(a) Findings. - The General Assembly hereby finds that:
(1) The land of North Carolina is a resource basic to the welfare of her people.
(2) A lack of coordination of governmental action; a lack of clearly stated, sound, and widely understood guidelines for planning; and a lack of systematic collection, classification, and utilization of information regarding the land resource have led to inconsistencies in policy and inadequacies in planning for the present and future uses of the land resource.
(3) Governmental agencies responsible for controlling land use and private and public users of the land resource are often unable to independently develop guidelines for land-use practices which provide adequate and meaningful provision for future demands on the land resource, while allowing current needs to be met.
(4) Systematic and sound decisions as to the location and nature of major public investments in key facilities cannot be made without a comprehensive State policy regarding the land resource.
(5) Those affected by State land-use policy and decisions must be given an opportunity for full participation in the policy-and decision-making process. Such a process must allow for the final implementation of policy by local governments. The State should take whatever steps necessary to encourage and assist local governments in meeting their obligation to control current uses and plan for future uses of the land resource.
(b) Intent and Purpose. - The General Assembly declares that it is the intent of this Article to undertake the continuing development and implementation of a State land-use policy, incorporating environmental, esthetic, economic, social, and other factors so as to promote the public interest, to preserve and enhance environmental quality, to protect areas of natural beauty and historic sites, to encourage beneficial economic development, and to protect and promote the public health, safety, and welfare. Such policy shall serve as a guide for decision-making in State and federally assisted programs which affect land use, and shall provide a framework for the development of land-use policies and programs by local governments. It is the purpose of this Article to:
(1) Promote patterns of land use which are in accord with a State land-use policy which encourages the wise and balanced use of the State's resources;
(2) Establish a State policy to give local governments guidance and assistance in the establishment and implementation of local land planning and management programs so as to effectively meet their responsibilities for economically and environmentally sound land-use management;
(3) Establish a State land-use policy which seeks to provide essential public services equitably to all persons within the State and to assure that citizens shall have, consistent with sound principles of land resource use, maximum freedom and opportunity to live and conduct their activities in locations of their personal choice;
(4) Condition the distribution of certain federal and State funds on meeting reasonable and flexible State requirements for basic land planning; such conditions to include a clear statement of the State's authority and responsibility for review of planning and management by local governments;
(5) Develop and maintain coordination of all State programs having a land-use impact, including joint planning and management of State lands with adjacent nonstate lands, so as to ensure consistency with the purposes of this Article;
(6) Promote the development of systematic methods for the exchange of land-use, environmental, economic, and social information among all levels of government, and among agencies at all levels of government. (1973, c. 1306, s. 1.)