access site to the water. As used in this subsection, the term "noxious aquatic weed" is any plant organism identified by the Secretary of Environmental Quality under G.S. 113A-222 or regulated as a plant pest by the Commissioner of Agriculture under Article 36 of Chapter 106 of the General Statutes.  (1973, c. 489, s. 1; c. 822, s. 2; c. 1375; 1979, c. 595, s. 1; c. 619, s. 6; 1983 (Reg. Sess., 1984), c. 1078, s. 1; 1989, c. 620; 1993, c. 378, s. 1; 1995, c. 354, s. 1; c. 434, s. 1; 1997-456, s. 24; 2005-433, s. 10(b); 2005-440, s. 1; 2008-134, s. 76(c); 2011-100, s. 1; 2015-241, s. 14.30(v).)

 

§ 153A-302.  Definition of service districts.

(a)        Standards. - In determining whether to establish a proposed service district, the board of commissioners shall consider all of the following:

(1)        The resident or seasonal population and population density of the proposed district.

(2)        The appraised value of property subject to taxation in the proposed district.

(3)        The present tax rates of the county and any cities or special districts in which the district or any portion thereof is located.

(4)        The ability of the proposed district to sustain the additional taxes necessary to provide the services planned for the district.

(5)        If it is proposed to furnish water, sewer, or solid waste collection services in the district, the probable net revenues of the projects to be financed and the extent to which the services will be self-supporting.

(6)        Any other matters that the commissioners believe to have a bearing on whether the district should be established.

(a1)      Findings. - The board of commissioners may establish a service district if, upon the information and evidence it receives, the board finds that all of the following apply:

(1)        There is a demonstrable need for providing in the district one or more of the services listed in G.S. 153A-301.

(2)        It is impossible or impracticable to provide those services on a countywide basis.

(3)        It is economically feasible to provide the proposed services in the district without unreasonable or burdensome annual tax levies.

(4)        There is a demonstrable demand for the proposed services by persons residing in the district.

Territory lying within the corporate limits of a city or sanitary district may not be included unless the governing body of the city or sanitary district agrees by resolution to such inclusion.

(b)        Report. - Before the public hearing required by subsection (c), the board of commissioners shall cause to be prepared a report containing:

(1)        A map of the proposed district, showing its proposed boundaries;

(2)        A statement showing that the proposed district meets the standards set out in subsection (a); and

(3)        A plan for providing one or more of the services listed in G.S. 153A-301 to the district.

The report shall be available for public inspection in the office of the clerk to the board for at least four weeks before the date of the public hearing.

(c)        Hearing and Notice. - The board of commissioners shall hold a public hearing before adopting any resolution defining a new service district under this section. Notice of the hearing shall state the date, hour, and place of the hearing and its subject, and shall include a map of the proposed district and a statement that the report required by subsection (b) is available for public inspection in the office of the clerk to the board. The notice shall be published at least once not less than one week before the date of the hearing. In addition, it shall be mailed at least four weeks before the date of the hearing by any class of U.S. mail which is fully prepaid to the owners as shown by the county tax records as of the preceding January 1 (and at the address shown thereon) of all property located within the proposed district. The person designated by the board to mail the notice shall certify to the board that the mailing has been completed and his certificate is conclusive in the absence of fraud.

(d)       Effective Date. - The resolution defining a service district shall take effect at the beginning of a fiscal year commencing after its passage, as determined by the board of commissioners.

(e)        Exceptions For Countywide District. - The following requirements do not apply to a board of commissioners that proposes to create a law enforcement service district pursuant to G.S. 153A-301(a)(10) that covers the entire unincorporated area of the county:

(1)        The requirement that the district cannot be created unless the board makes the finding in subdivision (a1)(2) of this section.

(2)        The requirement in subsection (c) of this section to notify each property owner by mail, if the board publishes a notice of its proposal to establish the district, once a week for four successive weeks before the date of the hearing required by that subsection.

(f)        Exceptions for Article 24 District. - The following requirements do not apply to a board of commissioners that proposes to create a service district pursuant to G.S. 153A-301(a)(11) that covers the entire unincorporated area of the county:

(1)        The requirement that the district cannot be created unless the board makes the finding in subdivision (a1)(2) of this section.

(2)        The requirement in subsection (c) of this section to notify each property owner by mail, if the board publishes a notice of its proposal to establish the district, once a week for two successive weeks before the date of the hearing required by that subsection. (1973, c. 489, s. 1; c. 822, s. 2; 1981, c. 53, s. 1; 1995, c. 354, s. 2; 2005-433, s. 10(c).)

 

§ 153A-303.  Extension of service districts.

(a)        Standards. - The board of commissioners may by resolution annex territory to any service district upon finding that:

(1)        The area to be annexed is contiguous to the district, with at least one eighth of the area's aggregate external boundary coincident with the existing boundary of the district; and

(2)        That the area to be annexed requires the services of the district.

(b)        Annexation by Petition. - The board of commissioners may also by resolution extend by annexation the boundaries of any service district when one hundred percent (100%) of the real property owners of the area to be annexed have petitioned the board for annexation to the service district.

(c)        Territory lying within the corporate limits of a city or sanitary district may not be annexed to a service district unless the governing body of the city or sanitary district agrees by resolution to such annexation.

(d)       Report. - Before the public hearing required by subsection (e), the board shall cause to be prepared a report containing:

(1)        A map of the service district and the adjacent territory, showing the present and proposed boundaries of the district;

(2)        A statement showing that the area to be annexed meets the standards and requirements of subsections (a), (b), and (c); and

(3)        A plan for extending services to the area to be annexed.

The report shall be available for public inspection in the office of the clerk to the board for at least two weeks before the date of the public hearing.

(e)        Hearing and Notice. - The board shall hold a public hearing before adopting any resolution extending the boundaries of a service district. Notice of the hearing shall state the date, hour and place of the hearing and its subject, and shall include a statement that the report required by subsection (d) is available for inspection in the office of the clerk to the board. The notice shall be published at least once not less than one week before the date of the hearing. In addition, the notice shall be mailed at least four weeks before the date of the hearing to the owners as shown by the county tax records as of the preceding January 1 of all property located within the area to be annexed. The notice may be mailed by any class of U.S. mail which is fully prepaid. The person designated by the board to mail the notice shall certify to the board that the mailing has been completed, and his certificate shall be conclusive in the absence of fraud.

(f)        Effective Date. - The resolution extending the boundaries of the district shall take effect at the beginning of a fiscal year commencing after its passage, as determined by the board. (1973, c. 489, s. 1; c. 822, s. 2; 1981, c. 53, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-303.1.  Removal of territory from service districts.

(a)        Standards. - A board of commissioners may by resolution remove territory from a service district upon finding that:

(1)        One hundred percent (100%) of the owners of real property in the territory to be removed have petitioned for removal.

(2)        The territory to be removed no longer requires the services, facilities, or functions financed, provided, or maintained for the district.

(3)        The service district was created only to provide the services listed in G.S. 153A-301(a)(4) or G.S. 153A-301(a)(6) or both.

(4)        The service district does not have any obligation or expense related to the issuance of bonds.

(b)        Report. - Before the public hearing required by subsection (c) of this section, the board shall cause to be prepared a report containing:

(1)        A map of the district highlighting the territory proposed to be removed, showing the present and proposed boundaries of the district; and

(2)        A statement showing that the territory to be removed meets the standards and requirements of subsection (a) of this section.

The report shall be available for public inspection in the office of the clerk to the board for at least 10 days before the date of the public hearing.

(c)        Hearing and Notice. - The board shall hold a public hearing before adopting any resolution reducing the boundaries of a district. Notice of the hearing shall state the date, hour, and place of the hearing and its subject and shall include a statement that the report required by subsection (b) of this section is available for inspection in the office of the clerk to the board. The notice shall be published at least once not less than seven days before the hearing. In addition, the notice shall be mailed at least two weeks before the date of the hearing by any class of U.S. mail which is fully prepaid to the owners as shown by the county tax records as of the preceding January 1 (and at the address shown thereon) of all property located within the territory to be removed. The person designated by the board to mail the notice shall certify to the board that the mailing has been completed, and the certificate shall be conclusive in the absence of fraud.

(d)       Effective Date. - The resolution reducing the boundaries of the district shall take effect at the beginning of a fiscal year commencing after its passage, as determined by the board.  (2013-402, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-304.  Consolidation of service districts.

(a)        The board of commissioners may by resolution consolidate two or more service districts upon finding that:

(1)        The districts are contiguous or are in a continuous boundary;

(2)        The services provided in each of the districts are substantially the same; or

(3)        If the services provided are lower for one of the districts,  there is a need to increase those services for that district to the level of that enjoyed by the other districts.

(b)        Report. - Before the public hearing required by subsection (c), the board of commissioners shall cause to be prepared a report containing:

(1)        A map of the districts to be consolidated;

(2)        A statement showing the proposed consolidation meets the standards of subsection (a); and

(3)        If necessary, a plan for increasing the services for one of the districts so that they are substantially the same throughout the consolidated district.

The report shall be available in the office of the clerk to the board for at least two weeks before the public hearing.

(c)        Hearing and Notice. - The board of commissioners shall hold a public hearing before adopting any resolution consolidating service districts. Notice of the hearing shall state the date, hour, and place of the hearing and its subject, and shall include a statement that the report required by subsection (b) is available for inspection in the office of the clerk to the board. The notice shall be published at least once not less than one week before the date of the hearing. In addition, the notice shall be mailed at least four weeks before the hearing to the owners as shown by the county tax records as of the preceding January 1 of all property located within the consolidated district. The notice may be mailed by any class of U.S. mail which is fully prepaid. The person designated by the board to mail the notice shall certify to the board that the mailing has been completed, and his certificate shall be conclusive in the absence of fraud.

(d)       Effective Date. - The consolidation of service districts shall take effect at the beginning of a fiscal year commencing after passage of the resolution of consolidation, as determined by the board. (1973, c. 489, s. 1; c. 822, s. 2; 1981, c. 53, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-304.1.  Reduction in district after annexation.

(a)        When the whole or any portion of a county service district organized for fire protection purposes under G.S. 153A-301(2) has been annexed by a municipality furnishing fire protection to its citizens, and the municipality had not agreed to allow territory within it to be within the county service district under G.S. 153A-302(a), then such county service district or the portion thereof so annexed shall immediately thereupon cease to be a county service district or a portion of a county service district; and such district or portion thereof so annexed shall no longer be subject to G.S. 153A-307 authorizing the board of county commissioners to levy and collect a tax in such district for the purpose of furnishing fire protection therein.

(b)        Nothing in this section prevents the board of county commissioners from levying and collecting taxes for fire protection in the remaining portion of a county service district not annexed by a municipality.

(c)        When all or part of a county service district is annexed, and the effective date of the annexation is a date other than a date in the month of June, the amount of the county service district tax levied on property in the district for the fiscal year in which municipal taxes are prorated under G.S. 160A-58.10 shall be multiplied by the following fraction: the denominator shall be 12 and the numerator shall be the number of full calendar months remaining in the fiscal year following the day on which the annexation becomes effective. For each owner, the product of the multiplication is the prorated fire protection payment. The finance officer of the city shall obtain from the assessor or tax collector of the county where the annexed territory was located a list of the owners of property on which fire protection district taxes were levied in the territory being annexed, and the city shall, no later than 90 days after the effective date of the annexation, pay the amount of the prorated fire protection district payment to the owners of that property. Such payments shall come from any funds not otherwise restricted by law.

(d)       Whenever a city is required to make fire protection district tax payments by subsection (c) of this section, and the city has paid or has contracted to pay to a rural fire department funds under G.S. 160A-37.1 or G.S. 160A-58.57, the county shall pay to the city from funds of the county service district an amount equal to the amount paid by the city (or to be paid by the city) to a rural fire department under G.S. 160A-37.1 or G.S. 160A-58.57 on account of annexation of territory in the county service district for the number of months in that fiscal year used in calculating the numerator under subsection (c) of this section; provided that the required payments by the county to the city shall not exceed the total of fire protection district payments made to taxpayers in the district on account of that annexation.  (1987, c. 711, s. 1; 2008-134, s. 76(b).)

 

§ 153A-304.2.  Reduction in district after annexation to Chapter 69 fire district.

(a)        When the whole or any portion of a county service district organized for fire protection purposes under G.S. 153A-301(2) has been annexed into a fire protection district created under Chapter 69 of the General Statutes, then such county service district or the portion thereof so annexed shall immediately thereupon cease to be a county service district or a portion of a county service district; and such district or portion thereof so annexed shall no longer be subject to G.S. 153A-307 authorizing the board of county commissioners to levy and collect a tax in such district for the purpose of furnishing fire protection therein.

(b)        Nothing in this section prevents the board of county commissioners from levying and collecting taxes for fire protection in the remaining portion of a county service district not annexed into a fire protection district.  This section does not affect the rights or liabilities of the county, a taxpayer, or other person concerning taxes previously levied. (1989, c. 622.)

 

§ 153A-304.3.  Changes in adjoining service districts.

(a)        Changes. - The board of county commissioners may by resolution relocate the boundary lines between adjoining county service districts if the districts were established for substantially similar purposes. The boundary lines may be changed in accordance with a petition from landowners or may be changed in any manner the board deems appropriate. Upon receipt of a request to change service district boundaries, the board of county commissioners shall set a date and time for a public hearing on the request prior to taking action on the request.

(b)        Report. - Before the public hearing required by subsection (a) of this section, the board of county commissioners shall cause to be prepared a report containing all of the following:

(1)        A map of the service district and the adjacent territory showing the current and proposed boundaries of the district.

(2)        A statement indicating that the proposed boundary relocation meets the requirements of subsection (a) of this section.

(3)        A plan for providing service to the area affected by the relocation of district boundaries.

(4)        The effect that the changes in the amount of taxable property will have on the ability of the district to provide services or to service any debt.

The report shall be available for public inspection in the office of the clerk of the board for at least two weeks before the date of the public hearing.

(c)        Notice and Hearing. - The board shall hold a public hearing before adopting any resolution relocating the boundaries of a service district. Notice of the hearing shall state the date, hour, and place of the hearing and its subject, and shall include a statement that the report required by subsection (b) of this section is available for inspection in the office of the clerk to the board. The notice shall be published at least once not less than one week before the date of the hearing.

(d)       Effective Date. - The resolution changing the boundaries of the districts shall take effect at the beginning of a fiscal year commencing after its passage, as determined by the board. (2005-136, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-304.4.  Reduction in law enforcement service district after annexation.

When any portion of a county law enforcement service district organized under G.S. 153A-301(10) is annexed by a municipality, and the effective date of the annexation is a date other than a date in the month of June, the amount of the county law enforcement service district tax levied on each parcel of real property in the district for the fiscal year in which municipal taxes are prorated under G.S. 160A-58.10 shall be multiplied by the following fraction: the denominator shall be 12 and the numerator shall be the number of full calendar months remaining in the fiscal year following the day on which the annexation becomes effective. For each parcel of real property in the portion of the district that is annexed, the product of the multiplication is the amount of the law enforcement service district tax to be refunded if the taxes have been paid, or released if the taxes have not been paid. The finance officer of the county shall obtain from the assessor or tax collector of the county a list of the owners of the real property on which law enforcement service district taxes were levied in the territory annexed, and the county shall pay the refund amount, if applicable, to the owner as shown on the records of the tax assessor of the real property as of the January 1 immediately preceding the date of the refund. Refund payments shall come from any funds not otherwise restricted by law.  (2008-134, s. 76(a).)

 

§ 153A-305.  Required provision or maintenance of services.

(a)        New District. - When a county defines a new service district, it shall provide, maintain, or let contracts for the services for which the residents of the district are being taxed within a reasonable time, not to exceed one year, after the effective date of the definition of the district.

(b)        Extended District. - When a county annexes territory to a service district, it shall provide, maintain, or let contracts for the services provided or maintained throughout the district to the residents of the area annexed to the district within a reasonable time, not to exceed one year, after the effective date of the annexation.

(c)        Consolidated District. - When a county consolidates two or more service districts, one of which has had provided or maintained a lower level of services, it shall increase the services within that district (or let contracts therefor) to a level comparable to those provided or maintained elsewhere in the consolidated district within a reasonable time, not to exceed one year, after the effective date of the consolidation. (1973, c. 489, s. 1; c. 822, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-306.  Abolition of service districts.

Upon finding that there is no longer a need for a particular service district and that there are no outstanding bonds or notes issued to finance projects in the district, the board of commissioners may by resolution abolish that district. The board shall hold a public hearing before adopting a resolution abolishing a district. Notice of the hearing shall state the date, hour and place of the hearing, and its subject, and shall be published at least once not less than one week before the date of the hearing. The abolition of any service district shall take effect at the end of a fiscal year following passage of the resolution, as determined by the board. (1973, c. 489, s. 1; c. 822, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-307.  Taxes authorized; rate limitation.

A county may levy property taxes within defined service districts in addition to those levied throughout the county, in order to finance, provide or maintain for the districts services provided therein in addition to or to a greater extent than those financed, provided or maintained for the entire county. In addition, a county may allocate to a service district any other revenues whose use is not otherwise restricted by law.

Property subject to taxation in a newly established district or in an area annexed to an existing district is that subject to taxation by the county as of the preceding January 1.

Property taxes may not be levied within any district established pursuant to this Article in excess of a rate on each one hundred dollars ($100.00) value of property subject to taxation which, when added to the rate levied countywide for purposes subject to the rate limitation, would exceed the rate limitation established in G.S. 153A-149(c), unless the portion of the rate in excess of this limitation is submitted to and approved by a majority of the qualified voters residing within the district. Any referendum held pursuant to this paragraph shall be held and conducted as provided in G.S. 153A-149. (1973, c. 489, s. 1; c. 822, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-308.  Bonds authorized.

A county may issue its general obligation bonds under the Local Government Bond Act to finance services, facilities, or functions provided within a service district. If a proposed bond issue is required by law to be submitted to and approved by the voters of the county, and if the proceeds of the proposed bond issue are to be used in connection with a service that is or, if the bond issue is approved, will be provided only for one or more service districts or at a higher level in service districts than countywide, the proposed bond issue must be approved concurrently by a majority of those voting throughout the entire county and by a majority of the total of those voting in all of the affected or to-be-affected service districts. (1973, c. 489, s. 1; c. 822, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-309.  EMS services in fire protection districts.

(a)        If a service district is established under this Article for fire protection purposes under G.S. 153A-301(2), (including a district established with a rate limitation under G.S. 153A-309.2), and it was not also established under this Article for ambulance and rescue purposes under G.S. 153A-301(7), the board of county commissioners may, by resolution, permit the service district to provide emergency medical, rescue, and/or ambulance services, and may levy property taxes for such purposes under G.S. 153A-307, but if the district was established under G.S. 153A-309.2, the rate limitation established under that section shall continue to apply.

(b)        The resolution expanding the purposes of the district under this section shall take effect at the beginning of a fiscal year commencing after its passage. (1983, c. 642; 1989, c. 559.)

 

§ 153A-309.1.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-309.2.  Rate limitation in certain districts - Alternative procedure for fire protection service districts.

(a)        In connection with the establishment of a service district for fire protection as provided by G.S. 153A-301(2) [G.S. 153A-301(a)(2)], if the board of commissioners adopts a resolution within 90 days prior to the public hearing required by G.S. 153A-302(c) but prior to the first publication of notice required by subsection (b) of this section, which resolution states that property taxes within a district may not be levied in excess of a rate of fifteen cents (15¢) on each one hundred dollars ($100.00) of property subject to taxation, then property taxes may not be levied in that service district in excess of that rate.

(b)        Whenever a service district is established under this section, instead of the procedures for hearing and notice under G.S. 153A-302(c), the board of commissioners shall hold a public hearing before adopting any resolution defining a new service district under this section. Notice of the hearing shall state the date, hour and place of the hearing and its subject, and shall include a map of the proposed district and a statement that the report required by G.S. 153A-302(b) is available for public inspection in the office of the clerk to the board. The notice shall be published at least twice, with one publication not less than two weeks before the hearing, and the other publication on some other day not less than two weeks before the hearing. (1985, c. 724.)

 

§ 153A-309.3.  Rate limitation in certain districts - Fire protection service districts for industrial property.

(a)        Any area in a service district for fire protection established pursuant to G.S. 153A-301(a)(2) may be removed from that district by resolution of the county board of commissioners and a new service district simultaneously created for the area so removed if the area is an industrial facility (and appurtenant land and structures):

(1)        Subject to a contract not to annex by a municipality under which the owner of the industrial property is obligated to make payments in lieu of taxes equal to or in excess of fifty percent (50%) of the taxes such industry would pay if it were annexed and is current in making such payments.

(2)        Actively served by an industrial fire brigade which meets the standards of the National Fire Protection Association and the requirements of the North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Standards for General Industry (Title 29 Code of Federal Regulations Part 1910 incorporated by reference in 13 NCAC 07F.0101) for industrial fire brigades.

(b)        Prior to removing such area from the service district and simultaneously creating a new district of that same area, the board shall hold a public hearing. Notice of the hearing shall state the date, hour, and place of the hearing and its subject. The notice shall be published at least once not less than one week before the date of the hearing. In addition, the notice shall be mailed at least two weeks before the date of the hearing to the owners as shown by the county tax records as of the preceding January 1 of all property located within the area to be removed and a new district created. The notice may be mailed by any class of U.S. mail which is fully prepaid. The person designated by the board to mail the notice shall certify to the board that the mailing has been completed, and his certificate shall be conclusive in the absence of fraud.

(c)        In any district created under this section from area removed from an existing district, the county may not levy or collect property taxes for the purpose of financing fire protection pursuant to this Article in excess of a rate of three and one-half cents (3.5¢) on each one hundred dollars ($100.00) of property valuation subject to taxation.

(d)       If any district established under this section ceases to meet the tests established by subdivisions (a)(1) and (a)(2) of this section, the board of commissioners may by resolution abolish that district and annex that territory to the district from which it was removed after a public hearing under the same provisions as set out in subsection (b) of this section.

(e)        Any resolutions adopted under this section become effective the first day of July following their adoption.  (2005-281, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-310.  Rate limitation in certain districts - Alternative procedure for ambulance and rescue districts.

(a)        In connection with the establishment of a service district for ambulance and rescue as provided by G.S. 153A-301(7) [G.S. 153A-301(a)(7)], if the board of commissioners adopts a resolution within 90 days prior to the public hearing required by G.S. 153A-302(c) but prior to the first publication of notice required by subsection (b) of this section, which resolution states that property taxes within a district may not be levied in excess of a rate of five cents (5¢) on each one hundred dollars ($100.00) of property subject to taxation, then property taxes may not be levied in that service district in excess of that rate.

(b)        Whenever a service district is established under this section, instead of the procedures for hearing and notice under G.S. 153A-302(c), the board of commissioners shall hold a public hearing before adopting any resolution defining a new service district under this section. Notice of the hearing shall state the date, hour and place of the hearing and its subject, and shall include a map of the proposed district and a statement that the report required by G.S. 153A-302(b) is available for public inspection in the office of the clerk to the board. The notice shall be published at least twice, with one publication not less than two weeks before the hearing, and the other publication on some other day not less than two weeks before the hearing. (1985, c. 430, s. 1.)

 

Part 2. County Research and Production Service Districts and Urban Research Service Districts.

§ 153A-311.  Purposes for which districts may be established.

The board of commissioners of any county may define a county research and production service district in order to finance, provide, and maintain for the district any service, facility, or function that a county or a city is authorized by general law to provide, finance, or maintain. Such a service, facility, or function shall be financed, provided, or maintained in the district either in addition to or to a greater extent than services, facilities, or functions are financed, provided, or maintained for the entire county.  (1985, c. 435, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-312.  Definition of research and production service district.

(a)        Standards. - The board of commissioners may by resolution establish a research and production service district for any area of the county that, at the time the resolution is adopted, meets the following standards:

(1)        All (i) real property in the district is being used for or is subject to covenants that limit its use to research; or scientifically-oriented production, technology, education; or associated commercial, residential, or institutional purposes; or for other purposes specifically authorized pursuant to the terms and conditions of the covenants, or (ii) if all the real property in the district is part of a multijurisdictional industrial park that satisfies the criteria of G.S. 143B-437.08(h), all such real property in the district is subject to covenants that limit its use to research or scientifically oriented production, associated commercial or institutional purposes, or other industrial and associated commercial and institutional uses.

(2)        The district (i) contains at least 4,000 acres or (ii) satisfies the criteria of G.S. 143B-437.08(h).

(3)        The district (i) includes research and production facilities that in combination employ at least 5,000 persons or (ii) satisfies the criteria of G.S. 143B-437.08(h).

(4)        Repealed by Session Laws 2012-73, s.1, effective June 26, 2012.

(5)        A petition requesting creation of the district signed by at least fifty percent (50%) of the owners of real property in the district who own at least fifty percent (50%) of total area of the real property in the district has been presented to the board of commissioners. In determining the total area of real property in the district and the number of owners of real property, there shall be excluded (1) real property exempted from taxation and real property classified and excluded from taxation and (2) the owners of such exempted or classified and excluded property.

(6)        Repealed by Session Laws 2012-73, s.1, effective June 26, 2012.

(7)        There exists in the district an association of owners and tenants, to which at least seventy-five percent (75%) of the owners of nonresidential real property belong, which association can make the recommendations provided for in G.S. 153A-313. This subdivision shall not apply to a research and production service district that satisfies the criteria of G.S. 143B-437.08(h).

(8)        There exist deed-imposed conditions, covenants, restrictions, and reservations that apply to all real property in the district, provided that the covenants, restrictions, and reservations shall not be effective against the United States as long as it owns or leases property in the district but shall apply to any subsequent owner or lessee of such property.

(9)        No part of the district lies within the boundaries of any incorporated city or town.

The Board of Commissioners may establish a research and production service district if, upon the information and evidence it receives, the Board finds that:

(1)        The proposed district meets the standards set forth in this subsection; and

(2)        It is impossible or impracticable to provide on a countywide basis the additional or higher levels of services, facilities, or functions proposed for the district; and

(3)        It is economically feasible to provide the proposed services, facilities, or functions to the district without unreasonable or burdensome tax levies.

(a1)      Additional Uses. - A developer of a research and production service district established prior to June 1, 2012, may amend the covenants that limit the use of real property in the district to include any of the following uses: research; or scientifically-oriented production, technology, education; or associated commercial, residential, or institutional purposes; or for other purposes specifically authorized pursuant to the terms and conditions of the covenants. A research and production service district is presumed to be in compliance with the standards in subsection (a) of this section if the district met the standards in subsection (a) of this section, as that subsection was enacted at the time of the establishment of the district.

(b)        Multi-County Districts. - If an area that meets the standards for creation of a research and production service district lies in more than one county, the boards of commissioners of those counties may adopt concurrent resolutions establishing a district, even if that portion of the district lying in any one of the counties does not by itself meet the standards. Each of the county boards of commissioners shall follow the procedure set out in this section for creation of a district.

If a multi-county district is established, as provided in this subsection, the boards of commissioners of the counties involved shall jointly determine whether the same appraisal and assessment standards apply uniformly throughout the district, or, in the case of a multijurisdictional industrial park that satisfies the criteria of G.S. 143B-437.08(h), whether there is a current need in each participating county to levy a tax, which determination shall be made by each participating county's board of commissioners. This determination shall be set out in concurrent resolutions of the boards. If the same appraisal and assessment standards apply uniformly throughout the district, the boards of commissioners of all the counties shall levy the same rate of tax for the district, so that a uniform rate of tax is levied for district purposes throughout the district. If the boards determine that the same standards do not apply uniformly throughout the district, the boards shall agree on the extent of divergence between the counties and on the resulting adjustments of tax rates that will be necessary in order that an effectively uniform rate of tax is levied for district purposes throughout the district. In the event that one or more of the boards of commissioners in one or more of the counties participating in a multijurisdictional industrial park that satisfies the criteria of G.S. 143B-437.08(h) determines that there is no current need to levy a tax for all or part of the property meeting said requirements within its jurisdictional boundaries, then that county or those counties shall be under no obligation to do so. That county or those counties participating in a multijurisdictional industrial park that satisfies the criteria of G.S. 143B-437.08(h) that choose to levy a tax for all or part of the property meeting said requirements within its jurisdictional boundaries may do so without setting an effectively uniform rate of tax as described above, provided such rate shall not exceed the rate allowed in G.S. 143B-317(b).

The boards of commissioners of the counties establishing a multi-county district pursuant to this subsection may, by concurrent resolution, provide for the administration of services within the district by one or more counties on behalf of all the establishing counties.

(c)        Report. - Before the public hearing required by subsection (d), the board of commissioners shall cause to be prepared a report containing:

(1)        A map of the proposed district, showing its proposed boundaries;

(2)        A statement showing that the proposed district meets the standards set out in subsection (a); and

(3)        A plan for providing one or more services, facilities, or functions to the district.

