AN ACT TO PROVIDE REFORMS TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT ZONING AUTHORITY TO INCREASE HOUSING OPPORTUNITIES AND TO MAKE VARIOUS CHANGES AND CLARIFICATIONS TO THE ZONING STATUTES.
Enacts GS 160D-707 to mandate local governments to allow all middle housing types, defined to include residential duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, and townhouses, in areas zoned for residential use, specifically including zoned areas that allow for the development of detached single-family dwellings. Authorizes local governments to regulate middle housing pursuant to the Chapter, so long as regulations do not discourage their development through unreasonable cost or delay. Provides for the statute's effect on contractual agreements among property owners relating to dwelling type restrictions and local governments' authority to permit single-family dwellings in appropriately zoned areas. Excludes areas designated as a local historic district. Restricts the scope of the statute to areas that are served, or through extension may be served, by a local government water system, a local government sewer system, a public water system, or a wastewater collection or treatment works, as described.
Adds single-family dwelling to the defined terms set out in GS 160D-102 and defines the term to include all of the types of middle housing as defined in new GS 160D-707.
Effective October 1, 2021.
Directs the NC Building Code Council to adopt amendments to the NC Residential Code for One- and Two- Family Dwellings (Code) to define and include regulation of triplex and quadplex dwelling units, and for the Council and local governments to regulate the units being sited pursuant to new GS 160D-707 under the amendments.
Enacts GS 160D-917 to mandate local governments to allow the development of at least one accessory dwelling unit, defined as an attached or detached residential structure used in connection with or as an accessory to a single-family dwelling, compliant with the Code for each detached single-family dwelling in appropriately zoned residential area zones. Prohibits local government development and permitting requirements from including owner-occupancy of any dwelling unit, parking restrictions, or conditional use zoning. Further prohibits local governments from (1) prohibiting the connection of the accessory dwelling unit to existing utilities serving the primary dwelling unit, (2) charging any fee other than a building permit that does not exceed the amount charged for any single-family dwelling unit similar in nature, and (3) establishing development setbacks that differ from the development setbacks applicable for a similarly situated lot in the same zoning classification. Effective October 1, 2021.
Amends GS 42A-3 to exclude accessory dwelling units permitted by new GS 160D-917 from GS Chapter 42A, the Vacation Rental Act. Effective October 1, 2021.
Directs local governments to adopt land use ordinances and regulations or amend their comprehensive plans to implement the provisions of Part I of this act by October 1, 2021.
Amends GS 160D-108 regarding development permitting. Adds a new subsection to deem a development permit that substantially complies with the provision of information required by ordinance or regulation as sufficient to accept and process a request for a local or State development permit. Prohibits minor application omissions from being sufficient basis to make an application ineligible for vesting. Bars local and State regulations from conditioning the acceptance or processing of a permit application upon the application for or issuance of a local or State permit, respectively, unless specifically statutorily authorized. Modifies the vesting provisions to provide for common law vesting. Expands the provisions applicable to development projects that require multiple development permits by no longer limiting the provisions to projects involving multiple local development permits only. Changes the scope of the provisions governing multiple permits to make the provisions not applicable for subsequent permit applications filed after 18 months of the latter of (1) the date of cessation of work related to the uncompleted development project or (2) the date of issuance of the immediately preceding local development permit (previously limited the scope of the provisions to subsequent development permit applications filed within 18 months of the date following the approval of an initial permit). Makes technical changes.
Adds the following provisions to GS 160D-702. Prohibits local governments from adopting or enforcing ordinances downzoning property that has access to public water or public sewer without showing a change in circumstances that substantially affects the public health, safety, or welfare. Further bars local governments from adopting or enforcing ordinances that establish a ban or the effect of a ban on use of land that is not an industrial use, a nuisance per se, or does not otherwise pose a serious threat to the public health, safety, or welfare. Clarifies that the statute has no effect on local authority to regulate adult establishments and like facilities. Makes conforming changes.
Adds the following limitations to local government authority to establish zoning districts under GS 160D-703. Prohibits local governments from: (1) adopting or enforcing ordinances that downzone property in order to evade voluntary consent of landowners or petitioners or other requirements for conditional districts set out in subsection (b) of the statute; (2) allowing a particular land use through conditional zoning; and (3) establishing a threshold on square footage or the number of dwelling units, where to exceed the threshold would require conditional zoning.
Enacts GS 160D-703.1 to authorize a court to award reasonable attorneys' fees and costs to a party successfully challenging the actions of a local government in violation of the prohibitions set forth in GS 160D-702, as amended, or new GS 160D-703(e). Provides for a permit applicant to choose the zoning designation and use indicated on the application in the event a court invalidates a regulation, as specified.
Amends GS 160D-706 to no longer provide that either the local regulations made pursuant to the Chapter's authority, or the provisions of any other statute or local ordinance or regulation that imposes higher standards supersedes the other. Adds the following provisions. Prohibits local governments from adopting or enforcing regulations that alter the principle that ambiguities in land development regulations are to be construed in favor of the free use of land. Authorizes local governments to settle any litigation related to the enforcement or compliance with development regulations for a development or development permit applicant through its governing board.
Regarding petitions for writ of certiorari filed in superior court pursuant to GS 160D-1402 to appeal quasi-judicial decisions of decision-making boards, prohibits persons from intervening as a petitioner or respondent if the motion to intervene is filed after the court has rendered a final judgment on the underlying appeal. Requires the court to hear and decide issues of whether an intervenor has standing (was a petitioner or an intervenor). Adds that failure to object to standing at a hearing does not constitute waiver of a right to assert impermissible conflict involving any member of the quasi-judicial decision-making body. Regarding the exclusion of lay witness testimony as to an increase in vehicular traffic from a proposed development posing danger to public safety not constituting competent evidence but evidence that decision-making boards may rely on, adds that approval by the Department of Transportation of a traffic impact analysis is conclusive evidence that the traffic related to the project will not pose a danger to public safety and will otherwise preclude using traffic as a basis for denying a development permit. Modifies the effect of an appeal as follows. Allows for an applicant to commence work while a development approval is appealed based on a use not being permitted by regulation, specifying that the applicant does not gain any vested rights if any court of competent jurisdiction determines that the use is not allowed. Adds that an appeal by a party with standing from the granting of a special use permit by a local board or other development permit issued pursuant to a quasi-judicial proceeding is moot if the authorized development substantially commences prior to the issuance of an injunction with appropriate security. Renders moot any appeal related to a special use permit issued by the applicable board after remand from a decision of a court of competent jurisdiction when no injunction is otherwise in place to prevent permit issuance. Makes organizational changes to move the provisions regarding injunctive relief to new subsection (o). Adds that the court must require the party moving for injunctive relief to post an appropriate bond set by the judge or clerk issuing the stay, except local governments cannot be required to post a bond.
Establishes new reporting requirements for local governments engaged in development permitting review, requiring submission of a semiannual report, beginning October 1, 2021, to the specified NCGA committee and division, providing the number of development permit applications received and those denied (including grounds for denial), as well as the number of down-zoning ordinances enacted.
Specifies that Sections 2.1, 2.5, and 2.6 are intended to clarify and restate the intent of existing law.
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