Zoning Certification Course

This course is sponsored by North Carolina Association of Zoning Officials.

This is a seven day course and exam split over 2-3 weeks to explore more focused topics of zoning administration in preparation for the CZO Exam. Participants will take the NCAZO Certification exam the last day of class. The course is offered annually in the Spring. Attendees should plan to attend all dates.

This course is intended primarily for intermediate zoning staff with responsibilites for administering zoning ordinances, with an emphasis on ordinance enforcement. The Zoning Practice course is a prerequisite for this clourse and to sit for the exam. Please see the details tab for more information on prerequsites.

For more information and crieria for CZO certification by NCAZO, click here for the NCAZO certification program.

General Course Content

  • General [3.5 hr]
    • Public records
    • Ethics
    • Liability
  • Zoning Administration [10 hr]
    • Legal framework review
    • Dealing with particular uses
    • Maps and site plan review
    • Ordinance amendments
    • Quasi-judicial procedures
    • Interpretation
  • Enforcement [13 hr]
    • Overview (permits, appeals, administrative enforcement)
    • Research and investigative techniques
    • Legal issues with inspections (warrants, evidence, trespass)
    • Case study
    • Litigation
    • Dealing with conflict and difficult situations
  • Certification [5 hr]
    • Certification program
    • Exam review
    • Exam 
The Local Government Federal Credit Union offers scholarships to local government employees to apply towards tuition for conferences, classes, and seminars offered by the School of Government. There are five deadlines to submit applications: March 1, June 1, September 1 and December 1.

Additional information

In order to qualify for the Zoning Officials Certification course, a candidate must have completed ONE of the prerequisite course options below. Prerequisite options:

  • A candidate must have completed the course Zoning Practice.
  • If you attended either of the pre-2013 course offerings: Intro to Zoning, or Intro to Planning then you also meet the prerequisite requirement.
  • Approval by faculty

If you have not satisfied the prerequisite, you may not register for this course without prior approval. In select cases, a combination of knowledge and work experience may be substitutable for the prerequisite course. Please contact David Owens, owens@sog.unc.edu, if you are requesting wavier of prerequisites.

CZO Manual-click here 


Special Note:

Prerequisite exemption requests are considered on a case by case basis. If you need a permission waiver for prerequisites, please contact David Owens, owens@sog.unc.edu. While undergraduate and graduate degrees in planning are helpful, the focus of the certification class and exam is on zoning enforcement, which is often not extensively covered in academic programs.  North Carolina experience can justify an exemption. It is important to note that subjects covered in the Foundations and Zoning Practice courses (general government organization, geographic jurisdiction, public records, open meetings, basic constitutional limits on regulations, and the like) are subject to exam coverage and are not re-covered in detail in the Certification course.  As a general rule, ten years of active zoning enforcement work and training is an acceptable substitute for the prerequisite courses. Persons considering a waiver request should carefully review the course content of the Foundations and Zoning Practice courses as that material is subject to coverage on the Certification examination.

Hotel Information:
Hotel infomration will be posted as soon as it's available.

Planning and Development Regulation Resource Site:

Focuses on planning and land use law issues within the state of North Carolina. This website contains links to external resource sites, recent blogs, hot topics, the new Bill List for 2013, a link to sign up for the NCPlan Listserv, publications and course information. Click this link: NC Planning

Join the NCPlan Listserv:

You may also wish to sign up for the NCPlan Listserv where you can see related emails and post questions to your peers. Link to sign up: SOG Listservs

There currently are no scheduled offerings of this course.

Electronic Materials: We are now utilizing Sakai, a secure online site accessible to registrants only. You will receive instructions via email on how create your account and log on this site prior to the program date. You will then be able to access this site and print materials and bring copies with you if you choose. Or you may bring your computer or other device to access materials online during class. It is not necessary for you to have printed materials for class. You will also find your parking pass, the room number, agenda and timeline for the course on Sakai.

For all registration questions, resetting passwords, or login issues please contact:

Dale Zuckert

Assistant Registrar
For questions regarding course details, including location, schedule, materials, and continuing education credits, please contact:

Julie Truluck

Program Manager
David Owens
Gladys Hall Coates Professor of Public Law and Government