LOCAL GOVERNMENT REGULATORY REFORM 2015. (NEW)

View NCGA Bill Details2015-2016 Session
House Bill 44 (Public) Filed Tuesday, February 3, 2015
AN ACT TO REFORM VARIOUS PROVISIONS OF THE LAW RELATED TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT.
Intro. by Conrad, Lambeth, Hanes, Terry.

Status: Ch. SL 2015-246 (House Action) (Sep 23 2015)

SOG comments (2):

Identical bill

Bill is identical to S 53 as filed on 2/10/15.

Long title change

Senate committee substitute to the 1st edition changed the long title. Original long title was AN ACT AUTHORIZING CITIES TO PROVIDE ANNUAL NOTICE TO CHRONIC VIOLATORS OF OVERGROWN VEGETATION ORDINANCES BY REGULAR MAIL AND POSTING.

Bill History:

H 44/S.L. 2015-246

Bill Summaries:

  • Summary date: Sep 28 2015 - More information

    AN ACT TO REFORM VARIOUS PROVISIONS OF THE LAW RELATED TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT. Enacted September 23, 2015. Effective September 23, 2015, except as otherwise provided.


  • Summary date: Sep 16 2015 - More information

    New conference report makes the following changes to the 3rd edition.

    Section 2 recodifies proposed GS 153A-145.3 as GS 153A-145.6 and establishes new catchlines for GS 153A-145.6 (counties) and GS 160A-205.1(municipalities). Further amends both proposed sections to provide that cities and counties are prohibited from requiring compliance with a state department or agency's voluntary regulation or rule as well specified rules from the Environment Management Commission that have been delayed by the General Assembly (previously, did not include rules delayed by the General Assembly).  Specifies that the statutes apply to regulations and rules (1) currently in effect, (2) repealed or expired, (3) temporarily or permanently held in abeyance, or (4) those adopted but not yet effective (previously, applied to those enacted but not yet effective). Adds language providing that the above provisions do not apply to water usage restrictions during extreme or exceptional drought conditions.

    Section 3 deletes proposed changes made to GS 160A-360.1 which provided three options for applying ordinances that the owner of a development tract may choose from when an ordinance under GS Chapter 160A, Article 19, Planning and Regulation of Development, applied to a development tract lying partly within municipal corporate limits and partly within the county and more than 50% of the tract is outside of the municipal corporate limits.

    Adds a new section amending GS 160A-365, enforcement of ordinances, to require cities and property owners to certify that any enforcement or application of a city ordinance concerning development regulation outside the territorial jurisdiction of a city is not being done under coercion or on the basis or representation that the city would not approve of specified land use planning from the property owner if the city ordinance was not enforced outside the territorial jurisdiction of the city. 

    **Note: the changes made in Section 3.5 differ from those made by the previously reported conference report. Section 3.5 makes the following changes. Makes clarifying changes to GS 87-97(e) providing that the issuance of a determination on whether or not a proposed drinking water well can be constructed or repaired must be issued within 30 days of receipt of an application for such, must be made in accordance with GS 87-97.1 and GS 87-97.2. This section becomes effective December 1, 2015, and applies to permits issued on or after that date.  

    Deletes proposed GS 87-97(m) which required the local health department, after receiving an application for a construction permit for a new private drinking water well, and before issuing the permit, to determine if the property is within a jurisdictional area served by a public water system and take one of three specified actions.

    Enacts GS 87-98.14, reciprocity, allowing well contractors licensed or certified in other states, that present valid proof of such licensure or certification, to sit for examination for the same or equivalent in NC without delay. Requires the furnishing of satisfactory proof that the qualifications of such applicants are equal to those similarly licensed or certified in NC. This section becomes effective December 1, 2015, and applies to permits issued on or after that date.

    Enacts new GS 87-97.1, issuance of permit for irrigation water well, providing that a property owner can apply for and be issued a permit for an irrigation water well whether or not the property is connected to, or served by, a public water system, unless the public authority or government operating it is being assisted by the Local Government Commission. Specifies certain requirements for such an application and defines irrigation water well. The section becomes effective on August 1, 2016.

    Enacts new GS 87-97.2, issuance of permit for property within service area of a public water system, allowing property owners to apply for and be issued permits for private drinking water wells if (1) the well will serve undeveloped or unimproved property located on property that is served by a public water system or (2) the public water system has not installed water lines directly to the property or at this time cannot provide water services at the time the owner desires water service. Provides that permitted property owners cannot be required to connect to public water systems as long as the permitted well is in compliance and in use. Specifies when a private drinking well can remain in operation after connection to a public water system. Also sets out when public water systems can mandate connection, including when a private drinking well has failed and cannot be repaired, the well is contaminated or likely to be contaminated, the public authority operating the public system is being assisted by the Local Government Commission, or the public authority is in the process of expanding or repairing the water system and is actively making progress toward having lines installed and available within 24 months of the permit application (this last authority to mandate connection expires on July 1, 2017). The section becomes effective on August 1, 2016.

