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4.2 Compliance required
4.4 Responsible persons
4.5 Enforcement generally
4.6 Remedies and penalties
4.7 Cumulative penalties
4.8 Continuing violations
This article establishes the procedures through which the town seeks to ensure compliance with the provisions of this ordinance and obtain corrections for ordinance violations. It also sets forth the remedies and penalties that apply to violations of this ordinance. The provisions of this article are intended to encourage the voluntary correction of violations, where possible.
Compliance with all of the procedures, standards, and other provisions of this ordinance is required by all persons owning, developing, managing, using, or occupying land or structures within the town’s jurisdiction.
4.3.1 Violations generally.
(A) Failure to comply with ordinance provision or term or condition of approval constitutes ordinance violation. Any failure to comply with a standard, requirement, prohibition, or limitation imposed by this ordinance, or the terms or conditions of any permit or other development approval or authorization granted in accordance with this ordinance shall constitute a violation of this ordinance punishable as provided in this article.
(B) Permits or development approvals only authorize specific development. Permits or development approvals issued by a decision-making body authorize only the use, arrangement, location, design, density or intensity, and development set forth in such permits or development approvals.
4.3.2 Specific violations. It shall be a violation of this ordinance to undertake any land development activity contrary to the provisions of this ordinance, including, but not limited to, any of the following:
(A) Developing land or a structure without first obtaining the appropriate permit or permit approval;
(B) Occupying or using land or a structure without first obtaining the appropriate permit or permit approval;
(C) Developing land or a structure without complying with the terms or conditions of the permit or permit approval required to engage in development;
(D) Occupying or using land or a structure in violation of the terms or conditions of the permit or permit approval;
(E) Subdividing land without first obtaining the appropriate permit or permit approval required to engage in the subdivision;
(F) Subdividing land without complying with the terms or conditions of the permit or permit approval required to engage in the development;
(G) Excavate, cut, clear, or undertake any land disturbing activity without first obtaining all appropriate permits and permit approvals, and complying with their terms and conditions;
(H) Install, create, erect, alter, or maintain any sign without first obtaining the appropriate permit or permit approval;
(I) Fail to remove any sign installed, created, erected, altered, or maintained in violation of this ordinance, or for which the permit has expired;
(J) Create, expand, replace, or modify any nonconformity except in compliance with this ordinance;
(K) Reduce or diminish the requirements for development, design, or dimensional standards below the minimum requirements of this ordinance;
(L) Increase the intensity or density of development, except in accordance with the standards of this ordinance; and/or
(M) Through any act or omission, fail to comply with any other provisions, procedures, or standards required by this ordinance.
Any person who violates this ordinance shall be subject to the remedies and penalties set forth in this article. Other articles of this ordinance may describe responsible persons in more detail.
4.5.1 Responsibility for enforcement. The Ordinance Administrator shall be responsible for enforcing the provisions of this ordinance in accordance with G.S. §§ 160A-174, 160A-175, and 160A-193.
4.5.2 Complaints regarding violations. Whenever a violation of this ordinance occurs, or is alleged to have occurred, any person may file a complaint. The complaint, stating fully the cause and basis therefor, shall be filed with the Ordinance Administrator, who shall properly record such complaint, investigate, and take appropriate action as provided by this ordinance.
4.5.3 Enforcement procedures.
(A) Notice of violation. When the Ordinance Administrator finds that a violation of this ordinance has occurred, he or she shall take appropriate action to remedy the violation consistent with § 4.6, Remedies and Penalties. The Ordinance Administrator shall notify, in writing, the person violating this ordinance. Such notification shall indicate:
(1) The nature of the violation(s);
(2) The necessary action to correct or abate the violation; and
(3) The deadline for correcting the violation.
The notice of violation shall state what course of action is intended as well as what actions may be taken if the violation is not corrected within the time frame specified by the Ordinance Administrator. The notice of violation shall also advise the violator of their right to appeal the notice of violation to the Board of Adjustment within 30 days of the date the notice of violation was issued.
(B) Application of remedies and penalties. If the owner, occupant, or person responsible for the violation fails to comply with the notice of violation, from which no appeal has been taken within 30 days, as provided in the notification, the Ordinance Administrator shall take appropriate action, as provided in § 4.6, Remedies and Penalties, to correct and abate the violation and to ensure compliance with this ordinance.
Any of the following remedies and enforcement powers may be used to administer and enforce this ordinance following a notice of violation as described in division 4.5.3, Enforcement Procedures. While the town may exercise any of the following remedies or penalties at any point following issuance of a notice of violation and the required correction period, the following remedies and penalties are listed in their general order or sequence of application.