The report shall be available for public inspection in the office of the clerk to the board for at least four weeks before the date of the public hearing.

(d)       Hearing and Notice. - The board of commissioners shall hold a public hearing before adopting any resolution defining a district under this section. Notice of the hearing shall state the date, hour, and place of the hearing and its subject, and shall include a map of the proposed district and a statement that the report required by subsection (c) is available for public inspection in the office of the clerk to the board. The notice shall be published at least once not less than one week before the date of the hearing. In addition, it shall be mailed at least four weeks before the date of the hearing by any class of U.S. mail which is fully prepaid to the owners as shown by the county tax records as of the preceding January 1 (and at the address shown thereon) of all property located within the proposed district. The person designated by the board to mail the notice shall certify to the board that the mailing has been completed and his certificate is conclusive in the absence of fraud.

(e)        Effective Date. - The resolution defining a district shall take effect at the beginning of a fiscal year commencing after its passage, as determined by the board of commissioners.  (1985, c. 435, s. 1; 2009-523, s. 3(a); 2012-73, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-313.  Research and production service district advisory committee.

(a)        The board or boards of commissioners, in the resolution establishing a research and production service district, shall also provide for an advisory committee for the district. Such a committee shall have at least 10 members, serving terms as set forth in the resolution; one member shall be the representative of the developer of the research and production park established as a research and production service district. The resolution shall provide for the appointment or designation of a chair. The board of commissioners or, in the case of a multi-county district, the boards of commissioners shall appoint the members of the advisory committee. If a multi-county district is established, the concurrent resolutions establishing the district shall provide how many members of the advisory committee are to be appointed by each board of commissioners. Before making the appointments, the appropriate board shall request the association of owners and tenants, required by G.S. 153A-312(a), to submit a list of persons to be considered for appointment to the committee; the association shall submit at least two names for each appointment to be made. Except as provided in the next two sentences, the board of commissioners shall make the appointments to the committee from the list of persons submitted. In addition, the developer of the research and production park shall appoint one person to the advisory committee as the developer's representative on the committee. In addition, in a single county district, the board of commissioners may make two additional appointments of such other persons as the board of commissioners deems appropriate, and in a multi-county district, each board of county commissioners may make one additional appointment of such other person as that board of commissioners deems appropriate. Whenever a vacancy occurs on the committee in a position filled by appointment by the board of commissioners, the appropriate board, before filling the vacancy, shall request the association to submit the names of at least two persons to be considered for the vacancy; and the board shall fill the vacancy by appointing one of the persons so submitted, except that if the vacancy is in a position appointed by the board of commissioners under the preceding sentence of this section, the board of commissioners making that appointment shall fill the vacancy with such person as that board of commissioners deems appropriate.

Each year, before adopting the budget for the district and levying the tax for the district, the board or boards of commissioners shall request recommendations from the advisory committee as to the level of services, facilities, or functions to be provided for the district for the ensuing year. The board or boards of commissioners shall, to the extent permitted by law, expend the proceeds of any tax levied for the district in the manner recommended by the advisory committee.

(b)        In the event that the research and production service district satisfies the criteria of G.S. 143B-437.08(h), the board of directors for the nonprofit corporation which owns the industrial park shall serve as the advisory committee described in subsection (a) of this section.  (1985, c. 435, s. 1; 2009-523, s. 3(b); 2012-73, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-314.  Extension of service districts.

(a)        Standards. - A board of commissioners may by resolution annex territory to a research and production service district upon finding that:

(1)        The conditions, covenants, restrictions, and reservations required by G.S. 153A-312(a)(8) that apply to all real property in the district also apply or will apply to the property to be annexed, provided that the covenants, restrictions, and reservations shall not be effective against the United States as long as it owns or leases property in the district but shall apply to any subsequent owner or lessee of such property.

(2)        One hundred percent (100%) of the owners of real property in the area to be annexed have petitioned for annexation.

(3)        The district, following the annexation, will continue to meet the standards set out in G.S. 153A-312(a).

(4)        The area to be annexed requires the services, facilities, or functions financed, provided, or maintained for the district.

(5)        The area to be annexed is contiguous to the district.

(b)        Report. - Before the public hearing required by subsection (c), the board shall cause to be prepared a report containing:

(1)        A map of the district and the adjacent territory proposed to be annexed, showing the present and proposed boundaries of the district; and

(2)        A statement showing that the area to be annexed meets the standards and requirements of subsection (a) of this section.

The report shall be available for public inspection in the office of the clerk to the board for at least four weeks before the date of the public hearing.

(c)        Hearing and Notice. - The board shall hold a public hearing before adopting any resolution extending the boundaries of a district. Notice of the hearing shall state the date, hour and place of the hearing and its subject, and shall include a statement that the report required by subsection (b) of this section is available for inspection in the office of the clerk to the board. The notice shall be published at least once not less than four weeks before the hearing. In addition, the notice shall be mailed at least four weeks before the date of the hearing by any class of U.S. mail which is fully prepaid to the owners as shown by the county tax records as of the preceding January 1 (and at the address shown thereon) of all property located within the area to be annexed. The person designated by the board to mail the notice shall certify to the board that the mailing has been completed, and the certificate shall be conclusive in the absence of fraud.

(d)       Effective Date. - The resolution extending the boundaries of the district shall take effect at the beginning of a fiscal year commencing after its passage, as determined by the board.  (1985, c. 435, s. 1; 2012-73, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-314.1.  Removal of territory from districts.

(a)        Standards. - A board of commissioners may by resolution remove territory from a research and production service district upon finding that:

(1)        The removal has been recommended by a vote of two-thirds of the eligible votes of the owners and tenants association.

(2)        One hundred percent (100%) of the owners of real property in the territory to be removed have petitioned for removal.

(3)        The territory to be removed no longer requires the services, facilities, or functions financed, provided, or maintained for the district.

(b)        Report. - Before the public hearing required by subsection (c) of this section, the board shall cause to be prepared a report containing:

(1)        A map of the district highlighting the territory proposed to be removed, showing the present and proposed boundaries of the district; and

(2)        A statement showing that the territory to be removed meets the standards and requirements of subsection (a) of this section.

The report shall be available for public inspection in the office of the clerk to the board for at least 10 days before the date of the public hearing.

(c)        Hearing and Notice. - The board shall hold a public hearing before adopting any resolution reducing the boundaries of a district. Notice of the hearing shall state the date, hour, and place of the hearing and its subject and shall include a statement that the report required by subsection (b) of this section is available for inspection in the office of the clerk to the board. The notice shall be published at least once not less than seven days before the hearing. In addition, the notice shall be mailed at least two weeks before the date of the hearing by any class of U.S. mail which is fully prepaid to the owners as shown by the county tax records as of the preceding January 1 (and at the address shown thereon) of all property located within the territory to be removed. The person designated by the board to mail the notice shall certify to the board that the mailing has been completed, and the certificate shall be conclusive in the absence of fraud.

(d)       Municipal Annexation Allowed Under General Law. - The general law concerning annexation, Article 4A of Chapter 160A of the General Statutes, shall apply to any territory removed from the district under this section, notwithstanding any local act to the contrary.

(e)        Effective Date. - The resolution reducing the boundaries of the district shall take effect at the beginning of a fiscal year commencing after its passage, as determined by the board.  (2003-187, s. 1; 2012-73, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-315.  Required provision or maintenance of services.

(a)        New District. - When a county or counties define a research and production service district, it or they shall provide, maintain, or let contracts for the services for which the district is being taxed within a reasonable time, not to exceed one year, after the effective date of the definition of the district.

(b)        Extended District. - When a territory is annexed to a research and production service district, the county or counties shall provide, maintain, or let contracts for the services provided or maintained throughout the district to property in the area annexed to the district within a reasonable time, not to exceed one year, after the effective date of the annexation. (1985, c. 435, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-316.  Abolition of districts.

A board or boards of county commissioners may by resolution abolish a research and production service district upon finding that (i) a petition requesting abolition, signed by at least fifty percent (50%) of the owners of nonresidential real property in the district who own at least fifty percent (50%) of the total area of nonresidential real property in the district, has been submitted to the board or boards; and (ii) there is no longer a need for such district. In determining the total area of nonresidential real property in the district and the number of owners of nonresidential real property, there shall be excluded (1) real property exempted from taxation and real property classified and excluded from taxation and (2) the owners of such exempted or classified and excluded property. The board or boards shall hold a public hearing before adopting a resolution abolishing a district. Notice of the hearing shall state the date, hour, and place of the hearing, and its subject, and shall be published at least once not less than one week before the date of the hearing. The abolition of any district shall take effect at the end of a fiscal year following passage of the resolution, as determined by the board or boards. If a multi-county district is established, it may be abolished only by concurrent resolution of the board of commissioners of each county in which the district is located.  (1985, c. 435, s. 1; 2012-73, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-316.1.  Urban research service district (URSD).

(a)        Standards. - The board of commissioners of a county may establish one or more urban research service districts ("URSD" as used in this Part) that meets the following standards:

(1)        The URSD is wholly within a county research and production service district located partly within that county.

(2)        The URSD is located wholly within that county.

(3)        The URSD is not contained within another URSD.

(4)        A petition requesting creation of the URSD signed by at least fifty percent (50%) of the owners of real property in the URSD who own at least fifty (50%) of total area of the real property in the URSD has been presented to the board of commissioners.

(b)        Report. - Before the public hearing required by subsection (c) of this section, the board of commissioners shall cause to be prepared and adopted by it a report. The report shall be available for public inspection in the office of the clerk to the board for at least four weeks before the date of the public hearing. The report shall contain the following:

(1)        A map of the proposed URSD, showing its proposed boundaries.

(2)        A statement showing that the proposed URSD is for the purpose of providing urban services, facilities, or functions to a greater extent than (i) in the entire county and (ii) in the county research and production service district.

(3)        A plan for providing one or more services, facilities, or functions to the URSD.

(c)        Hearing and Notice. - The board of commissioners shall hold a public hearing before adopting any resolution defining a URSD under this section. Notice of the hearing shall state the date, hour, and place of the hearing and its subject, and shall include a map of the proposed URSD and a statement that the report required by subsection (b) of this section is available for public inspection in the office of the clerk to the board. The notice shall be published at least once not less than one week before the date of the hearing. In addition, it shall be mailed at least four weeks before the date of the hearing by any class of U.S. mail that is fully prepaid to the owners, as shown by the county tax records as of the preceding January 1, of all property located within the proposed URSD. The person designated by the board to mail the notice shall certify to the board that the mailing has been completed, and the designated person's certificate is conclusive in the absence of fraud.

(d)       Effective Date. - The resolution defining a URSD shall take effect at the beginning of a fiscal year commencing after its passage, as determined by the board of commissioners.  (2012-73, s. 1; 2012-194, s. 62.5.)

 

§ 153A-316.2.  URSD advisory committee.

(a)        Members. - The board of commissioners, in the resolution establishing a URSD, shall also provide for an advisory committee for the URSD. The committee shall have at least 10 members, serving terms as set forth in the resolution. The resolution shall provide for the appointment or designation of a chairperson. The board of commissioners shall appoint the members of the USRD [URSD] advisory committee. Before making the appointments, the board shall request the association of owners and tenants, required by G.S. 153A-312(a), to submit a list of persons to be considered for appointment to the committee. The association shall submit at least two names for each appointment to be made. Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, the board of commissioners shall make the appointments to the committee from the list of persons submitted.

(b)        Additional Members. - In addition to the members provided in subsection (a) of this section, the developer of the research and production park established as a research and production service district shall appoint one person to the URSD advisory committee as the developer's representative on the committee. The board of commissioners may make two additional appointments of such other persons as the board of commissioners deems appropriate.

(c)        Vacancy. - Whenever a vacancy occurs on the committee in a position filled by appointment by the board of commissioners, the board, before filling the vacancy, shall request the association to submit the names of at least two persons to be considered for the vacancy, and the board shall fill the vacancy by appointing one of the persons so submitted, except that if the vacancy is in a position appointed by the board of commissioners under subsection (b) of this section, the board of commissioners making that appointment shall fill the vacancy with such person as the board of commissioners deems appropriate.

(d)       Advisory Role. - Each year, before adopting the budget for the URSD and levying the tax for the URSD, the board of commissioners shall request recommendations from the URSD advisory committee as to the level of services, facilities, or functions to be provided for the URSD for the ensuing year. The board of commissioners shall, to the extent permitted by law, expend the proceeds of any tax levied for the URSD in the manner recommended by the URSD advisory committee.  (2012-73, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-316.3.  Extension of URSD.

(a)        Standards. - A board of commissioners may by resolution annex territory to a URSD upon finding that:

(1)        The conditions, covenants, restrictions, and reservations required by G.S. 153A-312(a)(8) that apply to all real property in the URSD also apply or will apply to the property to be annexed, provided that such covenants, restrictions, and reservations shall not be effective against the United States as long as it owns or leases property in the URSD but shall apply to any subsequent owner or lessee of such property.

(2)        One hundred percent (100%) of the owners of real property in the area to be annexed have petitioned for annexation.

(3)        The URSD, following the annexation, will continue to meet the standards set out in G.S. 153A-316.1(a).

(4)        The area to be annexed requires the services, facilities, or functions financed, provided, or maintained for the URSD.

(5)        The area to be annexed is contiguous to the URSD.

(b)        Report. - Before the public hearing required by subsection (c) of this section, the board shall cause to be prepared a report. The report shall be available for public inspection in the office of the clerk to the board for at least four weeks before the date of the public hearing. The report shall contain the following:

(1)        A map of the URSD and the adjacent territory proposed to be annexed, showing the present and proposed boundaries of the URSD.

(2)        A statement showing that the area to be annexed meets the standards and requirements of subsection (a) of this section.

(c)        Hearing and Notice. - The board shall hold a public hearing before adopting any resolution extending the boundaries of a URSD. Notice of the hearing shall state the date, hour, and place of the hearing and its subject, and shall include a statement that the report required by subsection (b) of this section is available for inspection in the office of the clerk to the board. The notice shall be published at least once not less than four weeks before the hearing. In addition, the notice shall be mailed at least four weeks before the date of the hearing by any class of U.S. mail that is fully prepaid to the owners, as shown by the county tax records as of the preceding January 1, of all property located within the area to be annexed. The person designated by the board to mail the notice shall certify to the board that the mailing has been completed, and the certificate shall be conclusive in the absence of fraud.

(d)       Effective Date. - The resolution extending the boundaries of the URSD shall take effect at the beginning of a fiscal year commencing after its passage, as determined by the board.  (2012-73, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-316.4.  Removal of territory from URSD.

(a)        Standards. - A board of commissioners may by resolution remove territory from a URSD upon finding that:

(1)        The removal has been recommended by a vote of two-thirds of the eligible voters of the owners and tenants association.

(2)        One hundred percent (100%) of the owners of real property in the territory to be removed have petitioned for removal.

(3)        The territory to be removed no longer requires the services, facilities, or functions financed, provided, or maintained for the URSD.

(4)        The county has not financed any project for which taxes levied on the URSD provide debt service pursuant to G.S. 153A-317.1(c).

(b)        Report. - Before the public hearing required by subsection (c) of this section, the board shall cause to be prepared a report. The report shall be available for public inspection in the office of the clerk to the board for at least 10 days before the date of the public hearing. The report shall contain the following:

(1)        A map of the URSD highlighting the territory proposed to be removed, showing the present and proposed boundaries of the URSD.

(2)        A statement showing that the territory to be removed meets the standards and requirements of subsection (a) of this section.

(c)        Hearing and Notice. - The board shall hold a public hearing before adopting any resolution reducing the boundaries of the URSD. Notice of the hearing shall state the date, hour, and place of the hearing and its subject, and shall include a statement that the report required by subsection (b) of this section is available for inspection in the office of the clerk to the board. The notice shall be published at least once not less than seven days before the hearing. In addition, the notice shall be mailed at least two weeks before the date of the hearing by any class of U.S. mail that is fully prepaid to the owners, as shown by the county tax records as of the preceding January 1, of all property located within the territory to be removed. The person designated by the board to mail the notice shall certify to the board that the mailing has been completed, and the certificate shall be conclusive in the absence of fraud.

(d)       Effective Date. - The resolution reducing the boundaries of the URSD shall take effect at the beginning of a fiscal year commencing after its passage, as determined by the board.  (2012-73, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-316.5.  Required provision or maintenance of services in URSD.

(a)        New URSD. - When a county defines a URSD, it shall provide, maintain, or let contracts for the services for which the URSD is being taxed within a reasonable time, not to exceed one year, after the effective date of the definition of the URSD. When a county defines a URSD, it may designate the developer of the research and development park established as a research and production service district in which the URSD is located as an agent that may contract with any local government for the provision of services within the URSD.

(b)        Extended URSD. - When a territory is annexed to a URSD, the county shall provide, maintain, or let contracts for the services provided or maintained throughout the URSD to property in the area annexed to the URSD within a reasonable time, not to exceed one year, after the effective date of the annexation.  (2012-73, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-316.6.  Abolition of URSD.

A county board of commissioners may by resolution abolish a URSD upon finding that (i) a petition requesting abolition, signed by at least fifty percent (50%) of the owners of nonresidential real property in the URSD who own at least fifty percent (50%) of the total area of nonresidential real property in the URSD, has been submitted to the board or boards; (ii) there is no longer a need for such URSD; and (iii) the county has not financed any project for which there is outstanding debt serviced by tax revenues levied within the URSD. In determining the total area of nonresidential real property in the URSD and the number of owners of nonresidential real property, there shall be excluded (i) real property exempted from taxation and real property classified and excluded from taxation and (ii) the owners of such exempted or classified and excluded property. The board or boards shall hold a public hearing before adopting a resolution abolishing a URSD. Notice of the hearing shall state the date, hour, and place of the hearing and its subject, and shall be published at least once not less than one week before the date of the hearing. The abolition of any URSD shall take effect at the end of a fiscal year following passage of the resolution, as determined by the board.  (2012-73, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-317.  Research and production service district taxes authorized; rate limitation.

(a)        Tax Authorized. - A county, upon recommendation of the advisory committee established pursuant to G.S. 153A-313, may levy property taxes within a research and production service district in addition to those levied throughout the county, in order to finance, provide, or maintain for the district services provided therein in addition to or to a greater extent than those financed, provided, or maintained for the entire county. In addition, a county may allocate to a district any other revenues whose use is not otherwise restricted by law. The proceeds of taxes only within a district may be expended only for services provided for the district.

Property subject to taxation in a newly established district or in an area annexed to an existing district is that subject to taxation by the county as of the preceding January 1.

(b)        Limit. - Such additional property taxes may not be levied within any district established pursuant to this Article in excess of a rate of ten cents (10¢) on each one hundred dollars ($100.00) value of property subject to taxation or, in the event that the research and production service district satisfies the criteria of G.S. 143B-437.08(h), such additional property taxes may not be levied within said district in excess of a rate of twenty cents (20¢) on each one hundred dollars ($100.00) value of property subject to taxation.

(c)        Public Transportation. - For the purpose of constructing, maintaining, or operating public transportation as defined by G.S. 153A-149(c)(27), in addition to the additional property taxes levied under subsections (a) and (b) of this section, a county, upon recommendation of the advisory committee established pursuant to G.S. 153A-313, may levy additional property taxes within any district established pursuant to this Article not in excess of a rate of ten cents (10¢) on each one hundred dollars ($100.00) value of property subject to taxation. Such property taxes for public transportation may only be used within the district, or to provide for public transportation from the district to other public transportation systems or to other places outside the district including airports.  (1985, c. 435, s. 1; 2009-523, s. 3(c); 2009-527, s. 6; 2012-73, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-317.1.  Urban research service district taxes authorized; rate.

(a)        Tax Authorized. - A county, upon recommendation of the advisory committee established pursuant to G.S. 153A-316.2, may levy property taxes within a URSD in addition to those levied throughout the county, and in addition to those levied throughout the county research and production service district, in order to finance, provide, or maintain for the URSD services provided therein in addition to or to a greater extent than those financed, provided, or maintained both for the entire county and for the county research and production service district. Only those services that cities are authorized by law to provide may be provided. In addition, a county may allocate to a URSD any other revenue not otherwise restricted by law.

(b)        Rate. - Property subject to taxation in a newly established URSD or in an area annexed to an existing URSD is that subject to taxation by the county as of the preceding January. The maximum tax rate set forth in G.S. 153A-317 shall not apply to the URSD. The additional property taxes within any URSD may not be levied in excess of the rate levied in the prior year by a city that:

(1)        Is the largest city in population that is contiguous to the county research and production service district where the URSD is located.

(2)        Is located primarily within the same county the URSD is located.

(c)        Use. - The proceeds of taxes levied within a URSD may be expended only for the benefit of the URSD. The taxes levied for the URSD may be used for debt service on any debt issued by the county that is used wholly or partly for capital projects located within the URSD, but not in greater proportion than expense of projects located within the URSD bear to the entire expense of capital projects financed by that borrowing of the county. For the purpose of this subsection, "debt" includes (i) general obligation bonds and notes issued under Chapter 159 of the General Statutes, (ii) revenue bonds issued under Chapter 159 of the General Statutes, (iii) financing agreements under Article 8 of Chapter 159 of the General Statutes, and (iv) special obligation bonds issued by the county.  (2012-73, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-317.2: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-317.3: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-317.4: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-317.5: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-317.6: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-317.7: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-317.8: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-317.9: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-317.10: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

Part 3. Economic Development and Training Districts.

§ 153A-317.11.  Purpose and nature of districts.

The board of commissioners of any county may define a county economic development and training district, as provided in this Part, to finance, provide, and maintain for the district a skills training center in cooperation with its community college branch in or for the county to prepare residents of the county to perform manufacturing, research and development, and related service and support jobs in the pharmaceutical, biotech, life sciences, chemical, telecommunications, and electronics industries, and allied, ancillary, and subordinate industries, to provide within the district any of the education, training, and related services, facilities, or functions that a county or a city is authorized by general law to provide, finance, or maintain, and to promote economic development in the county. The skills training center and related services shall be financed, provided, or maintained in the district either in addition to or to a greater extent than training facilities and services are financed, provided, or maintained in the entire county. A district created under this Part is a special tax area under Section 2(4) of Article V of the North Carolina Constitution. (2003-418, s. 1; 2004-170, s. 38.)

 

§ 153A-317.12.  Definition of economic development and training district.

(a)        Standards. - The board of commissioners may by resolution establish an economic development and training district for an area or areas of the county that, at the time the resolution is adopted, meet the following standards:

(1)        All of the real property in the district primarily is being used for, or is subject to, a declaration of covenants, conditions, and restrictions that limits its use primarily to biotech processing, chemical manufacturing, pharmaceutical manufacturing, electronics manufacturing, telecommunications manufacturing, and any allied, ancillary, or subordinate uses including, without limitation, any research and development facility, headquarters or office, temporary lodging facility, restaurant, warehouse, or transportation or distribution facility.

(2)        The district includes at least two pharmaceuticals manufacturing or bioprocessing facilities occupying sites in the district containing in the aggregate at least 425 acres owned by publicly held corporations.

(3)        The bioprocessing and pharmaceuticals manufacturing facilities in the district employ in the aggregate at least 1,600 persons.

(4)        The district includes an industrial park consisting of at least 60 acres within a noncontiguous parcel of at least 625 acres now or formerly owned by an airport authority.

(5)        The district's zoning classifications permit the uses listed in this section.

(6)        All real property in the district is either zoned for or is being used primarily for pharmaceutical, biotech, life sciences, chemical, telecommunications, or electronics manufacturing or processing or allied, ancillary, or subordinate uses.

(7)        The district shall include a skills training center situated on a tract containing not less than eight acres, which facility shall be designed and staffed to provide relevant training to prepare existing or prospective employees of targeted industries for jobs in one or more of the pharmaceutical, biotech, life sciences, chemical, telecommunications, and electronics industries and allied, ancillary, or subordinate industries. The training center shall be completed within a reasonable period after the creation of the district.

(8)        At the date of creation, no part of the district lies within the boundaries of any incorporated city or town.

(9)        There exists a uniform set of covenants, conditions, restrictions, and reservations that applies to all real property in the district other than property owned by the federal, State, or local government.

(10)      There exists in the district an association of owners and tenants to which owners of real property representing at least fifty percent (50%) of the assessed value of real property in the district belong, which association can make the recommendations provided for in G.S. 153A-317.13.

(11)      A petition requesting creation of the district signed by owners of real property in the district who own real and personal property representing at least fifty percent (50%) of the total assessed value of the real and personal property in the district has been presented to the board of commissioners. In determining the assessed value of real and personal property in the district and the owners of real property, there shall be excluded: (i) real property exempted from taxation and real property classified and excluded from taxation and (ii) the owners of such exempted or classified and excluded property. Assessed value shall mean the most recent values determined by the county for the imposition of taxes on real and personal property.

(b)        Findings. - The board of commissioners may establish an economic development and training district if, upon the information and evidence it receives, the board determines that:

(1)        The proposed district meets the standards set forth in subsection (a) of this section;

(2)        Economic development of the county will be served by providing selected skills training in a facility designed specifically to address the needs of targeted industries such as pharmaceuticals, biotech processing, telecommunications, electronics, and allied, ancillary, or subordinate supplies or services to induce existing industries and targeted industries to improve and expand their facilities and new industries to locate facilities in the district, thereby providing employment opportunities for the residents of the county;

(3)        It is impossible or impractical to provide training facilities and services on a countywide basis to all existing and future employers in the county to the same extent as such training services are intended to be furnished within the district; and

(4)        It is economically feasible to provide the proposed training facilities and services in the district without unreasonable or burdensome tax levies.

(c)        Report. - Before the public hearing required by subsection (d) of this section, the board of commissioners shall cause to be prepared a report containing all of the following:

(1)        A map of the proposed district showing its proposed boundaries.

(2)        A statement showing that the proposed district meets the standards set out in subsection (a) of this section.

(3)        A plan for providing the skills training center and training services to the district.

The report shall be available for public inspection in the office of the clerk to the board for at least four weeks before the date of the public hearing.

(d)       Hearing and Notice. - The board of commissioners shall hold a public hearing before adopting any resolution defining a district under this section. Notice of the hearing shall state the date, hour, and place of the hearing and its subject and shall include a map of the proposed district and a statement that the report required by subsection (c) of this section is available for public inspection in the office of the clerk to the board. The notice shall be published at least once not less than one week before the date of the hearing. In addition, it shall be mailed at least four weeks before the date of the hearing by any class of U.S. mail which is fully prepaid to the owners as shown by the county tax records as of the preceding January 1 (and at the address shown thereon) of all property located within the proposed district. The person designated by the board to mail the notice shall certify to the board that the mailing has been completed, and the certificate shall be conclusive in the absence of fraud.

(e)        Effective Date. - The resolution creating a district shall take effect at the beginning of the fiscal year commencing after its passage or such other date as shall be determined by the board of commissioners. (2003-418, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-317.13.  Advisory committee.

(a)        Creation. - The board of commissioners, in the resolution establishing an economic development and training district, shall also provide for an advisory committee for the district. The committee shall consist of five members, serving terms as set forth in the resolution. The resolution shall provide for the appointment or designation of a chair. The board of commissioners shall appoint the members of the advisory committee as provided in this section.

(b)        Membership. - Three of the five committee members shall represent the association of owners and tenants, as required by G.S. 153A-317.12(a)(10), and two members shall represent the county. Before making the appointments representing the association, the board of commissioners shall request the association to submit a list of persons to be considered for appointment to the committee. The association of owners and tenants shall submit at least two names for each appointment to be made and the board of commissioners shall make the appointments to the committee representing the association from the list of persons submitted to it by the association. Whenever a vacancy occurs on the committee in a position filled by an appointment by the board of commissioners representing the association of owners and tenants, the board, before filling the vacancy, shall request the association to submit the names of at least two persons to be considered for the vacancy, and the board shall fill the vacancy by appointing one of the persons so submitted.

(c)        Advisory Duties. - Each year, before adopting the budget for the district and levying the tax for the district, the board shall request recommendations from the advisory committee as to the type and level of services, facilities, or functions to be provided for the district for the ensuing years. The board of commissioners shall, to the extent permitted by law, expend the proceeds of any tax levied for the district in the manner recommended by the advisory committee. (2003-418, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-317.14.  Extension of economic development and training districts.

(a)        Standards. - A board of commissioners may by resolution annex territory to an economic development and training district upon finding that:

(1)        The conditions, covenants, restrictions, and reservations required by G.S. 153A-317.12(a)(1) that apply to all real property in the district, other than property owned by the federal, State, or local government, also apply or will apply to the property, other than property owned by the federal government, to be annexed.