    Amends GS 153A-284 (counties) and GS 160A-317 (municipalities) to provide that when developed property is located where it can be served by city or county water lines, and the property owner has connected to that water line, any private water wells can continue to be used for nonpotable purposes so long as the well is not interconnected to the city or county water line. Prohibits cities or counties from requiring property owners to abandon, cap or otherwise compromise the integrity of the well. The section becomes effective on August 1, 2016.

    Amends GS 130A-55(16)a (concerning local sanitary district boards), GS 162A-6(a)(14d) and GS 162A-14(2)d (both concerning water and sewer authorities) adding provisions which provide that property owners of developed property that have private water wells but have connected to water lines can continue to use the private water well for nonpotable purposes, as long as it is not interconnected to the authority's water line. Also prohibits authorities from requiring property owners to abandon, cap or otherwise compromise the integrity of the well. The section becomes effective on August 1, 2016.

    Section 4 makes organizational changes to the proposed changes for GS 153A-340 and GS 160A-381, concerning fence wraps that display signage. Provides that such fence wrap on perimeter fences at a construction site are exempt from the specified zoning regulations pertaining to signage until a certificate of occupancy is issued for the final portion of construction at that site or until 24 months (was, 36 months) from the time the fence wrap was installed, whichever is shorter. Also provides that if construction has not been completed at that sight after 24 months (was, 36 months), then cities or counties can regulate such signage but must continue to allow fence wrapping materials on the perimeter fencing. 

    Section 6 makes the following changes.

    Makes technical corrections.

    Amends GS 115C-441 (concerning obligations incurred by a local school administrative unit) by adding that nothing in the statute requires a contract to be in writing.  Makes conforming and clarifying changes. Requires the procedures established by the finance officer to assure compliance with the statute, and with the provisions of the statute concerning disbursements, to be in accordance with rules adopted by the Local Government Commission. Expands the methods by which a local school administrative unit may pay a bill, invoice, salary, or other claim, to add (1) electronic payment or an electronic funds transfer originated by the local school administrative unity through an official depository, and (2) cash, if the local school administrative unit has adopted a policy authorizing the use of cash, and specifying the limits of the use of cash. Makes related conforming and technical changes.  Adds a provision making an electronic payment or electronic funds transfer subject to the preaudit process according to the statute and any rules adopted by the Local Government Commission. Sets out three exemptions to the certifications required for preaudits and disbursements made by check or draft on an official depository.  Defines the terms electronic funds transfer and electronic payment. Makes additional clarifying and technical changes, including making language gender neutral.

    Changes the effective date of all of Section 6 from July 1, 2015, to October 1, 2015.

    Section 7 deletes the proposed amendments to GS 136-66.1, pertaining to reduction of lanes, and replaces it with an amendment to the North Carolina Unclaimed Property Act. Amends GS 116B-72 to include new subsection (g) allowing the Treasurer of the State of North Carolina to utilize reliable external data, including electronic databases, when examining records of a person to determine compliance with the act.

    Section 8 amends proposed GS 106-645, preventing counties and cities from adopting ordinances prohibiting a person or entity from owning five or fewer beehives. The conference report adds that cities may adopt an ordinance permitting up to five hives so long as the ordinance regulates certain specified placement, setback, height, and removal conditions. Adds a definition of “hive.”

    Section 10 makes technical changes and changes amended GS 130A-248(e) pertaining to prototype franchise plans for food establishments. Once the state Department of Health and Human Services approves a plan, a local health department’s suggested revisions need not necessarily come at the request of the franchise owner or operator. The conference report allows a local health department to impose its suggestions with written approval from the department.

    Section 12 amends proposed GS 153A-147 and GS 160A-499.4 to require a county or city to notify property owners 15 days (was, 30 days) prior to commencement of a construction project and creates a new exception from the requirement when notice is given in any open meeting.

