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1976 South Carolina Code of Laws
Unannotated
Updated through the end of the 2001 Session

Copyright and Disclaimer

The State of South Carolina owns the copyright to the Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, as contained herein. Any use of the text, section headings, or catchlines of the 1976 Code is subject to the terms of federal copyright and other applicable laws and such text, section headings, or catchlines may not be reproduced in whole or in part in any form or for inclusion in any material which is offered for sale or lease without the express written permission of the Chairman of the South Carolina Legislative Council or the Code Commissioner of South Carolina.

This statutory database is current through the 2001 Regular Session and the 2001 Extra Session of the South Carolina General Assembly. Changes to the statutes enacted by the 2002 General Assembly, which will convene in January 2002, will be incorporated as soon as possible. Some changes enacted by the 2002 General Assembly may take immediate effect. The State of South Carolina and the South Carolina Legislative Council make no warranty as to the accuracy of the data, and users rely on the data entirely at their own risk.

The Legislative Council by law is charged with compiling and publishing the 1976 Code and it is maintained in a database which may be accessed for commercial purposes by contacting the Legislative Council or the office of Legislative Printing, Information and Technology Systems.

Title 6 - Local Government - Provisions Applicable to Special Purpose Districts and Other Political Subdivisions
CHAPTER 29.

SOUTH CAROLINA LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMPREHENSIVE PLANNING ENABLING ACT OF 1994

ARTICLE 1.

CREATION OF LOCAL PLANNING COMMISSION

SECTION 6-29-310. "Local planning commission" defined.

For purposes of this chapter, "local planning commission" means a municipal planning commission, a county planning commission, a joint city-county planning commission, or a consolidated government planning commission.

SECTION 6-29-320. Bodies authorized to create local planning commissions.

The city council of each municipality may create a municipal planning commission. The county council of each county may create a county planning commission. The governing body of a consolidated government may create a planning commission. Any combination of municipal councils and a county council or any combination of municipal councils may create a joint planning commission.

SECTION 6-29-330. Areas of jurisdiction; agreement for county planning commission to act as municipal planning commission.

(A) A municipality may exercise the powers granted under the provisions of this chapter in the total area within its corporate limits. A county may exercise the powers granted under the provisions of this chapter in the total unincorporated area or specific parts of the unincorporated area. Unincorporated areas of the county or counties adjacent to incorporated municipalities may be added to and included in the area under municipal jurisdiction for the purposes of this chapter provided that the municipality and county councils involved adopt ordinances establishing the boundaries of the additional areas, the limitations of the authority to be exercised by the municipality, and representation on the boards and commissions provided under this chapter. The agreement must be formally approved and executed by the municipal council and the county councils involved.

(B) The governing body of a municipality may designate by ordinance the county planning commission as the official planning commission of the municipality. In the event of the designation, and acceptance by the county, the county planning commission may exercise the powers and duties as provided in this chapter for municipal planning commissions as are specified in the agreement reached by the governing authorities. The agreement must specify the procedures for the exercise of powers granted in the chapter and shall address the issue of equitable representation of the municipality and the county on the boards and commissions authorized by this chapter. This agreement must be formally stated in appropriate ordinances by the governing authorities involved.

SECTION 6-29-340. Functions, powers, and duties of local planning commissions.

(A) It is the function and duty of the local planning commission, when created by an ordinance passed by the municipal council or the county council, or both, to undertake a continuing planning program for the physical, social, and economic growth, development, and redevelopment of the area within its jurisdiction. The plans and programs must be designed to promote public health, safety, morals, convenience, prosperity, or the general welfare as well as the efficiency and economy of its area of jurisdiction. Specific planning elements must be based upon careful and comprehensive surveys and studies of existing conditions and probable future development and include recommended means of implementation. The local planning commission may make, publish, and distribute maps, plans, and reports and recommendations relating to the plans and programs and the development of its area of jurisdiction to public officials and agencies, public utility companies, civic, educational, professional, and other organizations and citizens. All public officials shall, upon request, furnish to the planning commission, within a reasonable time, such available information as it may require for its work. The planning commission, its members and employees, in the performance of its functions, may enter upon any land with consent of the property owner or after ten days' written notification to the owner of record, make examinations and surveys, and place and maintain necessary monuments and marks on them, provided, however, that the planning commission shall be liable for any injury or damage to property resulting therefrom. In general, the planning commission has the powers as may be necessary to enable it to perform its functions and promote the planning of its political jurisdiction.

