The new Chapter 160D of the North Carolina General Statutes consolidates current city- and county-enabling statutes for development regulations (now in Chapters 153A and 160A) into a single, unified chapter. Chapter 160D places these statutes into a more logical, coherent organization. While the new law does not make major policy changes or shifts in the scope of authority granted to local governments, it does provide many clarifying amendments and consensus reforms that will need to be incorporated into local development regulations.
Chapter 160D is effective now, but local governments have until July 1, 2021 for the development, consideration, and adoption of necessary amendments to conform local ordinances to this new law. All city and county zoning, subdivision, and other development regulations, including unified-development ordinances, will need to be updated by that date to conform to the new law. Cities and counties that have zoning ordinances must have an up-to-date comprehensive plan or land use plan by July 1, 2022.