(2)        One hundred percent (100%) of the owners of real property in the area to be annexed have petitioned for annexation.

(3)        The district, following the annexation, will continue to meet the standards set out in G.S. 153A-317.12(a).

(4)        The reasonably anticipated training needs of the existing companies in the area to be annexed and of new companies that may locate within the expanded area can be met by the skills training facility located in the district.

(5)        The area to be annexed is either contiguous to a lot, parcel, or tract of land in the district or at least 500 acres in the aggregate counting all parcels proposed for annexation. A property shall, for purposes of this section, be deemed to be contiguous notwithstanding that it may be separated from other property by a street, road, highway, right-of-way, or easement.

(6)        If any of the area proposed to be annexed to the district is wholly or partially within the extraterritorial jurisdiction of a municipality, then it shall be necessary to first obtain the affirmative vote of a majority of the members of the governing body of the municipality before the area can be annexed.

(b)        Report. - Before the public hearing required by subsection (c) of this section, the board shall cause to be prepared a report containing all of the following:

(1)        A map of the district and the territory proposed to be annexed showing the present and proposed boundaries of the district.

(2)        A statement that the area to be annexed meets the standards and requirements of subsection (a) of this section.

The report shall be available for public inspection in the office of the clerk to the board for at least four weeks before the date of the public hearing.

(c)        Hearing and Notice. - The board shall hold a public hearing before adopting any resolution extending the boundaries of a district. Notice of the hearing shall state the date, hour, and place of the hearing and its subject and shall include a statement that the report required by subsection (b) of this section is available for inspection in the office of the clerk to the board. The notice shall be published at least once not less than four weeks before the hearing. In addition, the notice shall be mailed at least four weeks before the date of the hearing by any class of U.S. mail which is fully prepaid to the owners as shown by the county tax records as of the preceding January 1 (and at the address shown thereon) of all property located within the area to be annexed. The person designated by the board to mail the notice shall certify to the board that the mailing has been completed, and the certificate shall be conclusive in the absence of fraud.

(d)       Effective Date. - The resolution extending the boundaries of the district shall take effect at the beginning of the fiscal year commencing after its passage or such other date as shall be determined by the board. (2003-418, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-317.15.  Required provision or maintenance of skills training center.

(a)        New District. - When a county creates a district, it shall provide, maintain, or let contracts for the skills training center for which the district is being taxed within a reasonable time, not to exceed one year, after the effective date of the creation of the district.

(b)        Extended District. - When a territory is annexed to a district, the county shall provide, maintain, or let contracts for any necessary additions to the skills training center to provide the same training provided throughout the district to existing and new industries in the area annexed to the district within a reasonable time, not to exceed one year, after the effective date of the annexation. (2003-418, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-317.16.  Abolition of economic development and training districts.

A board of county commissioners may by resolution abolish a district upon finding that a petition requesting abolition, signed by at least fifty percent (50%) of the owners of real property in the district who own at least fifty percent (50%) of the real and personal property in the district based upon the most recent valuation thereof, has been submitted to the board and that there is no longer a need for such district. In determining the total real and personal property in the district and the number of owners of real and personal property, there shall be excluded: (i) property exempted from taxation and property classified and excluded from taxation and (ii) the owners of such exempted or classified and excluded property. The board shall hold a public hearing before adopting a resolution abolishing a district. Notice of the hearing shall state the date, hour, and place of the hearing and its subject and shall be published at least once not less than one week before the date of the hearing. The abolition of any district shall take effect at the end of a fiscal year following passage of the resolution, as determined by the board. (2003-418, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-317.17.  Taxes authorized; rate limitation.

A county may levy property taxes within an economic development and training district, in addition to those levied throughout the county, for the purposes listed in G.S. 153A-317.11 within the district in addition to or to a greater extent than the same purposes provided for the entire county. In addition, a county may allocate to a district any other revenues whose use is not otherwise restricted by law. The proceeds of taxes within a district may be expended only to pay annual debt service on up to one million two hundred thousand dollars ($1,200,000) of the capital costs of a skills training center provided for the district and any other services or facilities provided by a county in response to a recommendation of an advisory committee.

Property subject to taxation in a newly established district or in an area annexed to an existing district is subject to taxation by the county as of the preceding January 1.

Such additional property taxes may not be levied within any district established pursuant to this Article in excess of a rate of eight cents (8¢) on each one hundred dollars ($100.00) value of property subject to taxation. (2003-418, s. 1; 2004-170, s. 39.)

 

 

Article 17.

Reserved.

§ 153A-318.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-319.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

 

Article 18.

Planning and Regulation of Development.

Part 1. General Provisions.

§ 153A-320.  Territorial jurisdiction.

Each of the powers granted to counties by this Article and by Article 19 of Chapter 160A of the General Statutes may be exercised throughout the county except as otherwise provided in G.S. 160A-360.  (1959, c. 1006, s. 1; c. 1007; 1965, c. 194, s. 2; c. 195; 1969, c. 1066, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 2011-326, s. 9.)

 

§ 153A-320.1.  Permit choice.

If a rule or ordinance changes between the time a permit application is submitted and a permit decision is made, then G.S. 143-755 shall apply.  (2014-120, s. 16(b).)

 

§ 153A-321.  Planning boards.

A county may by ordinance create or designate one or more boards or commissions to perform the following duties:

(1)        Make studies of the county and surrounding areas;

(2)        Determine objectives to be sought in the development of the study area;

(3)        Prepare and adopt plans for achieving these objectives;

(4)        Develop and recommend policies, ordinances, administrative procedures, and other means for carrying out plans in a coordinated and efficient manner;

(5)        Advise the board of commissioners concerning the use and amendment of means for carrying out plans;

(6)        Exercise any functions in the administration and enforcement of various means for carrying out plans that the board of commissioners may direct;

(7)        Perform any other related duties that the board of commissioners may direct.

A board or commission created or designated pursuant to this section may include but shall not be limited to one or more of the following:

(1)        A planning board or commission of any size (with not fewer than three members) or composition considered appropriate, organized in any manner considered appropriate;

(2)        A joint planning board created by two or more local governments according to the procedures and provisions of Chapter 160A, Article 20, Part 1. (1945, c. 1040, s. 1; 1955, c. 1252; 1957, c. 947; 1959, c. 327, s. 1; c. 390; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1979, c. 611, s. 6; 1997-309, s. 5; 2004-199, s. 41(c).)

 

§ 153A-322.  Supplemental powers.

(a)        A county or its designated planning board may accept, receive, and disburse in furtherance of its functions funds, grants, and services made available by the federal government or its agencies, the State government or its agencies, any local government or its agencies, and private or civic sources. A county, or its designated planning board with the concurrence of the board of commissioners, may enter into and carry out contracts with the State or federal governments or any agencies of either under which financial or other planning assistance is made available to the county and may agree to and comply with any reasonable conditions that are imposed upon the assistance.

(b)        A county, or its designated planning board with the concurrence of the board of commissioners, may enter into and carry out contracts with any other county, city, regional council, or planning agency under which it agrees to furnish technical planning assistance to the other local government or planning agency. A county, or its designated planning board with the concurrence of the board of commissioners, may enter into and carry out contracts with any other county, city, regional council, or planning agency under which it agrees to pay the other local government or planning board for technical planning assistance.

(c)        A county may make any appropriations that may be necessary to carry out an activity or contract authorized by this Article, by Chapter 157A, or by Chapter 160A, Article 19 or to support, and compensate members of, any planning board that it may create or designate pursuant to this Article.

(d)       A county may elect to combine any of the ordinances authorized by this Article into a unified ordinance. Unless expressly provided otherwise, a county may apply any of the definitions and procedures authorized by law to any or all aspects of the unified ordinance and may employ any organizational structure, board, commission, or staffing arrangement authorized by law to any or all aspects of the ordinance. (1945, c. 1040, s. 1; 1955, c. 1252; 1957, c. 947; 1959, c. 327, s. 1; c. 390; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1983, c. 377, s. 8; 2004-199, s. 41(d); 2005-418, s. 1(b).)

 

§ 153A-323.  Procedure for adopting, amending, or repealing ordinances under this Article and Chapter 160A, Article 19.

(a)        Before adopting, amending, or repealing any ordinance authorized by this Article or Chapter 160A, Article 19, the board of commissioners shall hold a public hearing on the ordinance or amendment. The board shall cause notice of the hearing to be published once a week for two successive calendar weeks. The notice shall be published the first time not less than 10 days nor more than 25 days before the date fixed for the hearing. In computing such period, the day of publication is not to be included but the day of the hearing shall be included.

(b)        If the adoption or modification of the ordinance would result in any of the changes listed in this subsection and those changes would be located five miles or less from the perimeter boundary of a military base, the board of commissioners shall provide written notice of the proposed changes by certified mail, or by any other written means reasonably designed to provide actual notice, to the commander of the military base or the commander's designee not less than 10 days nor more than 25 days before the date fixed for the public hearing. Prior to the date of the public hearing, the military may provide comments or analysis to the board regarding the compatibility of the proposed changes with military operations at the base. If the board does not receive a response within 30 days of the notice, the military is deemed to waive the comment period. If the military provides comments or analysis regarding the compatibility of the proposed ordinance or amendment with military operations at the base, the board of commissioners shall take the comments and analysis into consideration before making a final determination on the ordinance. The proposed changes requiring notice are:

(1)        Changes to the zoning map.

(2)        Changes that affect the permitted uses of land.

(3)        Changes relating to telecommunications towers or windmills.

(4)        Changes to proposed new major subdivision preliminary plats.

(5)        An increase in the size of an approved subdivision by more than fifty percent (50%) of the subdivision's total land area including developed and undeveloped land.  (1959, c. 1006, s. 1; c. 1007; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1981, c. 891, ss. 2, 9; 2004-75, s. 1; 2005-426, s. 1(b); 2013-59, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-324.  Enforcement of ordinances.

(a)        In addition to the enforcement provisions of this Article and subject to the provisions of the ordinance, any ordinance adopted pursuant to this Article, to Chapter 157A, or to Chapter 160A, Article 19 may be enforced by any remedy provided by G.S. 153A-123.

(b)        If the county is found to have illegally exacted a tax, fee, or monetary contribution for development or a development permit not specifically authorized by law, the county shall return the tax, fee, or monetary contribution plus interest of six percent (6%) per annum. (1959, c. 1006, s. 1; 1961, c. 414; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 2007-371, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-325.  Submission of statement concerning improvements.

A county may by ordinance require that when a property owner improves property at a cost of more than twenty-five hundred dollars ($2,500) but less than five thousand dollars ($5,000), the property owner must, within 14 days after the completion of the work, submit to the county assessor a statement setting forth the nature of the improvement and the total cost thereof. (1983, c. 614, s. 4; 1987, c. 45, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-326.  Building setback lines.

Counties shall have the same authority to regulate building setback lines as is provided for cities in G.S. 160A-306. (1987, c. 747, s. 15.)

 

§ 153A-327.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-328.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-329.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

Part 2. Subdivision Regulation.

§ 153A-330.  Subdivision regulation.

A county may by ordinance regulate the subdivision of land within its territorial jurisdiction. If a county, pursuant to G.S. 153A-342, has adopted a zoning ordinance that applies only to one or more designated portions of its territorial jurisdiction, it may adopt subdivision regulations that apply only within the areas so zoned and need not regulate the subdivision of land in the rest of its jurisdiction. In addition to final plat approval, the ordinance may include provisions for review and approval of sketch plans and preliminary plats. The ordinance may provide for different review procedures for differing classes of subdivisions. The ordinance may be adopted as part of a unified development ordinance or as a separate subdivision ordinance. Decisions on approval or denial of preliminary or final plats may be made only on the basis of standards explicitly set forth in the subdivision or unified development ordinance. Whenever the ordinance includes criteria for decision that require application of judgment, those criteria must provide adequate guiding standards for the entity charged with plat approval. (1959, c. 1007; 1965, c. 195; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 2005-418, s. 2(b).)

 

§ 153A-331.  Contents and requirements of ordinance.

(a)        A subdivision control ordinance may provide for the orderly growth and development of the county; for the coordination of transportation networks and utilities within proposed subdivisions with existing or planned streets and highways and with other public facilities; for the dedication or reservation of recreation areas serving residents of the immediate neighborhood within the subdivision and of rights-of-way or easements for street and utility purposes including the dedication of rights-of-way pursuant to G.S. 136-66.10 or G.S. 136-66.11; and for the distribution of population and traffic in a manner that will avoid congestion and overcrowding and will create conditions that substantially promote public health, safety, and the general welfare.

(b)        The ordinance may require that a plat be prepared, approved, and recorded pursuant to the provisions of the ordinance whenever any subdivision of land takes place. The ordinance may include requirements that the final plat show sufficient data to determine readily and reproduce accurately on the ground the location, bearing, and length of every street and alley line, lot line, easement boundary line, and other property boundaries, including the radius and other data for curved property lines, to an appropriate accuracy and in conformity with good surveying practice.

(c)        A subdivision control ordinance may provide that a developer may provide funds to the county whereby the county may acquire recreational land or areas to serve the development or subdivision, including the purchase of land that may be used to serve more than one subdivision or development within the immediate area.

(d)       The ordinance may provide that in lieu of required street construction, a developer may provide funds to be used for the development of roads to serve the occupants, residents, or invitees of the subdivision or development. All funds received by the county under this section shall be transferred to the municipality to be used solely for the development of roads, including design, land acquisition, and construction. Any municipality receiving funds from a county under this section is authorized to expend such funds outside its corporate limits for the purposes specified in the agreement between the municipality and the county. Any formula adopted to determine the amount of funds the developer is to pay in lieu of required street construction shall be based on the trips generated from the subdivision or development. The ordinance may require a combination of partial payment of funds and partial dedication of constructed streets when the governing body of the county determines that a combination is in the best interest of the citizens of the area to be served.

(e)        The ordinance may provide for the more orderly development of subdivisions by requiring the construction of community service facilities in accordance with county plans, policies, and standards. To assure compliance with these and other ordinance requirements, the ordinance may provide for performance guarantees to assure successful completion of required improvements at the time the plat is recorded as provided in subsection (b) of this section. For any specific development, the type of performance guarantee from the range specified by the county shall be at the election of the developer.

(f)        The ordinance may provide for the reservation of school sites in accordance with comprehensive land use plans approved by the board of commissioners or the planning board. For the authorization to reserve school sites to be effective, the board of commissioners or planning board, before approving a comprehensive land use plan, shall determine jointly with the board of education with jurisdiction over the area the specific location and size of each school site to be reserved, and this information shall appear in the plan. Whenever a subdivision that includes part or all of a school site to be reserved under the plan is submitted for approval, the board of commissioners or the planning board shall immediately notify the board of education. The board of education shall promptly decide whether it still wishes the site to be reserved and shall notify the board of commissioners or planning board of its decision. If the board of education does not wish the site to be reserved, no site may be reserved. If the board of education does wish the site to be reserved, the subdivision may not be approved without the reservation. The board of education must acquire the site within 18 months after the date the site is reserved, either by purchase or by exercise of the power of eminent domain. If the board of education has not purchased the site or begun proceedings to condemn the site within the 18 months, the subdivider may treat the land as freed of the reservation.

(g)        Any performance guarantee shall comply with G.S. 160A-372(g).  (1959, c. 1007; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1975, c. 231; 1987, c. 747, ss. 10, 17; 2005-426, s. 2(b); 2015-187, s. 1(b).)

 

§ 153A-332.  Ordinance to contain procedure for plat approval; approval prerequisite to plat recordation; statement by owner.

A subdivision ordinance adopted pursuant to this Part shall contain provisions setting forth the procedures to be followed in granting or denying approval of a subdivision plat before its registration.

The ordinance shall provide that the following agencies be given an opportunity to make recommendations concerning an individual subdivision plat before the plat is approved:

(1)        The district highway engineer as to proposed State streets, State highways, and related drainage systems;

(2)        The county health director or local public utility, as appropriate, as to proposed water or sewerage systems;

(3)        Any other agency or official designated by the board of commissioners.

The ordinance may provide that final decisions on preliminary plats and final plats are to be made by:

(1)        The board of commissioners,

(2)        The board of commissioners on recommendation of a designated body, or

(3)        A designated planning board, technical review committee, or other designated body or staff person.

From the effective date of a subdivision ordinance that is adopted by the county, no subdivision plat of land within the county's jurisdiction may be filed or recorded until it has been submitted to and approved by the appropriate board or agency, as specified in the subdivision ordinance, and until this approval is entered in writing on the face of the plat by an authorized representative of the county. The Review Officer, pursuant to G.S. 47-30.2, shall not certify a plat of a subdivision of land located within the territorial jurisdiction of the county that has not been approved in accordance with these provisions, and the clerk of superior court may not order or direct the recording of a plat if the recording would be in conflict with this section. (1959, c. 1007; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1997-309, s. 6; 2005-418, s. 3(b).)

 

§ 153A-333.  Effect of plat approval on dedications.

The approval of a plat does not constitute or effect the acceptance by the county or the public of the dedication of any street or other ground, public utility line, or other public facility shown on the plat and shall not be construed to do so. (1959, c. 1007; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-334.  Penalties for transferring lots in unapproved subdivisions.

(a)        If a person who is the owner or the agent of the owner of any land located within the territorial jurisdiction of a county that has adopted a subdivision regulation ordinance subdivides his land in violation of the ordinance or transfers or sells land by reference to, exhibition of, or any other use of a plat showing a subdivision of the land before the plat has been properly approved under the ordinance and recorded in the office of the appropriate register of deeds, he is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. The description by metes and bounds in the instrument of transfer or other document used in the process of selling or transferring land does not exempt the transaction from this penalty. The county may bring an action for injunction of any illegal subdivision, transfer, conveyance, or sale of land, and the court shall, upon appropriate findings, issue an injunction and order requiring the offending party to comply with the subdivision ordinance. Building permits required pursuant to G.S. 153A-357 may be denied for lots that have been illegally subdivided. In addition to other remedies, a county may institute any appropriate action or proceedings to prevent the unlawful subdivision of land, to restrain, correct, or abate the violation, or to prevent any illegal act or conduct.

(b)        The provisions of this section shall not prohibit any owner or its agent from entering into contracts to sell or lease by reference to an approved preliminary plat for which a final plat has not yet been properly approved under the subdivision ordinance or recorded with the register of deeds, provided the contract does all of the following:

(1)        Incorporates as an attachment a copy of the preliminary plat referenced in the contract and obligates the owner to deliver to the buyer a copy of the recorded plat prior to closing and conveyance.

(2)        Plainly and conspicuously notifies the prospective buyer or lessee that a final subdivision plat has not been approved or recorded at the time of the contract, that no governmental body will incur any obligation to the prospective buyer or lessee with respect to the approval of the final subdivision plat, that changes between the preliminary and final plats are possible, and that the contract or lease may be terminated without breach by the buyer or lessee if the final recorded plat differs in any material respect from the preliminary plat.

(3)        Provides that if the approved and recorded final plat does not differ in any material respect from the plat referred to in the contract, the buyer or lessee may not be required by the seller or lessor to close any earlier than five days after the delivery of a copy of the final recorded plat.

(4)        Provides that if the approved and recorded final plat differs in any material respect from the preliminary plat referred to in the contract, the buyer or lessee may not be required by the seller or lessor to close any earlier than 15 days after the delivery of the final recorded plat, during which 15-day period the buyer or lessee may terminate the contract without breach or any further obligation and may receive a refund of all earnest money or prepaid purchase price.

(c)        The provisions of this section shall not prohibit any owner or its agent from entering into contracts to sell or lease land by reference to an approved preliminary plat for which a final plat has not been properly approved under the subdivision ordinance or recorded with the register of deeds where the buyer or lessee is any person who has contracted to acquire or lease the land for the purpose of engaging in the business of construction of residential, commercial, or industrial buildings on the land, or for the purpose of resale or lease of the land to persons engaged in that kind of business, provided that no conveyance of that land may occur and no contract to lease it may become effective until after the final plat has been properly approved under the subdivision ordinance and recorded with the register of deeds. (1959, c. 1007; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1977, c. 820, s. 1; 1993, c. 539, s. 1063; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 2005-426, s. 3(b).)

 

§ 153A-335.  "Subdivision" defined.

(a)        For purposes of this Part, "subdivision" means all divisions of a tract or parcel of land into two or more lots, building sites, or other divisions when any one or more of those divisions are created for the purpose of sale or building development (whether immediate or future) and includes all division of land involving the dedication of a new street or a change in existing streets; however, the following is not included within this definition and is not subject to any regulations enacted pursuant to this Part:

(1)        The combination or recombination of portions of previously subdivided and recorded lots if the total number of lots is not increased and the resultant lots are equal to or exceed the standards of the county as shown in its subdivision regulations.

(2)        The division of land into parcels greater than 10 acres if no street right-of-way dedication is involved.

(3)        The public acquisition by purchase of strips of land for widening or opening streets or for public transportation system corridors.

(4)        The division of a tract in single ownership the entire area of which is no greater than two acres into not more than three lots, if no street right-of-way dedication is involved and if the resultant lots are equal to or exceed the standards of the county as shown by its subdivision regulations.

(b)        A county may provide for expedited review of specified classes of subdivisions. (1959, c. 1007; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1979, c. 611, s. 2; 2003-284, s. 29.23(b); 2005-426, s. 4(b).)

 

§ 153A-336.  Appeals of decisions on subdivision plats.

(a)        When a subdivision ordinance adopted under this Part provides that the decision whether to approve or deny a preliminary or final subdivision plat is to be made by a board of commissioners or a planning board, other than a planning board comprised solely of members of a county planning staff, and the ordinance authorizes the board of commissioners or planning board to make a quasi-judicial decision in deciding whether to approve the subdivision plat, then that quasi-judicial decision of the board of commissioners or planning board shall be subject to review by the superior court by proceedings in the nature of certiorari. The provisions of G.S. 153A-340(f), 160A-388(e2)(2), and 153A-349 shall apply to those appeals.

(b)        When a subdivision ordinance adopted under this Part provides that a board of commissioners, planning board, or staff member is authorized to make only an administrative or ministerial decision in deciding whether to approve a preliminary or final subdivision plat, then any party aggrieved by that administrative or ministerial decision may seek to have the decision reviewed by filing an action in superior court seeking appropriate declaratory or equitable relief. Such an action must be filed within the time frame specified in G.S. 153A-340(f) for petitions in the nature of certiorari.

(c)        For purposes of this section, an ordinance shall be deemed to authorize a quasi-judicial decision if the board of commissioners or planning board is authorized to decide whether to approve or deny the plat based not only upon whether the application complies with the specific requirements set forth in the ordinance, but also on whether the application complies with one or more generally stated standards requiring a discretionary decision to be made by the board of commissioners or planning board.  (2009-421, s. 2(b); 2013-126, s. 7.)

 

§ 153A-337.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-338.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-339.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

Part 3. Zoning.

§ 153A-340.  Grant of power.

(a)        For the purpose of promoting health, safety, morals, or the general welfare, a county may adopt zoning and development regulation ordinances. These ordinances may be adopted as part of a unified development ordinance or as a separate ordinance. A zoning ordinance may regulate and restrict the height, number of stories and size of buildings and other structures, the percentage of lots that may be occupied, the size of yards, courts and other open spaces, the density of population, and the location and use of buildings, structures, and land for trade, industry, residence, or other purposes. The ordinance may provide density credits or severable development rights for dedicated rights-of-way pursuant to G.S. 136-66.10 or G.S. 136-66.11.

(b)       (1)        These regulations may affect property used for bona fide farm purposes only as provided in subdivision (3) of this subsection. This subsection does not limit regulation under this Part with respect to the use of farm property for nonfarm purposes.

(2)        Except as provided in G.S. 106-743.4 for farms that are subject to a conservation agreement under G.S. 106-743.2, bona fide farm purposes include the production and activities relating or incidental to the production of crops, grains, fruits, vegetables, ornamental and flowering plants, dairy, livestock, poultry, and all other forms of agriculture, as defined in G.S. 106-581.1. For purposes of this subdivision, "when performed on the farm" in G.S. 106-581.1(6) shall include the farm within the jurisdiction of the county and any other farm owned or leased to or from others by the bona fide farm operator, no matter where located. For purposes of this subdivision, the production of a nonfarm product that the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services recognizes as a "Goodness Grows in North Carolina" product that is produced on a farm subject to a conservation agreement under G.S. 106-743.2 is a bona fide farm purpose. For purposes of determining whether a property is being used for bona fide farm purposes, any of the following shall constitute sufficient evidence that the property is being used for bona fide farm purposes:

a.         A farm sales tax exemption certificate issued by the Department of Revenue.

b.         A copy of the property tax listing showing that the property is eligible for participation in the present use value program pursuant to G.S. 105-277.3.

c.         A copy of the farm owner's or operator's Schedule F from the owner's or operator's most recent federal income tax return.

d.         A forest management plan.

e.         A Farm Identification Number issued by the United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency.

(3)        The definitions set out in G.S. 106-802 apply to this subdivision. A county may adopt zoning regulations governing swine farms served by animal waste management systems having a design capacity of 600,000 pounds steady state live weight (SSLW) or greater provided that the zoning regulations may not have the effect of excluding swine farms served by an animal waste management system having a design capacity of 600,000 pounds SSLW or greater from the entire zoning jurisdiction.

(c)        The regulations may provide that a board of adjustment may determine and vary their application in harmony with their general purpose and intent and in accordance with general or specific rules therein contained, provided no change in permitted uses may be authorized by variance.

(c1)      The regulations may also provide that the board of adjustment, the planning board, or the board of commissioners may issue special use permits or conditional use permits in the classes of cases or situations and in accordance with the principles, conditions, safeguards, and procedures specified therein and may impose reasonable and appropriate conditions and safeguards upon these permits. Conditions and safeguards imposed under this subsection shall not include requirements for which the county does not have authority under statute to regulate nor requirements for which the courts have held to be unenforceable if imposed directly by the county. Where appropriate, the conditions may include requirements that street and utility rights-of-way be dedicated to the public and that recreational space be provided. When deciding special use permits or conditional use permits, the board of county commissioners or planning board shall follow quasi-judicial procedures. Notice of hearings on special or conditional use permit applications shall be as provided in G.S. 160A-388(a2). No vote greater than a majority vote shall be required for the board of county commissioners or planning board to issue such permits. For the purposes of this section, vacant positions on the board and members who are disqualified from voting on a quasi-judicial matter shall not be considered "members of the board" for calculation of the requisite majority. Every such decision of the board of county commissioners or planning board shall be subject to review of the superior court in the nature of certiorari consistent with G.S. 160A-388.

(d)       A county may regulate the development over estuarine waters and over lands covered by navigable waters owned by the State pursuant to G.S. 146-12, within the bounds of that county.

(e)        For the purpose of this section, the term "structures" shall include floating homes.

(f)        Repealed by Session Laws 2005-426, s. 5(b), effective January 1, 2006.

(g)        A member of the board of county commissioners shall not vote on any zoning map or text amendment where the outcome of the matter being considered is reasonably likely to have a direct, substantial, and readily identifiable financial impact on the member. Members of appointed boards providing advice to the board of county commissioners shall not vote on recommendations regarding any zoning map or text amendment where the outcome of the matter being considered is reasonably likely to have a direct, substantial, and readily identifiable financial impact on the member.

(h)        As provided in this subsection, counties may adopt temporary moratoria on any county development approval required by law. county development approval required by law, except for the purpose of developing and adopting new or amended plans or ordinances as to residential uses. The duration of any moratorium shall be reasonable in light of the specific conditions that warrant imposition of the moratorium and may not exceed the period of time necessary to correct, modify, or resolve such conditions. Except in cases of imminent and substantial threat to public health or safety, before adopting an ordinance imposing a development moratorium with a duration of 60 days or any shorter period, the board of commissioners shall hold a public hearing and shall publish a notice of the hearing in a newspaper having general circulation in the area not less than seven days before the date set for the hearing. A development moratorium with a duration of 61 days or longer, and any extension of a moratorium so that the total duration is 61 days or longer, is subject to the notice and hearing requirements of G.S. 153A-323. Absent an imminent threat to public health or safety, a development moratorium adopted pursuant to this section shall not apply to any project for which a valid building permit issued pursuant to G.S. 153A-357 is outstanding, to any project for which a conditional use permit application or special use permit application has been accepted, to development set forth in a site-specific or phased development plan approved pursuant to G.S. 153A-344.1, to development for which substantial expenditures have already been made in good faith reliance on a prior valid administrative or quasi-judicial permit or approval, or to preliminary or final subdivision plats that have been accepted for review by the county prior to the call for public hearing to adopt the moratorium. Any preliminary subdivision plat accepted for review by the county prior to the call for public hearing, if subsequently approved, shall be allowed to proceed to final plat approval without being subject to the moratorium.