(B) In the discharge of its responsibilities, the local planning commission has the power and duty to:

(1) prepare and revise periodically plans and programs for the development and redevelopment of its area as provided in this chapter; and

(2) prepare and recommend for adoption to the appropriate governing authority or authorities as a means for implementing the plans and programs in its area:

(a) zoning ordinances to include zoning district maps and appropriate revisions thereof, as provided in this chapter;

(b) regulations for the subdivision or development of land and appropriate revisions thereof, and to oversee the administration of the regulations that may be adopted as provided in this chapter;

(c) an official map and appropriate revision on it showing the exact location of existing or proposed public street, highway, and utility rights-of-way, and public building sites, together with regulations to control the erection of buildings or other structures or changes in land use within the rights-of-way, building sites, or open spaces within its political jurisdiction or a specified portion of it, as set forth in this chapter;

(d) a landscaping ordinance setting forth required planting, tree preservation, and other aesthetic considerations for land and structures;

(e) a capital improvements program setting forth projects required to implement plans which have been prepared and adopted, including an annual listing of priority projects for consideration by the governmental bodies responsible for implementation prior to preparation of their capital budget; and

(f) policies or procedures to facilitate implementation of planning elements.

SECTION 6-29-350. Membership; terms of office; compensation; qualifications.

(A) A local planning commission serving not more than two political jurisdictions may not have less than five nor more than twelve members. A local planning commission serving three or more political jurisdictions shall have a membership not greater than four times the number of jurisdictions it serves. In the case of a joint city-county planning commission the membership must be proportional to the population inside and outside the corporate limits of municipalities.

(B) No member of a planning commission may hold an elected public office in the municipality or county from which appointed. Members of the commission first to serve must be appointed for staggered terms as described in the agreement of organization and shall serve until their successors are appointed and qualified. The compensation of the members, if any, must be determined by the governing authority or authorities creating the commission. A vacancy in the membership of a planning commission must be filled for the unexpired term in the same manner as the original appointment. The governing authority or authorities creating the commission may remove any member of the commission for cause.

(C) In the appointment of planning commission members the appointing authority shall consider their professional expertise, knowledge of the community, and concern for the future welfare of the total community and its citizens. Members shall represent a broad cross section of the interests and concerns within the jurisdiction.

SECTION 6-29-360. Organization of commission; meetings; procedural rules; records; purchases.

(A) A local planning commission shall organize itself electing one of its members as chairman and one as vice-chairman whose terms must be for one year. It shall appoint a secretary who may be an officer or an employee of the governing authority or of the planning commission. The planning commission shall meet at the call of the chairman and at such times as the chairman or commission may determine.

(B) The commission shall adopt rules of organizational procedure and shall keep a record of its resolutions, findings, and determinations, which record must be a public record. The planning commission may purchase equipment and supplies and may employ or contract for such staff and such experts as it considers necessary and consistent with funds appropriated.

SECTION 6-29-370. Referral of matters to commission; reports.

The governing authority may provide for the reference of any matters or class of matters to the local planning commission, with the provision that final action on it may not be taken until the planning commission has submitted a report on it or has had a reasonable period of time, as determined by the governing authority to submit a report.

SECTION 6-29-380. Funding of commissions; expenditures; contracts.

A local planning commission may cooperate with, contract with, or accept funds from federal government agencies, state government agencies, local general purpose governments, school districts, special purpose districts, including those of other states, public or eleemosynary agencies, or private individuals or corporations; it may expend the funds; and it may carry out such cooperative undertakings and contracts as it considers necessary.

ARTICLE 3.

LOCAL PLANNING -- THE COMPREHENSIVE PLANNING PROCESS

SECTION 6-29-510. Planning process; elements; comprehensive plan.

(A) The local planning commission shall develop and maintain a planning process which will result in the systematic preparation and continual re-evaluation and updating of those elements considered critical, necessary, and desirable to guide the development and redevelopment of its area of jurisdiction.

(B) Surveys and studies on which planning elements are based must include consideration of potential conflicts with adjacent jurisdictions and regional plans or issues.

(C) The basic planning process for all planning elements must include, but not be limited to:

(1) inventory of existing conditions;

(2) a statement of needs and goals; and

(3) implementation strategies with time frames.

