January 17, 2021

Volume XI, Number 17


January 15, 2021

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North Carolina Extends Certain Real Property Development Approvals

This week the General Assembly of North Carolina provided some relief to developers with active development approvals. 

Pursuant to Senate Bill 704, signed into law on May 4, 2020 (the "Act"), the expiration of those approvals and related vested rights is stayed for five (5) months.  The purpose of the Act is "to provide Aid to North Carolinians in response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Crisis" and Section 4.40 includes the extension of local government approvals affecting the development of real property within North Carolina. 

Development approval and vesting rights extended

The Act provides that any development approval that was current and valid at any point during the timeframe between March 10, 2020 and April 28, 2020 will have its expiration date and associated vesting rights extended for five (5) months.  The Act defines a "development" as

(i) The division of a parcel of land into two or more parcels

(ii) The construction, reconstruction, conversion, structural alteration, relocation, or enlargement of a building or structure

(iii) Any grading, soil removal, or relocation, excavation, or landfill

(iv) Any change in the use of a building or structure

(v) Any change in the use of land or an extension of the use of land 

"Development approval" includes any of the following approvals issued by a local governmental unit for the development of land:

1) Erosion and Sedimentation Control Plans

2) Building Permits

3) Preliminary Subdivision, Site Specific Development, and Phased Development Plans

4) Development Permits and Agreements Certificates of Appropriateness issued by a Preservation Commission

In addition to the expiration date being extended, the Act provides that vested rights to undertake and complete the development per the terms and conditions of the development approval will also be extended. 

In order for a development approval to be extended under the Act, the holder of the development approval must comply with all applicable laws, maintain any applicable performance guaranties, and complete required infrastructure as contemplated in the applicable approval. 

© 2020 Ward and Smith, P.A.. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 132



About this Author

Samuel Franck Real Estate Attorney Ward Smith Law Firm
North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Real Property Law: Commercial Transactions

Sam leads the Real Estate practice. His experience includes all aspects of commercial real estate and community association matters. He regularly assists commercial and residential developers in the acquisition, subdivision, development, zoning, and sale of real property, including the formation of complex, mixed-use planned communities, commercial and residential condominiums, and multi-tenant commercial projects.  

Additionally, Sam represents purchasers and lenders with regard to the evaluation of failed and distressed real estate projects and the development of strategies to...

Kristin Mitcham Real Estate Attorney Ward Smith Law Firm
Real Estate Attorney

Kristin assists real estate owners, developers, and individuals in complex real estate issues, including acquisitions, development, lease agreements, various easement issues, and real estate title searches. As a former commercial lender, Kristin harnesses her experience in the financial lending industry to negotiate, draft, and review various financing transactions, such as purchase and sale agreements and loan documents, for both borrowers and lenders alike. 

Prior to joining Ward and Smith, Kristin served as a law clerk for the Office of General Counsel at AARP Services, Inc.,...