(A)   Pre-application conference.
      (1)   Before submitting an application for development approval, each applicant shall schedule a pre-application conference with the Planning Department to discuss the procedures, standards and regulations required for development approval in accordance with this chapter. The pre-application meeting shall have been held no more than six months prior to application submittal
      (2)   Unless waived by the Planning Director, a pre-application conference with the Planning Department shall be required for all development approvals listed in Table 7-1, with the exception of Written Interpretations (§ 155.715), Administrative Appeals (§ 155.717), Zoning Permits (§ 155.709), and Sign Permits (§ 155.713).
   (B)   Neighborhood meeting.
      (1)   After the pre-application conference and at least ten days prior to the first public meeting or, if administrative, prior to final approval by the Technical Review Committee (TRC), the applicant shall hold a mandatory neighborhood meeting for the following:
         (a)   Rezonings (§ 155.704);
         (b)   Conditional Zoning (§ 155.705);
         (c)   Major Subdivision/Preliminary Plat Review (§ 155.706);
         (d)   Major Site Plan Review (only required for site plans including new structures or building additions greater than 10,000 SF in size), (§ 155.707);
         (e)   Special Use Review (§ 155.711); and
         (f)   Variance (§ 155.716).
      (2)   Only the initial application for Conditional Rezoning review shall require a neighborhood meeting. Subsequent applications for Minor Preliminary Plat or Site Plan review do not require further neighborhood meetings.
      (3)   The purpose of the neighborhood meeting shall be to inform the neighborhood of the nature of the proposed land use and development features, explain the site plan if any, and solicit comments.
      (4)   The applicant shall provide notification by mail to property owners as identified in division (D)(2)(c) of this section. The notice shall be mailed at least ten days but not more than 25 days prior to the date of the neighborhood meeting.  Neighborhood meetings shall be held no earlier than 6:00 pm Monday through Friday to allow adequate time for attendees to get to the meeting.
      (5)   The applicant shall provide to the Planning Department a copy of all notice materials including the letter and addresses, and provide written certification of the mailing. Certification shall note the date of the mailing and be signed by the applicant.
      (6)   The applicant shall prepare and submit to the Planning Director a meeting summary that outlines attendance, major points discussed, and any agreements reached between the parties involved.
      (7)   The Planning Director may develop administrative rules pertaining to any additional requirements for the conduct of the meeting.
   (C)   Application requirements.
      (1)   Forms. Applications required under this chapter shall be submitted on forms and in such numbers as required by the Planning Director.
      (2)   Fees.
         (a)   All applications and associated fees shall be filed with the Planning Department.
         (b)   Filing fees shall be established from time to time to defray the actual cost of processing the application, as listed in the town's Comprehensive List of Fees and Charges.
         (c)   An applicant who has paid the appropriate fee pursuant to the submission of an application, but who chooses to withdraw such application prior to its distribution for review shall be entitled to a refund of the total amount paid, less 10% for administrative costs, upon written request to the appropriate department. Once review has begun, no refund shall be available, except that unused notice surcharges shall be refunded less 10% for administrative purposes.
      (3)   Application deadline. Applications shall be submitted to the Planning Department in accordance with the published calendar schedule. Schedules indicating submittal dates shall be developed each year and made available to the public.
      (4)   Applications sufficient for processing.
         (a)   All applications shall be sufficient for processing before the Planning Department is required to review the application.
         (b)   An application shall be sufficient for processing when it contains all of the required information and materials have been submitted for review.
         (c)   The presumption shall be that all of the information required in the application materials is necessary to satisfy the requirements of this section. However, it is recognized that each application is unique, and therefore more or less information may be required according to the needs of the particular case. The applicant may rely on the recommendations of the appropriate department as to whether more or less information should be submitted.
         (d)   Once the application has been determined sufficient for processing, copies of the application shall be referred by the Planning Department to the appropriate reviewing entities.
      (5)   Final determinations on sufficient applications.
         (a)   Following review by appropriate entities, Planning Department staff shall review any updated application materials and confer with the applicant to ensure an understanding of the applicable requirements of this chapter; that the applicant has submitted all of the information they intend to submit; and that the application represents precisely and completely what the applicant proposes to do.
         (b)   Once the applicant indicates that the application is as complete as the applicant intends to make it, Planning Department staff will make a determination on the application, or as required by this chapter, the application shall be placed on the agenda of the appropriate review board in accordance with standard procedures.
      (6)   Concurrent applications.
