Sec. 14-594. - Procedures for appeals and variances.
   (a)   Application submittal requirements. Applications for appeal or for a variance shall be filed with the planning director. The planning director shall prescribe the form on which applications are made, as well as any other material which may reasonably be required to make the determinations called for in the particular case, with sufficient copies for necessary referrals and records. No applications shall be accepted by the planning director unless it complies with such requirements. Applications which are not complete shall be returned forthwith to the applicant, with a notation of the deficiencies in the application. On receipt of a complete application, the planning director shall transmit the application to the board of adjustment. In the case of applications for appeal, the planning director shall also transmit to the board all documents constituting the record on which the decision being appealed was based.
   (b)   Notice of evidentiary public hearing. After its receipt of an application for appeal or for a variance, the board of adjustment shall hold an evidentiary public hearing on the application at its next available regularly scheduled meeting. Notice shall be provided consistent with the procedures in section 14-254(d).
   (c)   Evidentiary hearing procedure. The evidentiary public hearing shall be held using the procedures in section 14-254(e) through (k).
   (d)   Action on the application. After completion of the public hearing, the board of adjustment shall take action on the application. In the case of applications for appeal, such action shall be to reverse, or affirm (wholly or partly), or modify the decision being appealed. In the case of applications for a variance, such action shall be based on findings as to each of the determinations required in this section, and shall be approval, or approval subject to conditions, or denial. The board may impose reasonable conditions on the granting of any variance to ensure that the public health, safety, and general welfare shall be protected and substantial justice done. In its consideration of applications for a variance, the board shall not use the existence of nonconformities in the vicinity as justification for the granting of variances. G.S. 160D-406(i) requires affirmative votes of four-fifths of the board's members to decide in favor of an applicant. Each final decision shall be reduced to writing, reflect the board's determination of contested facts and their application to the applicable standards, and be approved by the board and signed by the chair or other duly authorized member of the board. The decision is effective upon filing the written decision with the planning director.
   (e)   Actions subsequent to decision. The planning director shall deliver the board's decision to the applicant within a reasonable time by personal delivery, electronic mail, or first-class mail, and shall file a copy of it with the county's planning department. The planning director shall certify to the local government that proper notice has been made, and the certificate shall be deemed conclusive in the absence of fraud. If a variance is granted, the planning director shall issue a variance permit stating the nature of the variance and any conditions attached thereto. The applicant shall record the permit in the office of the county register of deeds.
   (f)   Appeal of decision. A decision of the board of adjustment on an application for appeal or for a variance may be appealed to the superior court by an aggrieved party. Such appeal shall be in the nature of certiorari and must be filed within 30 days of the filing of the decision in the office of the planning department or the delivery of the notice required in subsection (d) of this section, whichever is later.
(Ord. of 7-10-2000, § 13.4; Amend. of - - )