153A-344. (Repealed effective January 1, 2021) Planning board; zoning plan; certification to board of commissioners.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 land development regulations, shall not be applicable or enforceable without the written consent of the owner with regard to any of the following:

(1) Buildings or uses of buildings or land for which a development permit application has been submitted and subsequently issued in accordance with G.S. 143-755.

(2) Subdivisions of land for which a development permit authorizing the subdivision has been issued in accordance with G.S. 143-755.

(3) A vested right established pursuant to G.S. 153A-344.1 and such vested right remains valid and unexpired pursuant to G.S. 153A-344.1.

(4) A vested right established by the terms of a development agreement authorized by Part 3D of this Article.

(5) A multi-phased development as provided for in this subdivision, in accordance with G.S. 143-755. A multi-phased development shall be vested for the entire development with the land development regulations 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 subdivision 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.

(b1) Recodified as subdivision (b)(5) of this section by Session Laws 2019-111, s. 1.3(d), effective July 11, 2019.

(c) Subject to the exceptions set forth in subsection (e) of this section, upon issuance of a development permit, the statutory vesting granted by this section for a development shall be effective upon filing of the application in accordance with G.S. 143-755 for so long as the permit remains valid pursuant to law. Unless otherwise specified by statute, local development permits expire one year after issuance unless work authorized by such permit has substantially commenced. For the purposes of this section, a permit is issued either in the ordinary course of business of the applicable governmental agency or by the applicable governmental agency as a court directive.

(d) Subject to the exceptions set forth in subsection (e) of this section, where multiple local development permits are required to complete a development project, this section, together with G.S. 143-755, authorizes the development permit applicant to choose the version of each of the local land development regulations applicable to the project upon submittal of the application for the initial development permit. This provision is applicable only for those subsequent development permit applications filed within 18 months of the date following the approval of an initial permit. For purposes of the vesting protections of this subsection, an erosion and sedimentation control permit or a sign permit shall not be considered an initial development permit.

(e) The establishment of a vested right under any subdivision of subsection (b) of this section does not preclude vesting under one or more other subdivisions of subsection (b) of this section or vesting by application of common law principles. A vested right, once established as provided for in this section, precludes any action by a county that would change, alter, impair, prevent, diminish, or otherwise delay the development or use of the property allowed by the applicable land development regulation or regulations, except where a change in State or federal law mandating local government enforcement occurs after the development application is submitted that has a fundamental and retroactive effect on such development or use. Except where a longer vesting period is provided by statute, the statutory vesting granted by this section shall expire for an uncompleted development project if development work is intentionally and voluntarily discontinued for a period of not less than 24 consecutive months, and the statutory vesting period granted by this section for a nonconforming use of property shall expire if the use is intentionally and voluntarily discontinued for a period of not less than 24 consecutive months. The 24-month discontinuance period shall be automatically tolled during the pendency of any board of adjustment proceeding or civil action in a State or federal trial or appellate court regarding the validity of a development permit, the use of the property or the existence of the statutory vesting period granted by this section. The 24-month discontinuance period shall also be tolled during the pendency of any litigation involving the development project or property that is the subject of the vesting. The vested rights granted by this section shall run with the land except for the use of land for outdoor advertising governed by G.S. 136-131.1 and G.S. 136-131.2, in which case the rights granted by this section shall run with the owner of a permit issued by the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

(f) As used in this section, the following terms mean:

(1) Development. - As defined in G.S. 143-755(e)(1).

(2) Development permit. - As defined in G.S. 143-755(e)(2).

(3) Land development regulation. - As defined in G.S. 143-755(e)(3).

(4) Multi-phased development. - A development containing 25 acres or more that is both of the following:

a. Submitted for development permit approval to occur in more than one phase.

b. Subject to a master development plan with committed elements showing the type and intensity of use of each phase. (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; 2019-111, ss. 1.3(d), (e), 2.2.)