         (a)   If approved by the Planning Director, applications for development approvals may be filed and reviewed concurrently. Any application that also requires a variance shall not be eligible for final approval until the variance has been granted.
         (b)   Applications submitted concurrently are subject to approval of all other related applications; denial or disapproval of any concurrently submitted application shall stop consideration of any related applications until the denied or disapproved application is resolved.
   (D)   Notice and public hearings.
      (1)   Summary of notice required. Notice shall be required for applications for approval as shown in Table 7-2 below.
   Table 7-2 - Public Notice Requirements
Text Amendment (aka Ordinance Amendment)
Conditional Zoning District Planned Development
Special Use Review
Administrative Appeal
      (2)   Public notice requirements.
         (a)   Published notice. Where published notice is required, a distinctive advertisement shall be placed by the Town in a local newspaper of general circulation once a week for two successive calendar weeks, the first notice being published not less than ten days nor more than 25 days before the date fixed for the public hearing.
         (b)   Posted notice (sign). Where posted notice is required, a sign shall be posted within the same time period specified for mailed notices of the hearing. The sign shall be posted on the property or at a point visible from the nearest public street. The sign shall indicate that a public hearing will be held and a phone number to contact the town.
         (c)   Mailed notice.
            1.   Where mailed notice is required, the applicant shall supply stamped addressed envelopes to the Planning Department.  The notification shall be made by first-class mail by Planning Department staff (at the last addresses listed for such owners in the county tax records) to all property owners within 100 feet and immediately abutting the subject property. Pursuant to G.S. §160D-602, where the subject property immediately adjoins a street, railroad, other transportation corridor, public or private right-of-way, landscape or riparian buffer, commonly-owned private area, public property, or homeowners' association property, then letters of notification shall be sent to adjoining property owners as if they directly abut the subject property. The Planning Department shall certify to the Town Council that fact, and such certificate shall be deemed conclusive in the absence of fraud.
            2.   Pursuant to G.S. § 160D-602(c) the notice shall be mailed at least ten but not more than 25 days prior to the date of the public hearing.
            3.   Mailed notice under this section shall not be required if a rezoning directly affects more than 50 properties owned by a total of at least 50 different property owners, and the town elects to use the following expanded notice requirements:
               A.   Published notice of the hearing shall be provided as set forth in division (D)(2)(a) of this section.  The advertisement shall not be less than one-half of a newspaper page in size.
               B.   Mailed notice of the hearing shall be provided (as set forth in division (D)(2)(c)1. and 2. of this section) to all property owners who reside outside of the newspaper's circulation area.
         (d)   Content of notice. A published or mailed notice shall provide at least the following:
            1.   Parcel identification number;
            2.   The address of the subject property (if available);
            3.   The general location of the land that is the subject of the application, which may include, a location map;
            4.   A description of the action requested;
            5.   Where a rezoning is proposed, the current and proposed districts;
            6.   The time, date and location of the public hearing;
            7.   A phone number to contact the town; and
            8.   A statement that interested parties may appear at the public hearing.
   (E)   Decisions. Unless specifically provided elsewhere, all decisions on land use changes, including rezonings, shall require an affirmative vote. Tie votes shall be considered denials of any requested change.
   (F)   Notice of decision. Within 14 days after a decision is made, a copy of the decision shall be delivered to the applicant by personal delivery, electronic mail or first-class mail.  The decision shall also be filed with the Planning Department and available for public inspection during regular office hours.
   (G)   Withdrawal of application.
      (1)   An applicant may withdraw an application at any time, by filing a statement of withdrawal with the Planning Director.
      (2)   The statement of withdrawal shall be signed by all persons who signed the application, or in the event of death or incompetence, by the estate's lawful personal representative.
      (3)   The Planning Director shall withdraw applications due to failure of the applicant to submit required information within 90 days of the initial request.
      (4)   An applicant may postpone a scheduled public hearing once per application for up to 90 days after the date the first public hearing was scheduled to occur, after which the Planning Director shall withdraw the application per (G)(3) above.
(Ord. 2005-11-02, passed 11-21-05; Am. Ord. 2007-04-05, passed 4-2-07; Am. Ord. 2011-05-01, passed 5-2-11; Am. Ord. 2013-02-02, passed 2-4-13; Am. Ord. 2013-12-03, passed 12-2-13; Am. Ord. 2017-01-01, passed 1-3-17; Am. Ord. 2018-07-02, passed 7-16-18; Am. Ord. 2021-02-02, passed 2-15-21)