    Section 13 replaces the 3rd edition’s riparian buffer reform with the following. Repeals GS 143-214.23 (e1) and replaces it with GS 143-214.23A. The proposed statute prohibits a local government from enacting an ordinance that establishes a riparian buffer requirement that exceeds requirements necessary to comply with a federal or state law or agency. The proposed statute includes an exception for certain local ordinances enacted prior to August 1, 1997, and creates a process by which a local government may request from the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission an exception allowing it to enact an ordinance to protect water quality. Proposed GS 143-214.23A clarifies that private property owners may use buffer land to satisfy development-related regulatory requirements including density and intensity calculations, tree conservation purposes, open space or conservation requirements, and perimeter buffers. Requires that the riparian buffer area be shown on the recorded plat when riparian buffer requirements are included within a lot. The proposed statute provides that the Environmental Management Commission may adopt rules to enforce the new section.

    Allows a local government ordinance that establishes a riparian buffer requirement for the protection of water quality that exceeds riparian buffer requirements that are necessary to comply with or implement federal or State law or a condition of a permit, certificate, or other approval issued by a federal or State agency that is in effect on October 1, 2015, to remain in effect and enforceable until January 1, 2017. Provides that if the local government ordinance is authorized by the Environmental Management Commission under new GS 143-214.23A(d) on or before January 1, 2017, the ordinance may continue to be in effect and enforceable, but if the local government ordinance is not authorized on or before that date, the ordinance shall no longer be in effect or enforceable.

    Requires the Environmental Management Commission, with the assistance of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, to study ways to provide regulatory relief from the impacts of riparian buffer rules adopted to implement the State's Riparian Buffer Protection Program for parcels of land that were platted on or before the effective date of the applicable riparian buffer rule, including examining ways to fairly provide properties with relief where a change in use has occurred that would otherwise trigger the requirements of the riparian buffer rules. Requires a report on the study results to the Environmental Review Commission by April 1, 2016.

    Provides that for purposes of implementing 15A NCAC 02B .0233 (Neuse River Basin: Nutrient Sensitive Waters Management Strategy: Protection and Maintenance of Existing Riparian Buffers) and 15A NCAC 02B .0259 (Tar-Pamlico River Basin: Nutrient Sensitive Waters Management Strategy: Protection and Maintenance of Existing Riparian Buffers), Zone 1 of a protective riparian buffer for coastal wetlands begins at the most landward limit of the normal high water level or the normal water level, as appropriate.  Defines coastal wetlands as any salt marsh or other marsh subject to regular or occasional flooding by tides whether or not the tidewaters reach the marshland areas through natural or artificial watercourses, provided this shall not include hurricane or tropical storm tides.  Requires the Environmental Management Commission to adopt temporary rules to amend its rules consistent with these provisions.

    Requires the Environmental Management Commission to amend its rules for the protection of existing riparian buffers to provide for the case-by-case modification of the requirement for maintaining woody vegetation in the riparian buffer area upon a showing by a landowner that alternative measures will provide equal or greater water quality protection. Requires the Environmental Management Commission shall adopt temporary rules to amend its rules consistent with these provisions.

    Effective October 1, 2015.

    Deletes proposed Section 17 concerning inspections of components or elements of buildings certified by licensed architects or licensed engineers.


  • Summary date: Sep 15 2015 - More information

    Conference report makes the following changes to the 3rd edition.

    Section 2 recodifies proposed GS 153A-145.3 as GS 153A-145.6 and establishes new catchlines for GS 153A-145.6 (counties) and GS 160A-205.1(municipalities). Further amends both proposed sections to provide that cities and counties are prohibited from requiring compliance with a state department or agency's voluntary regulation or rule as well specified rules from the Environment Management Commission that have been delayed by the General Assembly (previously, did not include rules delayed by the General Assembly).  Specifies that the statutes apply to regulations and rules (1) currently in effect, (2) repealed or expired, (3) temporarily or permanently held in abeyance, or (4) those adopted but not yet effective (previously, applied to those enacted but not yet effective). Adds language providing that the above provisions do not apply to water usage restrictions during extreme or exceptional drought conditions.

    Section 3 deletes proposed changes made to GS 160A-360.1 which provided three options for applying ordinances that the owner of a development tract may choose from when an ordinance under GS Chapter 160A, Article 19, Planning and Regulation of Development, applied to a development tract lying partly within municipal corporate limits and partly within the county and more than 50% of the tract is outside of the municipal corporate limits.

    Adds a new section amending GS 160A-365, enforcement of ordinances, to require cities and property owners to certify that any enforcement or application of a city ordinance concerning development regulation outside the territorial jurisdiction of a city is not being done under coercion or on the basis or representation that the city would not approve of specified land use planning from the property owner if the city ordinance was not enforced outside the territorial jurisdiction of the city. 