Any ordinance establishing a development moratorium must expressly include at the time of adoption each of the following:

(1)        A clear statement of the problems or conditions necessitating the moratorium and what courses of action, alternative to a moratorium, were considered by the county and why those alternative courses of action were not deemed adequate.

(2)        A clear statement of the development approvals subject to the moratorium and how a moratorium on those approvals will address the problems or conditions leading to imposition of the moratorium.

(3)        An express date for termination of the moratorium and a statement setting forth why that duration is reasonably necessary to address the problems or conditions leading to imposition of the moratorium.

(4)        A clear statement of the actions, and the schedule for those actions, proposed to be taken by the county during the duration of the moratorium to address the problems or conditions leading to imposition of the moratorium.

No moratorium may be subsequently renewed or extended for any additional period unless the city shall have taken all reasonable and feasible steps proposed to be taken by the county in its ordinance establishing the moratorium to address the problems or conditions leading to imposition of the moratorium and unless new facts and conditions warrant an extension. Any ordinance renewing or extending a development moratorium must expressly include, at the time of adoption, the findings set forth in subdivisions (1) through (4) of this subsection, including what new facts or conditions warrant the extension.

Any person aggrieved by the imposition of a moratorium on development approvals required by law may apply to the appropriate division of the General Court of Justice for an order enjoining the enforcement of the moratorium, and the court shall have jurisdiction to issue that order. Actions brought pursuant to this section shall be set down for immediate hearing, and subsequent proceedings in those actions shall be accorded priority by the trial and appellate courts. In any such action, the county shall have the burden of showing compliance with the procedural requirements of this subsection.

(i)         In order to encourage construction that uses sustainable design principles and to improve energy efficiency in buildings, a county may charge reduced building permit fees or provide partial rebates of building permit fees for buildings that are constructed or renovated using design principles that conform to or exceed one or more of the following certifications or ratings:

(1)        Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification or higher rating under certification standards adopted by the U.S. Green Building Council.

(2)        A One Globe or higher rating under the Green Globes program standards adopted by the Green Building Initiative.

(3)        A certification or rating by another nationally recognized certification or rating system that is equivalent or greater than those listed in subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection.

(j)         An ordinance adopted pursuant to this section shall not prohibit single-family detached residential uses constructed in accordance with the North Carolina State Building Code on lots greater than 10 acres in size in zoning districts where more than fifty percent (50%) of the land is in use for agricultural or silvicultural purposes, except that this restriction shall not apply to commercial or industrial districts where a broad variety of commercial or industrial uses are permissible. An ordinance adopted pursuant to this section shall not require that a lot greater than 10 acres in size have frontage on a public road or county-approved private road, or be served by public water or sewer lines, in order to be developed for single-family residential purposes.

(k)        A zoning or unified development ordinance may not differentiate in terms of the regulations applicable to fraternities or sororities between those fraternities or sororities that are approved or recognized by a college or university and those that are not.

(l)         Any zoning and development regulation ordinance relating to building design elements adopted under this Part, under Part 2 of this Article, or under any recommendation made under G.S. 160A-452(6)c. may not be applied to any structures subject to regulation under the North Carolina Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings except under one or more of the following circumstances:

(1)        The structures are located in an area designated as a local historic district pursuant to Part 3C of Article 19 of Chapter 160A of the General Statutes.

(2)        The structures are located in an area designated as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places.

(3)        The structures are individually designated as local, State, or national historic landmarks.

(4)        The regulations are directly and substantially related to the requirements of applicable safety codes adopted under G.S. 143-138.

(5)        Where the regulations are applied to manufactured housing in a manner consistent with G.S. 153A-341.1 and federal law.

(6)        Where the regulations are adopted as a condition of participation in the National Flood Insurance Program.

Regulations prohibited by this subsection may not be applied, directly or indirectly, in any zoning district, special use district, conditional use district, or conditional district unless voluntarily consented to by the owners of all the property to which those regulations may be applied as part of and in the course of the process of seeking and obtaining a zoning amendment or a zoning, subdivision, or development approval, nor may any such regulations be applied indirectly as part of a review pursuant to G.S. 153A-341 of any proposed zoning amendment for consistency with an adopted comprehensive plan or other applicable officially adopted plan. For the purposes of this subsection, the phrase "building design elements" means exterior building color; type or style of exterior cladding material; style or materials of roof structures or porches; exterior nonstructural architectural ornamentation; location or architectural styling of windows and doors, including garage doors; the number and types of rooms; and the interior layout of rooms. The phrase "building design elements" does not include any of the following: (i) the height, bulk, orientation, or location of a structure on a zoning lot; (ii) the use of buffering or screening to minimize visual impacts, to mitigate the impacts of light and noise, or to protect the privacy of neighbors; or (iii) regulations adopted pursuant to this Article governing the permitted uses of land or structures subject to the North Carolina Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings.

(m)       Nothing in subsection (l) of this section shall affect the validity or enforceability of private covenants or other contractual agreements among property owners relating to building design elements.

(n)        Fence wraps displaying signage when affixed to perimeter fencing at a construction site are exempt from zoning regulation pertaining to signage under this Article until the certificate of occupancy is issued for the final portion of any construction at that site or 24 months from the time the fence wrap was installed, whichever is shorter. If construction is not completed at the end of 24 months from the time the fence wrap was installed, the county may regulate the signage but shall continue to allow fence wrapping materials to be affixed to the perimeter fencing. No fence wrap affixed pursuant to this subsection may display any advertising other than advertising sponsored by a person directly involved in the construction project and for which monetary compensation for the advertisement is not paid or required.  (1959, c. 1006, s. 1; 1967, c. 1208, s. 4; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1981, c. 891, s. 6; 1983, c. 441; 1985, c. 442, s. 2; 1987, c. 747, s. 12; 1991, c. 69, s. 1; 1997-458, s. 2.1; 2005-390, s. 6; 2005-426, s. 5(b); 2006-259, s. 26(a); 2007-381, s. 1; 2011-286, s. 1; 2011-363, s. 1; 2011-384, s. 5; 2013-126, ss. 5, 8; 2013-347, s. 1; 2013-413, s. 6(a); 2015-86, s. 2; 2015-246, ss. 3.1(b), 4(a); 2015-286, s. 1.8(b).)

 

§ 153A-341.  Purposes in view.

Zoning regulations shall be made in accordance with a comprehensive plan. Prior to adopting or rejecting any zoning amendment, the governing board shall adopt a statement describing whether its action is consistent with an adopted comprehensive plan and explaining why the board considers the action taken to be reasonable and in the public interest. That statement is not subject to judicial review.

The planning board shall advise and comment on whether the proposed amendment is consistent with any comprehensive plan that has been adopted and any other officially adopted plan that is applicable. The planning board shall provide a written recommendation to the board of county commissioners that addresses plan consistency and other matters as deemed appropriate by the planning board, but a comment by the planning board that a proposed amendment is inconsistent with the comprehensive plan shall not preclude consideration or approval of the proposed amendment by the governing board.

Zoning regulations shall be designed to promote the public health, safety, and general welfare. To that end, the regulations may address, among other things, the following public purposes: to provide adequate light and air; to prevent the overcrowding of land; to avoid undue concentration of population; to lessen congestion in the streets; to secure safety from fire, panic, and dangers; and to facilitate the efficient and adequate provision of transportation, water, sewerage, schools, parks, and other public requirements. The regulations shall be made with reasonable consideration as to, among other things, the character of the district and its peculiar suitability for particular uses, and with a view to conserving the value of buildings and encouraging the most appropriate use of land throughout the county. In addition, the regulations shall be made with reasonable consideration to expansion and development of any cities within the county, so as to provide for their orderly growth and development. (1959, c. 1006, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 2005-426, s. 7(b).)

 

§ 153A-341.1.  Zoning regulations for manufactured homes.

The provisions of G.S. 160A-383.1 shall apply to counties. (1987, c. 805, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-341.2.  Reasonable accommodation of amateur radio antennas.

A county ordinance based on health, safety, or aesthetic considerations that regulates the placement, screening, or height of the antennas or support structures of amateur radio operators must reasonably accommodate amateur radio communications and must represent the minimum practicable regulation necessary to accomplish the purpose of the county. A county may not restrict antennas or antenna support structures of amateur radio operators to heights of 90 feet or lower unless the restriction is necessary to achieve a clearly defined health, safety, or aesthetic objective of the county. (2007-147, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-341.3.  Zoning of temporary health care structures.

A county exercising powers under this Article shall comply with G.S. 160A-383.5.  (2014-94, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-342.  Districts; zoning less than entire jurisdiction.

(a)        A county may divide its territorial jurisdiction into districts of any number, shape, and area that it may consider best suited to carry out the purposes of this Part. Within these districts a county may regulate and restrict the erection, construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair, or use of buildings, structures, or land. Such districts may include, but shall not be limited to, general use districts, in which a variety of uses are permissible in accordance with general standards; overlay districts, in which additional requirements are imposed on certain properties within one or more underlying general or special use districts; special use districts or conditional use districts, in which uses are permitted only upon the issuance of a special use permit or a conditional use permit and conditional zoning districts, in which site plans and individualized development conditions are imposed.

(b)        Property may be placed in a special use district, conditional use district, or conditional district only in response to a petition by the owners of all the property to be included. Specific conditions applicable to the districts may be proposed by the petitioner or the county or its agencies, but only those conditions mutually approved by the county and the petitioner may be incorporated into the zoning regulations or permit requirements. Conditions and site-specific standards imposed in a conditional district shall be limited to those that address the conformance of the development and use of the site to county ordinances and an officially adopted comprehensive or other plan and those that address the impacts reasonably expected to be generated by the development or use of the site.

A statement analyzing the reasonableness of the proposed rezoning shall be prepared for each petition for a rezoning to a special or conditional use district, or a conditional district, or other small-scale rezoning.

(c)        Except as authorized by the foregoing, all regulations shall be uniform for each class or kind of building throughout each district, but the regulations in one district may differ from those in other districts.

(d)       A county may determine that the public interest does not require that the entire territorial jurisdiction of the county be zoned and may designate one or more portions of that jurisdiction as a zoning area or areas. A zoning area must originally contain at least 640 acres and at least 10 separate tracts of land in separate ownership and may thereafter be expanded by the addition of any amount of territory. A zoning area may be regulated in the same manner as if the entire county were zoned, and the remainder of the county need not be regulated. (1959, c. 1006, s. 1; 1965, c. 194, s. 2; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1985, c. 607, s. 3; 2005-426, s. 6(b).)

 

§ 153A-343.  Method of procedure.

(a)        The board of commissioners shall, in accordance with the provisions of this Article, provide for the manner in which zoning regulations and restrictions and the boundaries of zoning districts shall be determined, established, and enforced, and from time to time amended, supplemented, or changed. The procedures adopted pursuant to this section shall provide that whenever there is a zoning map amendment, the owner of that parcel of land as shown on the county tax listing, and the owners of all parcels of land abutting that parcel of land as shown on the county tax listing, shall be mailed a notice of a public hearing on the proposed amendment by first class mail at the last addresses listed for such owners on the county tax abstracts. This notice must be deposited in the mail at least 10 but not more than 25 days prior to the date of the public hearing. Except for a county-initiated zoning map amendment, when an application is filed to request a zoning map amendment and that application is not made by the owner of the parcel of land to which the amendment would apply, the applicant shall certify to the board of commissioners that the owner of the parcel of land as shown on the county tax listing has received actual notice of the proposed amendment and a copy of the notice of public hearing. The person or persons required to provide notice shall certify to the board of commissioners that proper notice has been provided in fact, and such certificate shall be deemed conclusive in the absence of fraud.

(b)        The first class mail notice required under subsection (a) of this section shall not be required if the zoning map amendment directly affects more than 50 properties, owned by a total of at least 50 different property owners, and the county elects to use the expanded published notice provided for in this subsection. In this instance, a county may elect to either make the mailed notice provided for in subsection (a) of this section or may as an alternative elect to publish notice of the hearings required by G.S. 153A-323, but provided that each of the advertisements shall not be less than one-half of a newspaper page in size. The advertisement shall only be effective for property owners who reside in the area of general circulation of the newspaper which publishes the notice. Property owners who reside outside of the newspaper circulation area, according to the address listed on the most recent property tax listing for the affected property, shall be notified according to the provisions of subsection (a) of this section.

(b1)      Actual notice of the proposed amendment and a copy of the notice of public hearing required under subsection (a) of this section shall be by any manner permitted under G.S. 1A-1, Rule 4(j). If notice cannot with due diligence be achieved by personal delivery, registered or certified mail, or by a designated delivery service authorized pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 7502(f)(2), notice may be given by publication consistent with G.S. 1A-1, Rule 4(j1). This subsection applies only to an application to request a zoning map amendment where the application is not made by the owner of the parcel of land to which the amendment would apply. This subsection does not apply to a county-initiated zoning map amendment.

(c)        Repealed by Session Laws 2005-418, s. 4, effective January 1, 2006.

(d)       When a zoning map amendment is proposed, the county shall prominently post a notice of the public hearing on the site proposed for rezoning or on an adjacent public street or highway right-of-way. When multiple parcels are included within a proposed zoning map amendment, a posting on each individual parcel is not required, but the county shall post sufficient notices to provide reasonable notice to interested persons.  (1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1985, c. 595, s. 1; 1987, c. 807, s. 2; 1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 980, s. 2; 1993, c. 469, s. 2; 1995, c. 261, s. 1; c. 546, s. 2; 1997-456, s. 25; 2005-418, s. 4(b); 2009-178, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-344.  Planning board; zoning plan; certification to board of commissioners.

(a)        To initially exercise the powers conferred by this Part, a county shall create or designate a planning board under the provisions of this Article or of a local act. The planning board shall prepare or shall review and comment upon a proposed zoning ordinance, including both the full text of such ordinance and maps showing proposed district boundaries. The planning board may hold public hearings in the course of preparing the ordinance. Upon completion, the planning board shall make a written recommendation regarding adoption of the ordinance to the board of commissioners. The board of commissioners shall not hold the public hearing required by G.S. 153A-323 or take action until it has received a recommendation regarding the ordinance from the planning board. Following its required public hearing, the board of commissioners may refer the ordinance back to the planning board for any further recommendations that the board may wish to make prior to final action by the board in adopting, modifying and adopting, or rejecting the ordinance.

Subsequent to initial adoption of a zoning ordinance, all proposed amendments to the zoning ordinance or zoning map shall be submitted to the planning board for review and comment. If no written report is received from the planning board within 30 days of referral of the amendment to that board, the board of county commissioners may proceed in its consideration of the amendment without the planning board report. The board of commissioners is not bound by the recommendations, if any, of the planning board.

(b)        Amendments in zoning ordinances shall not be applicable or enforceable without consent of the owner with regard to buildings and uses for which either (i) building permits have been issued pursuant to G.S. 153A-357 prior to the enactment of the ordinance making the change or changes so long as the permits remain valid and unexpired pursuant to G.S. 153A-358 and unrevoked pursuant to G.S. 153A-362 or (ii) a vested right has been established pursuant to G.S. 153A-344.1 and such vested right remains valid and unexpired pursuant to G.S. 153A-344.1.

(b1)      Amendments in zoning ordinances, subdivision ordinances, and unified development ordinances shall not be applicable or enforceable without the written consent of the owner with regard to a multi-phased development as defined in G.S. 153A-344.1(b)(7). A multi-phased development shall be vested for the entire development with the zoning ordinances, subdivision ordinances, and unified development ordinances then in place at the time a site plan approval is granted for the initial phase of the multi-phased development. A right which has been vested as provided for in this subsection shall remain vested for a period of seven years from the time a site plan approval is granted for the initial phase of the multi-phased development.  (1959, c. 1006, s. 1; 1965, c. 194, s. 3; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1979, c. 611, s. 3; 1985, c. 540, s. 1; 1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 996, s. 5; 2005-418, s. 7(b); 2016-111, s. 3.)

 

§ 153A-344.1.  Vesting rights.

(a)        The General Assembly finds and declares that it is necessary and desirable, as a matter of public policy, to provide for the establishment of certain vested rights in order to ensure reasonable certainty, stability, and fairness in the land-use planning process, secure the reasonable expectations of landowners, and foster cooperation between the public and private sectors in the area of land-use planning. Furthermore, the General Assembly recognizes that county approval of land-use development typically follows significant landowner investment in site evaluation, planning, development costs, consultant fees, and related expenses.

The ability of a landowner to obtain a vested right after county approval of a site specific development plan or a phased development plan will preserve the prerogatives and authority of local elected officials with respect to land-use matters. There will be ample opportunities for public participation and the public interest will be served. These provisions will strike an appropriate balance between private expectations and the public interest, while scrupulously protecting the public health, safety, and welfare.

(b)        Definitions.

(1)        "Landowner" means any owner of a legal or equitable interest in real property, including the heirs, devisees, successors, assigns, and personal representative of such owner. The landowner may allow a person holding a valid option to purchase to act as his agent or representative for purposes of submitting a proposed site specific development plan or a phased development plan under this section, in the manner allowed by ordinance.

(2)        "County" shall have the same meaning as set forth in G.S. 153A-1(3).

(3)        "Phased development plan" means a plan which has been submitted to a county by a landowner for phased development which shows the type and intensity of use for a specific parcel or parcels with a lesser degree of certainty than the plan determined by the county to be a site specific development plan.

(4)        "Property" means all real property subject to zoning regulations and restrictions and zone boundaries by a county.

(5)        "Site specific development plan" means a plan which has been submitted to a county by a landowner describing with reasonable certainty the type and intensity of use for a specific parcel or parcels of property. Such plan may be in the form of, but not be limited to, any of the following plans or approvals: A planned unit development plan, a subdivision plat, a preliminary or general development plan, a conditional or special use permit, a conditional or special use district zoning plan, or any other land-use approval designation as may be utilized by a county. Unless otherwise expressly provided by the county such a plan shall include the approximate boundaries of the site; significant topographical and other natural features effecting development of the site; the approximate location on the site of the proposed buildings, structures, and other improvements; the approximate dimensions, including height, of the proposed buildings and other structures; and the approximate location of all existing and proposed infrastructure on the site, including water, sewer, roads, and pedestrian walkways. What constitutes a site specific development plan under this section that would trigger a vested right shall be finally determined by the county pursuant to an ordinance, and the document that triggers such vesting shall be so identified at the time of its approval. However, at a minimum, the ordinance to be adopted by the county shall designate a vesting point earlier than the issuance of a building permit. A variance shall not constitute a site specific development plan, and approval of a site specific development plan with the condition that a variance be obtained shall not confer a vested right unless and until the necessary variance is obtained. Neither a sketch plan nor any other document which fails to describe with reasonable certainty the type and intensity of use for a specified parcel or parcels or property may constitute a site specific development plan.

(6)        "Vested right" means the right to undertake and complete the development and use of property under the terms and conditions of an approved site specific development plan or an approved phased development plan.

(7)        "Multi-phased development" means a development containing 100 acres or more that (i) is submitted for site plan approval for construction to occur in more than one phase and (ii) is subject to a master development plan with committed elements, including a requirement to offer land for public use as a condition of its master development plan approval.

(c)        Establishment of vested right.

A vested right shall be deemed established with respect to any property upon the valid approval, or conditional approval, of a site specific development plan or a phased development plan, following notice and public hearing by the county with jurisdiction over the property. Such vested right shall confer upon the landowner the right to undertake and complete the development and use of said property under the terms and conditions of the site specific development plan or the phased development plan including any amendments thereto. A county may approve a site specific development plan or a phased development plan upon such terms and conditions as may reasonably be necessary to protect the public health, safety, and welfare. Such conditional approval shall result in a vested right, although failure to abide by such terms and conditions will result in a forfeiture of vested rights. A county shall not require a landowner to waive his vested rights as a condition of developmental approval. A site specific development plan or a phased development plan shall be deemed approved upon the effective date of the county's action or ordinance relating thereto.

(d)       Duration and termination of vested right.

(1)        A right which has been vested as provided for in this section shall remain vested for a period of two years. This vesting shall not be extended by any amendments or modifications to a site specific development plan unless expressly provided by the county.

(2)        Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (d)(1), a county may provide that rights shall be vested for a period exceeding two years but not exceeding five years where warranted in light of all relevant circumstances, including, but not limited to, the size and phasing of development, the level of investment, the need for the development, economic cycles, and market conditions. These determinations shall be in the sound discretion of the county.

(3)        Notwithstanding the provisions of (d)(1) and (d)(2), the county may provide by ordinance that approval by a county of a phased development plan shall vest the zoning classification or classifications so approved for a period not to exceed five years. The document that triggers such vesting shall be so identified at the time of its approval. The county still may require the landowner to submit a site specific development plan for approval by the county with respect to each phase or phases in order to obtain final approval to develop within the restrictions of the vested zoning classification or classifications. Nothing in this section shall be construed to require a county to adopt an ordinance providing for vesting of rights upon approval of a phased development plan.

(4)        Following approval or conditional approval of a site specific development plan or a phased development plan, nothing in this section shall exempt such a plan from subsequent reviews and approvals by the county to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of the original approval, provided that such reviews and approvals are not inconsistent with said original approval. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the county from revoking the original approval for failure to comply with applicable terms and conditions of the approval or the zoning ordinance.

(5)        Upon issuance of a building permit, the provisions of G.S. 153A-358 and G.S. 153A-362 shall apply, except that a permit shall not expire or be revoked because of the running of time while a vested right under this section is outstanding.

(6)        A right which has been vested as provided in this section shall terminate at the end of the applicable vesting period with respect to buildings and uses for which no valid building permit applications have been filed.

(e)        Subsequent changes prohibited; exceptions.

(1)        A vested right, once established as provided for in this section, precludes any zoning action by a county which would change, alter, impair, prevent, diminish, or otherwise delay the development or use of the property as set forth in an approved site specific development plan or an approved phased development plan, except:

a.         With the written consent of the affected landowner;

b.         Upon findings, by ordinance after notice and a public hearing, that natural or man-made hazards on or in the immediate vicinity of the property, if uncorrected, would pose a serious threat to the public health, safety, and welfare if the project were to proceed as contemplated in the site specific development plan or the phased development plan;

c.         To the extent that the affected landowner receives compensation for all costs, expenses, and other losses incurred by the landowner, including, but not limited to, all fees paid in consideration of financing, and all architectural, planning, marketing, legal, and other consultant's fees incurred after approval by the county, together with interest thereon at the legal rate until paid. Compensation shall not include any diminution in the value of the property which is caused by such action;

d.         Upon findings, by ordinance after notice and a hearing, that the landowner or his representative intentionally supplied inaccurate information or made material misrepresentations which made a difference in the approval by the county of the site specific development plan or the phased development plan; or

e.         Upon the enactment or promulgation of a State or federal law or regulation which precludes development as contemplated in the site specific development plan or the phased development plan, in which case the county may modify the affected provisions, upon a finding that the change in State or federal law has a fundamental effect on the plan, by ordinance after notice and a hearing.

(2)        The establishment of a vested right shall not preclude the application of overlay zoning which imposes additional requirements but does not affect the allowable type or intensity of use, or ordinances or regulations which are general in nature and are applicable to all property subject to land-use regulation by a county, including, but not limited to, building, fire, plumbing, electrical, and mechanical codes. Otherwise applicable new regulations shall become effective with respect to property which is subject to a site specific development plan or a phased development plan upon the expiration or termination of the vesting rights period provided for in this section.

(3)        Notwithstanding any provision of this section, the establishment of a vested right shall not preclude, change or impair the authority of a county to adopt and enforce zoning ordinance provisions governing nonconforming situations or uses.

(f)        Miscellaneous provisions.

(1)        A vested right obtained under this section is not a personal right, but shall attach to and run with the applicable property. After approval of a site specific development plan or a phased development plan, all successors to the original landowner shall be entitled to exercise such rights.

(2)        Nothing in this section shall preclude judicial determination, based on common-law principles or other statutory provisions, that a vested right exists in a particular case or that a compensable taking has occurred. Except as expressly provided in this section, nothing in this section shall be construed to alter the existing common law.

(3)        In the event a county fails to adopt an ordinance setting forth what constitutes a site specific development plan triggering a vested right, a landowner may establish a vested right with respect to property upon the approval of a zoning permit, or otherwise may seek appropriate relief from the Superior Court Division of the General Court of Justice.  (1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 996, s. 6; 2016-111, s. 4.)

 

§ 153A-345: Repealed by Session Laws 2013-126, s. 3(a), effective October 1, 2013, and applicable to actions taken on or after that date by any board of adjustment.

 

§ 153A-345.1.  Board of adjustment.

(a)        The provisions of G.S. 160A-388 are applicable to counties.

(b)        For the purposes of this section, as used in G.S. 160A-388, the term "city council" is deemed to refer to the board of county commissioners, and the terms "city" or "municipality" are deemed to refer to the county.

(c)        If a board of county commissioners does not zone the entire territorial jurisdiction of the county, each designated zoning area shall, if practicable, have at least one resident as a member of the board of adjustment; otherwise, the provisions of G.S. 153A-25 regarding qualifications for appointive office shall apply to board of adjustment appointments.  (2013-126, s. 3(b).)

 

§ 153A-346.  Conflict with other laws.

(a)        When regulations made under authority of this Part require a greater width or size of yards or courts, or require a lower height of a building or fewer number of stories, or require a greater percentage of a lot to be left unoccupied, or impose other higher standards than are required in any other statute or local ordinance or regulation, the regulations made under authority of this Part govern. When the provisions of any other statute or local ordinance or regulation require a greater width or size of yards or courts, or require a lower height of a building or a fewer number of stories, or require a greater percentage of a lot to be left unoccupied, or impose other higher standards than are required by regulations made under authority of this Part, the provisions of the other statute or local ordinance or regulation govern.

(b)        When adopting regulations under this Part, a county may not use a definition of dwelling unit, bedroom, or sleeping unit that is more expansive than any definition of the same in another statute or in a rule adopted by a State agency.  (1959, c. 1006, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 2015-246, s. 18(a).)

 

§ 153A-347.  Part applicable to buildings constructed by the State and its subdivisions; exception.

Each provision of this Part is applicable to the erection, construction, and use of buildings by the State of North Carolina and its political subdivisions.

Notwithstanding the provisions of any general or local law or ordinance, no land owned by the State of North Carolina may be included within an overlay district or a special use or conditional use district without approval of the Council of State. (1959, c. 1006, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1985, c. 607, s. 4.)

 

§ 153A-348.  Statute of limitations.

(a)        A cause of action as to the validity of any ordinance adopting or amending a zoning map or approving a special use, conditional use, or conditional zoning district rezoning request adopted under this Part or other applicable law shall accrue upon adoption of  such ordinance and shall be brought within two months as provided in G.S. 1-54.1.

(b)        Except as otherwise provided in subsection (a) of this section, an action challenging the validity of any zoning or unified development ordinance or any provision thereof adopted under this Part or other applicable law shall be brought within one year of the accrual of such action. Such an action accrues when the party bringing such action first has standing to challenge the ordinance. A challenge to an ordinance on the basis of an alleged defect in the adoption process shall be brought within three years after the adoption of the ordinance.

(c)        Nothing in this section or in G.S. 1-54(10) or G.S. 1-54.1 shall bar a party in an action involving the enforcement of a zoning or unified development ordinance from raising as a defense to such enforcement action the invalidity of the ordinance. Nothing in this section or in G.S. 1-54(10) or G.S. 1-54.1 shall bar a party who files a timely appeal from an order, requirement, decision, or determination made by an administrative official contending that such party is in violation of a zoning or unified development ordinance from raising in the appeal the invalidity of such ordinance as a defense to such order, requirement, decision, or determination. A party in an enforcement action or appeal may not assert the invalidity of the ordinance on the basis of an alleged defect in the adoption process unless the defense is formally raised within three years of the adoption of the challenged ordinance.

(d)       When a use constituting a violation of a zoning or unified development ordinance is in existence prior to adoption of the zoning or unified development ordinance creating the violation, and that use is grandfathered and subsequently terminated for any reason, a county shall bring an enforcement action within 10 years of the date of the termination of the grandfathered status, unless the violation poses an imminent hazard to health or public safety.  (1981, c. 705, s. 2; 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 746, s. 6; 2011-326, s. 22(a); 2011-384, s. 3; 2013-413, s. 5(a).)

 

§ 153A-349.  Appeals in the nature of certiorari.

(a)        Whenever appeals of quasi-judicial decisions of decision-making boards are to superior court and in the nature of certiorari as required by this Article, the provisions of G.S. 160A-393 shall be applicable to those appeals.

(b)        For purposes of this section, as used in G.S. 160A-393, the term "city council" shall be deemed to refer to the "board of commissioners," and the term "city" or "municipal" shall be deemed to refer to the "county."

