Sec. 14-633. - Board of adjustment.
   (a)   Establishment of the board; qualifications. A board of adjustment consisting of five members and two alternate members is established. The five members and two alternates shall reside within the county and shall be appointed by the board of commissioners. Each alternate member shall sit as a regular member on any matter in the absence of a regular member. Members shall serve without compensation.
   (b)   Tenure. Members of the board of adjustment shall be appointed to serve terms of three years, and until their respective successors have been appointed and qualified. The terms of the original members may be staggered so that all terms do not expire simultaneously. Vacancies shall be filled for the unexpired term only.
   (c)   Officers. The board of adjustment shall elect one member to serve as chairman and preside over its meetings, and shall create and fill such offices and committees as it may deem necessary. The term of the chairman and other offices shall be for one year, with eligibility for reelection to a second term. The chairman or any member temporarily acting as chairman is authorized to administer oaths to any witnesses in any matter coming before the board.
   (d)   Powers of the board. The board of adjustment shall have the following powers:
   (1)   To hear and decide appeals from any decision or determination made by the planning director in the performance of his duties in the enforcement of this chapter;
   (2)   To hear and decide requests for variances from the dimensional regulations of this chapter, in accordance with article X of this chapter;
   (3)   To make interpretations of the zoning atlas, including disputed questions on zoning district boundary lines or lot lines, and similar questions as they arise in the administration of this chapter;
   (4)   To enter, at reasonable times, upon private lands and make examinations or surveys as necessary for the performance of its official duties;
   (5)   To request the board of commissioners to hold public hearings on matters within the purview of the board; and
   (6)   To hear and decide any other matter as required by the provisions of this chapter.
   (e)   Meetings. The board of adjustment shall establish a regular meeting schedule and shall meet frequently enough so that it may take action as expeditiously as reasonably possible. All meetings of the board shall be open to the public and reasonable notice of the time and place thereof shall be given to the public in accordance with G.S. ch. 143, art. 33C. The board shall adopt rules of procedure and regulations for the conduct of its affairs. In considering appeals, variance requests, and interpretations, the board shall observe the quasijudicial procedural requirements set forth in article X of this chapter. The board shall keep a record of its meetings, including attendance of its members, the vote of each member on every question, a complete summary of the evidence submitted to it, documents submitted to it, and all official actions.
   (f)   Attendance at meetings. Any member of the board of adjustment who misses more than three consecutive regular meetings or more than half the regular meetings in a calendar year may lose his status as a member of the board, and shall be replaced by the board of commissioners. Absence due to sickness, death, or other emergency of like nature shall be recognized as an excused absence, and shall not affect the member's status on the board, except that in the event of a long illness or other such cause for prolonged absence, the member shall be replaced.
   (g)   Quorum and voting. A quorum of the board of adjustment, necessary to take any official action, shall consist of four members. The concurring vote of four-fifths of the membership of the board shall be necessary in order to:
   (1)   Approve an application for a variance;
   (2)   Reverse or modify a decision of the planning director in the case of applications for appeal; or
   (3)   Decide in favor of the applicant in any other matter on which the board is required to act by this chapter.
   The concurring vote of a majority of those members present shall be necessary to conduct routine business of the board, to deny applications for variances; and, in the case of appeals, to affirm the decision of the planning director.
   (h)   Appeals of board of adjustment actions. Every decision of the board of adjustment 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 section 14-613 whichever is later.
   (i)   Avoiding conflicts of interest. Members of the board of adjustment shall not participate in or vote on any quasijudicial matter in a manner that would violate affected persons' constitutional rights to an impartial decision maker. Impermissible violations of due process include, but are not limited to, a member having a fixed opinion prior to hearing the matter that is not susceptible to change, undisclosed ex parte communications, a close familial, business, or other associational relationship with an affected person, or a financial interest in the outcome of the matter. If an objection is raised to a board member's participation at or prior to the hearing or vote on a particular matter and that member does not recuse himself or herself, the remaining members of the board shall by majority vote rule on the objection.
(Ord. of 7-10-2000, § 15.3; Amend. of 12-3-2007; Amend. of 9-8-2009; Amend. of - - )