Article 11.2 - Enforcement
1. Administration and Enforcement Procedures
If an application for a building permit, certificate of occupancy, or any other development approval subject to an administrative determination is denied because of non-compliance with these regulations, the Zoning Administrator shall provide written notification of the denial and of the reasons for the denial. The term “administrative determination” may be used interchangeably with the term “administrative decision.”
Planning staff may inspect work undertaken pursuant to a development approval to assure that the work is being done in accordance with applicable State and local laws and according to the terms of the approval. In exercising this power, staff are authorized to enter any premises within the jurisdiction of the Town at all reasonable hours for the purposes of inspection or other enforcement action, upon presentation of proper credentials; provided, however, that the appropriate consent has been given for inspection of areas not open to the public or that an appropriate inspection warrant has been secured.
When any work or activity has been undertaken in violation of this ordinance, any State law delegated to the local government for enforcement, or the terms of a development approval, the Zoning Administrator may cause a written Notice of Violation to be issued. The Notice of Violation shall be delivered to the holder of the development approval and the landowner of the property involved (if the landowner is not the holder of the development approval). Delivery shall be accomplished by personal delivery, electronic delivery, or first-class mail.
The Zoning Administrator may also issue a Stop Work Order and/or revoke any permit issued by the Zoning Administrator pursuant to Section 11.2.3.
2. Right to Appeal Administrative Decisions
Any person who has standing or the local government (used interchangeably with the “Town”) may appeal an administrative decision to the Huntersville Board of Adjustment (the “Board of Adjustment”) as provided in Section 11.3.2. Appeals of administrative decisions made to the Board of Adjustment must be filed within 30 days from receipt of the written notice of the determination. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, written notice of the determination sent by first-class mail is deemed received on the third business day following deposit of the notice for mailing with the United States Postal Service. Any person who has standing or the local government (used interchangeably with the “Town”) may appeal an administrative decision to the Huntersville Board of Adjustment (the “Board of Adjustment”) as provided in Section 11.3.2. Appeals of administrative decisions made to the Board of Adjustment must be filed within 30 days from receipt of the written notice of the determination. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, written notice of the determination sent by first-class mail is deemed received on the third business day following deposit of the notice for mailing with the United States Postal Service.
3. Enforcement Remedies and Penalties for Violation
The Zoning Administrator or other enforcement agent(s) designated by the Board of Commissioners may enforce any development regulation set forth by this ordinance using any one, all, or a combination of the following enforcement remedies:
Any person, firm, or corporation convicted of violating the provisions of this ordinance shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined an amount not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500) and/or imprisoned for a period not to exceed twenty (20) days. Each day of violation shall be considered a separate offense, provided that the violation of this ordinance is not corrected within thirty (30) days after notice of said violation is given.
(b) Equitable Remedy.
The Zoning Administrator may apply to a court of competent jurisdiction for any appropriate equitable remedy to enforce the provisions of this ordinance. It is not a defense to the Zoning Administrator’s application for equitable relief that there are other remedies provided under general law or this ordinance.
Enforcement of the provisions of this ordinance may also be achieved by injunction. When a violation occurs, the Zoning Administrator may, either before or after the institution of other authorized action, apply to the appropriate division of the General Court for a mandatory or prohibitory injunction commanding the defendant to correct the unlawful condition or cease the unlawful use of the property.
(d) Order of Abatement.
In addition to an injunction, the Zoning Administrator may apply for and the court may enter into an order of abatement as part of the judgment in the case. An order of abatement may direct any of the following actions:
- Buildings or other structures on the property be closed, demolished, or removed;
- Fixtures, furniture or other moveable property be moved or removed entirely
- Improvements, alterations, modifications or repairs be made; or
- Any other action be taken that is necessary to bring the property into compliance with this ordinance.
(e) Execution of Court Decisions.
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 or she may be cited for contempt. The Zoning Administrator may execute the order of abatement and will have a lien on the property in the nature of a mechanic or materialman’s lien for the cost of executing the order. The defendant may secure cancellation of an order of abatement by paying all costs of the proceedings and by posting a bond for compliance with the order. The bond must 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) Stop Work Order Issuance and Revocation of Permits.
- Stop Work Order. Whenever any work or activity subject to regulation pursuant to this ordinance or any State law delegated to the Town for enforcement purposes, is undertaken in substantial violation any state or local law or in a manner that endangers life or property, the Zoning Administrator may order the specific part of the work that is in violation (or would be when the work is completed) or that presents such a hazard to be immediately stopped. The stop work order shall be in writing, directed to the person doing the work or activity, and shall state the specific work or activity to be stopped, the specific reasons for cessation, and the conditions under which the work or activity may be resumed. A copy of the order shall be delivered to the holder of the development approval and to the owner of the property involved (if that person is not the holder of the development approval) by personal delivery, electronic delivery, or first-class mail. Violation of a stop work order shall constitute a Class 1 misdemeanor.
- Revocation of Development Approvals. The Zoning Administrator may revoke any development approval (e.g., building permit, certificate of occupancy, etc.) by providing written notification to the holder stating the reason(s) for the revocation. Development approvals issued by the governing board may be revoked in the same manner in which they were approved, including any notice and hearing. Development approvals may be revoked for any substantial departure from the approved application, plans, or specifications; for refusal or failure to comply with the requirements of this ordinance or any State law delegated to the local government for enforcement purposes; or for false statements or representations made in securing the approval. Any development approval mistakenly issued in violation of an applicable State or local law may also be revoked.
(g) Civil Penalty.
In addition to the other remedies cited in this ordinance for the enforcement of its provisions, and pursuant to NC General Statute 160A-175, the regulations and standards of this ordinance may be enforced through the issuance of civil penalties by the Zoning Administrator.
Subsequent citations for the same violation may be issued by the Zoning Administrator if the offender does not pay the citation (except as otherwise provided in a warning citation) after it has been issued unless the offender has sought an appeal to the decision of the Zoning Administrator through the Board of Adjustment. Once the ten-day warning period has expired, each day which the violation continues shall subject the violator to additional citations to be issued by the Zoning Administrator.
The following penalties are hereby established:
Correct Violation within 10 Days
Second Citation for Same Offense
Third and Subsequent Citations for Same Offense
If the offender fails to pay the civil penalties within ten(10) days after having been cited, the Town may recover the penalties in a civil action in the nature of debt.