(c)        Repealed by Session Laws 2013-126, s. 9, effective October 1, 2013, and applicable to actions taken on or after that date by any board of adjustment.  (2009-421, s. 1(b); 2013-126, s. 9.)

 

Part 3A. Development Agreements.

§ 153A-349.1.  Authorization for development agreements.

(a)        The General Assembly finds:

(1)        Large-scale development projects often occur in multiple phases extending over a period of years, requiring a long-term commitment of both public and private resources.

(2)        Such large-scale developments often create potential community impacts and potential opportunities that are difficult or impossible to accommodate within traditional zoning processes.

(3)        Because of their scale and duration, such large-scale projects often require careful integration between public capital facilities planning, financing, and construction schedules and the phasing of the private development.

(4)        Because of their scale and duration, such large-scale projects involve substantial commitments of private capital by developers, which developers are usually unwilling to risk without sufficient assurances that development standards will remain stable through the extended period of the development.

(5)        Because of their size and duration, such developments often permit communities and developers to experiment with different or nontraditional types of development concepts and standards, while still managing impacts on the surrounding areas.

(6)        To better structure and manage development approvals for such large-scale developments and ensure their proper integration into local capital facilities programs, local governments need the flexibility in negotiating such developments.

(b)        Local governments and agencies may enter into development agreements with developers, subject to the procedures and requirements of this Part. In entering into such agreements, a local government may not exercise any authority or make any commitment not authorized by general or local act and may not impose any tax or fee not authorized by otherwise applicable law.

(c)        This Part is supplemental to the powers conferred upon local governments and does not preclude or supersede rights and obligations established pursuant to other law regarding building permits, site-specific development plans, phased development plans, or other provisions of law. (2005-426, s. 9(b).)

 

§ 153A-349.2.  Definitions.

The following definitions apply in this Part:

(1)        Comprehensive plan. - The comprehensive plan, land-use plan, small area plans, neighborhood plans, transportation plan, capital improvement plan, official map, and any other plans regarding land use and development that have been officially adopted by the governing board.

(2)        Developer. - A person, including a governmental agency or redevelopment authority, who intends to undertake any development and who has a legal or equitable interest in the property to be developed.

(3)        Development. - The planning for or carrying out of a building activity, the making of a material change in the use or appearance of any structure or property, or the dividing of land into two or more parcels. "Development", as designated in a law or development permit, includes the planning for and all other activity customarily associated with it unless otherwise specified. When appropriate to the context, "development" refers to the planning for or the act of developing or to the result of development. Reference to a specific operation is not intended to mean that the operation or activity, when part of other operations or activities, is not development. Reference to particular operations is not intended to limit the generality of this item.

(4)        Development permit. - A building permit, zoning permit, subdivision approval, special or conditional use permit, variance, or any other official action of local government having the effect of permitting the development of property.

(5)        Governing body. - The board of county commissioners of a county.

(6)        Land development regulations. - Ordinances and regulations enacted by the appropriate governing body for the regulation of any aspect of development and includes zoning, subdivision, or any other land development ordinances.

(7)        Laws. - All ordinances, resolutions, regulations, comprehensive plans, land development regulations, policies, and rules adopted by a local government affecting the development of property, and includes laws governing permitted uses of the property, density, design, and improvements.

(8)        Local government. - Any county that exercises regulatory authority over and grants development permits for land development or which provides public facilities.

(9)        Local planning board. - Any planning board established pursuant to G.S. 153A-321.

(10)      Person. - An individual, corporation, business or land trust, estate, trust, partnership, association, two or more persons having a joint or common interest, State agency, or any legal entity.

(11)      Property. - All real property subject to land-use regulation by a local government and includes any improvements or structures customarily regarded as a part of real property.

(12)      Public facilities. - Major capital improvements, including, but not limited to, transportation, sanitary sewer, solid waste, drainage, potable water, educational, parks and recreational, and health systems and facilities. (2005-426, s. 9(b).)

 

§ 153A-349.3.  Local governments authorized to enter into development agreements; approval of governing body required.

(a)        A local government may establish procedures and requirements, as provided in this Part, to consider and enter into development agreements with developers. A development agreement must be approved by the governing body of a local government by ordinance.

(b)        The development agreement may, by ordinance, be incorporated, in whole or in part, into any planning, zoning, or subdivision ordinance adopted by the local government.  (2005-426, s. 9(b); 2015-246, s. 19(c).)

 

§ 153A-349.4.  Developed property criteria; permissible durations of agreements.

(a)        A local government may enter into a development agreement with a developer for the development of property as provided in this Part for developable property of any size, including property that is subject to an executed brownfields agreement pursuant to Part 5 of Article 9 of Chapter 130A of the General Statutes. Development agreements shall be of a reasonable term specified in the agreement.

(b)        Repealed by Session Laws 2015-246, s. 19(a), effective October 1, 2015.  (2005-426, s. 9(b); 2013-413, s. 44(a); 2015-246, s. 19(a).)

 

§ 153A-349.5.  Public hearing.

Before entering into a development agreement, a local government shall conduct a public hearing on the proposed agreement following the procedures set forth in G.S. 153A-323 regarding zoning ordinance adoption or amendment. The notice for the public hearing must specify the location of the property subject to the development agreement, the development uses proposed on the property, and must specify a place where a copy of the proposed development agreement can be obtained. In the event that the development agreement provides that the local government shall provide certain public facilities, the development agreement shall provide that the delivery date of such public facilities will be tied to successful performance by the developer in implementing the proposed development (such as meeting defined completion percentages or other performance standards). (2005-426, s. 9(b).)

 

§ 153A-349.6.  What development agreement must provide; what it may provide; major modification requires public notice and hearing.

(a)        A development agreement shall at a minimum include all of the following:

(1)        A legal description of the property subject to the agreement and the names of its legal and equitable property owners.

(2)        The duration of the agreement. However, the parties are not precluded from entering into subsequent development agreements that may extend the original duration period.

(3)        The development uses permitted on the property, including population densities and building types, intensities, placement on the site, and design.

(4)        A description of public facilities that will service the development, including who provides the facilities, the date any new public facilities, if needed, will be constructed, and a schedule to assure public facilities are available concurrent with the impacts of the development.

(5)        A description, where appropriate, of any reservation or dedication of land for public purposes and any provisions to protect environmentally sensitive property.

(6)        A description of all local development permits approved or needed to be approved for the development of the property together with a statement indicating that the failure of the agreement to address a particular permit, condition, term, or restriction does not relieve the developer of the necessity of complying with the law governing their permitting requirements, conditions, terms, or restrictions.

(7)        A description of any conditions, terms, restrictions, or other requirements determined to be necessary by the local government for the public health, safety, or welfare of its citizens.

(8)        A description, where appropriate, of any provisions for the preservation and restoration of historic structures.

(b)        A development agreement may provide that the entire development or any phase of it be commenced or completed within a specified period of time. The development agreement must provide a development schedule, including commencement dates and interim completion dates at no greater than five-year intervals; provided, however, the failure to meet a commencement or completion date shall not, in and of itself, constitute a material breach of the development agreement pursuant to G.S. 153A-349.8 but must be judged based upon the totality of the circumstances. The development agreement may include other defined performance standards to be met by the developer. The developer may request a modification in the dates as set forth in the agreement. Consideration of a proposed major modification of the agreement shall follow the same procedures as required for initial approval of a development agreement.

(c)        If more than one local government is made party to an agreement, the agreement must specify which local government is responsible for the overall administration of the development agreement.

(d)       The development agreement also may cover any other matter not inconsistent with this Part.

(e)        Any performance guarantees under the development agreement shall comply with G.S. 160A-372(g).  (2005-426, s. 9(b); 2015-187, s. 1(d).)

 

§ 153A-349.7.  Law in effect at time of agreement governs development; exceptions.

(a)        Unless the development agreement specifically provides for the application of subsequently enacted laws, the laws applicable to development of the property subject to a development agreement are those in force at the time of execution of the agreement.

(b)        Except for grounds specified in G.S. 153A-344.1(e), a local government may not apply subsequently adopted ordinances or development policies to a development that is subject to a development agreement.

(c)        In the event State or federal law is changed after a development agreement has been entered into and the change prevents or precludes compliance with one or more provisions of the development agreement, the local government may modify the affected provisions, upon a finding that the change in State or federal law has a fundamental effect on the development agreement, by ordinance after notice and a hearing.

(d)       This section does not abrogate any rights preserved by G.S. 153A-344 or G.S. 153A-344.1, or that may vest pursuant to common law or otherwise in the absence of a development agreement. (2005-426, s. 9(b).)

 

§ 153A-349.8.  Periodic review to assess compliance with agreement; material breach by developer; notice of breach; cure of breach or modification or termination of agreement.

(a)        Procedures established pursuant to G.S. 153A-349.3 must include a provision for requiring periodic review by the zoning administrator or other appropriate officer of the local government at least every 12 months, at which time the developer must be required to demonstrate good faith compliance with the terms of the development agreement.

(b)        If, as a result of a periodic review, the local government finds and determines that the developer has committed a material breach of the terms or conditions of the agreement, the local government shall serve notice in writing, within a reasonable time after the periodic review, upon the developer setting forth with reasonable particularity the nature of the breach and the evidence supporting the finding and determination, and providing the developer a reasonable time in which to cure the material breach.

(c)        If the developer fails to cure the material breach within the time given, then the local government unilaterally may terminate or modify the development agreement; provided, the notice of termination or modification may be appealed to the board of adjustment in the manner provided by G.S. 160A-388(b1).  (2005-426, s. 9(b); 2013-126, s. 10.)

 

§ 153A-349.9.  Amendment or cancellation of development agreement by mutual consent of parties or successors in interest.

A development agreement may be amended or canceled by mutual consent of the parties to the agreement or by their successors in interest. (2005-426, s. 9(b).)

 

§ 153A-349.10.  Validity and duration of agreement entered into prior to change of jurisdiction; subsequent modification or suspension.

(a)        Except as otherwise provided by this Part, any development agreement entered into by a local government before the effective date of a change of jurisdiction shall be valid for the duration of the agreement, or eight years from the effective date of the change in jurisdiction, whichever is earlier. The parties to the development agreement and the local government assuming jurisdiction have the same rights and obligations with respect to each other regarding matters addressed in the development agreement as if the property had remained in the previous jurisdiction.

(b)        A local government assuming jurisdiction may modify or suspend the provisions of the development agreement if the local government determines that the failure of the local government to do so would place the residents of the territory subject to the development agreement, or the residents of the local government, or both, in a condition dangerous to their health or safety, or both. (2005-426, s. 9(b).)

 

§ 153A-349.11.  Developer to record agreement within 14 days; burdens and benefits inure to successors in interest.

Within 14 days after a local government enters into a development agreement, the developer shall record the agreement with the register of deeds in the county where the property is located. The burdens of the development agreement are binding upon, and the benefits of the agreement shall inure to, all successors in interest to the parties to the agreement. (2005-426, s. 9(b).)

 

§ 153A-349.12.  Applicability to local government of constitutional and statutory procedures for approval of debt.

In the event that any of the obligations of the local government in the development agreement constitute debt, the local government shall comply, at the time of the obligation to incur the debt and before the debt becomes enforceable against the local government, with any applicable constitutional and statutory procedures for the approval of this debt. (2005-426, s. 9(b).)

 

§ 153A-349.13.  Relationship of agreement to building or housing code.

A development agreement adopted pursuant to this Chapter shall not exempt the property owner or developer from compliance with the State Building Code or State or local housing codes that are not part of the local government's planning, zoning, or subdivision regulations. (2005-426, s. 9(b).)

 

Part 3B. Wireless Telecommunications Facilities.

§ 153A-349.50.  Purpose and compliance with federal law.

(a)        Purpose. - The purpose of this section is to ensure the safe and efficient integration of facilities necessary for the provision of advanced mobile broadband and wireless telecommunications services throughout the community and to ensure the ready availability of reliable wireless service to the public, government agencies, and first responders, with the intention of furthering the public safety and general welfare.

(a1)      The deployment of wireless infrastructure is critical to ensuring first responders can provide for the health and safety of all residents of North Carolina and that, consistent with section 6409 of the federal Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, 47 U.S.C. § 1455(a), which creates a national wireless emergency communications network for use by first responders that in large measure will be dependent on facilities placed on existing wireless communications support structures, it is the policy of this State to facilitate the placement of wireless communications support structures in all areas of North Carolina. The following standards shall apply to a county's actions, as a regulatory body, in the regulation of the placement, construction, or modification of a wireless communications facility.

(b)        Compliance with the Federal Communications Act. - The placement, construction, or modification of wireless communications facilities shall be in conformity with the Federal Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. § 332 as amended, section 6409 of the federal Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, 47 U.S.C. § 1455(a), and in accordance with the rules promulgated by the Federal Communications Commission.  (2007-526, s. 2; 2013-185, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-349.51.  Definitions.

The following definitions apply in this Part:

(1)        Antenna. - Communications equipment that transmits, receives, or transmits and receives electromagnetic radio signals used in the provision of all types of wireless communications services.

(2)        Application. - A formal request submitted to the county to construct or modify a wireless support structure or a wireless facility.

(2a)      Base station. - A station at a specific site authorized to communicate with mobile stations, generally consisting of radio receivers, antennas, coaxial cables, power supplies, and other associated electronics.

(3)        Building permit. - An official administrative authorization issued by the county prior to beginning construction consistent with the provisions of G.S. 153A-357.

(4)        Collocation. - The placement or installation of wireless facilities on existing structures, including electrical transmission towers, water towers, buildings, and other structures capable of structurally supporting the attachment of wireless facilities in compliance with applicable codes.

(4a)      Eligible facilities request. - A request for modification of an existing wireless tower or base station that involves collocation of new transmission equipment or replacement of transmission equipment but does not include a substantial modification.

(5)        Equipment compound. - An area surrounding or near the base of a wireless support structure within which a wireless facility is located.

(5a)      Fall zone. - The area in which a wireless support structure may be expected to fall in the event of a structural failure, as measured by engineering standards.

(6)        Land development regulation. - Any ordinance enacted pursuant to this Part.

(7)        Search ring. - The area within which a wireless support facility or wireless facility must be located in order to meet service objectives of the wireless service provider using the wireless facility or wireless support structure.

(7a)      Substantial modification. - The mounting of a proposed wireless facility on a wireless support structure that substantially changes the physical dimensions of the support structure. A mounting is presumed to be a substantial modification if it meets any one or more of the criteria listed below. The burden is on the local government to demonstrate that a mounting that does not meet the listed criteria constitutes a substantial change to the physical dimensions of the wireless support structure.

a.         Increasing the existing vertical height of the structure by the greater of (i) more than ten percent (10%) or (ii) the height of one additional antenna array with separation from the nearest existing antenna not to exceed 20 feet.

b.         Except where necessary to shelter the antenna from inclement weather or to connect the antenna to the tower via cable, adding an appurtenance to the body of a wireless support structure that protrudes horizontally from the edge of the wireless support structure the greater of (i) more than 20 feet or (ii) more than the width of the wireless support structure at the level of the appurtenance.

c.         Increasing the square footage of the existing equipment compound by more than 2,500 square feet.

(8)        Utility pole. - A structure that is designed for and used to carry lines, cables, or wires for telephone, cable television, or electricity, or to provide lighting.

(8a)      Water tower. - A water storage tank, a standpipe, or an elevated tank situated on a support structure originally constructed for use as a reservoir or facility to store or deliver water.

(9)        Wireless facility. - The set of equipment and network components, exclusive of the underlying wireless support structure or tower, including antennas, transmitters, receivers, base stations, power supplies, cabling, and associated equipment necessary to provide wireless data and wireless telecommunications services to a discrete geographic area.

(10)      Wireless support structure. - A new or existing structure, such as a monopole, lattice tower, or guyed tower that is designed to support or capable of supporting wireless facilities. A utility pole is not a wireless support structure.  (2007-526, s. 2; 2013-185, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-349.51A.  Local authority.

A county may plan for and regulate the siting or modification of wireless support structures and wireless facilities in accordance with land development regulations and in conformity with this Part. Except as expressly stated, nothing in this Part shall limit a county from regulating applications to construct, modify, or maintain wireless support structures, or construct, modify, maintain, or collocate wireless facilities on a wireless support structure based on consideration of land use, public safety, and zoning considerations, including aesthetics, landscaping, structural design, setbacks, and fall zones, or State and local building code requirements, consistent with the provisions of federal law provided in G.S. 153A-349.50. For purposes of this Part, public safety includes, without limitation, federal, State, and local safety regulations but does not include requirements relating to radio frequency emissions of wireless facilities.  (2013-185, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-349.52.  Construction of new wireless support structures or substantial modifications of wireless support structures.

(a)        Repealed by Session Laws 2013-185, s. 2, effective October 1, 2013, and applicable to applications received on or after that date.

(b)        Any person that proposes to construct a new wireless support structure or substantially modify a wireless support structure within the planning and land-use jurisdiction of a county must do both of the following:

(1)        Submit a completed application with the necessary copies and attachments to the appropriate planning authority.

(2)        Comply with any local ordinances concerning land use and any applicable permitting processes.

(c)        A county's review of an application for the placement or construction of a new wireless support structure or substantial modification of a wireless support structure shall only address public safety, land development, or zoning issues. In reviewing an application, the county may not require information on or evaluate an applicant's business decisions about its designed service, customer demand for its service, or quality of its service to or from a particular area or site. A county may not require information that concerns the specific need for the wireless support structure, including if the service to be provided from the wireless support structure is to add additional wireless coverage or additional wireless capacity. A county may not require proprietary, confidential, or other business information to justify the need for the new wireless support structure, including propagation maps and telecommunication traffic studies. In reviewing an application the county may review the following:

(1)        Applicable public safety, land use, or zoning issues addressed in its adopted regulations, including aesthetics, landscaping, land-use based location priorities, structural design, setbacks, and fall zones.

(2)        Information or materials directly related to an identified public safety, land development or zoning issue including evidence that no existing or previously approved wireless support structure can reasonably be used for the wireless facility placement instead of the construction of a new wireless support structure, that residential, historic, and designated scenic areas cannot be served from outside the area, or that the proposed height of a new wireless support structure or initial wireless facility placement or a proposed height increase of a substantially modified wireless support structure, or replacement wireless support structure or collocation is necessary to provide the applicant's designed service.

(3)        A county may require applicants for new wireless facilities to evaluate the reasonable feasibility of collocating new antennas and equipment on an existing wireless support structure or structures within the applicant's search ring. Collocation on an existing wireless support structure is not reasonably feasible if collocation is technically or commercially impractical or the owner of the existing wireless support structure is unwilling to enter into a contract for such use at fair market value. Counties may require information necessary to determine whether collocation on existing wireless support structures is reasonably feasible.

(d)       Repealed by Session Laws 2013-185, s. 2, effective October 1, 2013, and applicable to applications received on or after that date.

(e)        The county shall issue a written decision approving or denying an application under this section within a reasonable period of time consistent with the issuance of other land-use permits in the case of other applications, each as measured from the time the application is deemed complete.

(f)        A county may fix and charge an application fee, consulting fee, or other fee associated with the submission, review, processing, and approval of an application to site new wireless support structures or to substantially modify wireless support structures or wireless facilities that is based on the costs of the services provided and does not exceed what is usual and customary for such services. Any charges or fees assessed by a county on account of an outside consultant shall be fixed in advance and incorporated into a permit or application fee and shall be based on the reasonable costs to be incurred by the county in connection with the regulatory review authorized under this section. The foregoing does not prohibit a county from imposing additional reasonable and cost based fees for costs incurred should an applicant amend its application. On request, the amount of the consultant charges incorporated into the permit or application fee shall be separately identified and disclosed to the applicant. The fee imposed by a county for review of the application may not be used for either of the following:

(1)        Travel time or expenses, meals, or overnight accommodations incurred in the review of an application by a consultant or other third party.

(2)        Reimbursements for a consultant or other third party based on a contingent fee basis or a results-based arrangement.

(g)        The county may condition approval of an application for a new wireless support structure on the provision of documentation prior to the issuance of a building permit establishing the existence of one or more parties, including the owner of the wireless support structure, who intend to locate wireless facilities on the wireless support structure. A county shall not deny an initial land-use or zoning permit based on such documentation. A county may condition a permit on a requirement to construct facilities within a reasonable period of time, which shall be no less than 24 months.

(h)        The county may not require the placement of wireless support structures or wireless facilities on county owned or leased property, but may develop a process to encourage the placement of wireless support structures or facilities on county owned or leased property, including an expedited approval process.

(i)         This section shall not be construed to limit the provisions or requirements of any historic district or landmark regulation adopted pursuant to Part 3C of this Article.  (2007-526, s. 2; 2013-185, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-349.53.  Collocation and eligible facilities requests of wireless support structures.

(a)        Pursuant to section 6409 of the federal Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, 47 U.S.C. § 1455(a), a county may not deny and shall approve any eligible facilities request as provided in this section. Nothing in this Part requires an application and approval for routine maintenance or limits the performance of routine maintenance on wireless support structures and facilities, including in-kind replacement of wireless facilities. Routine maintenance includes activities associated with regular and general upkeep of transmission equipment, including the replacement of existing wireless facilities with facilities of the same size. A county may require an application for collocation or an eligible facilities request.

(a1)      A collocation or eligible facilities request application is deemed complete unless the county provides notice that the application is incomplete in writing to the applicant within 45 days of submission or within some other mutually agreed upon time frame. The notice shall identify the deficiencies in the application which, if cured, would make the application complete. A county may deem an application incomplete if there is insufficient evidence provided to show that the proposed collocation or eligible facilities request will comply with federal, State, and local safety requirements. A county may not deem an application incomplete for any issue not directly related to the actual content of the application and subject matter of the collocation or eligible facilities request. An application is deemed complete on resubmission if the additional materials cure the deficiencies indicated.

(a2)      The county shall issue a written decision approving an eligible facilities request application within 45 days of such application being deemed complete. For a collocation application that is not an eligible facilities request, the county shall issue its written decision to approve or deny the application within 45 days of the application being deemed complete.

(a3)      A county may impose a fee not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) for technical consultation and the review of a collocation or eligible facilities request application. The fee must be based on the actual, direct, and reasonable administrative costs incurred for the review, processing, and approval of a collocation application. A county may engage a third-party consultant for technical consultation and the review of a collocation or eligible facilities request application. The fee imposed by a county for the review of the application may not be used for either of the following:

(1)        Travel expenses incurred in a third party's review of a collocation application.

(2)        Reimbursement for a consultant or other third party based on a contingent fee basis or results-based arrangement.

(b),       (c) Repealed by Session Laws 2013-185, s. 2, effective October 1, 2013, and applicable to applications received on or after that date.  (2007-526, s. 2; 2013-185, s. 2.)

 

Part 3C. Internet Access Service Grants.

§ 153A-349.60.  Authorization to provide grants.

(a)        A county may provide grants to unaffiliated qualified private providers of highspeed Internet access service, as that term is defined in G.S. 160A-340(4), for the purpose of expanding service in unserved areas for economic development in the county. The grants shall be awarded on a technology neutral basis, shall be open to qualified applicants, and may require matching funds by the private provider. A county shall seek and consider request for proposals from qualified private providers within the county prior to awarding a broadband grant and shall use reasonable means to ensure that potential applicants are made aware of the grant, including, at a minimum, compliance with the notice procedures set forth in G.S. 160A-340.6(c). The county shall use only unrestricted general fund revenue for the grants. For the purposes of this section, a qualified private provider is a private provider of high-speed Internet access service in the State prior to the issuance of the grant proposal.

(b)        Nothing in this section authorizes a county to provide highspeed Internet broadband service.  (2011-163, ss. 1, 2; 2012-86, s. 3.)

 

Part 4. Building Inspection.

§ 153A-350.  "Building" defined.

As used in this Part, the words "building" or "buildings" include other structures. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-350.1.  Tribal lands.

As used in this Part, the term:

(1)        "Board of commissioners" includes the Tribal Council of such tribe.

(2)        "County" or "counties" also means a federally recognized Indian Tribe, and as to such tribe includes lands held in trust for the tribe. (1999-78, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-351.  Inspection department; certification of electrical inspectors.

(a)        A county may create an inspection department, consisting of one or more inspectors who may be given the titles of building inspector, electrical inspector, plumbing inspector, housing inspector, zoning inspector, heating and air-conditioning inspector, fire prevention inspector, deputy or assistant inspector, or any other title that is generally descriptive of the duties assigned.  The department may be headed by a superintendent or director of inspections.

(a1)      Every county shall perform the duties and responsibilities set forth in G.S. 153A-352 either by:

(1)        Creating its own inspection department;

(2)        Creating a joint inspection department in cooperation with one or more other units of local government, pursuant to G.S. 153A-353 or Part 1 of Article 20 of Chapter 160A; or,

(3)        Contracting with another unit of local government for the provision of inspection services pursuant to Part 1 of Article 20 of Chapter 160A.

Such action shall be taken no later than the applicable date in the schedule below, according to the county's population as published in the 1970 United States Census:

Counties over 75,000 population - July 1, 1979

Counties between 50,001 and 75,000 - July 1, 1981

Counties between 25,001 and 50,000 - July 1, 1983

Counties 25,000 and under - July 1, 1985.

In the event that any county shall fail to provide inspection services by the date specified above or shall cease to provide such services at any time thereafter, the Commissioner of Insurance shall arrange for the provision of such services, either through personnel employed by his Department or through an arrangement with other units of government.  In either event, the Commissioner shall have and may exercise within the county's jurisdiction all powers made available to the board of county commissioners with respect to building inspection under Part 4 of Article 18 of this Chapter and Part 1 of Article 20 of Chapter 160A.  Whenever the Commissioner has intervened in this manner, the county may assume provision of inspection services only after giving the Commissioner two years' written notice of its intention to  do so; provided, however, that the Commissioner may waive this requirement or permit assumption at an earlier date if he finds that such earlier assumption will not unduly interfere with arrangements he has made for the provision of those services.

(b)        No person may perform electrical inspections pursuant to this Part unless he has been certified as qualified by the Commissioner of Insurance.  To be certified a person must pass a written examination based on the electrical regulations included in the latest edition of the State Building Code as filed with the Secretary of State.  The examination shall be under the supervision of and conducted according to rules and regulations prescribed by the Chief State Electrical Inspector or Engineer of the State Department of Insurance and the Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors.  It shall be held quarterly, in Raleigh or any other place designated by the Chief State Electrical Inspector or Engineer.

The rules and regulations may provide for the certification of class I, class II, and class III inspectors, according to the results of the examination.  The examination shall be based on the type and character of electrical installations being made in the territory in which the applicant wishes to serve as an electrical inspector.  A class I inspector may serve anywhere in the State, but class II and class III inspectors shall be limited to service in the territory for  which they have qualified.

The Commissioner of Insurance shall issue a certificate to each person who passes the examination, approving the person for service in a designated territory.  To remain valid, a certificate must be renewed each January by payment of an annual renewal fee of one dollar ($1.00).  The examination fee shall be five dollars ($5.00).

If the person appointed by a county as electrical inspector fails to pass the examination, the county shall continue to make appointments until an appointee has passed the examination.  For the interim the Commissioner of Insurance may authorize the county to use a temporary inspector.

The provisions of this subsection shall become void and ineffective on such date as the North Carolina Code Officials Qualification Board certifies to the Secretary of State that it has placed in effect a certification system for electrical inspectors pursuant to its authority granted by Article 9C of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes. (1937, c. 57; 1941, c. 105; 1947, c. 719; 1951, c. 651; 1953, c. 984; 1955, cc. 144, 942, 1171; 1957, cc. 415, 456, 1286, 1294; 1959, cc. 399, 940, 1031; 1961, cc. 763, 884, 1036; 1963, cc. 639, 868; 1965, cc. 243, 371, 453, 494, 846; 1967, cc. 45, 73, 113; c. 495, ss. 1, 3; 1969, cc. 675, 918; c. 1003, s. 7; c. 1010, s. 4; c. 1064, ss. 1, 4, 5; c. 1066, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1977, c. 531, ss. 2, 3; 1991, c. 720, s. 77.)

 

§ 153A-351.1.  Qualifications of inspectors.

On and after the applicable date set forth in the schedule in G.S. 153A-351, no county shall employ an inspector to enforce the State Building Code as a member of a county or joint inspection department who does not have one of the following types of certificates issued by the North Carolina Code Officials Qualification Board attesting to his qualifications to hold such position: (i) a probationary certificate, valid for one year only; (ii) a standard certificate; or (iii) a limited certificate, which shall be valid only as an authorization for him to continue in the position held on the date specified in G.S. 143-151.10(c) and which shall become invalid if he does not successfully complete in-service training prescribed by the Qualification Board within the period specified in G.S. 143-151.10(c). An inspector holding one of the above certificates can be promoted to a position requiring a higher level certificate only upon  issuance by the Board of a standard certificate or probationary certificate appropriate for such new position. (1977, c. 531, s. 4.)