(D) A local comprehensive plan must include, but not be limited to, the following planning elements:

(1) a population element which considers historic trends and projections, household numbers and sizes, educational levels, and income characteristics;

(2) an economic development element which considers labor force and labor force characteristics, employment by place of work and residence, and analysis of the economic base;

(3) a natural resources element which considers coastal resources, slope characteristics, prime agricultural and forest land, plant and animal habitats, parks and recreation areas, scenic views and sites, wetlands, and soil types. Where a separate board exists pursuant to this chapter, this element is the responsibility of the existing board;

(4) a cultural resources element which considers historic buildings and structures, commercial districts, residential districts, unique, natural, or scenic resources, archaeological, and other cultural resources. Where a separate board exists pursuant to this chapter, this element is the responsibility of the existing board;

(5) a community facilities element which considers transportation network; water supply, treatment, and distribution; sewage system and wastewater treatment; solid waste collection and disposal, fire protection, emergency medical services, and general government facilities; education facilities; and libraries and other cultural facilities;

(6) a housing element which considers location, types, age and condition of housing, owner and renter occupancy, and affordability of housing; and

(7) a land use element which considers existing and future land use by categories, including residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, forestry, mining, public and quasi-public, recreation, parks, open space, and vacant or undeveloped.

(E) All planning elements must be an expression of the planning commission recommendations to the appropriate governing bodies with regard to the wise and efficient use of public funds, the future growth, development, and redevelopment of its area of jurisdiction, and consideration of the fiscal impact on property owners. The planning elements whether done as a package or in separate increments together comprise the comprehensive plan for the jurisdiction at any one point in time. The local planning commission shall review the comprehensive plan or elements of it as often as necessary, but not less than once every five years, to determine whether changes in the amount, kind, or direction of development of the area or other reasons make it desirable to make additions or amendments to the plan. The comprehensive plan, including all elements of it, must be updated at least every ten years.

SECTION 6-29-520. Advisory committees; notice of meetings; recommendations by resolution; transmittal of recommended plan.

(A) In the preparation or periodic updating of any or all planning elements for the jurisdiction, the planning commission may use advisory committees with membership from both the planning commission or other public involvement mechanisms and other resource people not members of the planning commission. If the local government maintains a list of groups that have registered an interest in being informed of proceedings related to planning, notice of meetings must be mailed to these groups.

(B) Recommendation of the plan or any element, amendment, extension, or addition must be by resolution of the planning commission, carried by the affirmative votes of at least a majority of the entire membership. The resolution must refer expressly to maps and other descriptive matter intended by the planning commission to form the whole or element of the recommended plan and the action taken must be recorded in its official minutes of the planning commission. A copy of the recommended plan or element of it must be transmitted to the appropriate governing authorities and to all other legislative and administrative agencies affected by the plan.

(C) In satisfying the preparation and periodic updating of the required planning elements, the planning commission shall review and consider, and may recommend by reference, plans prepared by other agencies which the planning commission considers to meet the requirements of this article.

SECTION 6-29-530. Adoption of plan or elements; public hearing.

The local planning commission may recommend to the appropriate governing body and the body may adopt the plan as a whole by a single ordinance or elements of the plan by successive ordinances. The elements shall correspond with the major geographical sections or divisions of the planning area or with functional subdivisions of the subject matter of the comprehensive plan, or both. Before adoption of an element or a plan as a whole, the governing authority shall hold a public hearing on it after not less than thirty days' notice of the time and place of the hearings has been given in a newspaper having general circulation in the jurisdiction.

SECTION 6-29-540. Review of proposals following adoption of plan; projects in conflict with plan; exemption for utilities.

When the local planning commission has recommended and local governing authority or authorities have adopted the related comprehensive plan element set forth in this chapter, no new street, structure, utility, square, park, or other public way, grounds, or open space or public buildings for any use, whether publicly or privately owned, may be constructed or authorized in the political jurisdiction of the governing authority or authorities establishing the planning commission until the location, character, and extent of it have been submitted to the planning commission for review and comment as to the compatibility of the proposal with the comprehensive plan of the community. In the event the planning commission finds the proposal to be in conflict with the comprehensive plan, the commission shall transmit its findings and the particulars of the nonconformity to the entity proposing the facility. If the entity proposing the facility determines to go forward with the project which conflicts with the comprehensive plan, the governing or policy making body of the entity shall publicly state its intention to proceed and the reasons for the action. A copy of this finding must be sent to the local governing body, the local planning commission, and published as a public notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the community at least thirty days prior to awarding a contract or beginning construction. Telephone, sewer and gas utilities, or electric suppliers, utilities and providers, whether publicly or privately owned, whose plans have been approved by the local governing body or a state or federal regulatory agency, or electric suppliers, utilities and providers who are acting in accordance with a legislatively delegated right pursuant to Chapter 27 or 31 of Title 58 or Chapter 49 of Title 33 are exempt from this provision. These utilities must submit construction information to the appropriate local planning commission.

ARTICLE 5.

