§ 151.15  PROCEDURE FOR ENFORCEMENT.
   (A)   Preliminary investigation; notice; hearing. Whenever a petition is filed with the Inspector by a public authority or by at least five residents of the town charging that any dwelling or dwelling unit is unfit for human habitation, he or she shall, if his or her preliminary investigation discloses a basis for such charges, issue and cause to be served upon the owner of and parties in interest in the dwelling or dwelling unit a complaint stating the charges and containing a notice that a hearing will be held before the Inspector at a place therein fixed, not less than ten, nor more than 30, days after the serving of said complaint. The owner or any party in interest shall have the right to file an answer to the complaint and to appear in person or otherwise and give testimony at the place and time fixed in the complaint. Notice of the hearing shall also be given to at least one of the persons signing a petition relating to the dwelling. Any person desiring to do so may attend the hearing and give evidence relevant to the matter being heard. The rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law or equity shall not be controlling in hearings before the Inspector.
   (B)   Procedure after hearing. After such notice and hearing, the Inspector shall state in writing his or her determination whether the dwelling or dwelling unit is unfit for human habitation and if so, whether it is deteriorated or dilapidated. If the Inspector determines that the dwelling or dwelling unit is deteriorated, he or she shall state in writing his or her findings of fact in support of the determination and shall issue and cause to be served upon the owner thereof an order directing and requiring the owner to repair, alter and improve the dwelling or dwelling unit to comply with the minimum standards of fitness established by this chapter within a specified period of time not to exceed 90 days. The order may also direct and require the owner to vacate and close the dwelling or dwelling unit until the repairs, alterations and improvements have been made. If the Inspector determines that the dwelling is dilapidated, he or she shall state in writing his or her findings of fact to support the determination and shall issue and cause to be served upon the owner thereof an order directing and requiring the owner to vacate and close the dwelling and to remove or demolish the same within a specified period of time, not to exceed 90 days.
   (C)   Failure to comply with order. If the owner of any deteriorated dwelling or dwelling unit shall fail to comply with an order of the Inspector issued pursuant to this chapter, the Inspector shall secure the issuance of a warrant charging such owner with a violation of the minimum standards of fitness established by this chapter, as provided in § 151.21 and shall cause to be served upon such owner another order directing the owner to repair, alter or improve same within a specified period of time, not to exceed 90 days. If the owner shall fail to comply with the order within the time specified therein, the Inspector shall submit to the Council an ordinance ordering the Inspector to cause such dwelling or dwelling unit to be repaired, altered or improved to comply with the minimum standards of fitness established by this chapter. If the owner of a dilapidated dwelling shall fail to comply with an order of the Inspector to vacate and close and remove or demolish, the same within the time specified in the order, the Inspector shall secure the issuance of a warrant charging the owner with a violation of the minimum standards of fitness established by this chapter, as provided in § 151.21 and shall submit to the Council an ordinance ordering the Inspector to cause such dwelling to be vacated and closed and removed or demolished and pending such removal or demolition, to placard such dwelling as provided by G.S.§ 160A-443 and § 151.17 of this chapter. No such ordinance shall be adopted to require demolition of a dwelling until the owner has first been given a reasonable opportunity to bring it into conformity with the Housing Code. The ordinance shall be recorded in the County Register of Deeds and shall be indexed in the name of the property owner in the grantor index.
   (D)   Appeal. Where compliance with an order of the Inspector or where the literal application of the provisions of this chapter would appear to cause undue hardship on an owner or other party in interest or when it is claimed that the true intent and meaning of this chapter or any of the minimum standards or requirements herein have been wrongly interpreted, the owner or other party in interest may appeal from the order of the Inspector to the Zoning Board of Adjustment in accordance with G.S. § 160A-446.
      (1)   Notice of appeal shall be in writing and filed in the office of the Town Clerk/Manager within ten  days after service of the order of the Inspector and shall be on forms provided by the Inspector. The appeal shall be placed on the agenda for hearing by the Board of Adjustment at its next regular meeting.
      (2)   The Board of Adjustment upon such appeal and after a hearing, may extend the time for compliance with the Inspector's order or vary the application of any provision of this chapter in hardship cases, when, in its opinion, the enforcement thereof would do manifest injustice and would be contrary to the spirit and purpose of this chapter or the public interest or when, in its opinion, the interpretation of the Inspector was wrong and should be modified or reversed. In hardship cases, a hardship peculiar to the appellant must be shown.
      (3)   A decision of the Board of Adjustment to extend the time for compliance with an order of the Inspector or to vary the application of any provision of this chapter or to modify an order of the Inspector, shall specify in what manner the extension, variation or modification is made, the conditions upon which it is made and the reasons therefor.
      (4)   Every such decision of the Board of Adjustment shall be in writing and shall be promptly filed in the office of the Inspector and shall be open to public inspection; a certified copy shall be sent by mail or otherwise, to the appellant.
      (5)   If a decision of the Board of Adjustment reverses or modifies a refusal, order or disallowance of the Inspector or varies the application of any provision of this chapter, the Inspector shall immediately take action in accordance with the decision.
      (6)   Nothing in this division (D) shall be construed to prevent an owner or other party in interest from exercising the right of petition for judicial review of an order of the Inspector, as provided by G.S. § 160A-446 and division (E) below.
   (E)   Petition to Superior Court. The owner or any other person affected by an order of the Inspector shall have the right, within 60 days following service of the order, to petition the Superior Court for a temporary injunction restraining enforcement of the order and for a hearing and determination of the validity thereof, as provided by G.S. §  160A-446.
(1992 Code, § 151.15)  (Ord. passed 8-13-1990)