 

§ 153A-352.  Duties and responsibilities.

(a)        The duties and responsibilities of an inspection department and of the inspectors in it are to enforce within the county's territorial jurisdiction State and local laws and local ordinances and regulations relating to:

(1)        The construction of buildings;

(2)        The installation of such facilities as plumbing systems, electrical systems, heating systems, refrigeration systems, and air-conditioning systems;

(3)        The maintenance of buildings in a safe, sanitary, and healthful condition;

(4)        Other matters that may be specified by the board of commissioners.

(a1)      The duties and responsibilities set forth in subsection (a) of this section include receiving applications for permits and issuing or denying permits, making necessary inspections in a timely manner, issuing or denying certificates of compliance, issuing orders to correct violations, bringing judicial actions against actual or threatened violations, keeping adequate records, and taking any other actions that may be required to adequately enforce the laws and ordinances and regulations. The board of commissioners may enact reasonable and appropriate provisions governing the enforcement of the laws and ordinances and regulations.

(b)        Except as provided in G.S. 153A-364, a county may not adopt a local ordinance or resolution or any other policy that requires regular, routine inspections of buildings or structures constructed in compliance with the North Carolina Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings in addition to the specific inspections required by the North Carolina Building Code without first obtaining approval from the North Carolina Building Code Council. The North Carolina Building Code Council shall review all applications for additional inspections requested by a county and shall, in a reasonable manner, approve or disapprove the additional inspections. This subsection does not limit the authority of the county to require inspections upon unforeseen or unique circumstances that require immediate action. In performing the specific inspections required by the North Carolina Building Code, the inspector shall conduct all inspections requested by the permit holder for each scheduled inspection visit. For each requested inspection, the inspector shall inform the permit holder of instances in which the work inspected is incomplete or otherwise fails to meet the requirements of the North Carolina Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings.

(c)        Notwithstanding the requirements of this Article, a county shall accept and approve, without further responsibility to inspect, a design or other proposal for a component or element in the construction of buildings from a licensed architect or licensed engineer provided all of the following apply:

(1)        The submission is completed under valid seal of the licensed architect or licensed engineer.

(2)        Field inspection of the installation or completion of construction component or element of the building is performed by that licensed architect or licensed engineer.

(3)        That licensed architect or licensed engineer provides the county with a signed written document stating the component or element of the building so inspected is in compliance with the North Carolina State Building Code or the North Carolina Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings.

(d)       Upon the acceptance and approval of a signed written document by the county as required under subsection (c) of this section, the county, its inspection department, and the inspectors shall be discharged and released from any duties and responsibilities imposed by this Article with respect to the component or element in the construction of the building for which the signed written document was submitted.  (1937, c. 57; 1941, c. 105; 1947, c. 719; 1951, c. 651; 1953, c. 984; 1955, cc. 144, 942, 1171; 1957, cc. 415, 456, 1286, 1294; 1959, cc. 399, 940, 1031; 1961, cc. 763, 884, 1036; 1963, cc. 639, 868; 1965, cc. 243, 371, 453, 494, 846; 1967, cc. 45, 73, 113; c. 495, ss. 1, 3; 1969, cc. 675, 918; c. 1003, s. 7; c. 1010, s. 4; c. 1064, ss. 1, 4, 5; c. 1066, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 2013-118, s. 1(a); 2015-145, ss. 8.1, 9(a).)

 

§ 153A-353.  Joint inspection department; other arrangements.

A county may enter into and carry out contracts with one or more other counties or cities under which the parties agree to create and support a joint inspection department for enforcing those State and local laws and local ordinances and regulations specified in the agreement. The governing bodies of the contracting units may make any necessary appropriations for this purpose.

In lieu of a joint inspection department, a county may designate an inspector from another county or from a city to serve as a member of the county inspection department, with the approval of the governing body of the other county or city. A county may also contract with an individual who is not a city or county employee but who holds one of the applicable certificates as provided in G.S. 153A-351.1 or G.S. 160A-411.1 or with the employer of an individual who holds one of the applicable certificates as provided in G.S. 153A-351.1 or G.S. 160A-411.1. The inspector, if designated from another county or city under this section, while exercising the duties of the position, is a county employee. The county shall have the same potential liability, if any, for inspections conducted by an individual who is not an employee of the county as it does for an individual who is an employee of the county. The company or individual with whom the county contracts shall have errors and omissions and other insurance coverage acceptable to the county. (1937, c. 57; 1941, c. 105; 1947, c. 719; 1951, c. 651; 1959, c. 940; 1963, c. 639; 1965, c. 371; 1967, c. 495, s. 1; 1969, c. 918; c. 1010, s. 4; c. 1064, ss. 1, 5; c. 1066, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1993, c. 232, s. 1; 1999-372, s. 1; 2001-278, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-354.  Financial support.

A county may appropriate any available funds for the support of its inspection department. It may provide for paying inspectors fixed salaries, or it may reimburse them for their services by paying over part or all of any fees collected. It may fix reasonable fees for issuing permits, for inspections, and for other services of the inspection department. All fees collected under the authority set forth in this section shall be used for support of the administration and activities of the inspection department and for no other purpose.  (1937, c. 57; 1941, c. 105; 1947, c. 719; 1951, c. 651; 1953, c. 984; 1955, cc. 144, 942, 1171; 1957, cc. 415, 456, 1286, 1294; 1959, cc. 399, 940, 1031; 1961, cc. 763, 884, 1036; 1963, cc. 639, 868; 1965, cc. 243, 371, 453, 494, 846; 1967, cc. 45, 73, 113; c. 495, ss. 1, 3; 1969, cc. 675, 918; c. 1003, s. 7; c. 1010, s. 4; c. 1064, ss. 1, 4, 5; c. 1066, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 2015-145, s. 7.1.)

 

§ 153A-355.  Conflicts of interest.

Unless he or she is the owner of the building, no member of an inspection department shall be financially interested or employed by a business that is financially interested in furnishing labor, material, or appliances for the construction, alteration, or maintenance of any building within the county's territorial jurisdiction or any part or system thereof, or in making plans or specifications therefor. No member of any inspection department or other individual or an employee of a company contracting with a county to conduct inspections may engage in any work that is inconsistent with his or her duties or with the interest of the county, as determined by the county. The county must find a conflict of interest if any of the following is the case:

(1)        If the individual, company, or employee of a company contracting to perform inspections for the county has worked for the owner, developer, contractor, or project manager of the project to be inspected within the last two years.

(2)        If the individual, company, or employee of a company contracting to perform inspections for the county is closely related to the owner, developer, contractor, or project manager of the project to be inspected.

(3)        If the individual, company, or employee of a company contracting to perform inspections for the county has a financial or business interest in the project to be inspected. (1937, c. 57; 1941, c. 105; 1947, c. 719; 1951, c. 651; 1953, c. 984; 1955, cc. 144, 942, 1171; 1957, cc. 415, 456, 1286, 1294; 1959, cc. 399, 1031; 1961, cc. 763, 884, 1036; 1963, c. 868; 1965, cc. 243, 453, 494, 846; 1967, cc. 45, 73, 113; c. 495, s. 3; 1969, cc. 675, 918; c. 1003, s. 7; c. 1064, ss. 1, 4; c. 1066, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1993, c. 232, s. 2; 1999-372, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-356.  Failure to perform duties.

(a)        If a member of an inspection department willfully fails to perform the duties required of him by law, or willfully improperly issues a permit, or gives a certificate of compliance without first making the inspections required by law, or willfully improperly gives a certificate of compliance, he is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

(b)        A member of the inspection department shall not be in violation of this section when the county, its inspection department, or one of the inspectors accepted a signed written document of compliance with the North Carolina State Building Code or the North Carolina Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings from a licensed architect or licensed engineer in accordance with G.S. 153A-352(c).  (1969, c. 1066, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1993, c. 539, s. 1064; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 2015-145, s. 9(b).)

 

§ 153A-357.  Permits.

(a)        Except as provided in subsection (a2) of this section, no person may commence or proceed with any of the following without first securing from the inspection department with jurisdiction over the site of the work each permit required by the State Building Code and any other State or local law or local ordinance or regulation applicable to the work:

(1)        The construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair, movement to another site, removal, or demolition of any building.

(2)        The installation, extension, or general repair of any plumbing system except that in any one- or two-family dwelling unit a permit shall not be required for the connection of a water heater that is being replaced, provided that the work is performed by a person licensed under G.S. 87-21, who personally examines the work at completion and ensures that a leak test has been performed on the gas piping, and provided the energy use rate or thermal input is not greater than that of the water heater which is being replaced, there is no change in fuel, energy source, location, capacity, or routing or sizing of venting and piping, and the replacement is installed in accordance with the current edition of the State Building Code.

(3)        The installation, extension, alteration, or general repair of any heating or cooling equipment system.

(4)        The installation, extension, alteration, or general repair of any electrical wiring, devices, appliances, or equipment except that in any one- or two-family dwelling unit a permit shall not be required for repair or replacement of electrical lighting fixtures or devices, such as receptacles and lighting switches, or for the connection of an existing branch circuit to an electric water heater that is being replaced, provided that all of the following requirements are met:

a.         With respect to electric water heaters, the replacement water heater is placed in the same location and is of the same or less capacity and electrical rating as the original.

b.         With respect to electrical lighting fixtures and devices, the replacement is with a fixture or device having the same voltage and the same or less amperage.

c.         The work is performed by a person licensed under G.S. 87-43.

d.         The repair or replacement installation meets the current edition of the State Building Code, including the State Electrical Code.

However, a permit is not required for the installation, maintenance, or replacement of any load control device or equipment by an electric power supplier, as defined in G.S. 62-133.8, or an electrical contractor contracted by the electric power supplier, so long as the work is subject to supervision by an electrical contractor licensed under Article 4 of Chapter 87 of the General Statutes. The electric power supplier shall provide such installation, maintenance, or replacement in accordance with (i) an activity or program ordered, authorized, or approved by the North Carolina Utilities Commission pursuant to G.S. 62-133.8 or G.S. 62-133.9 or (ii) a similar program undertaken by a municipal electric service provider, whether the installation, modification, or replacement is made before or after the point of delivery of electric service to the customer. The exemption under this subdivision applies to all existing installations.

(a1)      A permit shall be in writing and shall contain a provision that the work done shall comply with the State Building Code and all other applicable State and local laws and local ordinances and regulations. Nothing in this section shall require a county to review and approve residential building plans submitted to the county pursuant to Section R-110 of Volume VII of the North Carolina State Building Code; provided that the county may review and approve such residential building plans as it deems necessary. No permit may be issued unless the plans and specifications are identified by the name and address of the author thereof; and if the General Statutes of North Carolina require that plans for certain types of work be prepared only by a licensed architect or licensed engineer, no permit may be issued unless the plans and specifications bear the North Carolina seal of a licensed architect or of a licensed engineer. If a provision of the General Statutes of North Carolina or of any ordinance requires that work be done by a licensed specialty contractor of any kind, no permit for the work may be issued unless the work is to be performed by such a duly licensed contractor.

(a2)      No permit issued under Articles 9 or 9C of G.S. Chapter 143 shall be required for any construction, installation, repair, replacement, or alteration performed in accordance with the current edition of the North Carolina State Building Code and costing fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) or less in any single-family residence or farm building unless the work involves any of the following:

(1)        The addition, repair or replacement of load bearing structures. However, no permit is required for replacements of windows, doors, exterior siding, or the pickets, railings, stair treads, and decking of porches and exterior decks.

(2)        The addition or change in the design of plumbing. However, no permit is required for replacements otherwise meeting the requirements of this subsection that do not change size or capacity.

(3)        The addition, replacement or change in the design of heating, air conditioning, or electrical wiring, devices, appliances, or equipment, other than like-kind replacement of electrical devices and lighting fixtures.

(4)        The use of materials not permitted by the North Carolina Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings.

(5)        The addition (excluding replacement) of roofing.

(a3)      A county shall not require more than one permit for the complete installation or replacement of any natural gas, propane gas, or electrical appliance on an existing structure when the installation or replacement is performed by a person licensed under G.S. 87-21 or G.S. 87-43. The cost of the permit for such work shall not exceed the cost of any one individual trade permit issued by that county, nor shall the county increase the costs of any fees to offset the loss of revenue caused by this provision.

(b)        No permit shall be issued pursuant to subsection (a) for any land-disturbing activity, as defined in G.S. 113A-52(6), for any activity covered by G.S. 113A-57, unless an erosion and sedimentation control plan has been approved by the Sedimentation Pollution Control Commission pursuant to G.S. 113A-54(d)(4) or by a local government pursuant to G.S. 113A-61 for the site of the activity or a tract of land including the site of the activity.

(c)       (1)        A county may by ordinance provide that a permit may not be issued under subsection (a) of this section to a person who owes delinquent property taxes, determined under G.S. 105-360, on property owned by the person. Such ordinance may provide that a building permit may be issued to a person protesting the assessment or collection of property taxes.

(2)        This subsection applies to Alexander, Alleghany, Anson, Bertie, Catawba, Chowan, Currituck, Davie, Gates, Greene, Lenoir, Lincoln, Iredell, Sampson, Stokes, Surry, Tyrrell, Wayne, and Yadkin Counties only.

(d)       Repealed by Session Laws 2014-115, s. 15(a), effective August 11, 2014.

(e)        (Effective until July 1, 2017) No permit shall be issued pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of this section where the cost of the work is thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) or more, other than for improvements to an existing single-family residential dwelling unit as defined in G.S. 87-15.5(7) that the owner occupies as a residence, or for the addition of an accessory building or accessory structure as defined in the North Carolina Uniform Residential Building Code, the use of which is incidental to that residential dwelling unit, unless the name, physical and mailing address, telephone number, facsimile number, and electronic mail address of the lien agent designated by the owner pursuant to G.S. 44A-11.1(a) is conspicuously set forth in the permit or in an attachment thereto. The building permit may contain the lien agent's electronic mail address. The lien agent information for each permit issued pursuant to this subsection shall be maintained by the inspection department in the same manner and in the same location in which it maintains its record of building permits issued.

(e)        (Effective July 1, 2017) No permit shall be issued pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of this section where the cost of the work is thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) or more, other than for improvements to an existing single-family residential dwelling unit as defined in G.S. 87-15.5(7) that the owner occupies as a residence, or for the addition of an accessory building or accessory structure as defined in the North Carolina Uniform Residential Building Code, the use of which is incidental to that residential dwelling unit, unless the name, physical and mailing address, telephone number, facsimile number, and electronic mail address of the lien agent designated by the owner pursuant to G.S. 44A-11.1(a) is conspicuously set forth in the permit or in an attachment thereto. The building permit may contain the lien agent's electronic mail address. The lien agent information for each permit issued pursuant to this subsection shall be maintained by the inspection department in the same manner and in the same location in which it maintains its record of building permits issued. Where the improvements to a real property leasehold are limited to the purchase, transportation, and setup of a manufactured home, as defined in G.S. 143-143.9(6), for which there is a current certificate of title, the purchase price of the manufactured home shall be excluded in determining whether the cost of the work is thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) or more.

(f)        No county may withhold issuing a building permit or certificate of occupancy that otherwise would be eligible to be issued under this section to compel, with respect to another property or parcel, completion of work for a separate permit or compliance with land use regulations under this Article unless otherwise authorized by law or unless the county reasonably determines the existence of a public safety issue directly related to the issuance of a building permit or certificate of occupancy.

(g)        Violation of this section constitutes a Class 1 misdemeanor.  (1969, c. 1066, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1981, c. 677, s. 2; 1983, c. 377, s. 2; c. 614, s. 2; 1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1000, s. 1; 1993, c. 539, s. 1065; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 741, s. 1; 2002-165, s. 2.19; 2005-433, s. 3; 2006-150, s. 2; 2007-58, s. 1; 2008-198, s. 8(c); 2009-117, s. 1; 2009-532, s. 2; 2010-30, s. 3; 2012-23, s. 2; 2012-158, s. 6; 2013-58, s. 2; 2013-117, s. 6; 2013-160, s. 1; 2014-115, s. 15(a); 2015-145, s. 4.2(a), (b); 2015-187, s. 2(b); 2016-59, s. 8; 2016-113, s. 13(b).)

 

§ 153A-358.  Time limitations on validity of permits.

A permit issued pursuant to G.S. 153A-357 expires six months, or any lesser time fixed by ordinance of the county, after the date of issuance if the work authorized by the permit has not commenced. If after commencement the work is discontinued for a period of 12 months, the permit therefor immediately expires. No work authorized by a permit that has expired may thereafter be performed until a new permit has been secured. (1969, c. 1066, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-359.  Changes in work.

After a permit has been issued, no change or deviation from the terms of the application, the plans and specifications, or the permit, except if the change or deviation is clearly permissible under the State Building Code, may be made until specific written approval of the proposed change or deviation has been obtained from the inspection department. (1969, c. 1066, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-360.  Inspections of work in progress.

Subject to the limitation imposed by G.S. 153A-352(b), as the work pursuant to a permit progresses, local inspectors shall make as many inspections of the work as may be necessary to satisfy them that it is being done according to the provisions of the applicable State and local laws and local ordinances and regulations and of the terms of the permit. In exercising this power, each member of the inspection department has a right, upon presentation of proper credentials, to enter on any premises within the territorial jurisdiction of the department at any reasonable hour for the purposes of inspection or other enforcement action. If a permit has been obtained by an owner exempt from licensure under G.S. 87-1(b)(2), no inspection shall be conducted without the owner being personally present, unless the plans for the building were drawn and sealed by an architect licensed pursuant to Chapter 83A of the General Statutes.  (1969, c. 1066, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 2011-376, s. 3; 2015-145, s. 1(a).)

 

§ 153A-361.  Stop orders.

Whenever a building or part thereof is being demolished, constructed, reconstructed, altered, or repaired in a hazardous manner, or in substantial violation of a State or local building law or local building ordinance or regulation, or in a manner that endangers life or property, the appropriate inspector may order the specific part of the work that is in violation or that presents such a hazard to be immediately stopped.  The stop order shall be in writing and directed to the person doing the work, and shall state the specific work to be stopped, the specific reasons for the stoppage, and the conditions under which the work may be resumed.  The owner or builder may appeal from a stop order involving alleged violation of the State Building Code or any approved local modification thereof to the North Carolina Commissioner of Insurance or his designee within five days after the day the order is issued.  The owner or builder shall give to the Commissioner of Insurance or his designee written notice of appeal, with a copy to the local inspector.  The Commissioner or his designee shall promptly conduct an investigation and the appellant and the inspector shall be permitted to submit relevant evidence.  The Commissioner or his designee shall as expeditiously as possible provide a written statement of the decision setting forth the facts found, the decision reached, and the reasons for the decision.  Pending the ruling by the Commissioner of Insurance or his designee on an appeal, no further work may take place in violation of a stop order.  In the event of dissatisfaction with the decision, the person affected shall have the options of:

(1)        Appealing to the Building Code Council, or

(2)        Appealing to the Superior Court as provided in G.S.143-141.

Violation of a stop order constitutes a Class 1 misdemeanor. (1969, c. 1066, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1983, c. 377, s. 4; 1989, c. 681, s. 5; 1993, c. 539, s. 1066; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)

 

§ 153A-362.  Revocation of permits.

The appropriate inspector may revoke and require the return of any permit by giving written notice to the permit holder, stating the reason for the revocation. Permits shall be revoked for any substantial departure from the approved application or plans and specifications, for refusal or failure to comply with the requirements of any applicable State or local laws or local ordinances or regulations, or for false statements or misrepresentations made in securing the permit. A permit mistakenly issued in violation of an applicable State or local law or local ordinance or regulation also may be revoked. (1969, c. 1066, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-363.  Certificates of compliance.

At the conclusion of all work done under a permit, the appropriate inspector shall make a final inspection.  If he finds that the completed work complies with all applicable State and local laws and local ordinances and regulations and with the terms of the permit, he shall issue a certificate of compliance.  No new building or part thereof may be occupied, no addition or enlargement of an existing building may be occupied, and no existing building that has been altered or removed may be occupied until the inspection department has issued a certificate of compliance.  A temporary certificate of compliance may be issued permitting occupancy for a stated period of specified portions of the building that the inspector finds may safely be occupied before completion of the entire building.  Violation of this section constitutes a Class 1 misdemeanor. (1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1993, c. 539, s. 1067; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)

 

§ 153A-364.  Periodic inspections for hazardous or unlawful conditions.

(a)        The inspection department may make periodic inspections, subject to the board of commissioners' directions, for unsafe, unsanitary, or otherwise hazardous and unlawful conditions in buildings or structures within its territorial jurisdiction. However, when the inspection department determines that a safety hazard exists in one of the dwelling units within a multifamily building, which in the opinion of the inspector poses an immediate threat to the occupant, the inspection department may inspect, in the absence of a specific complaint and actual knowledge of the unsafe condition, additional dwelling units in the multifamily building to determine if that same safety hazard exists. Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, the inspection department may make periodic inspections only when there is reasonable cause to believe that unsafe, unsanitary, or otherwise hazardous or unlawful conditions may exist in a residential building or structure. For purposes of this section, the term "reasonable cause" means any of the following: (i) the property has a history of more than four verified violations of the housing ordinances or codes within a rolling 12-month period; (ii) there has been a complaint that substandard conditions exist within the building or there has been a request that the building be inspected; (iii) the inspection department has actual knowledge of an unsafe condition within the building; or (iv) violations of the local ordinances or codes are visible from the outside of the property. In conducting inspections authorized under this section, the inspection department shall not discriminate between single-family and multifamily buildings or between owner-occupied and tenant-occupied buildings. In exercising these powers, each member of the inspection department has a right, upon presentation of proper credentials, to enter on any premises within the territorial jurisdiction of the department at any reasonable hour for the purposes of inspection or other enforcement action. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit periodic inspections in accordance with State fire prevention code or as otherwise required by State law.

(b)        A county may require periodic inspections as part of a targeted effort to respond to blighted or potentially blighted conditions within a geographic area that has been designated by the county commissioners. However, the total aggregate of targeted areas in the county at any one time shall not be greater than one square mile or five percent (5%) of the area within the county, whichever is greater. A targeted area designated by the county shall reflect the county's stated neighborhood revitalization strategy and shall consist of property that meets the definition of a "blighted area" or "blighted parcel" as those terms are defined in G.S. 160A-503(2) and G.S. 160A-503(2a), respectively, except that for purposes of this subsection the planning commission is not required to make a determination as to the property. The county shall (i) provide notice to all owners and residents of properties in the affected area about the periodic inspections plan and information regarding a public hearing regarding the plan; (ii) hold a public hearing regarding the plan; and (iii) establish a plan to address the ability of low-income residential property owners to comply with minimum housing code standards. A residential building or structure that is subject to periodic inspections by the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency (hereinafter "Agency") shall not be subject to periodic inspections under this subsection if the Agency has issued a finding that the building or structure is in compliance with federal standards established by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to assess the physical condition of residential property. The owner or manager of a residential building or structure subject to periodic inspections by the Agency shall, within 10 days of receipt, submit to the inspection department a copy of the Compliance Results Letter issued by the Agency showing that the residential building or structure is in compliance with federal housing inspection standards. If the owner or manager fails to submit a copy of the Compliance Results Letter as provided in this subsection, the residential building or structure shall be subject to periodic inspections as provided in this subsection until the Compliance Results Letter is submitted to the inspection department.

(c)        In no event may a county do any of the following: (i) adopt or enforce any ordinance that would require any owner or manager of rental property to obtain any permit or permission from the county to lease or rent residential real property or to register rental property with the county, except for those individual rental units that have either more than four verified violations of housing ordinances or codes in a rolling 12-month period or two or more verified violations in a rolling 30-day period, or upon the property being identified within the top ten percent (10%) of properties with crime or disorder problems as set forth in a local ordinance; (ii) require that an owner or manager of residential rental property enroll or participate in any governmental program as a condition of obtaining a certificate of occupancy; (iii) levy a special fee or tax on residential rental property that is not also levied against other commercial and residential properties, unless expressly authorized by general law or applicable only to an individual rental unit or property described in clause (i) of this subsection and the fee does not exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00) in any 12-month period in which the unit or property is found to have verified violations; (iv) provide that any violation of a rental registration ordinance is punishable as a criminal offense; or (v) require any owner or manager of rental property to submit to an inspection before receiving any utility service provided by the city. For purposes of this section, the term "verified violation" means all of the following:

(1)        The aggregate of all violations of housing ordinances or codes found in an individual rental unit of residential real property during a 72-hour period.

(2)        Any violations that have not been corrected by the owner or manager within 21 days of receipt of written notice from the county of the violations. Should the same violation occur more than two times in a 12-month period, the owner or manager may not have the option of correcting the violation. If the housing ordinance or code provides that any form of prohibited tenant behavior constitutes a violation by the owner or manager of the rental property, it shall be deemed a correction of the tenant-related violation if the owner or manager, within 30 days of receipt of written notice of the tenant-related violation, brings a summary ejectment action to have the tenant evicted.

(d)       Repealed by Session Laws 2016-122, s. 1, effective January 1, 2017.

(e)        If a property is identified by the county as being in the top ten percent (10%) of properties with crime or disorder problems, the county shall notify the landlord of any crimes, disorders, or other violations that will be counted against the property to allow the landlord an opportunity to attempt to correct the problems. In addition, the county and the county sheriff's office shall assist the landlord in addressing any criminal activity, which may include testifying in court in a summary ejectment action or other matter to aid in evicting a tenant who has been charged with a crime. If the county or the county sheriff's office does not cooperate in evicting a tenant, the tenant's behavior or activity at issue shall not be counted as a crime or disorder problem as set forth in the local ordinance, and the property may not be included in the top ten percent (10%) of properties as a result of that tenant's behavior or activity.

(f)        If the county takes action against an individual rental unit under this section, the owner of the individual rental unit may appeal the decision to the housing appeals board or the zoning board of adjustment, if operating, or the planning board if created under G.S. 153A-321, or if neither is created, the governing board. The board shall fix a reasonable time for hearing appeals, shall give due notice to the owner of the individual rental unit, and shall render a decision within a reasonable time. The owner may appear in person or by agent or attorney. The board may reverse or affirm the action, wholly or partly, or may modify the action appealed from, and may make any decision and order that in the opinion of the board ought to be made in the matter.  (1969, c. 1066, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 2011-281, s. 1; 2014-103, s. 13(a); 2016-122, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-365.  Defects in buildings to be corrected.

If a local inspector finds any defect in a building, or finds that the building has not been constructed in accordance with the applicable State and local laws and local ordinances and regulations, or finds that a building because of its condition is dangerous or contains fire-hazardous conditions, he shall notify the owner or occupant of the building of its defects, hazardous conditions, or failure to comply with law. The owner and the occupant shall each immediately remedy the defects, hazardous conditions, or violations of law in the property each owns. (1969, c. 1066, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-366.  Unsafe buildings condemned.

The inspector shall condemn as unsafe each building that appears to him to be especially dangerous to life because of its liability to fire, bad conditions of walls, overloaded floors, defective construction, decay, unsafe wiring or heating system, inadequate means of egress, or other causes; and he shall affix a notice of the dangerous character of the building to a conspicuous place on its exterior wall. (1969, c. 1066, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-367.  Removing notice from condemned building.

If a person removes a notice that has been affixed to a building by a local inspector and that states the dangerous character of the building, he is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. (1969, c. 1066, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1993, c. 539, s. 1068; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)

 

§ 153A-368.  Action in event of failure to take corrective action.

If the owner of a building that has been condemned as unsafe pursuant to G.S. 153A-366 fails to take prompt corrective action, the local inspector shall by certified or registered mail to his last known address or by personal service give him written notice:

(1)        That the building is in a condition that appears to constitute  a fire or safety hazard or to be dangerous to life, health, or other property;

(2)        That a hearing will be held before the inspector at a designated place and time, not later than 10 days after the date of the notice, at which time the owner is entitled to be heard in person or by counsel and to present arguments and evidence pertaining to the matter; and

(3)        That following the hearing, the inspector may issue any order to repair, close, vacate, or demolish the building that appears appropriate.

If the name or whereabouts of the owner cannot after due diligence be  discovered, the notice shall be considered properly and adequately served if a copy thereof is posted on the outside of the building in question at least 10 days before the day of the hearing and a notice of the hearing is published at least once not later than one week before the hearing. (1969, c. 1066, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-369.  Order to take corrective action.

