The Transfer of the City of Asheville's Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ)
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 April 17, 2013 the North Carolina General Assembly ratified Session Law 2013-30 which removed the authority of the City of Asheville to exercise land use regulation within an ETJ area. Since that time, Buncombe County has worked to extend County zoning into this area. A proposal for extension of County Zoning was adopted by the Board of Commissioners on August 6, 2013.As of August 6, 2013 all properties or portions of properties located within the City of Asheville's former ETJ have been transitioned to Buncombe County's land use and development jurisdiction. As a result of this change, the zoning designations of properties in this area have changed from City of Asheville designations to Buncombe County designations. Please see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section below for further information.
NOTICE TO AFFECTED PROPERTY OWNERS
In addition to adopting zoning maps for the former ETJ areas, Commissioners directed County staff to notify all affected property owners regarding the new zoning designation of their property and services that are now available to them as County residents. Staff is currently in the process of preparing this mailing, which will be sent in the coming weeks. Each notice will contain the following information:
- New zoning designation of the property, relevant zoning overlays, and corresponding Parcel Identification Number (PIN);
- Descriptions of each of Buncombe County's zoning districts and overlays; and,
- The Buncombe County Service Directory and other information relevant to County residents.
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.
- 4/17/2013: Session Law 2013-30 Ratified
- 5/6/2013: Buncombe County Planning Board met and requested Planning Staff to develop potential zoning maps for the ETJ areas.
- Buncombe County Planning Board met and recommended that the Commissioners adopt the proposed zoning maps for the ETJ areas.
- 8/6/2013: Public Hearing scheduled before the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners in the Commissioners' Chambers at 200 College Street, Suite 326, Asheville, NC 28801 to be held at 4:30 pm
- I received a Notice of Public Hearing in the mail/I have been seeing signs around Asheville advertising a public hearing for Buncombe County. What does this mean?
The NC General Assembly has recently passed legislation to transfer control of the ETJ held by the City of Asheville. Buncombe County has recently held a series of public hearings to discuss adopting zoning designations and other development standards that will be applied by the County to this area. On August 6, 2013 the Board of Commissioners held the final public hearing and formally adopted extension of the proposed zoning designations in the former ETJ.
- 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 City?
The ETJ transition does not impact any current or past annexations performed by the City of Asheville. Properties within the corporate limits of the City of Asheville will remain unaffected by this process.
- Why has control been transferred from the City of Asheville to Buncombe County?
The bill passed by the North Carolina General Assembly (Session Law 2013-30) mandated that Asheville transfer control of authority in the ETJ.
- When will transfer of the ETJ be effective?
The bill passed by the North Carolina General Assembly (Session Law 2013-30) mandated that authority be removed from the City of Asheville within the ETJ area 120 days following passage of the legislation. Buncombe County formally adopted zoning and the application of development regulations in this area on August 6, 2013.
- Where can I get further information regarding transfer of the ETJ to the County's jurisdiction?
The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners formally adopted the proposed zoning amendments of this area on August 6, 2013. The amendments to the Zoning Map of Buncombe County have now been incorporated and can be reached via the publicly accessible Geographic Information Systems (GIS). (See below for further instructions on accessing zoning layers in GIS.) If you wish to speak to someone directly regarding the new 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 have been applied to the former ETJ area? How were these designations determined?
There are ten zoning districts and four zoning overlay districts within the Buncombe County Zoning Ordinance. A close comparison was made between these districts and the zoning districts previously applied by the City of Asheville. Efforts were made to zone properties to the nearest equivalent County zoning designation. The proposed zoning maps were adopted by the Board of Commissioners on August 6, 2013. The amended zoning maps are now available in GIS. (See below for further instructions on accessing zoning layers in GIS.)
- I currently hold development permits from the City of Asheville. How will my project be affected now that the ETJ has been transferred?
Any permits which were issued by the City of Asheville prior to the formal adoption of County zoning within the ETJ area on August 6 will be completed through the City of Asheville.
- What if I have something on my property which is not allowed in the County zoning district?
An existing use on the property that is not allowed in the zoning district is 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 former ETJ area?
As of August 6, 2013 County development standards are now being applied within the former ETJ. Complaints regarding development activities within the former ETJ should now be directed to Buncombe County.
- How does 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 remain in effect after the transition of the ETJ to the County.
- In addition to County zoning requirements, what other County ordinances and regulations are being newly applied within the former ETJ?
As of August 6, 2013, any and all ordinances and regulations administered by Buncombe County are now effective in the former ETJ area, as applicable. In addition to the Buncombe County Building Permits and Inspections Department assuming responsibility for any new projects in this area, a number of other standards enforced by the County are now effective since 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 building and zoning permits?
Active permits which were issued prior to August 6, 2013 will be handled by the current permit issuer. As of the adoption of zoning by the Buncombe County Commissioners within the area formerly in the City's ETJ, any building or zoning permits will now be issued by Buncombe County through Permits & Inspections and Planning and Development. The Buncombe County Permits and Inspections Department is located at 30 Valley Street, Asheville, and can be reached by phone at (828)250-5360. Buncombe County Planning and Development is located at 46 Valley Street and can be reached by phone at (828)250-4830.
- I don't agree with the County zoning designation for my property. Can I apply to have it rezoned?
Applications for rezoning are now being accepted for properties previously in the ETJ area. Rezoning requests will require public hearings before the Planning Board and Board of Commissioners. Buncombe County is offering owners of those properties which have been initially zoned during the ETJ transition the opportunity to make an application for rezoning with a waiver of the standard map amendment fees as long as the application is filed within 90 of the adoption of zoning in that area by the Board of Commissioners. For further information regarding application for rezoning of your property, contact the Planning Department's zoning line at (828)250-4858.
- What are zoning overlays districts?
Zoning overlay districts provide an additional set of use and scope regulations in sensitive or special areas. The county has three overlay districts which have been extended into the ETJ (Blue Ridge Parkway, Steep Slope/High Elevation, and Protected Ridge).
- How do I check my new zoning?
Go to http://gis.buncombecounty.org/.Under "Search For Parcel" (top), enter your parcel identification number (PIN) in the search box and click the FIND button. Once the map has loaded, find the ‘Administrative Areas' section under ‘Map Contents'. Select the layer labeled "County Zoning" or "County Zoning Overlays" to see your new County zoning district overlaid on the parcel.
- When are the public hearings?
The series of public hearings for transition of the ETJ is now finished. The Board of Commissioners formally adopted zoning within the former ETJ on August 6, 2013.
- What happens if only part of my property was 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 was within the ETJ and half is within the City of Asheville, only the portion within the ETJ was transitioned to the County's jurisdiction.
- Why would I not be able to see my County zoning under the "County Zoning" 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 was 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 former ETJ area. North Carolina General Statutes and the Buncombe County Zoning Ordinance require notification to out-of-County affected and adjacent property owners when a rezoning/map amendment is considered.
Answers to other general zoning and land use questions — as well as a copy of the Zoning Ordinance — can be found on the Zoning Page.
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