    Section 3.5 makes clarifying changes to GS 87-97(e) providing that the issuance of a determination on whether or not a proposed drinking water well can be constructed or repaired must be issued within 30 days of receipt of an application for such, must be made in accordance with GS 87-97.1 and GS 87-97.2. 

    Deletes proposed GS 87-97(m) which required the local health department, after receiving an application for a construction permit for a new private drinking water well, and before issuing the permit, to determine if the property is within a jurisdictional area served by a public water system and take one of three specified actions.

    Enacts new GS 87-97.1, issuance of permit for irrigation water well, providing that a property owner can apply for and be issued a permit for an irrigation water well whether or not the property is connected to, or served by, a public water system. Specifies certain requirements for such an application and defines irrigation water well.

    Enacts new GS 87-97.2, issuance of permit for property within service area of a public water system, allowing property owners to apply for and be issued permits for private drinking water wells if (1) the well will serve undeveloped or unimproved property located on property that is served by a public water system or (2) if the public water system has not installed water lines directly to the property or at this time cannot provide water services at the time the owner desires water service. Provides that permitted property owners cannot be required to connect to public water systems as long as the permitted well is in compliance and in use. Specifies when a private drinking well can remain in operation after connection to a public water system. Also sets out when public water systems can mandate connection, including when a private drinking well has failed and cannot be repaired, the well is contaminated or likely to be contaminated, and when the public authority operating the public system is undergoing refinancing with the help of the Local Government Commission. Effective January 1, 2016, applying to completed applications submitted on or after that date. 

    Amends GS 153A-284 (counties) and GS 160A-317 (municipalities) to provide that when developed property is located where it can be served by city or county water lines, and the property owner has connected to that water line, any private water wells can continue to be used for nonpotable purposes so long as the well is not interconnected to the city or county water line. Prohibits cities or counties from requiring property owners to abandon, cap or otherwise compromise the integrity of the well.

    Amends GS 130A-55(16)a (concerning local sanitary district boards), GS 162A-6(a)(14d) and GS 162A-14(2)d (both concerning water and sewer authorities) adding provisions which provide that property owners of developed property that have private water wells but have connected to water lines can continue to use the private water well for nonpotable purposes, as long as it is not interconnected to the authority's water line. Also prohibits authorities from requiring property owners to abandon, cap or otherwise compromise the integrity of the well.  

    Effective when the act becomes law, directs the Local Government Commission to study the impacts of GS 87-97.2, issuance of permit for property within service area of a public water system, specifically concerning whether any conforming changes must be made for the financial stability of public water systems. The results of the study are to be reported to the General Assembly on or after April 15, 2016.

    Enacts GS 87-98.14, Reciprocity, allowing well contractors licensed or certified in other states, that present valid proof of such licensure or certification, to sit for examination for the same or equivalent in NC without delay. Requires the furnishing of satisfactory proof that the qualifications of such applicants are equal to those similarly licensed or certified in NC.

    Unless otherwise indicated, Section 3.5 is effective October 1, 2015, applying to permits issued on or after that date.

    Section 4 makes organizational changes to the proposed changes for GS 153A-340 and GS 160A-381, concerning fence wraps that display signage. Provides that such fence wrap on perimeter fences at a construction site are exempt from the specified zoning regulations pertaining to signage until a certificate of occupancy is issued for the final portion of construction at that site or until 24 months (was, 36 months) from the time the fence wrap was installed, whichever is shorter. Also provides that if construction has not been completed at that sight after 24 months (was, 36 months), then cities or counties can regulate such signage but must continue to allow fence wrapping materials on the perimeter fencing. 

    Section 6 makes the following changes.

    Makes technical corrections.

    Amends GS 115C-441 (concerning obligations incurred by a local school administrative unit) by adding that nothing in the statute requires a contract to be in writing.  Makes conforming and clarifying changes. Requires the procedures established by the finance officer to assure compliance with the statute, and with the provisions of the statute concerning disbursements, to be in accordance with rules adopted by the Local Government Commission. Expands the methods by which a local school administrative unit may pay a bill, invoice, salary, or other claim, to add (1) electronic payment or an electronic funds transfer originated by the local school administrative unity through an official depository, and (2) cash, if the local school administrative unit has adopted a policy authorizing the use of cash, and specifying the limits of the use of cash. Makes related conforming and technical changes.  Adds a provision making an electronic payment or electronic funds transfer subject to the preaudit process according to the statute and any rules adopted by the Local Government Commission. Sets out three exemptions to the certifications required for preaudits and disbursements made by check or draft on an official depository.  Defines the terms electronic funds transfer and electronic payment. Makes additional clarifying and technical changes, including making language gender neutral.