If, upon a hearing held pursuant to G.S. 153A-368, the inspector finds that the building is in a condition that constitutes a fire or safety hazard or renders it dangerous to life, health, or other property, he shall issue a written order, directed to the owner of the building, requiring the owner to remedy the defective conditions by repairing, closing, vacating, or demolishing the building or taking other necessary steps, within such period, not less than 60 days, as the inspector may prescribe; provided, that where the inspector finds that there is imminent danger to life or other property, he may order that corrective action be taken in such lesser period as may be feasible. (1969, c. 1066, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1979, c. 611, s. 5.)

 

§ 153A-370.  Appeal; finality of order not appealed.

An owner who has received an order under G.S. 153A-369 may appeal from the order to the board of commissioners by giving written notice of appeal to the inspector and to the clerk within 10 days following the day the order is issued. In the absence of an appeal, the order of the inspector is final. The board of commissioners shall hear any appeal within a reasonable time and may affirm, modify and affirm, or revoke the order. (1969, c. 1066, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-371.  Failure to comply with order.

If the owner of a building fails to comply with an order issued pursuant to G.S. 153A-369 from which no appeal has been taken, or fails to comply with an order of the board of commissioners following an appeal, he is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. (1969, c. 1066, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1993, c. 539, s. 1069; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)

 

§ 153A-372.  Equitable enforcement.

Whenever a violation is denominated a misdemeanor under the provisions of this Part, the county, either in addition to or in lieu of other remedies, may initiate any appropriate action or proceeding to prevent, restrain, correct, or abate the violation or to prevent the occupancy of the building involved. (1969, c. 1066, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-372.1.  Ordinance authorized as to repair, closing, and demolition of nonresidential buildings or structures; order of public officer.

The provisions of G.S. 160A-439 shall apply to counties. (2007-414, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-373.  Records and reports.

The inspection department shall keep complete, and accurate records in convenient form of each application received, each permit issued, each inspection and reinspection made, and each defect found, each certificate of compliance granted, and all other work and activities of the department. These records shall be kept in the manner and for the periods prescribed by the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. The department shall submit periodic reports to the board of commissioners and to the Commissioner of Insurance as the board or the Commissioner may require.  (1969, c. 1066, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1983, c. 377, s. 6; 2015-241, s. 14.30(s).)

 

§ 153A-374.  Appeals.

Unless otherwise provided by law, any appeal from an order, decision, or determination of a member of a local inspection department pertaining to the State Building Code or any other State building law shall be taken to the Commissioner of Insurance or his designee or other official specified in G.S. 143-139, by filing a written notice with him and with the inspection department within 10 days after the day of the order, decision, or determination. Further appeals may be taken to the State Building Code Council or to the courts as provided by law. (1969, c. 1066, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1989, c. 681, s. 7.)

 

§ 153A-375.  Establishment of fire limits.

A county may by ordinance establish and define fire limits in any area within the county and not within a city. The limits may include only business and industrial areas. Within any fire limits, no frame or wooden building or addition thereto may be erected, altered, repaired, or moved (either into the fire limits or from one place to another within the limits) except upon the permit of the inspection department and approval of the Commissioner of Insurance. The board of commissioners may make additional regulations necessary for the prevention, extinguishment, or mitigation of fires within the fire limits. (1969, c. 1066, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

Part 5. Community Development.

§ 153A-376.  Community development programs and activities.

(a)        Any county is authorized to engage in, to accept federal and State grants and loans for, and to appropriate and expend funds for community development programs and activities. In undertaking community development programs and activities, in addition to other authority granted by law, a county may engage in the following activities:

(1)        Programs of assistance and financing of rehabilitation of private buildings principally for the benefit of low and moderate income persons, or for the restoration or preservation of older neighborhoods or properties, including direct repair, the making of grants or loans, the subsidization of interest payments on loans, and the guaranty of loans;

(2)        Programs concerned with employment, economic development, crime prevention, child care, health, drug abuse, education, and welfare needs of persons of low and moderate income.

(b)        Any board of county commissioners may exercise directly those powers granted by law to county redevelopment commissions and those powers granted by law to county housing authorities. Any board of county commissioners desiring to do so may delegate to redevelopment commission or to any housing authority the responsibility of undertaking or carrying out any specified community development activities. Any board of county commissioners and any municipal governing body may by agreement undertake or carry out for each other any specified community development activities. Any board of county commissioners may contract with any person, association, or corporation in undertaking any specified community development activities. Any county or city board of health, county board of social services, or county or city board of education, may by agreement undertake or carry out for any board of county commissioners any specified community development activities.

(c)        Any board of county commissioners undertaking community development programs or activities may create one or more advisory committees to advise it and to make recommendations concerning such programs or activities.

(d)       Any board of county commissioners proposing to undertake any loan guaranty or similar program for rehabilitation of private buildings is authorized to submit to its voters the question whether such program shall be undertaken, such referendum to be conducted pursuant to the general and local laws applicable to special elections in such county.

(e)        No state or local taxes shall be appropriated or expended by a county pursuant to this section for any purpose not expressly authorized by G.S. 153A-149, unless the same is first submitted to a vote of the people as therein provided.

(f)        All program income from Economic Development Grants from the Small Cities Community Development Block Grant Program may be retained by recipient "economically distressed counties", as defined in G.S. 143B-437.01 for the purposes of creating local economic development revolving loan funds. Such program income derived through the use by counties of Small Cities Community Development Block Grant money includes but is not limited to: (i) payment of principal and interest on loans made by the county using Community Development Block Grant Funds; (ii) proceeds from the lease or disposition of real property acquired with Community Development Block Grant Funds; and (iii) any late fees associated with loan or lease payments in (i) and (ii) above. The local economic development revolving loan fund set up by the county shall fund only those activities eligible under Title I of the federal Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, as amended (P.L. 93-383), and shall meet at least one of the three national objectives of the Housing and Community Development Act. Any expiration of G.S. 143B-437.01 or G.S. 105-129.3 shall not affect this subsection as to designations of economically distressed counties made prior to its expiration.

(g)        Any county may receive and dispense funds from the Community Development Block Grant Section 108 Loan Guarantee program, Subpart M, 24 CFR 570.700 et seq., either through application to the North Carolina Department of Commerce or directly from the federal government, in accordance with State and federal laws governing these funds. Any county that receives these funds directly from the federal government may pledge current and future CDBG funds for use as loan guarantees in accordance with State and federal laws governing these funds. A county may implement the receipt, dispensing, and pledging of CDBG funds under this subsection by borrowing CDBG funds and lending all or a portion of those funds to a third party in accordance with applicable laws governing the CDBG program.

Any county that has pledged current or future CDBG funds for use as loan guarantees prior to the enactment of this subsection is authorized to have taken such action. A pledge of future CDBG funds under this subsection is not a debt or liability of the State or any political subdivision of the State or a pledge of the faith and credit of the State or any political subdivision of the State. The pledging of future CDBG funds under this subsection does not directly, indirectly, or contingently obligate the State or any political subdivision of the State to levy or to pledge any taxes. (1975, c. 435, s. 2; c. 689, s. 2; 1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 992, s. 1; 1995, c. 310, s. 2; 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 575, s. 2; 1996, 2nd Ex. Sess., c. 13, s. 3.8; 2006-259, s. 27(a).)

 

§ 153A-377.  Acquisition and disposition of property for redevelopment.

In addition to the powers granted by G.S. 153A-376, any county is authorized, either as a part of a community development program or independently thereof, and without the necessity of compliance with the Urban Redevelopment Law, to exercise the following powers:

(1)        To acquire, by voluntary purchase from the owner or owners, real property which is either:

a.         Blighted, deteriorated, deteriorating, undeveloped, or inappropriately developed from the standpoint of sound community development and growth;

b.         Appropriate for rehabilitation or conservation activities;

c.         Appropriate for housing construction of the economic development of the community; or

d.         Appropriate for the preservation or restoration of historic sites, the beautification of urban land, the conservation of open space, natural resources, and scenic areas, the provision of recreational opportunities, or the guidance of urban development;

(2)        To clear, demolish, remove, or rehabilitate buildings and improvements on land so acquired; and

(3)        To retain property so acquired for public purposes, or to dispose, through sale, lease, or otherwise, of any property so acquired to any person, firm, corporation, or governmental unit; provided, the disposition of such property shall be undertaken in accordance with the procedures of G.S. 153A-176, or the procedures of G.S. 160A-514, or any applicable local act modifying such procedures. (1977, c. 660, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-378.  Low-and moderate-income housing programs.

In addition to the powers granted by G.S. 153A-376 and G.S. 153A-377, any county is authorized to exercise the following powers:

(1)        To engage in and to appropriate and expend funds for residential housing construction, new or rehabilitated, for sale or rental to persons and families of low and moderate income. Any board of commissioners may contract with any person, association, or corporation to implement the provisions of this subdivision.

(2)        To acquire real property by voluntary purchase from the owners to be developed by the county or to be used by the county to provide affordable housing to persons of low and moderate income.

(3)        Under procedures and standards established by the county, to convey property by private sale to any public or private entity that provides affordable housing to persons of low or moderate income. The county shall include as part of any such conveyance covenants or conditions that assure the property will be developed by the entity for sale or lease to persons of low or moderate income.

(4)        Under procedures and standards established by the county, to convey residential property by private sale to persons of low or moderate income in accordance with G.S. 160A-267 and any terms and conditions that the board of commissioners may determine. (1999-366, s. 2.)

 

§§ G.S. 153A-379 through 153A-390.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

 

Article 19.

Regional Planning Commissions.

§ 153A-391.  Creation; admission of new members.

Two or more counties, cities, or counties and cities may create a regional planning commission by adopting identical concurrent resolutions to that effect in accordance with the provisions and procedures of this Article. A county or city may join an existing regional planning commission with the consent of the existing member governments.

The resolution creating a regional planning commission may be modified, amended, or repealed by the unanimous action of the member governments. (1961, c. 722, s. 3; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-392.  Contents of resolution.

The resolutions creating a regional planning commission shall:

(1)        Specify the name of the commission;

(2)        Establish the number of delegates to represent each member government, fix the delegates' terms of office and the conditions, if any, for their removal, provide methods for filling vacancies, and prescribe the compensation and allowances, if any, to be paid to delegates;

(3)        Set out the method of determining the financial support that  will be given to the commission by each member government;

(4)        Set out the budgetary and fiscal control procedures to be followed by the commission, which shall substantially comply with the Local Government Budget and Fiscal Control Act (Chapter 159, Subchapter III).

In addition the resolution may, but need not, contain rules and regulations for the conduct of commission business and any other matters pertaining to the organization, powers, and functioning of the commission that the member governments consider appropriate. (1961, c. 722, s. 3; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-393.  Withdrawal from commission.

A member government may withdraw from a regional planning commission by giving at least two years' written notice to the other counties and cities involved. ( 1961, c. 722, s. 3; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-394.  Organization of the commission.

Upon its creation, a regional planning commission shall meet at a time and place agreed upon by the counties and cities involved. It shall organize by electing a chairman and any other officers that the resolution specifies or that the commission considers advisable. The commission may adopt bylaws for the conduct of its business. All commission meetings shall be open to the public.

The chairman of the commission may appoint any committees authorized by the bylaws. Committee members need not be delegates to the commission. (1961, c. 722, s. 3; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-395.  Powers and duties.

A regional planning commission may:

(1)        Apply for, accept, receive, and disburse funds, grants, and services made available to it by the State of North Carolina or any agency thereof, the federal government or any agency thereof, any unit of local government or any agency thereof, or any private or civic agency;

(2)        Employ personnel;

(3)        Contract with consultants;

(4)        Contract for services with the State of North Carolina, any other state, the United States, or any agency of those governments;

(5)        Study and inventory regional goals, resources, and problems;

(6)        Prepare and amend regional development plans, which may include recommendations for land use within the region, recommendations concerning the need for and general location of public works of regional concern, recommendations for economic development of the region, and any other relevant matters;

(7)        Cooperate with and provide assistance to federal, State, other regional, and local planning activities within the region;

(8)        Encourage local efforts toward economic development;

(9)        Make recommendations for review and action to its member governments and other public agencies that perform functions within the region;

(9a)      For the purpose of meeting its office space and program needs, acquire real property by purchase, gift, or otherwise, and improve that property. It may pledge real property as security for an indebtedness used to finance acquisition of that property or for improvements to that property, subject to approval by the Local Government Commission as required under G.S. 159-153. It may not exercise the power of eminent domain in exercising the powers granted by this subdivision.

(10)      Exercise any other power necessary to the discharge of its duties. (1961, c. 722, s. 3; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 2006-211, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-396.  Fiscal affairs.

Each county and city having membership in a regional planning commission may appropriate to the commission revenues not otherwise limited as to use by law. Services of personnel, use of equipment and office space, and other services may be made available to a commission by its member governments as a part of their financial support. (1961, c. 722, s. 3; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-397.  Reports.

Each regional planning commission shall prepare and distribute to its member governments and make available to the public an annual report of its activities, including a financial statement. (1961, c. 722, s. 3; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-398.  Regional planning and economic development commissions.

Two or more counties, cities, or counties and cities may create a regional planning and economic development commission by adopting identical concurrent resolutions to that effect. Such a commission has the powers granted by this Article and the powers granted by Chapter 158, Article 2. If such a commission is created, it shall maintain separate books of account for appropriations and expenditures made pursuant to this Article and for appropriations and expenditures made pursuant to Chapter 158, Article 2.  (1961, c. 722, s. 3; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 2013-360, s. 15.28(e); 2013-363, s. 5.7(b).)

 

§§ 153A-399 through 153A-400.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

 

Article 20.

Consolidation and Governmental Study Commissions.

§ 153A-401.  Establishment; support.

(a)        Two or more counties or cities or counties and cities may by concurrent resolutions of their governing bodies establish a charter or governmental study commission as provided in this section:

(1)        Two or more counties that are contiguous or that lie within a continuous boundary may create a commission to study the consolidation of the counties or of one or more functions and services of the counties.

(2)        Two or more cities that are contiguous or that lie within a continuous boundary may create a commission to study the consolidation of the cities or of one or more functions and services of the cities.

(3)        A county and one or more cities within the county may create  a commission to study the consolidation of the county and the city or cities or of one or more of their functions and services.

(b)        A county or city that participates in the establishment of a commission pursuant to this Article may appropriate for the support of the commission any revenues not otherwise limited as to use by law. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-402.  Purposes of a commission.

A commission established pursuant to this Article may be charged with any of the following purposes:

(1)        To study the powers, duties, functions, responsibilities, and organizational structures of the counties or cities that established the commission and of other units of local government and public agencies within those counties or cities;

(2)        To prepare a report on its studies and findings;

(3)        To prepare a plan for consolidating one or more functions and services of the governments that established the commission;

(4)        To prepare drafts of any agreements or legislation necessary  to effect the consolidation of one or more functions and services;

(5)        To prepare a plan for consolidating into a single government  some or all of the governments that established the commission;

(6)        To prepare drafts of any legislation necessary to effect the  plan of governmental consolidation;

(7)        To call a referendum, as provided in G.S. 153A-405, on the plan of governmental consolidation. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-403.  Content of concurrent resolutions.

The concurrent resolutions establishing a commission shall:

(1)        Set forth the purposes that are to be vested in the commission  pursuant to G.S. 153A-402;

(2)        Determine the composition of the commission, the manner of appointment of its members, and the manner of selection of its officers;

(3)        Determine the compensation, if any, to be paid to commission  members;

(4)        Provide for the organizational meeting of the commission;

(5)        Set out the method for determining the financial support that will be given to the commission by each of the governments establishing the commission;

(6)        Set forth the date by which the commission is to complete its work;

(7)        Set forth any other directions or limitations considered necessary. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-404.  Powers of a commission.

A commission established pursuant to this Article may:

(1)        Adopt rules and regulations for the conduct of its business;

(2)        Apply for, accept, receive, and disburse funds, grants, and services made available to it by the State of North Carolina or any agency thereof, the federal government or any agency thereof, any unit of local government, or any private or civic agency;

(3)        Employ personnel;

(4)        Contract with consultants;

(5)        Hold hearings in the furtherance of its business;

(6)        Take any other action necessary or expedient to the furtherance of its business. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-405.  Referendum; General Assembly action.

(a)        If authorized to do so by the concurrent resolutions that established it, a commission may call a referendum on its proposed plan of governmental consolidation. If authorized or directed in the concurrent resolutions, the ballot question may include the assumption of debt secured by a pledge of faith and credit language and may also include the assumption of the right to issue authorized but unissued faith and credit debt language as provided in subsection (b) of this section. The referendum shall be held in accordance with G.S. 163-287.

(b)        The proposition submitted to the voters shall be substantially in one or more of the following forms and may include part or all of the bracketed language as appropriate and other such modifications as may be needed to reflect the issued debt secured by a pledge of faith and credit of any of the consolidating units or the portion of the authorized but unissued debt secured by a pledge of faith and credit of any of the consolidating units the right to issue which is proposed to be assumed by the consolidated city-county:

(1)        "Shall the County of ______ and the County of ______ be consolidated [and the consolidated unit assume the debt of each secured by a pledge of faith and credit, [the right to issue authorized but unissued debt to be secured by a pledge of faith and credit [(including any such debt as may be authorized for said counties on the date of this referendum)] and any of said authorized but unissued debt as may be hereafter issued,] and be authorized to levy taxes in an amount sufficient to pay the principal of and the interest on said debt secured by a pledge of faith and credit]?

[  ] YES        [  ]  NO"

(2)        "Shall the City of ______ and the City of ______ be consolidated [and the consolidated unit assume the debt of each secured by a pledge of faith and credit, [the right to issue authorized but unissued debt to be secured by a pledge of faith and credit [(including any such debt as may be authorized for said cities on the date of this referendum)] and any of said authorized but unissued debt as may be hereafter issued,] and be authorized to levy taxes in an amount sufficient to pay the principal of and the interest on said debt secured by a pledge of faith and credit]?

[  ]  YES        [  ]  NO"

(3)        "Shall the City of ______ and the County of ______ be consolidated [and the consolidated unit assume the debt of each secured by a pledge of faith and credit, [the right to issue authorized but unissued debt to be secured by a pledge of faith and credit [(including any such debt as may be authorized for said city or county on the date of this referendum)] and any of said authorized but unissued debt as may be hereafter issued,] and be authorized to levy taxes in an amount sufficient to pay the principal of and the interest on said debt secured by a pledge of faith and credit]?

[  ]  YES        [  ]  NO"

(c)        The proposition submitted to the voters shall be substantially in one of the following forms:

(1)        "Shall the County of ______ and the County of ______ be consolidated?

[  ]  YES        [  ]  NO"

(2)        "Shall the City of ______ and the City of ______ be consolidated?

[  ]  YES        [  ]  NO"

(3)        "Shall the City of ______ and the County of ______ be consolidated?

[  ]  YES        [  ]  NO"

(d)       If the proposition is to consolidate two or more counties or to consolidate two or more cities, to be approved it must receive the votes of a majority of those voting in each of the counties or cities, as the case may be. If the proposition is to consolidate one or more cities with a county, to be approved it must receive the votes of a majority of those voting in the referendum. In addition, no governmental consolidation may become effective until enacted into law by the General Assembly.

(e)        Subsection (b) of this section applies to any county that has (i) a population over 120,000 according to the most recent federal decennial census and (ii) an area of less than 200 square miles. Subsection (c) of this section applies to all other counties. If any subsection or provision of this section is declared unconstitutional or invalid by the courts, it does not affect the validity of the section as a whole or any part other than the part so declared to be unconstitutional or invalid, provided that if the classifications in subsections (b) and (c) of this section are held unconstitutional or invalid then subsection (c) of this section is repealed and subsection (b) of this section shall be applicable uniformly to all counties.  (1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1995, c. 461, s. 5; 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 742, s. 38; 2013-381, s. 10.24.)

 

 

Article 21.

§§ 153A-406 through 153A-420.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

 

Article 22.

Regional Solid Waste Management Authorities.

§ 153A-421.  Definitions; applicability; creation of authorities.

(a)        Unless a different meaning is required by the context, terms relating to the management of solid waste used in this Article have the same meaning as in G.S. 130A-2 and in G.S. 130A-290. As used in this Article, the term "solid waste" means nonhazardous solid waste, that is, solid waste as defined in G.S. 130A-290 but not including hazardous waste. In addition to the meaning set out in G.S. 130A-290, the term "unit of local government" means the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians in North Carolina.

(b)        This Article shall not be construed to authorize any authority created pursuant to this Article to regulate or manage hazardous waste. An authority created under this Article may manage sludges, other than a sludge that is a hazardous waste, under rules of the Commission for Public Health and criteria established by the Department of Environmental Quality for the management of sludge.

(c)        Any two or more units of local government may create a regional solid waste management authority by adopting substantially identical resolutions to that effect in accordance with the provisions of this Article. The resolutions creating a regional solid waste management authority and any amendments thereto are referred to in this Article as the "charter" of the regional solid waste management authority. Units of local government which participate in the creation of a regional solid waste management authority are referred to in this Article as "members".

(d)       As used in G.S. 153A-427(a)(24), the term "transferred" means placed at or delivered to any (i) place normally and customarily used by the authority for the collection of solid waste, (ii) other place agreed upon by the generator or owner of recyclable materials and the authority, or (iii) facility owned, operated, or designated by the authority.  (1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 888, s. 1; 1991, c. 580, s. 2; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 932, s. 4; c. 948, s. 1; 1997-443, s. 11A.123; 2007-182, s. 2; 2015-241, s. 14.30(u).)

 

§ 153A-422.  Purposes of an authority.

The purpose of a regional solid waste management authority is to provide environmentally sound, cost effective management of solid waste, including storage, collection, transporting, separation, processing, recycling, and disposal of solid waste in order to protect the public health, safety, and welfare; enhance the environment for the people of this State; and recover resources and energy which have the potential for further use and to encourage, implement and promote the purposes set forth in Part 2A of Article 9 of Chapter 130A of the General Statutes. (1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 888, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-423.  Membership; board; delegates.

(a)        Each unit of local government initially adopting a resolution under G.S. 153A-421 shall become a member of the regional solid waste management authority.  Thereafter, any unit of local government may join the authority by ratifying its charter and by being admitted by a unanimous vote of the existing members.  All of the rights and privileges of membership in a regional solid waste management authority shall be exercised on behalf of the member units of local government by a board composed of delegates to the authority who shall be appointed by and shall serve at the pleasure of the governing boards of their respective units of local government.  A vacancy on the board shall be filled by appointment by the governing board of the unit of local government having the original appointment.

(b)        Any delegate appointed by a member unit of local government to an authority created pursuant to this Article who is a county commissioner or city or town alderman or commissioner serves on the board of the authority in an ex officio capacity and such service shall not constitute the holding of an office for the purpose of determining dual office holding under Section 9 of Article VI of the Constitution of North Carolina or of Article 1 of Chapter 128 of the General Statutes. (1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 888, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-424.  Contents of charter.

(a)        The charter of a regional solid waste management authority shall:

(1)        Specify the name of the authority;

(2)        Establish the powers, duties and functions that the authority may exercise and perform;

(3)        Establish the number of delegates to represent the member units of local government and prescribe the compensation and allowances, if any, to be paid to delegates;

(4)        Set out the method of determining the financial support that will be given to the authority by each member unit of local government; and

(5)        Establish a method for amending the charter, and for dissolving the authority and liquidating its assets and liabilities.

(b)        The charter of a regional solid waste management authority may, but need not, contain rules for the conduct of authority business and any other matter pertaining to the organization, powers, and functioning of the authority that the member units of local government deem appropriate. (1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 888, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-425.  Organization of authorities.

The governing board of a regional solid waste management authority shall hold an initial organizational meeting at such time and place as is agreed upon by its member units of local government and shall elect a chairman and any other officers that the charter may specify or the delegates may deem advisable.  The authority shall then adopt bylaws for the conduct of its business.  All meetings of regional solid waste management authorities shall be subject to the provisions of Article 33C of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes. (1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 888, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-426.  Withdrawal from an authority.

If the authority has no outstanding indebtedness, any member may withdraw from a regional solid waste management authority effective at the end of the current fiscal year by giving at least six months notice in writing to each of the other members.  Withdrawal of a member shall not dissolve the authority if at least two members remain. (1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 888, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-427.  Powers of an authority.

(a)        The charter may confer on the regional solid waste management authority any or all of the following powers:

(1)        To apply for, accept, receive, and disburse funds and grants made available to it by the State or any agency thereof, the United States of America or any agency thereof, any unit of local government whether or not a member of the authority, any private or civic agency, and any persons, firms, or corporations;

(2)        To employ personnel;

(3)        To contract with consultants;

(4)        To contract with the United States of America or any agency or instrumentality thereof, the State or any agency, instrumentality, political subdivision, or municipality thereof, or any private corporation, partnership, association, or individual, providing for the acquisition, construction, improvement, enlargement, operation or maintenance of any solid waste management facility, or providing for any solid waste management services;

(5)        To adopt bylaws for the regulation of its affairs and the conduct of its business and to prescribe rules and policies in connection with the performance of its functions and duties, not inconsistent with this Article;

(6)        To adopt an official seal and alter the same;

(7)        To establish and maintain suitable administrative buildings or offices at such place or places as it may determine by purchase, construction, lease, or other arrangements either by the authority alone or through appropriate cost-sharing arrangements with any unit of local government or other person;

(8)        To sue and be sued in its own name, and to plead and be impleaded;

(9)        To receive, administer, and comply with the conditions and requirements respecting any gift, grant, or donation of any property or money;

(10)      To acquire by purchase, lease, gift, or otherwise, or to obtain options for the acquisition of any property, real or personal, improved or unimproved, including an interest in land less than the fee thereof;

(11)      To sell, lease, exchange, transfer, or otherwise dispose of, or to grant options for any such purposes with respect to any real or personal property or interest therein;

(12)      To pledge, assign, mortgage, or otherwise grant a security interest in any real or personal property or interest therein, including the right and power to pledge, assign, or otherwise grant a security interest in any money, rents, charges, or other revenues and any proceeds derived by an authority from any and all sources;

(13)      To issue revenue bonds of the authority and enter into other financial arrangements including those permitted by this Chapter and Chapters 159, 159I, and 160A of the General Statutes to finance solid waste management activities, including but not limited to systems and facilities for waste reduction, materials recovery, recycling, resource recovery, landfilling, ash management, and disposal and for related support facilities, to refund any revenue bonds or notes issued by the authority, whether or not in advance of their maturity or earliest redemption date, or to provide funds for other corporate purposes of the authority;

(14)      With the approval of any unit of local government, to use officers, employees, agents, and facilities of the unit of local government for such purposes and upon such terms as may be mutually agreeable;

(15)      To develop and make data, plans, information, surveys, and studies of solid waste management facilities within the territorial jurisdiction of the members of the authority, to prepare and make recommendations in regard thereto;

(16)      To study, plan, design, construct, operate, acquire, lease, and improve systems and facilities, including systems and facilities for waste reduction, materials recovery, recycling, resource recovery, landfilling, ash management, household hazardous waste management, transportation, disposal, and public education regarding solid waste management, in order to provide environmentally sound, cost-effective management of solid waste including storage, collection, transporting, separation, processing, recycling, and disposal of solid waste in order to protect the public health, safety, and welfare; to enhance the environment for the people of this State; recover resources and energy which have the potential for further use, and to promote and implement the purposes set forth in Part 2A of Article 9 of Chapter 130A of the General Statutes;

(17)      To locate solid waste facilities, including ancillary support facilities, as the authority may see fit;

(18)      To assume any responsibility for disposal and management of solid waste imposed by law on any member unit of local government;

(19)      To operate such facilities together with any person, firm, corporation, the State, any entity of the State, or any unit of local government as appropriate and otherwise permitted by its charter and the laws of this State;

(20)      To set and collect such fees and charges as is reasonable to offset operating costs, debt service, and capital reserve requirements of the authority;

(21)      To apply to the appropriate agencies of the State, the United States of America or any state thereof, and to any other appropriate agency for such permits, licenses, certificates, or approvals as may be necessary, and to construct, maintain, and operate projects in accordance with such permits, licenses, certificates, or approvals in the same manner as any other person or operating unit of any other person;

(22)      To employ engineers, architects, attorneys, real estate counselors, appraisers, financial advisors, and such other consultants and employees as may be required in the judgment of the authority, to fix and pay their compensation from funds available to the authority therefor, to select and retain, subject to approval of the Local Government Commission, the financial consultants, underwriters, and bond attorneys to be associated with the issuance of any revenue bonds, and to pay for services rendered by financial consultants, underwriters, or bond attorneys from funds available to the authority including the proceeds of any revenue bond issue with regard to which the services were performed;

(23)      To acquire property located within the territorial jurisdiction of any member unit of local government by eminent domain pursuant to authority granted to counties;

(24)      To require that any and all (i) solid waste generated within the authority's service area and (ii) recyclable materials generated within the authority's service area and transferred to the authority be separated and delivered to specific locations and facilities provided that if a private landfill shall be substantially affected by such requirement then the regional solid waste management authority shall be required to give the operator of the affected landfill at least two years written notice prior to the effective date of the requirement; and

(25)      To do all things necessary, convenient, or desirable to carry out the purposes and to exercise the powers granted to an authority under its charter.

