North Carolina General Statutes have allowed municipalities to extend their land use regulations into an unzoned area outside of their municipal boundary, otherwise known as an Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ). On June 24, 2014 the North Carolina General Assembly ratified Session Law 2014-26 which removed the authority of the Town of Weaverville to exercise land use regulation within an ETJ area. Buncombe County is now working to extend County regulations into this area. Until regulations are extended or 120 days have elapsed (whichever is sooner), all permitting will continue to be handled by the current permit issuer.
If you have additional questions that are not sufficiently addressed below, please feel free to contact the Buncombe County Planning Department’s zoning line at (828)250-4858 or email us at email@example.com.
Below is a timeline of relevant dates as well as answers to frequently asked questions.
- I received a Notice of Public Hearing in the mail/I have been seeing signs around Weaverville advertising a public hearing for Buncombe County. What does this mean?
On June 24, 2014 the North Carolina General Assembly ratified Session Law 2014-26 which removed the authority of the Town of Weaverville to exercise land use regulation within an ETJ area. Buncombe County is now working to extend County regulations into this area. Buncombe County will be holding public hearings to discuss the inclusion of the area within the Official Zoning Map of Buncombe County.
- What is the Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ)?
The Extraterritorial Jurisdiction, or ETJ, is the area beyond a municipality’s formal corporate limits in which the municipality can regulate land use and development. Property within this area is governed by the development regulations of the city or town exercising the ETJ.
- My property was in the ETJ before it was annexed. Does this mean that I am no longer in the Town?
The ETJ transition does not impact any current or past annexations performed by the Town of Weaverville. Properties within the corporate limits of the Town of Weaverville will remain unaffected by this process.
- Why is control being transferred from the Town of Weaverville to Buncombe County?
The bill passed by the North Carolina General Assembly (Session Law 2014-26) ends Weaverville’s authority to exercise land use regulations outside its corporate limits.
- When will transfer of the ETJ be effective?
The bill passed by the North Carolina General Assembly (Session Law 2014-26) removes authority from the Town of Weaverville within the ETJ area 120 days following the effective date of the legislation. Buncombe County may zone and apply other types of development regulations and standards to this area prior to the expiration of this period.
- Where can I get further information regarding transfer of the ETJ to the County’s jurisdiction?
The Buncombe County Planning Board has made a recommendation to the County Commissioners regarding proposed zoning designations for this area. The proposed amendments to the Zoning Map of Buncombe County can now be reached via the publicly accessible Geographic Information Systems (GIS). (See below for further instructions on accessing proposed zoning layers in GIS.) If you wish to speak to someone directly regarding the proposed zoning for your property, please contact the Buncombe County Planning Department’s zoning line at (828)250-4858 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Which Buncombe County zoning designations will be applied to the ETJ area? How are these designations being determined?
There are twelve zoning districts and three zoning overlay districts within the Buncombe County Zoning Ordinance. A close comparison has been made between these districts and the zoning districts previously applied by the Town of Weaverville. Efforts are being made to zone properties to the nearest equivalent County zoning designation. The Planning Board has reviewed the proposed zoning maps and has made a recommendation to the Board of Commissioners, who will make the final determination. The proposed zoning maps are now available in GIS. (See below for further instructions on accessing proposed zoning layers in GIS.)
- I currently hold development permits from the Town of Weaverville. How will my project be affected once the ETJ has been transferred?
Any permits which have been issued by the Town of Weaverville prior to the formal adoption of County zoning within the ETJ area will be completed through the Town of Weaverville. Buncombe County is already the permitting authority for Building, Erosion, Stormwater, and Flood Damage Prevention Permits and the transfer of the ETJ will not affect those permits issued by Buncombe County.
- What if I have something on my property which is not allowed in the proposed County zoning district?
An existing use on the property that is not allowed in the zoning district would be grandfathered. Generally speaking, nonconforming uses can be continued under the Buncombe County Zoning Ordinance as long as the use is not terminated for more than 180 days.