    Changes the effective date of all of Section 6 from July 1, 2015, to October 1, 2015.

    Section 7 deletes the proposed amendments to GS 136-66.1, pertaining to reduction of lanes, and replaces it with an amendment to the North Carolina Unclaimed Property Act. Amends GS 116B-72 to include new subsection (g) allowing the Treasurer of the State of North Carolina to utilize reliable external data, including electronic databases, when examining records of a person to determine compliance with the act.

    Section 8 amends proposed GS 106-645, preventing counties and cities from adopting ordinances prohibiting a person or entity from owning five or fewer beehives. The conference report adds that cities may adopt an ordinance permitting up to five hives so long as the ordinance regulates certain specified placement, setback, height, and removal conditions. Adds a definition of “hive.”

    Section 10 makes technical changes and changes amended GS 130A-248(e) pertaining to prototype franchise plans for food establishments. Once the state Department of Health and Human Services approves a plan, a local health department’s suggested revisions need not necessarily come at the request of the franchise owner or operator. The conference report allows a local health department to impose its suggestions with written approval from the department.

    Section 12 amends proposed GS 153A-147 and GS 160A-499.4 to require a county or city to notify property owners 15 days (was, 30 days) prior to commencement of a construction project and creates a new exception from the requirement when notice is given in any open meeting.

    Section 13 replaces the 3rd edition’s riparian buffer reform with the following. Repeals GS 143-214.23 (e1) and replaces it with GS 143-214.23A. The proposed statute prohibits a local government from enacting an ordinance that establishes a riparian buffer requirement that exceeds requirements necessary to comply with a federal or state law or agency. The proposed statute includes an exception for certain local ordinances enacted prior to August 1, 1997, and creates a process by which a local government may request from the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission an exception allowing it to enact an ordinance to protect water quality. Proposed GS 143-214.23A clarifies that private property owners may use buffer land to satisfy development-related regulatory requirements including density and intensity calculations, tree conservation purposes, open space or conservation requirements, and perimeter buffers. Requires that the riparian buffer area be shown on the recorded plat when riparian buffer requirements are included within a lot. The proposed statute provides that the Environmental Management Commission may adopt rules to enforce the new section.

    Allows a local government ordinance that establishes a riparian buffer requirement for the protection of water quality that exceeds riparian buffer requirements that are necessary to comply with or implement federal or State law or a condition of a permit, certificate, or other approval issued by a federal or State agency that is in effect on October 1, 2015, to remain in effect and enforceable until January 1, 2017. Provides that if the local government ordinance is authorized by the Environmental Management Commission under new GS 143-214.23A(d) on or before January 1, 2017, the ordinance may continue to be in effect and enforceable, but if the local government ordinance is not authorized on or before that date, the ordinance shall no longer be in effect or enforceable.

    Requires the Environmental Management Commission, with the assistance of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, to study ways to provide regulatory relief from the impacts of riparian buffer rules adopted to implement the State's Riparian Buffer Protection Program for parcels of land that were platted on or before the effective date of the applicable riparian buffer rule, including examining ways to fairly provide properties with relief where a change in use has occurred that would otherwise trigger the requirements of the riparian buffer rules. Requires a report on the study results to the Environmental Review Commission by April 1, 2016.

    Provides that for purposes of implementing 15A NCAC 02B .0233 (Neuse River Basin: Nutrient Sensitive Waters Management Strategy: Protection and Maintenance of Existing Riparian Buffers) and 15A NCAC 02B .0259 (Tar-Pamlico River Basin: Nutrient Sensitive Waters Management Strategy: Protection and Maintenance of Existing Riparian Buffers), Zone 1 of a protective riparian buffer for coastal wetlands begins at the most landward limit of the normal high water level or the normal water level, as appropriate.  Defines coastal wetlands as any salt marsh or other marsh subject to regular or occasional flooding by tides whether or not the tidewaters reach the marshland areas through natural or artificial watercourses, provided this shall not include hurricane or tropical storm tides.  Requires the Environmental Management Commission to adopt temporary rules to amend its rules consistent with these provisions.

    Requires the Environmental Management Commission to amend its rules for the protection of existing riparian buffers to provide for the case-by-case modification of the requirement for maintaining woody vegetation in the riparian buffer area upon a showing by a landowner that alternative measures will provide equal or greater water quality protection. Requires the Environmental Management Commission shall adopt temporary rules to amend its rules consistent with these provisions.

    Effective October 1, 2015.

