A rezoning is the reclassification of the zoning for one or more pieces of property. A rezoning is a legislative process that must be heard before both the Planning Board and the Board of Commissioners.
A county zoning map is a document officially approved by the local elected board. As an official document for the county, like any other set of laws for the county, the Board of Commissioners is the only group that may make changes to the map. This is why zoning map amendments must go through a review and approval process. Changing zoning districts works in a similar fashion to conditional use permits in terms of application requirements and the need to go in front of boards for approval but there are some important differences.
- Completed application: If the applicant is not the property owner they must either have the property owner sign the application or submit a document in writing from the property owner stating they give permission for the home to be placed there.
- $250.00 application fee. The North Carolina General Statutes require the county publish a notice in the newspaper whenever there is a general use rezoning request. The application fee helps cover the cost of running that notification in the newspaper for two (2) board meetings. Hoke County can accept payment in the form of cash, check, or money order.
- Two (2) sets of first class stamps and envelopes. The General Statutes require mail notification be sent to surrounding property owners informing them of the request and meeting date. This must be done for both the Planning Board and Board of Commissioners meetings. Hoke County specifically requires all individual property owners within 500 feet of the site be notified by mail. Hoke County determines how many are needed and handles sending out the letters, the applicant would just need to supply the stamps and envelopes.
Once the completed application packet is submitted the request will be placed on the next available meeting cycle. There are two (2) public hearings. The first hearing is with the Planning Board, an advisory board appointed by the Board of Commissioners. During the public hearing portion of the meeting the Chair will introduce the case and then the Planning Department will provide some background information related to the request and the area. An important distinction between rezonings and conditional use permits is that rezonings are not quasi-judicial and do not require sworn testimony. After Planning staff has made their presentation the board will give the applicant an opportunity to speak and then anyone for or against the case may speak. Once there are no more comments / questions the board will make a decision to make a recommendation to approve, deny, or table the request.
As an advisory board, the Planning Board only makes recommendations. These recommendations are not binding on the ultimate decision by the Board of Commissioners. If there is a recommendation of denial the Planning Board must state the reason for the denial which will be provided to the Board of Commissioners.
The second public hearing is with the Board of Commissioners. It essentially follows the same meeting process as the Planning Board. If the Board of Commissioners approves a request the property is considered rezoned immediately. Due to the need for both board reviews, from application submittal to final decision, the rezoning process takes approximately three (3) months.