LOCAL PLANNING -- ZONING

SECTION 6-29-710. Zoning ordinances; purposes.

(A) Zoning ordinances must be for the general purposes of guiding development in accordance with existing and future needs and promoting the public health, safety, morals, convenience, order, appearance, prosperity, and general welfare. To these ends, zoning ordinances must be made with reasonable consideration of the following purposes, where applicable:

(1) to provide for adequate light, air, and open space;

(2) to prevent the overcrowding of land, to avoid undue concentration of population, and to lessen congestion in the streets;

(3) to facilitate the creation of a convenient, attractive, and harmonious community;

(4) to protect and preserve scenic, historic, or ecologically sensitive areas;

(5) to regulate the density and distribution of populations and the uses of buildings, structures and land for trade, industry, residence, recreation, agriculture, forestry, conservation, airports and approaches thereto, water supply, sanitation, protection against floods, public activities, and other purposes;

(6) to facilitate the adequate provision or availability of transportation, police and fire protection, water, sewage, schools, parks, and other recreational facilities, affordable housing, disaster evacuation, and other public services and requirements. "Other public requirements" which the local governing body intends to address by a particular ordinance or action must be specified in the preamble or some other part of the ordinance or action;

(7) to secure safety from fire, flood, and other dangers; and

(8) to further the public welfare in any other regard specified by a local governing body.

SECTION 6-29-715. Church-related activities; zoning ordinances for single family residences.

(A) For purposes of this section, "church-related activities" does not include regularly scheduled worship services.

(B) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no zoning ordinance of a municipality or county may prohibit church-related activities in a single-family residence.

SECTION 6-29-720. Zoning districts; matters regulated; uniformity; zoning techniques.

(A) When the local planning commission has prepared and recommended and the governing body has adopted at least the land use element of the comprehensive plan as set forth in this chapter, the governing body of a municipality or county may adopt a zoning ordinance to help implement the comprehensive plan. The zoning ordinance shall create zoning districts of such number, shape, and size as the governing authority determines to be best suited to carry out the purposes of this chapter. Within each district the governing body may regulate:

(1) the use of buildings, structures, and land;

(2) the size, location, height, bulk, orientation, number of stories, erection, construction, reconstruction, alteration, demolition, or removal in whole or in part of buildings and other structures, including signage;

(3) the density of development, use, or occupancy of buildings, structures, or land;

(4) the areas and dimensions of land, water, and air space to be occupied by buildings and structures, and the size of yards, courts, and other open spaces;

(5) the amount of off-street parking and loading that must be provided, and restrictions or requirements related to the entry or use of motor vehicles on the land;

(6) other aspects of the site plan including, but not limited to, tree preservation, landscaping, buffers, lighting, and curb cuts; and

(7) other aspects of the development and use of land or structures necessary to accomplish the purposes set forth throughout this chapter.

(B) The regulations must be made in accordance with the comprehensive plan for the jurisdiction, and be made with a view to promoting the purposes set forth throughout this chapter. Except as provided in this chapter, all of these regulations must be uniform for each class or kind of building, structure, or use throughout each district, but the regulations in one district may differ from those in other districts.

(C) The zoning ordinance may utilize the following or any other zoning and planning techniques for implementation of the goals specified above. Failure to specify a particular technique does not cause use of that technique to be viewed as beyond the power of the local government choosing to use it:

(1) "cluster development" or the grouping of residential, commercial, or industrial uses within a subdivision or development site, permitting a reduction in the otherwise applicable lot size, while preserving substantial open space on the remainder of the parcel;

(2) "floating zone" or a zone which is described in the text of a zoning ordinance but is unmapped. A property owner may petition for the zone to be applied to a particular parcel meeting the minimum zoning district area requirements of the zoning ordinance through legislative action;

(3) "performance zoning" or zoning which specifies a minimum requirement or maximum limit on the effects of a land use rather than, or in addition to, specifying the use itself, simultaneously assuring compatibility with surrounding development and increasing a developer's flexibility;

(4) "planned development district" or a development project comprised of housing of different types and densities and of compatible commercial uses, or shopping centers, office parks, and mixed-use developments. A planned development district is established by rezoning prior to development and is characterized by a unified site design for a mixed use development;

(5) "overlay zone" or a zone which imposes a set of requirements or relaxes a set of requirements imposed by the underlying zoning district when there is a special public interest in a particular geographic area that does not coincide with the underlying zone boundaries; and

(6) "conditional uses" or zoning ordinance provisions that impose conditions, restrictions, or limitations on a permitted use that are in addition to the restrictions applicable to all land in the zoning district. The conditions, restrictions, or limitations must be set forth in the text of the zoning ordinance.

