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Chatham County invites input on response to state permit extension act

Posted Sunday, November 7, 2010

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Pittsboro, NC - The Chatham County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing at its regular meeting on Nov. 15 at 6 pm to get public input on a proposal for the county to opt out of a state law providing an additional one-year extension of deadlines for certain categories of development-related permits.

In response to requests from developers, the General Assembly passed the Permit Extension Act of 2009, which mandated the extension of permit approvals that were valid between Jan. 1, 2008 to Dec. 31, 2010. The new amendments adopted by the General Assembly this summer extends the permit expiration deadlines an additional year, unless local governments take action to opt out of the extension.

According to Jason Sullivan, planning director, extending the permit expiration deadline another year would impact several subdivision and conditional use approvals. The Planning Board recommended opting out of the extension for subdivisions and conditional use permits, which are under its area of authority.

The Environmental Review Board also recommended that the Board of Commissioners opt out of the additional one-year permit extension since it would also impact permits related to environmental reviews for development projects.

The county could choose to opt out of the one-year deadline extension for certain categories of permits or all development-related permits. These categories of Chatham County could be impacted by an extension or a non-extension of those permits:

  • Subdivision permits
  • Conditional use permits
  • Building permits
  • Onsite improvement permits for septic systems
  • Soil erosion and sediment control permits
  • Stormwater approval letters
  • Environmental review permits
Cynthia Van Der Wiele, director of Sustainable Communities Development, noted that each category of permits is impacted differently. “Various permits are closely related to other types of permits, so changing a permit deadline is not always a simple issue.”

For example, the State of North Carolina determines and periodically amends building code requirements. If a building permit expires and the state changes the building code requirements in the interim, some design work previously completed by the developer may no longer meet the code requirements for a new permit, unless construction had already begun.

To opt out of the one-year permit extension, the Board of Commissioners must adopt a resolution by Dec. 31, 2010.

The 2010 amendments also clarified requirements for permit holders as well. To qualify for any permit extensions authorized under the state law, the permit holders must:

  • Comply with all laws, regulations and policies that were in place when they obtained the permit;
  • Maintain any performance guarantees required as condition of the original permit approval; and
  • Complete any roads, utilities or other infrastructure required to obtain a certificate of occupancy or other final permit approval.
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Chatham County invites input on response to state permit extension act

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