North Carolina Planning Law – NCGS Chapter 160D: What You Need to Know

Chapter 160D of the North Carolina General Statutes consolidates current enabling legislation for planning regulation and represents the first major recodification and modernization of the city and county development regulations since 1905.

On June 4, 2020, Centralina held a webinar to introduce managers, elected and appointed officials to the new legislation with an emphasis on resources available and how to get started. With over 50 participants from across the state, Dick Hails, Principal with Walkable Urban Development, LLC, walked the group through the new legal framework, deadlines and practical advice for implementation.

Key points included:

  • Every jurisdiction in North Carolina will need to update their ordinances to retain the authority to regulate land.
  • Communities that want to regulate development through zoning must adopt and reasonably maintain a comprehensive land use plan.
  • Next best steps include:
    • Identifying a lead party to do the work.
    • Identifying goals for the changes (minimum required, required elements plus other legal changes, required elements plus desired changes).
    • Establishing a timeline for community review.
    • Drafting the language and review.
    • Holding public hearings to adopt.

Slides from the webinar and key resources for your community are located on the Land Use / 160D tab in our Member Portal. For more information on how we can help your community with 160D implementation and planning services, click here or contact Michelle Nance, Planning Director, Centralina Council of Governments, at For additional 160D resources, you can also visit the UNC School of Government’s website.