    Deletes proposed Section 17 concerning inspections of components or elements of buildings certified by licensed architects or licensed engineers.


  • Summary date: Jun 15 2015 - More information

    Senate amendments make the following changes to the 2nd edition, as amended.

    Amendment #4 makes the following changes.

    Amends GS 87-97 by deleting the proposed language that provided if a local government mandates that improved property be connected to a public water system, the local government must determine at the time of the application for and before issuing a permit to construct or repair a well whether the improved property will be served by the public system or the well. Adds new (m) requiring the local health department, after receiving an application for a construction permit for a new private drinking water well, and before issuing the permit, to determine if the property is within a jurisdictional area served by a public water system and take one of three specified actions on the permit depending on whether the property is within the jurisdiction of a public water system.

    Makes technical changes.

    Deletes proposed GS 136-66.1(b) and replaces it with the following. Prohibits reducing the number of travel lanes to accommodate the addition of bicycle lanes within the existing paved and marked travel lanes of any state highway system street or highway located in a municipality if (1) the street or highway has an average daily traffic volume of 20,000 vehicles per day or greater or (2) the action taken reduces the projected road capacity, for a 20-year period starting at the time the bicycle lane is established, to below a Level D. Makes conforming changes.

    Deletes proposed GS 143-214.18, Exemption to riparian buffer requirements for certain private properties in the Neuse River and Tar-Pamlico River Basins.

    Requires, until the convening of the 2016 Regular Session of the 2015 General Assembly, that 15A NCAC 02B .0233 (Neuse River Basin: Nutrient Sensitive Waters Management Strategy: Protection and Maintenance of Existing Riparian Buffers) be implemented as follows: (1) Zones 1 and 2 are not enforced, (2) the riparian buffer consists of the 30-foot riparian area that was formerly Zone 1, and (3) the activities and uses for the riparian buffer are those that could have occurred in Zone 2. Requires during that same time frame that all other rules adopted for the protection and maintenance of existing riparian buffers for nutrient sensitive waters be implemented in a manner that is consistent with the above provisions. Requires the Environmental Management Commission (EMC) to adopt temporary rules to amend its rules consistent with these provisions.

    Amends proposed GS 143-214.19, Delineation of protective riparian buffers for coastal wetlands and marshlands, to make the statute's provisions applicable to all coastal wetlands and marshlands, not just those located in the Neuse or Tar-Pamlico River basins. Adds that the EMC must adopt temporary rules to amend its rules consistent with the statute.

    Replaces the study requirement with the requirement that the Environmental Review Commission and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) study the use of riparian buffers by the state and local governments, specifically examining the circumstances under which local governments have created development buffers along waterways that are wider than those established by the Commission or DENR. Sets out additional issues to be considered in the study. Requires a report on the study to the 2016 Regular Session of the 2015 General Assembly.

    Amendment #7 makes the following changes. 

    Amends proposed GS 153A-457 (concerning county notice before construction) and GS 160A-499.4 (concerning city notice before construction) to require notice under the statute to be given in writing at least 30 days before beginning construction, except if (1) the construction is a repair of an emergency nature, the notice may be given by any means that the entity has for contacting the property owner within a reasonable time before or after commencement of the repair; (2) the property owner requests action of the county or city that requires construction activity; or (3) the property owner consents to less than 30 days' notice (was, notice must be in writing at least 30 days before commencement of construction, unless the construction is a repair of an emergency nature, upon which notice may be given by any means).


  • Summary date: Jun 11 2015 - More information

    Senate amendments makes the following changes to the 2nd edition.

    Amendment #1

    Deletes the language from the previous edition for proposed GS 153A-340(l) and GS 160A-381(h) concerning fence wraps displaying signage, replacing it with new provisions that provide that fence wraps that display signage on a perimeter fence at a construction site are exempt from the specified zoning regulations pertaining to signage until a certificate of occupancy is issued for the final portion of construction at that site or until 36 months from the time the fence wrap was installed, whichever is shorter. Also provides that if construction has not been completed at that sight after 36 months, then cities or counties can regulate such signage but must continue to allow fence wrapping materials on the perimeter fencing.

    Amendment #2

    Adds language to proposed GS 153A-340(l) and GS 160A-381(h), as amended above, to provide that fence wraps can only display advertising that is sponsored by an individual directly involved in the construction project and for which monetary compensation for the advertisement is not paid or required. 


  • Summary date: Jun 10 2015 - More information

    Senate committee substitute makes the following changes to the 1st edition.

    Deletes all provisions of the previous edition and replaces it with the following.

