What is Chapter 160D?

Chapter 160D of the North Carolina General Statutes consolidated city- and county-enabling statutes for development regulations (formerly in Chapters 153A and 160A) into a single, unified chapter. Chapter 160D placed these statutes into a more logical, coherent organization. While the new law did not make major policy changes or shifts in the scope of authority granted to local governments, it did provide clarifying amendments and consensus reforms.  

All city and county zoning, subdivision, and other development regulations, including unified-development ordinances, should be updated to conform to the new law. The deadline for compliance was July 1, 2021.

This page gathers resources and training that may help local governments in the process of updating local ordinances and policies to comply with Chapter 160D. The resources are organized based on where you are in the update process.


160D Book and Summary Videos  

Upon adoption of Chapter 160D in 2019, School of Government faculty authored a book and developed brief introductory videos.  


160D Checklist and Other Resources

The School of Government crafted detailed resources to assist with Chapter 160D implementation, including the following:


160D Guidance Documents

School of Government authors crafted several guidance documents to delve into the details of specific topics relating to 160D authority and implementation. You can find them here.


160D Code Scan

A limited number of local governments can contract with School of Government for a 160D Code Scan. A Code Scan is intended as a secondary review of proposed ordinance updates. School staff will review proposed updates for compliance with Chapter 160D, suggest revisions and considerations, and direct the local government to additional resources, as applicable. A Code Scan is NOT a code drafting service. A Code Scan is available at a flat fee of $2,000 and includes up to 10 hours of staff time. Elements include an initial call, a scan of applicable ordinances, a review and mark-up of 160D updates, a call to discuss findings, and a follow up email with resources. To inquire about a Code Scan, contact Ben Hitchings at hitchings@sog.unc.edu


160D Legislative Text

The adoption, implemntation, and refinement of Chapter 160D was an iterative process. Below are various versions of the legslative text. 


Background on Chapter 160D

The principal impact of 160D is to:

(1)   Consolidate current city and county enabling statues now in Article 18, Chapter 153A and Article 19, Chapter 160A into a single, unified new Chapter 160D of the General Statutes.

(2)   Place these statutes into a more logical, coherent organization, facilitating ease of finding relevant provisions and clarifying how the statutes relate to one another.

(3)   Provide uniform authority, definitions and procedures for cities and counties, while retaining broad substantive policy discretion for ordinances adopted by individual jurisdictions.

While not making major policy shifts in existing legislation, the legislation modernizes the language of the statute to remove obsolete terminology and clarify existing provisions without making substantive changes. In addition, a number of consensus reforms that have the broad support of the local government and development community are incorporated.

The 160D proposal was developed by the N.C. Bar Association. The legislation was introduced as H. 548 in 2015 and as S. 419 in 2017.  The bill was introduced in the 2019 session of the General Assembly as S. 422 and H. 448.  On May 6, 2019 the Senate passed the bill as introduced as Part II of S. 355. The House of Representatives passed the bill with only a few technical tweaks on June 26. The Governor signed the bill on July 11. It is S.L. 2019-111.  It initialy was to become effective January 1, 2021 in order to allow time in 2020 to incorporate amendments made to affected statutes by other legislation enacted in 2019. That incorporation was made by S.L. 2020-25. Therefore Chapter 160D was made effective upon the adoption of that legislation, June 19, 2020. However, local governments have until July 1, 2021 to adopt conforming amendments to their local development regulations, with Chapter 160D becoming effective for each jurisdiction as those amendments are adopted (or no later than July 1, 2021).

Topics - Local and State Government