- Who do I contact if I have a complaint about development activity in the ETJ area?
Prior to application of County development standards within the ETJ or October 28, 2014 (whichever occurs first), complaints should continue to be directed to the Town of Weaverville. After adoption of zoning by Buncombe County, complaints regarding development activities within the ETJ may be directed to Buncombe County.
- How will transfer of my property to another zoning jurisdiction affect my deed restrictions and subdivision covenants?
Deed restrictions and covenants are not affected by zoning. Local governments enforce zoning regulations, but cannot enforce deed restrictions or subdivision covenants. Deed restrictions and covenants operate in addition to zoning requirements and will remain in effect after the transition of the ETJ to the County.
- In addition to County zoning requirements, what other County ordinances and regulations will be applied within the former ETJ?
Upon return of the ETJ area to Buncombe County’s jurisdiction, any and all ordinances and regulations administered by Buncombe County will become effective in that area, as applicable. A number of standards enforced by the County will become effective after the adoption of zoning by the Buncombe County Commissioners. The ordinances administered by the Buncombe County Planning Department can be found here.
- Where will I need to go to get zoning permits?
Active permits will be handled by the permit issuer. Until Buncombe County has extended County zoning to the ETJ area, those building in that area will need to obtain proof of zoning compliance from the Town of Weaverville. After the adoption of zoning by the Buncombe County Commissioners within the area currently in Weaverville’s ETJ, all zoning permits will be issued by Buncombe County Planning and Development. Buncombe County Planning and Development is located at 46 Valley Street, Asheville, NC 28801 and can be reached by phone at (828)250-4830.
- I don’t agree with the proposed zoning designation for my property. Can I apply to have it rezoned?
In order to ensure a smooth transition between jurisdictional areas, applications for rezoning will only be accepted after the adoption of County zoning in the ETJ area. Rezoning requests will require public hearings before the Planning Board and Board of Commissioners. Buncombe County will offer owners of those properties which are initially zoned during the ETJ transition the opportunity to make an application for rezoning at no cost as long as the application is filed within 90 days of the adoption of zoning in that area by the Board of Commissioners.
- What are zoning overlay districts?
Zoning overlay districts provide an additional set of use and scope regulations in sensitive or special areas. The county has two overlay districts which will be extended into the ETJ (Steep Slope/High Elevation, and Protected Ridge).
- How do I determine my proposed zoning?
Go to http://gis.buncombecounty.org/. Under "Search by" (top middle), enter your parcel identification number (PIN) in the search box and click the FIND button. Once the map has loaded, click on the ‘Map Layers’ button and find the ‘Administrative Areas’ section under ‘Map Contents’. Select the layer labeled “County Zoning with Proposed Amendments” or “County Zoning Overlays with Proposed Amendments” to see your proposed County zoning district overlaid on the parcel.
- When are the public hearings?
- Buncombe County Planning Board recommended approval of the proposed zoning maps for the ETJ area in a Public Hearing.
- 9/16/14: Public Hearing scheduled before the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners at 200 College Street, Suite 326, Asheville, NC 28801 to be held at 4:30 pm
- What happens if only part of my property is within the ETJ?
Property that crosses jurisdictional lines will be subject to the appropriate jurisdiction’s requirements where the intended development or use is to take place. For example, if half of your property is within the ETJ and half is within the Town of Weaverville, only the portion within the ETJ will be transitioned to the County’s jurisdiction.
- Why would I not be able to see my proposed zoning under the “County Zoning with Proposed Amendments” layer in GIS?
If your property is within the municipal limits of Asheville, Biltmore Forest, Black Mountain, Montreat, Weaverville, or Woodfin, the zoning of your property is unaffected by this jurisdictional change.
- I don’t own property in the ETJ. Why did I receive a letter?
Your property may be adjacent to the ETJ area. North Carolina General Statutes and the Buncombe County Zoning Ordinance require notification to affected and adjacent property owners when a rezoning/map amendment is considered.