    Section 1

    Repeals GS 160A-200, Annual notice to chronic violators of overgrown vegetation ordinances. Amends GS 160A-200.01, concerning annual notice to chronic violators of public nuisance ordinances,  to add that a city may also give notice to a chronic violator of the city's overgrown vegetation ordinance in accordance with the statute. Makes organizational changes.

    Section 1.5

    Amends GS 160A-205 by adding that a city may prohibit the placement, maintenance, location, or use of structures that are uninhabitable and without water and sewer for more than 120 days with notice given to the owner of record of the determination, upon the State's ocean beaches.

    Section 2

    Enacts new GS 153A-145.3 and GS 160A-205.1 to prohibit a county or city from requiring compliance with a state department or agency's voluntary regulation or rule. Specifies that the statutes apply to regulations and rules (1) currently in effect, (2) repealed or expired, (3) temporarily or permanently held in abeyance, or (4) enacted but not yet effective.

    Section 2.5

    Repeals GS 130A-34.4(a)(2) which required the county comprising the local health department to maintain operating appropriations to local health departments from local ad valorem tax receipts at levels equal to amounts appropriated in state fiscal year 2010-11 by July 1, 2014, in order for the local health department to be eligible to receive state and federal public health funding from the Division of Public Health. Effective July 1, 2016. 

    Section 3

    Amends GS 160A-360.1 to add three options for applying ordinances that the owner of a development tract may choose from when an ordinance under GS Chapter 160A, Article 19, Planning and Regulation of Development, applies to a development tract lying partly within municipal corporate limits and partly within the county and more than 50% of the tract is outside of the municipal corporate limits.

    Section 3.5

    Amends GS 87-97, concerning the permitting, inspection, and testing of private drinking water wells, as follows. Deletes the provision that allowed local well programs to use their own forms after submitting a petition for rule making to the Environmental Management Commission (EMC) and a finding by the EMC that conditions unique to the area constituted a threat to public health mitigated by the use of a different local form. Adds that when a permit is issued under the statute, the permit is also deemed to include authorization for the installation, construction, maintenance, or repair of electrical wiring, devices, appliances, or equipment by a certified well contractor when running electrical wires from the well pump to the pressure switch. Makes the local health department responsible for notifying the building inspector of the well permit issuance. Adds that if a local government mandates that improved property be connected to a public water system, the local government must determine at the time of the application for and before issuing a permit to construct or repair a well whether the improved property will be served by the public system or the well. Effective October 1, 2015, and applies to permits issued on or after that date.

    Section 4

    Amends GS 153A-340 and GS 160A-381 to exempt fence wraps that display signs and are affixed to perimeter fencing at a construction site before the certificate of occupancy has been issued from zoning regulations that apply to signage.

    Section 5

    Amends GS 143-755, Permit choice, to make the statute applicable to zoning permits. Makes a clarifying change. Applies to permits for which a permit decision has not been made by the date the act becomes law.

    Section 6

    Amends GS 159-28, Budgetary accounting for appropriations for local governments, adding language that clarifies that nothing in this statute requires a contract to be reduced to writing. Makes organizational changes and provides that a written obligation or an obligation evidenced by a written purchase order for materials and supplies must include on its face a certificate stating that the instrument has been preaudited to assure compliance with the section. Deletes language which provided an exception for obligations or documents that had been approved by the Local Government Commission. Adds subdivision (4) to subsection (d) providing that a local government and public authority can make certain payments in cash if an ordinance authorizing such form of payment and specifying the limits of the use of the cash has been adopted. Amends (d2) to provide that a finance officer is presumed to be in compliance with the statute if the officer complies with the rules adopted by the Local Government Commission. Deletes provision that did not require a certificate on payroll checks or drafts on an imprest account in an official deposition if the check depositing the funds in the account had a signed certificate. Adds to the definition of electronic payment. Adds language to subsection (e) concerning penalties, providing that the governing board must determine, by resolution, if payment from the official bond will be sought as well as a judgment from the finance officer or appointed deputy finance officer for deficiencies in the amount. Sets out exemptions for the certification requirements of subsections (a1) and (d). Makes technical, conforming, and clarifying changes. Deletes outdated language and references. Effective July 1, 2015, applying to expenditures incurred on or after that date. 

    Section 7

    Amends GS 136-66.1 to require the reduction of travel lanes to accommodate bike lanes of any state highway system street or highway location within a city be approved by a majority vote all members of the Board of Transportation.

    Section 8

    Enacts new GS 106-645 to prohibit a county, city, or other political subdivision of the state from prohibiting owning or possessing five or fewer bee hives.