4.6.1 Civil penalty.
(A) In addition to the other remedies cited in this ordinance for the enforcement of its provisions, and pursuant to G.S. § 160A-175, the standards in this ordinance may be enforced through the issuance of civil penalties by the Ordinance Administrator.
(B) Subsequent citations for the same violation may be issued each day by the Ordinance Administrator if the offender does not pay the citation after it has been issued unless the offender has sought an appeal to the actions of the Ordinance Administrator through an appeal of administrative decision.
(C) Except where greater civil penalties are authorized by statute or rule, civil penalties shall be issued in the following amounts:
(1) First citation: $50;
(2) Second citation: $100; and
(3) Third and subsequent citations: $500.
(D) Civil penalties for violations of § 15.2, Stormwater Requirements for New Development Implementing the Falls Lake Rules, or for a violation of a permit or other requirement pursuant to Article 15 may be assessed up to the full amount of the penalty authorized by G.S. § 143-215.6A. Appeals of penalties issued pursuant to this division 4.6.1(D) may be appealed to the Board of Adjustment in accordance with division 3.2.13.
(E) If the offender fails to pay the civil penalty within 15 days after having been cited, the town may recover the penalties in a civil action in the nature of debt.
4.6.2 Stop work order. Whenever a building or structure is being constructed, demolished, renovated, altered, or repaired in violation of any applicable provision of this ordinance, the Ordinance Administrator may order the revocation of the zoning permit for such work and request a stop work order be issued by the County Building Inspections Department. The stop work order shall be in writing, directed to the person doing the work, and shall state the specific work to be stopped, the specific reasons for cessation, and the action(s) necessary to lawfully resume work.
4.6.3 Revocation of zoning permit. The Ordinance Administrator may revoke any zoning permit by written notification to the permit holder when violations of this ordinance have occurred. Permits may be revoked when false statements or misrepresentations were made in securing the permit, work is being or has been done in substantial departure from the approved application or plan, there has been a failure to comply with the requirements of this ordinance, or a permit has been mistakenly issued in violation of this ordinance.
4.6.4 Injunction. When a violation occurs, the Ordinance Administrator may, either before or after the initiation of other authorized actions, apply to the appropriate court for a mandatory or prohibitory injunction ordering the offender to correct the unlawful condition or cease the unlawful use of the land in question.
4.6.5 Order of abatement. In addition to an injunction, the town 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:
(A) Buildings or other structures on the property be closed, demolished, or removed;
(B) Fixtures, furniture, or other movable property be moved or removed entirely;
(C) Improvements, alterations, or repairs be made; or
(D) Any other action be taken that is necessary to bring the property into compliance with this ordinance.
4.6.6 Equitable remedy. The town may apply to a court of law for any appropriate equitable remedy to enforce the provisions of this ordinance. The fact that other remedies are provided under general law or this ordinance shall not be used by a violator as a defense to the town’s application for equitable relief.
4.6.7 Criminal penalties.
Pursuant to G.S. § 14-4, any person, firm, or corporation convicted of violating the provisions of this ordinance shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor and shall be fined an amount not to exceed $500.
The criminal penalties set for above are for violations of this ordinance only. Violations of some of the provisions of this ordinance also are violations of state law. In those instances, the town may seek to criminal penalties authorized by statute. Such statutes include, but are not limited to, G.S. § 143-215.6B which is applicable to violations of the Falls Lake rules.
4.6.8 Execution of court decisions.
As provided in G.S. § 160A-175(e), if the violator 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, and the town, by and through the Town Attorney, may execute the order of abatement. The town shall have a lien on the property for the cost of executing an order of abatement in the nature of a mechanic’s and materialman’s lien.
The violator may secure cancellation of an order of abatement by paying all costs of the proceeding 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 is heard and shall be conditioned upon the defendant’s full compliance with the terms of the order of abatement within a time fixed by the judge. Cancellation of an order of abatement shall not suspend or cancel an injunction issued in conjunction therewith.
4.6.9 Deny or withhold permits. The Ordinance Administrator may deny or withhold authorization to use or develop any land, structure, or improvements until an alleged violation and associated civil penalty related to such land, use, or development is corrected.
The remedies provided for violations of this ordinance, whether civil or criminal, shall be cumulative and in addition to any other remedy provided by law, and may be exercised in any order.
Each day that a violation continues shall be considered as a separate and distinct offense, and may be enforced as such at the discretion of the Ordinance Administrator.