(b)        The acquisition and disposal of real and personal property by an authority created under this Article shall be governed by those provisions of the General Statutes which govern the acquisition and disposal of real and personal property by counties, except that Article 8 of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes and Part 3 of Article 8 of Chapter 153A of the General Statutes do not apply. No authority created pursuant to this Article shall exercise any power of eminent domain with respect to any property located outside the territorial jurisdiction of the members of such authority.

(c)        Each authority's plan shall take into consideration facilities and other resources for management of solid waste which may be available through private enterprise. This Article shall be construed to encourage the involvement and participation of private enterprise in solid waste management. An authority created pursuant to this Article shall establish goals for the procurement of goods and services from minority and historically underutilized businesses. (1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 888, s. 1; 1991, c. 580, s. 1; 2007-131, ss. 1, 2.)

 

§ 153A-428.  Fiscal accountability; support from other governments.

(a)        A regional solid waste management authority is a public authority subject to the provisions of Chapter 159 of the General Statutes.

(b)        The establishment and operation of an authority as herein authorized are governmental functions and constitute a public purpose, and the State and any unit of local government may appropriate funds to support the establishment and operation of an authority.

(c)        The State and any unit of local government may also dedicate, sell, convey, donate, or lease any of their interests in any property to an authority. (1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 888, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-429.  Long-term contract permitted by and with an authority.

(a)        To the extent authorized by its charter, an authority may enter into long-term and continuing contracts, not to exceed a term of 60 years, with member or other units of local government for the acquisition, construction, improvement, enlargement, operation, or maintenance of any solid waste management facility or for solid waste management services with respect to solid waste generated within their geographic boundaries or brought into their geographic boundaries.

(b)        Contracts entered into by an authority may include, but are not limited to, provisions for:

(1)        Payment by the members of the authority and other units of local government of a fee or other charge by the authority to accept and dispose of solid waste;

(2)        Periodic adjustments to the fee or other charges to be paid by each member of the authority and such other units of local government;

(3)        Warranties from the members of the authority and such other units of local government with respect to the quantity of the solid waste which will be delivered to the authority and warranties relating to the content or quality of the solid waste; and

(4)        Legal and equitable title to the solid waste passing to the authority upon delivery of the solid waste to the authority. (1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 888, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-430.  Compliance with other law.

(a)        Repealed by Session Laws 1989 (Regular Session, 1990), c. 1004, s. 47, effective July 20, 1990.

(b)        An authority created pursuant to this Article shall comply with all applicable federal and State laws, regulations, and rules, including specifically those enacted or adopted for the management of solid waste or for the protection of the environment or public health.

(c)        Except as provided by subsection (d) of this section, a unit of local government that is exempt from compliance with State laws or rules enacted or adopted for the management of solid waste or for the protection of the environment shall, by becoming a member of a regional solid waste management authority created under this Article and as a condition of such membership, agree to comply with and to be bound by all applicable federal and State laws, regulations, and rules enacted or adopted for the management of solid waste and for the protection of the environment with respect to all solid waste management activities of the authority within the territorial jurisdiction of the unit of local government and with respect to all solid waste management activities performed by the unit of local government in connection with membership in the authority.

(d)       A unit of local government that is exempt from compliance with State laws or rules enacted or adopted for the management of solid waste shall obtain all permits that may be necessary for the conduct of solid waste management activities within the territorial jurisdiction of the unit of local government as provided by federal law and regulations. Responsibility for the enforcement of laws, regulations, and rules enacted or adopted for the management of solid waste within the territorial jurisdiction of a unit of local government that is exempt from compliance with State laws or rules enacted or adopted for the management of solid waste shall be as provided by federal law and regulations. (1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 888, s. 1; c. 1004, s. 47; c. 1075, s. 5; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 948, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-431.  Issuance of revenue bonds and notes.

The State and Local Government Revenue Bond Act, Article 5 of Chapter 159 of the General Statutes, governs the issuance of revenue bonds by an authority.  Article 9 of Chapter 159 of the General Statutes governs the issuance of notes in anticipation of the sale of revenue bonds. (1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 888, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-432.  Advances.

Any member or other units of local government may make advances from any monies that may be available for such purpose, in connection with the creation of an authority and to provide for the preliminary expenses of an authority.  Any such advances may be repaid to such member or other units of local government from the proceeds of the revenue bonds or anticipation notes issued by such authority or from funds otherwise available to the authority. (1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 888, s. 1.)

 

§§ 153A-433 through 153A-434:  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

 

Article 23.

Miscellaneous Provisions.

§ 153A-435.  Liability insurance; damage suits against a county involving governmental functions.

(a)        A county may contract to insure itself and any of its officers, agents, or employees against liability for wrongful death or negligent or intentional damage to person or property or against absolute liability for damage to person or property caused by an act or omission of the county or of any of its officers, agents, or employees when acting within the scope of their authority and the course of their employment. The board of commissioners shall determine what liabilities and what officers, agents, and employees shall be covered by any insurance purchased pursuant to this subsection.

Purchase of insurance pursuant to this subsection waives the county's governmental immunity, to the extent of insurance coverage, for any act or omission occurring in the exercise of a governmental function. Participation in a local government risk pool pursuant to Article 23 of General Statute Chapter 58 shall be deemed to be the purchase of insurance for the purposes of this section. By entering into an insurance contract with the county, an insurer waives any defense based upon the governmental immunity of the county.

If a county uses a funded reserve instead of purchasing insurance against liability for wrongful death, negligence, or intentional damage to personal property, or absolute liability for damage to person or property caused by an act or omission of the county or any of its officers, agents, or employees acting within the scope of their authority and the course of their employment, the county board of commissioners may adopt a resolution that deems the creation of a funded reserve to be the same as the purchase of insurance under this section. Adoption of such a resolution waives the county's governmental immunity only to the extent specified in the board's resolution, but in no event greater than funds available in the funded reserve for the payment of claims.

(b)        If a county has waived its governmental immunity pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, any person, or if he dies, his personal representative, sustaining damages as a result of an act or omission of the county or any of its officers, agents, or employees, occurring in the exercise of a governmental function, may sue the county for recovery of damages. To the extent of the coverage of insurance purchased pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, governmental immunity may not be a defense to the action. Otherwise, however, the county has all defenses available to private litigants in any action brought pursuant to this section without restriction, limitation, or other effect, whether the defense arises from common law or by virtue of a statute.

Despite the purchase of insurance as authorized by subsection (a) of this section, the liability of a county for acts or omissions occurring in the exercise of governmental functions does not attach unless the plaintiff waives the right to have all issues of law or fact relating to insurance in the action determined by a jury. The judge shall hear and determine these issues without resort to a jury, and the jury shall be absent during any motion, argument, testimony, or announcement of findings of fact or conclusions of law relating to these issues unless the defendant requests a jury trial on them. (1955, c. 911, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 1027, s. 27; 2003-175, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-436.  Photographic reproduction of county records.

(a)        A county may provide for the reproduction, by photocopy, photograph, microphotograph, or any other method of reproduction that gives legible and permanent copies, of instruments, documents, and other papers filed with the register of deeds and of any other county records. The county shall keep each reproduction of an instrument, document, paper, or other record in a fire-resistant file, vault, or similar container. If a duplicate reproduction is made to provide a security-copy, the county shall keep the duplicate in a fire-resistant file, vault, or similar container separate from that housing the principal reproduction.

If a county has provided for reproducing records, any custodian of public records of the county may cause to be reproduced any of the records under, or coming under, his custody.

(b)        If a county has provided for reproducing some or all county records, the custodian of any instrument, document, paper, or other record may permit it to be removed from its regular repository for up to 24 hours in order to be reproduced. An instrument, document, paper or other record may be removed from the county in order to be reproduced. The board of commissioners may permit an instrument, document, paper, or other record to be removed for longer than 24 hours if a longer period is necessary to complete the process of reproduction.

(c)        The original of any instrument, document, or other paper received by the register of deeds and reproduced pursuant to this Article shall be filed, maintained, and disposed of in accordance with G.S. 161-17 and G.S. 121-5. The original of any other county record that is reproduced pursuant to this Article may be kept by the county or disposed of pursuant to G.S. 121-5.

(d)       If an instrument, document, or other paper received by the register of deeds is reproduced pursuant to this Article, the recording of the reproduction is a sufficient recording for all purposes.

(e)        A reproduction, made pursuant to this Article, of an instrument, document, paper, or other record is as admissible in evidence in any judicial or administrative proceeding as the original itself, whether the original is extant or not. An enlargement or other facsimile of the reproduction is also admissible in evidence if the original reproduction is extant and available for inspection under the direction of the court or administrative agency.

(f)        The provisions of this section shall apply to records stored on any form of permanent, computer-readable media, such as a CD-ROM, if the medium is not subject to erasure or alteration. Nonerasable, computer-readable storage media may be used for preservation duplicates, as defined in G.S. 132-8.2, or for the preservation of permanently valuable records as provided in G.S. 121-5(d).  (1945, c. 286, ss. 1-7; c. 944; 1951, c. 19, ss. 1-6; 1953, c. 675, ss. 23, 24; 1957, c. 330, s. 3; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1999-131, s. 4; 1999-456, s. 47(d); 2011-326, s. 13(d).)

 

§ 153A-436.1.  SBI and State Crime Laboratory access to view and analyze recordings.

The local law enforcement agency of any county that uses the services of the State Bureau of Investigation or the North Carolina State Crime Laboratory to analyze a recording covered by G.S. 132-1.4A shall, at no cost, provide access to a method to view and analyze the recording upon request of the State Bureau of Investigation or the North Carolina State Crime Laboratory.  (2016-88, s. 2(a).)

 

§ 153A-437.  Assistance to historical organizations.

(a)        A county or city may appropriate revenues not otherwise limited as to use by law to a local historical or preservation society, museum, or other similar organization. Before such an appropriation may be made, the recipient organization shall adopt and present to the county or city a resolution requesting the funds and describing the intended use of the funds. The funds may be used for preserving historic sites, buildings, structures, areas, or objects; for recording and publishing materials relating to the history of the  area; for establishing or maintaining historical museums or projects;  for paying salaries of personnel employed in such museums or projects; for the costs of acquiring, recording, and maintaining materials and equipment; and for any other purposes that are approved by the county or city and that contribute to the preservation of historic sites, buildings, structures, areas, or objects, or historic materials. The ordinance making the appropriation shall state specifically what the appropriation is to be used for, and the governing board of the county or city shall require that the recipient account for the appropriation at the close of the fiscal year.

(b)        A county or city, a board of education, or the board of trustees of a public library may make available space in a building under its control to a local historical society, historical museum, or other historical organization.

(c)        This section is supplemental to and does not supersede any other law. (1955, c. 371, ss. 1-4; 1957, c. 398; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-438.  Beach erosion control and flood and hurricane protection works.

A county may appropriate revenues not otherwise limited as to use by law to finance the acquisition, construction, reconstruction, extension, maintenance, improvement, or enlargement of groins, jetties, dikes, moles, walls, sand dunes, vegetation, or other types of works or improvements that are designed for controlling beach erosion, for protection from hurricane floods, or for preserving or restoring facilities and natural features that afford protection to the beaches and other land areas of the county and to the life and property of the county. (1965, c. 307, s. 1; 1971, c. 1159, s. 3; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-439.  Support of extension activities; personnel rules for extension employees.

(a)        A county may support the work of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service and for these purposes may appropriate revenues not otherwise limited as to use by law.

(b)        The policies adopted by the Board of Trustees of North Carolina State University for the employees of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service shall govern the employment of employees exempted from certain provisions of Chapter 126 of the General Statutes pursuant to G.S. 126-5(c1)(9a). The policies adopted by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and the employing constituent institution shall govern the employment of employees of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service exempted from certain provisions of Chapter 126 of the General Statutes pursuant to G.S. 126-5(c1)(8). (1911, c. 1; C.S., s. 1297; 1957, c. 1004, s. 5; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 2007-195, s. 3.)

 

§ 153A-440.  Promotion of soil and water conservation work.

A county may cooperate with and support the work of the Federal Soil Conservation Service and the State and local soil and water conservation agencies and districts and for these purposes may appropriate revenues not otherwise limited as to use by law. (1959, c. 1213; 1961, cc. 266, 290, 301, 579, 581, 582, 584, 656, 693, 705, 809, 1126; 1963, cc. 290, 701; 1965, cc. 531, 702; 1967, c. 319; 1969, c. 64, s. 1; c. 174, s. 1; c. 1003, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-440.1.  Watershed improvement programs; drainage and water resources development projects.

(a)        A county may establish and maintain a county watershed  improvement program pursuant to G.S. 139-41 or 139-41.1 and for these purposes may appropriate funds not otherwise limited as to use by law. A county watershed improvement program or project may also be financed pursuant to G.S. 153A-301, G.S. 153A-185 or by any other financing method available to counties for this purpose.

(b)        A county may establish and maintain drainage projects and water resources development projects (as those projects are defined by G.S. 153A-301) and for these purposes may appropriate funds not otherwise limited as to use by law. A county drainage project or water resources development project may also be financed pursuant to G.S. 153A-301, G.S. 153A-185, or by any other financing method available to counties for this purpose. (1981, c. 251, s. 2; 1983, c. 321, ss. 5, 6.)

 

§ 153A-441.  County surveyor.

A county may appoint a person registered as a land surveyor pursuant to Chapter 89 as county surveyor. (Const., art. 7, s. 1; Rev., s. 4296; C. S., s. 1383; 1959, c. 1237, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-442.  Animal shelters.

A county may establish, equip, operate, and maintain an animal shelter or may contribute to the support of an animal shelter, and for these purposes may appropriate funds not otherwise limited as to use by law. The animal shelters shall meet the same standards as animal shelters regulated by the Department of Agriculture pursuant to its authority under Chapter 19A of the General Statutes. (1973, c. 822, s. 1; 2004-199, s. 39(a).)

 

§ 153A-443.  Redesignation of site of "courthouse door," etc.

If a county determines that the traditional location of the "courthouse," the "courthouse door," the "courthouse bulletin board" or the "courthouse steps" has become inappropriate or inconvenient for the doing of any act or the posting of any notice required by law to be done or posted at such a site, the county may by ordinance designate some appropriate or more convenient location for the site. The board of commissioners shall cause such an ordinance to be published at least once within 30 days after the day it is adopted and shall cause a copy of it to be posted for 60 days at the traditional location. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-444.  Parks and recreation.

A county may establish parks and provide recreational programs pursuant to Chapter 160A, Article 18. (1973, c. 822, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-445.  Miscellaneous powers found in Chapter 160A.

(a)        A county may take action under the following provisions of Chapter 160A:

(1)        Chapter 160A, Article 20, Part 1. - Joint Exercise of Powers.

(2)        Chapter 160A, Article 20, Part 2. - Regional Councils of Governments.

(3)        G.S. 160A-487. - Financial support for rescue squads.

(4)        G.S. 160A-488. - Art galleries and museums.

(5)        G.S. 160A-492. - Human relations programs.

(6)        G.S. 160A-497. - Senior citizens programs.

(7)        G.S. 160A-489. - Auditoriums, coliseums, and convention and civic centers.

(8)        G.S. 160A-498. - Railroad corridor preservation.

(b)        This section is for reference only, and the failure of any section of Chapter 160A to appear in this section does not affect the applicability of that section to counties. (1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1975, c. 19, s. 61; 1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1094, s. 3; 1981, c. 692, s. 3; 1989, c. 600, s. 6.)

 

§ 153A-446.  County may offer reward for information as to persons damaging county property.

The board of county commissioners is authorized to offer and pay rewards in an amount not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500.00) for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person who willfully defaces, damages or destroys, or commits acts of vandalism or larceny of any county property. The amount necessary to pay said rewards shall be an item in the current expense budget of the county. (1975, c. 258.)

 

§ 153A-447.  Certain counties may appropriate funds to Western North Carolina Development Association, Inc.

(a)        The board of county commissioners of the counties hereafter named are authorized to appropriate funds to the Western North Carolina Development Association, Inc., for the public good and welfare of said counties. The amount to be expended by each county shall be determined in the discretion of the board of commissioners.

(b)        This section shall apply to the counties of Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, McDowell, Macon, Madison, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, and Yancey. (1979, c. 674, ss. 1, 2.)

 

§ 153A-448.  Mountain ridge protection.

Counties may enact and enforce mountain ridge protection ordinances pursuant to Article 14 of Chapter 113A of the General Statutes, and in such enactment and enforcement shall comply with all applicable provisions of Article 14 unless the county has removed itself from the coverage of Article 14 through the procedure provided  by law. (1983, c. 676, s. 2.)

 

§ 153A-449.  Contracts with private entities; contractors must use E-Verify.

(a)        Authority. - A county may contract with and appropriate money to any person, association, or corporation, in order to carry out any public purpose that the county is authorized by law to engage in. A county may not require a private contractor under this section to abide by regulations or controls on the contractor's employment practices or mandate or prohibit the provision of goods, services, or accommodations to any member of the public as a condition of bidding on a contract or a qualification-based selection, except as otherwise required or allowed by State law.

(b)        Repealed by Session Laws 2015-294, s. 1(c), effective October 1, 2015, and applicable to contracts entered into on or after that date.  (1985, c. 271, s. 2; 2013-413, s. 5(c); 2013-418, s. 2(a); 2014-119, s. 13(b); 2015-294, s. 1(c); 2016-3, 2nd Ex. Sess., s. 2.2.)

 

§ 153A-450.  Contracts for construction of satellite campuses of community colleges.

(a)        Boards of county commissioners may enter into contracts for the construction of satellite campuses of community colleges, to be located in their counties.

(b)        The board of county commissioners of the county in which a satellite campus of a community college is to be constructed shall submit the plans for the satellite facility's construction to the board of trustees of the community college that will be operating the facility for its approval prior to entering into any contract for the construction of the satellite facility.

(c)        A satellite facility may be used only as a satellite facility of the community college that operates it and for no other purpose except as approved by the board of trustees of the community college that has been assigned the county where the satellite facility is located as a service delivery area either by an act of the General Assembly or by the State Board of Community Colleges. (1985, c. 757, s. 148(b), (d), (e); 1987, c. 564, ss. 11, 12.)

 

§ 153A-451.  Reimbursement agreements.

(a)        A county may enter into reimbursement agreements with private developers and property owners for the design and construction of municipal infrastructure that is included on the county's Capital Improvement Plan and serves the developer or property owner. For the purpose of this act, municipal infrastructure includes, without limitation, water mains, sanitary sewer lines, lift stations, stormwater lines, streets, curb and gutter, sidewalks, traffic control devices, and other associated facilities.

(b)        A county shall enact ordinances setting forth procedures and terms under which such agreements may be approved.

(c)        A county may provide for such reimbursements to be paid from any lawful source.

(d)       Reimbursement agreements authorized by this section shall not be subject to Article 8 of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes, except as provided by this subsection. A developer or property owner who is party to a reimbursement agreement authorized under this section shall solicit bids in accordance with Article 8 of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes when awarding contracts for work that would have required competitive bidding if the contract had been awarded by the county. (2005-426, s. 8(b).)

 

§ 153A-452.  Restriction of certain forestry activities prohibited.

(a)        The following definitions apply to this section:

(1)        Development. - Any activity, including timber harvesting, that is associated with the conversion of forestland to nonforest use.

(2)        Forest management plan. - A document that defines a landowner's forest management objectives and describes specific measures to be taken to achieve those objectives. A forest management plan shall include silvicultural practices that both ensure optimal forest productivity and environmental protection of land by either commercially growing timber through the establishment of forest stands or by ensuring the proper regeneration of forest stands to commercial levels of production after the harvest of timber.

(3)        Forestland. - Land that is devoted to growing trees for the production of timber, wood, and other forest products.

(4)        Forestry. - The professional practice embracing the science, business, and art of creating, conserving, and managing forests and forestland for the sustained use and enjoyment of their resources, materials, or other forest products.

(5)        Forestry activity. - Any activity associated with the growing, managing, harvesting, and related transportation, reforestation, or protection of trees and timber, provided that such activities comply with existing State rules and regulations pertaining to forestry.

(b)        A county shall not adopt or enforce any ordinance, rule, regulation, or resolution that regulates either:

(1)        Forestry activity on forestland that is taxed on the basis of its present-use value as forestland under Article 12 of Chapter 105 of the General Statutes.

(2)        Forestry activity that is conducted in accordance with a forest management plan.

(c)        This section shall not be construed to limit, expand, or otherwise alter the authority of a county to:

(1)        Regulate activity associated with development. A county may deny a building permit or refuse to approve a site or subdivision plan for either a period of up to:

a.         Three years after the completion of a timber harvest if the harvest results in the removal of all or substantially all of the trees that were protected under county regulations governing development from the tract of land for which the permit or approval is sought.

b.         Five years after the completion of a timber harvest if the harvest results in the removal of all or substantially all of the trees that were protected under county regulations governing development from the tract of land for which the permit or approval is sought and the harvest was a willful violation of the county regulations.

(2)        Regulate trees pursuant to any local act of the General Assembly.

(3)        Adopt ordinances that are necessary to comply with any federal or State law, regulation, or rule.

(4)        Exercise its planning or zoning authority under Article 18 of this Chapter. (2005-447, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-453.  Quarterly reports by Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services area authority or county program.

Quarterly reports by the area director and finance officer of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services area authorities or county programs shall be submitted to the county finance officer as provided under G.S. 122C-117(c). (2006-142, s. 3(b).)

 

§ 153A-454.  Stormwater control.

(a)        A county may adopt and enforce a stormwater control ordinance to protect water quality and control water quantity. A county may adopt a stormwater management ordinance pursuant to this Chapter, other applicable laws, or any combination of these powers.

(b)        A federal, State, or local government project shall comply with the requirements of a county stormwater control ordinance unless the federal, State, or local government agency has a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) stormwater permit that applies to the project. A county may take enforcement action to compel a State or local government agency to comply with a stormwater control ordinance that implements the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) stormwater permit issued to the county. To the extent permitted by federal law, including Chapter 26 of Title 33 of the United States Code, a county may take enforcement action to compel a federal government agency to comply with a stormwater control ordinance.

(c)        A county may implement illicit discharge detection and elimination controls, construction site stormwater runoff controls, and post-construction runoff controls through an ordinance or other regulatory mechanism to the extent allowable under State law.

(d)       A county that holds a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit issued pursuant to G.S. 143-214.7 may adopt an ordinance to establish the stormwater control program necessary for the county to comply with the permit. A county may adopt an ordinance that bans illicit discharges. A county may adopt an ordinance that requires (i) deed restrictions and protective covenants to ensure that each project, including the stormwater management system, will be maintained so as to protect water quality and control water quantity and (ii) financial arrangements to ensure that adequate funds are available for the maintenance and replacement costs of the project. (2006-246, s. 17(a).)

 

§ 153A-455.  Program to finance energy improvements.

(a)        Purpose. - The General Assembly finds it is in the best interest of the citizens of North Carolina to promote and encourage renewable energy and energy efficiency within the State in order to conserve energy, promote economic competitiveness, and expand employment in the State. The General Assembly also finds that a county has an integral role in furthering this purpose by promoting and encouraging renewable energy and energy efficiency within the county's territorial jurisdiction. In furtherance of this purpose, a county may establish a program to finance the purchase and installation of distributed generation renewable energy sources or energy efficiency improvements that are permanently affixed to residential, commercial, or other real property.

(b)        Financing Assistance. - A county may establish a revolving loan fund and a loan loss reserve fund for the purpose of financing or assisting in the financing of the purchase and installation of distributed generation renewable energy sources or energy efficiency improvements that are permanently fixed to residential, commercial, or other real property. A county may establish other local government energy efficiency and distributed generation renewable energy source finance programs funded through federal grants. A county may use State and federal grants and loans and its general revenue for this financing. The annual interest rate charged for the use of funds from the revolving fund may not exceed eight percent (8%) per annum, excluding other fees for loan application review and origination. The term of any loan originated under this section may not be greater than 20 years.

(c)        Definition. - As used in this Article, "renewable energy source" has the same meaning as "renewable energy resource" in G.S. 62-133.8.  (2009-522, s. 2; 2010-167, s. 4(a).)

 

§ 153A-456.  Limitation on the use of public funds.

A county shall not use public funds to endorse or oppose a referendum, election or a particular candidate for elective office.  (2010-114, s. 1.5(a).)

 

§ 153A-457.  Notice prior to construction.

(a)        A county shall notify the property owners and adjacent property owners prior to commencement of any construction project by the county.

(b)        Notice under this section shall be in writing at least 15 days prior to the commencement of construction, except in any of the following instances:

(1)        If the construction is of an emergency nature, the notice may be given by any means, including verbally, that the county has for contacting the property owner within a reasonable time prior to, or after, commencement of the construction.

(2)        The property owner requests action of the county that requires construction activity.

(3)        The property owner consents to less than 15 days' notice.

(4)        Notice of the construction project is given in any open meeting of the county prior to the commencement of the construction project.

(c)        For purposes of this section, "construction" shall mean the building, erection, or establishment of new buildings, facilities, and infrastructure and shall not include routine maintenance and repair.  (2015-246, s. 12(a); 2015-286, s. 1.8(c).)

 

§ 153A-458. Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-459. Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-460. Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-461. Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-462. Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-463. Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-464. Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-465. Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-466. Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-467. Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-468. Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-469. Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 153A-470. Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

 

Article 24.

Unified Government.

§ 153A-471.  Unified government.

(a)        Except as provided in this section, the powers, duties, functions, rights, privileges, and immunities of a city are vested with any county that has either:

(1)        No portion of an incorporated municipality located within its boundaries; or

(2)        One incorporated municipality located within the county, but the land area of that municipality is located primarily in another county and consists of less than 100 acres within the county exercising powers under this Article.

(b)        All of the following shall apply to any county exercising the powers, duties, functions, rights, privileges, and immunities of a city under this Article:

(1)        It may not exercise any such powers, duties, functions, rights, privileges, and immunities outside the boundaries of the county.

(2)        Article 4A of Chapter 160A of the General Statutes (Extension of Corporate Limits) does not apply.

(3)        Article 5 of Chapter 160A of the General Statutes (Form of Government) does not apply.

(4)        Article 7 of Chapter 160A of the General Statutes (Administrative Offices) does not apply.

(5)        Article 13 of Chapter 160A of the General Statutes (Law Enforcement) does not apply.

(6)        G.S. 153A-340(b) (Zoning of Bona Fide Farms) shall apply to all areas within the county boundaries.

(7)        The provisions of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes relating to municipal elections do not apply except to the extent they applied to the county absent this Article.

(8)        If the county is subject to this Article under subdivision (a)(2) of this section, it may not exercise any such powers, duties, functions, rights, privileges, and immunities within the corporate limits of the municipality located partly within the county.

(c)        The board of commissioners may by ordinance provide that this Article does not confer the power, duty, function, right, privilege, or immunity of a city upon the county as to a specific power, duty, function, right, privilege, or immunity, and as to such specified power, duty, function, right, privilege, or immunity it shall not be considered as a city.

(d)       If the board of commissioners exercises any power, duty, function, right, privilege, or immunity authorized under both Chapter 153A and Chapter 160A of the General Statutes, and those statutes conflict, the board of commissioners shall state in their minutes under which Chapter the power, duty, function, right, privilege, or immunity is being exercised. (2005-35, s. 1; 2005-433, s. 10(a).)

 

§ 153A-472.  Definitions.

For the purposes of this Article, any statutory reference to:

(1)        A city shall be construed as a reference to a county.

(2)        A city council or governing board shall be construed as a reference to the board of commissioners.

(3)        The mayor shall be construed as a reference to the chair of the board of commissioners.

(4)        Any other city official shall be construed as a reference to the equivalent county official. (2005-35, s. 1.)

 

§ 153A-472.1.  Property tax levy.

If a county is subject to this Article under G.S. 153A-471(a)(2), it may not levy property taxes on the entire county for any function authorized by this Article but not otherwise authorized by law for counties. Instead, the county may establish a county service district under Part 1 of Article 16 of this Chapter, to consist of the entire area of the county not in an incorporated municipality. (2005-433, s. 10(a).)

 

§ 153A-473.  Applicability.

This Article only applies to a county if approved by the qualified voters of the county in a referendum called by the board of commissioners in accordance with G.S. 163-287. The referendum shall be conducted by the county board of elections in accordance with the provisions of law generally applicable to special elections. The ballot question shall be determined by the board of commissioners after consultation with the county attorney as to form. (2005-35, s. 1.)