§ 156.022  ENFORCEMENT.
   The following procedures and penalties are pursuant to G.S. 14-4 and Part II, Chapter 1, Section 1-6 of the Town of Wilkesboro Code of Ordinances:
   (A)   General enforcement procedures.
      (1)   Investigation. Upon the receipt of complaints or other information suggesting a violation of this chapter, the Zoning Enforcement Officer shall investigate the allegations and determine whether a violation exists.
      (2)   Warning of violation. Upon determination of a violation, the Zoning Enforcement Officer shall cause a warning citation to be issued to the violator.  Such warning citation shall set out the nature of the violation, the section violated, the date of the violation, and shall contain an order to immediately cease the violation.  The warning citation shall specify that failure to correct the violation or to appeal the decision to the Board of Adjustment, within a specified time will incur a civil penalty, together with costs and attorney fees.
      (3)   Appeal to Board of Adjustment. An appeal from a warning citation shall be taken within ten days from the date of said warning citation to the Board of Adjustment.  If a person who receives a warning citation does not appeal the determination within the time established in this section, then that person may not later appeal to the Board of Adjustment the subsequent imposition of any remedy or penalty provided in this subchapter.
      (4)   Extension of time to correct violation. Where the Zoning Enforcement Officer determines that the period of time stated in the original warning citation is not sufficient for abatement based upon the work required or consent agreement, the enforcement official may amend the warning citation to provide for additional time, up to but not exceeding 30 days. The Zoning Enforcement Officer may grant an extension only by written notice of extension.
      (5)   Enforcement upon failure to correct violation. Upon failure of the violator to obey the warning citation,  a civil citation shall be issued by the enforcement official of the Town of Wilkesboro and either served directly on the violator, his duly designated agent, or registered agent if a corporation, either in person or posted in the United States mail service by first class mail addressed to the last known address of the violator as contained in the records of Wilkes County or obtained from the violator at the time of issuance of the warning citation.  The violator shall be deemed to have been served upon the mailing of said citation.  The citation shall direct the violator to appear before the Zoning Enforcement Officer, or designee, within 15 days of the date of the citation, or alternatively to pay the citation by mail.  The violation for which the citation is issued must have been corrected by the time the citation is paid; otherwise further citations shall be issued. 
      (6)   Emergency enforcement without notice. If delay in correcting a violation would seriously threaten the effective enforcement of this chapter or pose an immediate danger to the public health, safety, or welfare, then the Zoning Enforcement Officer may order the immediate cessation of a violation. The Zoning Enforcement Officer may seek immediate enforcement, without prior written notice, through any remedy or penalty authorized by this subchapter.
   (B)   Repeat offender.
      (1)   First offense. Any violation occurring once within a 36-month period shall be considered a first offense. A notice of violation shall be issued by the Administrator or his/her designee to the violator. Such notice shall set out the nature of the violation, the section violated, and the date of the violation. The notice of violation shall provide for a reasonable period of time by which the violation must be abated or otherwise brought into compliance with this chapter. The notice shall specify that a second citation shall incur a civil penalty, together with costs and attorney fees. An appeal of the Administrator's decision shall be allowed. Upon the expiration of the deadline stated in the notice of violation, the violator shall be subject to a civil penalty of $50 for each day that the violation remains on the property without further notice. Should a violation continue to exist and/or the violator fails to pay the penalties, the Town shall seek to recover the penalty together with all costs by filing a civil action in the General Court of Justice in the nature of a suit to collect a debt. The collection of a penalty pursuant hereto shall not foreclose further proceedings for penalties coming due subsequent to the date of the filing of a prior proceeding. The provisions of this section may also be enforced through any other appropriate remedies as prescribed in this subchapter.
      (2)   Repeat offense. Any violation reoccurring on the same property by the same violator more than once within a 36-month period shall be considered a repeat offense provided the reoccurrence is a violation of the same subchapter of this chapter. A notice of violation shall be issued by the Administrator or his/her designee and shall have an immediate civil penalty of $300. No warning period shall be granted since this provision applies only to violations that occur more than once in a 36-month period and proper notice was given for the initial violation. For each day the repeat violation remains, the violator shall be subject to a civil penalty of $300. Should a violation continue to exist and/or the violator fails to pay the penalties, the town shall seek to recover the penalty together with all costs by filing a civil action in the General Court of Justice in the nature of a suit to collect a debt. Procedures for issuance, service, and collection of non-paid penalties shall be as set forth in this subchapter. The collection of a penalty pursuant hereto shall not foreclose further proceedings for penalties coming due subsequent to the date of the filing of a prior proceeding. The provisions of this section may also be enforced through any other appropriate remedies as prescribed in this subchapter.
      (3)   Other powers. In addition to the enforcement powers specified in this section, the Town Council may exercise any and all enforcement powers granted by North Carolina law.
      (4)   Remedies cumulative. The remedies and enforcement powers established in this subchapter shall be cumulative, and the town may exercise them in any order.
   (C)   Remedies and penalties. The town may use any combination of the following actions and penalties to prevent, correct, stop, abate, or penalize a violation of this chapter:
      (1)   Civil penalties. Violations of any town ordinance shall constitute either a misdemeanor or, at the election of the town, shall subject the offender to a civil penalty upon the issuance of a citation for said violation as hereinafter provided.  The civil penalty, if not paid to the Town of Wilkesboro within 15 days of the issuance of a citation, may be recovered by the town in a civil action in the nature of debt.  Unless otherwise provided by a specific provision of any town ordinance, said civil penalties shall be in the amount of $50 for each violation and each day any single violation continues shall be a separate violation.
      (2)   Criminal penalties. Violation of this chapter shall constitute a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of up to $500, and imprisonment of up to 30 days, or both.  Notwithstanding the provisions of this subchapter related to warnings, notices, and time periods, any crime for the purposes of a criminal penalty occurs and accrues at the time a person violates this chapter, whether or not a warning or notice is given. Each day that any violation continues shall constitute a separate offense for the purpose of assessing criminal penalties.
      (3)   Injunction and abatement order. In addition to the penalties set out above, this chapter may be enforced by injunction and order of abatement by the General Court of Justice.  When violations occur, the town may apply to the appropriate division of the General Court of Justice for a mandatory or prohibitory injunction and/or order of abatement commanding the defendant to correct the violation. The action shall be governed in all respects by the laws and rules governing civil proceedings, including the Rules of Civil Procedure in general and Rule 65 in particular.
      (4)   Permit revocation. If a person fails to comply with the terms and conditions of a permit or development approval granted under this chapter, the Zoning Enforcement Officer may revoke the permit or development approval.
      (5)   Disapproval of subsequent permits and development approvals. As long as a violation of this chapter continues and remains uncorrected, the Zoning Enforcement Officer may withhold, and the Zoning Enforcement Officer and other town boards may disapprove, any request for permit or development approval or authorization provided for by this chapter for the land on which the violation occurs.
(Am. Ord. passed 9-14-2016)