    Section 9

    Amends GS 160A-272 to allow the city council to approve a lease of city-owned property without treating it as a sale of property for the siting and operation of a tower for communication purposes for up to 25 years. Makes conforming and clarifying changes.

    Section 10

    Amends GS 130A-248 to add that if the Department of Health and Human Services has reviewed and approved the plan for a prototype franchised or chain facility for food establishment, the plan may be used in any county in the state without local health department approval if no material changes are made to the plan. Allows the local health department to review and suggest revisions for a particular use of the approved plan, at the request of the owner of operator. Provides that acceptance of a suggested revision is not a prerequisite or condition of the issuance of any permits by the local health department, county, or city in which the facility is to be located.

    Section 12

    Enacts new GS 153A-457 and GS 160A-499.4 requiring counties and cities to notify property owners and adjacent property owners before beginning any construction project by that county or city. Specifies notice requirements and sets out requirements in emergencies.

    Section 13

    Enacts new GS 143-214.18 providing that, absent a requirement of federal law or an imminent threat to public health or safety, two specified rules concerning the nutrient sensitive wasters management strategy and protection and maintenance of existing riparian buffers in the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico river basins do not apply to land meeting the following: (1) the property is private property; (2) before August 1, 2000, the property was private and platted and recorded in the register of deeds; and (3) the use of the property complies with the rules and other laws regulating and applicable to that property. Exempts from the statute the area denoted by the US Geological Survey as 03020201 (Upper Neuse Sub-basin). Effective August 1, 2015.

    Section 14

    Enacts new GS 143-214.19 requiring that the coastal wetlands and marshlands be included in the measurement of the protective riparian buffer when state law requires a protective riparian buffer for coastal wetland and marshland in the Neuse River Basin or the Tar-Pamlico River Basin. Defines coastal wetlands and marshlands. Sets out requirements for delineating the riparian buffer for those coastal wetlands or marshlands. Effective October 1, 2015.

    Section 15

    Requires the Environmental Review Commission, with assistance from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, to study the use of riparian buffers by the state and local governments, including how the regulatory burden imposed by the buffers can be decreased while maintaining the protection of water quality. Requires a report on the study to the 2016 Regular Session of the 2015 General Assembly.

    Section 16

    Amends GS 160A-381 to require (was, allow) a zoning ordinance to provide density credits or severable development rights for dedicated rights-of-way.

    Section 17

    Amends GS 153A-352 and GS 160A-412 as follows. Requires counties and cities to accept and approve a design or other proposal for a component or element in the construction of a building from a licensed architect or engineer if (1) the submission is completed under valid seal of the architect or engineer, (2) field inspection of the installation or completion of construction is performed by the architect or engineer, and (3) that architect or engineer provides a signed document stating the component or element of the building inspected is in compliance with the North Carolina State Building Code. Discharges the county, city, their inspection departments, and inspectors from any duties and responsibilities with respect to the component or element in the building construction when the signed document is accepted and approved. Makes clarifying changes. Makes conforming changes to GS 153A-356 and GS 160A-416. 

    Section 18

    Amends GS 153A-346 and GS 160A-390 prohibiting counties and cities from defining dwelling units, bedrooms, or sleeping units in a way that exceeds any definition of the same in another statute or rule adopted by a state agency.

    Section 19

    Amends GS 153A-349.4 and GS 160A-400.23 to allow counties and cities to enter into a development agreement with a developer for the development of property as provided in the Part for developable property of any size, including property subject to an executed brownfields agreement. Requires the agreements to be of a reasonable term specified in the agreement (was, required the property to contain 25 acres or more of developable property with an exception for property subject to a brownfields agreement, and limited the agreements to no more than 20 years). Amends GS 153A-349.3 and GS 160A-400.22 to allow a development agreement to be incorporated into any planning, zoning, or subdivision ordinance. Effective October 1, 2015, and applies to development agreements entered into on or after that date.

    Section 20

    Includes a severability clause.

    Section 21

    Unless otherwise provided, effective when the act becomes law.

    Changes the act's short and long titles.


  • Summary date: Feb 3 2015 - More information

    Amends GS 160A-200 (Annual notice to chronic violators of overgrown vegetation ordinances), stating that initial annual notice is served by registered or certified mail, and when service is attempted by registered or certified mail, a copy of the notice can also be sent by regular mail. Service is sufficient if the registered or certified mail is unclaimed or refused but the copy sent by regular mail is not returned by the post office within 10 days after the mailing. If service by regular mail is used, a copy of the notice must be posted in a conspiciuos place on the property affected.


Printer-friendly: Click to view