§ 156.049  VESTED RIGHTS.
   (A)   Purpose.  This section is intended to clarify the rights of property owners regarding the time frame for which the town's land use decisions can be considered to confer vested rights. This section is written to bring the town into compliance with the Vested Rights Act, Article 11, of Chapter 29, Title 6, of the Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976 (S.C. Code §§ 6-29-1510 et seq.).
   (B)   Definitions.  For the purpose of this section, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.
      BUILDING PERMIT.  A written warrant or license issued by a local building official that authorizes the construction or renovation of a building or structure at a specified location.
      LAND DEVELOPMENT ORDINANCES OR REGULATIONS. Any ordinances or regulations that establish permitted uses or development standards for the improvement of property.
      LOCAL GOVERNING BODY.
         (a)   The governing body of a county or municipality; or
         (b)   A county or municipal body authorized by statute or by the governing body of the county or municipality to make land use decisions.  For the purposes of this section, this would include Town Council, Planning Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals, Design Review Board, and Old Village Historic District Commission, as is applicable.
      SITE SPECIFIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN. A development plan submitted to a local governing body by a landowner describing with reasonable certainty the types and density or intensity of uses for a specific property or properties.
      VESTED RIGHT.  The right to undertake and complete the development of property under the terms and conditions of a site specific development plan.
   (C)   Vesting periods.
      (1)   Approved site specific development plans shall be vested for an initial period of two years from the date of final approval by the local governing body.
      (2)   Within the vesting period, the property owner may make application and be granted a building permit from the Town Building Official in accordance with all other applicable town regulations.
   (D)   Extensions of vesting periods and limitations thereto.
      (1)   Subsequent modifications or amendments to an approved site specific development plan shall not re-establish or extend the initial two- year vesting period if the underlying land development ordinances or regulations have been amended in a manner that would prohibit the execution of the site specific development plan.
      (2)   After the initial two-year vesting period, a site specific development plan is eligible for at least five annual extensions of the vested right, which must be approved unless an amendment to the land development ordinances or regulations has been adopted that prohibits approval.
         (a)   Any change or amendment to the land development ordinances or regulations that would no longer allow execution of the site specific development plan constitutes a prohibition of the approval of the extension.
         (b)   The property owner must submit a written request for the extension to the local governing body, as defined in this section, prior to the expiration of the initial two-year vesting period and each successive annual vesting period; failure to make a timely request shall void the request.
   (E)   Conditions and limitations.
      (1)   Site specific development plan provisions apply to projects that require the investment in grading; installation of utilities, streets and other infrastructure; and other significant expenditures necessary to apply for a building permit. For purposes of this section, the following are considered site specific development plans:
         (a)   Town Council-approved Planned Development Districts;
         (b)   Town Council-approved Impact Assessments;
         (c)   Planning Commission-approved Sketch Plans or Preliminary Plats;
         (d)   Board of Zoning Appeals-approved Variances and Special Exception Uses;
         (e)   Final Planning staff approvals and Design Review Board final approvals regarding Commercial Design Review Overlay District applica- tions;
         (f)   Old Village Historic District Commission-approved Certificates of Appropriate- ness;
         (g)   Conditional Uses and sign permits approved by the Zoning Administrator, or his or her designee; and
         (h)   Staff-approved Preliminary Plats.
      (2)   A site specific development plan for which a variance, regulation, or special exception is necessary does not confer a vested right until the variance, regulation, or special exception is obtained.
      (3)   A vested site specific development plan is subject to later local governmental overlay zoning that imposes site plan-related requirements but does not affect allowable types, height as it affects density or intensity of uses, or density or intensity of uses.
      (4)   Upon expiration of a vested right, a building permit may be issued for development only in accordance with applicable land development ordinances or regulations.
      (5)   A vested right to a site specific development plan may be revoked by the local governing body upon its determination, after notice and a public hearing, that there was a material misrepresentation by the landowner or substantial noncompliance with the terms and conditions of the original or amended approval.
(Ord. 05035, passed 6-14-05; Am. Ord. 07071, passed 11-13-07; Am. Ord. 14047, passed 8-12-14; Am. Ord. 16082, passed 10-11-16; Am. Ord. 18101, passed 1-8-19)