160D-402. Administrative staff.

(a) Authorization. - Local governments may appoint administrators, inspectors, enforcement officers, planners, technicians, and other staff to develop, administer, and enforce development regulations authorized by this Chapter.

(b) Duties. - Duties assigned to staff may include, but are not limited to, drafting and implementing plans and development regulations to be adopted pursuant to this Chapter; determining whether applications for development approvals are complete; receiving and processing applications for development approvals; providing notices of applications and hearings; making decisions and determinations regarding development regulation implementation; determining whether applications for development approvals meet applicable standards as established by law and local ordinance; conducting inspections; issuing or denying certificates of compliance or occupancy; enforcing development regulations, including issuing notices of violation, orders to correct violations, and recommending bringing judicial actions against actual or threatened violations; keeping adequate records; and any other actions that may be required in order adequately to enforce the laws and development regulations under their jurisdiction. A development regulation may require that designated staff members take an oath of office. The local government shall have the authority to enact ordinances, procedures, and fee schedules relating to the administration and the enforcement of this Chapter. The administrative and enforcement provisions related to building permits set forth in Article 11 of this Chapter shall be followed for those permits.

(c) Alternative Staff Arrangements. - A local government may enter into contracts with another city, county, or combination thereof under which the parties agree to create a joint staff for the enforcement of State and local laws specified in the agreement. The governing boards of the contracting parties may make any necessary appropriations for this purpose.

In lieu of joint staff, a governing board may designate staff from any other city or county to serve as a member of its staff with the approval of the governing board of the other city or county. A staff member, if designated from another city or county under this section, shall, while exercising the duties of the position, be considered an agent of the local government exercising those duties. The governing board of one local government may request the governing board of a second local government to direct one or more of the second local government's staff members to exercise their powers within part or all of the first local government's jurisdiction, and they shall thereupon be empowered to do so until the first local government officially withdraws its request in the manner provided in G.S. 160D-202.

A local government may contract with an individual, company, council of governments, regional planning agency, metropolitan planning organization, or rural planning agency to designate an individual who is not a city or county employee to work under the supervision of the local government to exercise the functions authorized by this section. The local government shall have the same potential liability, if any, for inspections conducted by an individual who is not an employee of the local government as it does for an individual who is an employee of the local government. The company or individual with whom the local government contracts shall have errors and omissions and other insurance coverage acceptable to the local government.

(d) Financial Support. - The local government may appropriate for the support of the staff any funds that it deems necessary. It shall have power to fix reasonable fees for support, administration, and implementation of programs authorized by this Chapter, and all such fees shall be used for no other purposes. When an inspection, for which the permit holder has paid a fee to the local government, is performed by a marketplace pool Code-enforcement official upon request of the Insurance Commissioner under G.S. 143-151.12(9)a., the local government shall promptly return to the permit holder the fee collected by the local government for such inspection. This subsection applies to the following types of inspection: plumbing, electrical systems, general building restrictions and regulations, heating and air-conditioning, and the general construction of buildings. (2019-111, s. 2.4; 2020-3, s. 4.33(a); 2020-25, s. 51(a), (b), (d).)