SECTION 6-29-730. Nonconformities.

The regulations may provide that land, buildings, and structures and the uses of them which are lawful at the time of the enactment or amendment of zoning regulations may be continued although not in conformity with the regulations or amendments, which is called a nonconformity. The governing authority of a municipality or county may provide in the zoning ordinance or resolution for the continuance, restoration, reconstruction, extension, or substitution of nonconformities. The governing authority also may provide for the termination of a nonconformity by specifying the period or periods in which the nonconformity is required to cease or be brought into conformance, or by providing a formula where the compulsory termination of nonconformities may be so fixed as to allow for the recovery or amortization of the investment in the nonconformity.

SECTION 6-29-740. Planned development districts.

In order to achieve the objectives of the comprehensive plan of the locality and to allow flexibility in development that will result in improved design, character, and quality of new mixed use developments and preserve natural and scenic features of open spaces, the local governing authority may provide for the establishment of planned development districts as amendments to a locally adopted zoning ordinance and official zoning map. The adopted planned development map is the zoning district map for the property. The planned development provisions must encourage innovative site planning for residential, commercial, institutional, and industrial developments within planned development districts. Planned development districts may provide for variations from other ordinances and the regulations of other established zoning districts concerning use, setbacks, lot size, density, bulk, and other requirements to accommodate flexibility in the arrangement of uses for the general purpose of promoting and protecting the public health, safety, and general welfare. Amendments to a planned development district may be authorized by ordinance of the governing authority after recommendation from the planning commission. These amendments constitute zoning ordinance amendments and must follow prescribed procedures for the amendments. The adopted plan may include a method for minor modifications to the site plan or development provisions.

SECTION 6-29-750. Special development district parking facility plan; dedication.

In accordance with a special development district parking facility plan and program, which includes guidelines for preferred parking locations and indicates prohibited parking areas, the planning commission may recommend and the local governing body may adopt regulations which permit the reduction or waiver of parking requirements within the district in return for cash contributions or dedications of land earmarked for provision of public parking or public transit which may not be used for any other purpose. The cash contributions or the value of the land may not exceed the approximate cost to build the required spaces or provide the public transit that would have incurred had not the reduction or waiver been granted.

SECTION 6-29-760. Procedure for enactment or amendment of zoning regulation or map; notice and rights of landowners; time limit on challenges.

(A) Before enacting or amending any zoning regulations or maps, the governing authority or the planning commission, if authorized by the governing authority, shall hold a public hearing on it, which must be advertised and conducted according to lawfully prescribed procedures. If no established procedures exist, then at least fifteen days' notice of the time and place of the public hearing must be given in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality or county. In cases involving rezoning, conspicuous notice shall be posted on or adjacent to the property affected, with at least one such notice being visible from each public thoroughfare that abuts the property. If the local government maintains a list of groups that have expressed an interest in being informed of zoning proceedings, notice of such meetings must be mailed to these groups. No change in or departure from the text or maps as recommended by the local planning commission may be made pursuant to the hearing unless the change or departure be first submitted to the planning commission for review and recommendation. The planning commission shall have a time prescribed in the ordinance which may not be more than thirty days within which to submit its report and recommendation on the change to the governing authority. If the planning commission fails to submit a report within the prescribed time period, it is deemed to have approved the change or departure. When the required public hearing is held by the planning commission, no public hearing by the governing authority is required before amending the zoning ordinance text or maps.

(B) If a landowner whose land is the subject of a proposed amendment will be allowed to present oral or written comments to the planning commission, at least ten days' notice and an opportunity to comment in the same manner must be given to other interested members of the public, including owners of adjoining property.

(C) An owner of adjoining land or his representative has standing to bring an action contesting the ordinance or amendment; however, this subsection does not create any new substantive right in any party.

(D) No challenge to the adequacy of notice or challenge to the validity of a regulation or map, or amendment to it, whether enacted before or after the effective date of this section, may be made sixty days after the decision of the governing body if there has been substantial compliance with the notice requirements of this section or with established procedures of the governing authority or the planning commission.

SECTION 6-29-770. Governmental entities subject to zoning ordinances; exceptions.

(A) Agencies, departments, and subdivisions of this State that use real property, as owner or tenant, in any county or municipality in this State are subject to the zoning ordinances.

(B) A county or agency, department or subdivision of it that uses any real property, as owner or tenant, within the limits of any municipality in this State is subject to the zoning ordinances of the municipality.

(C) A municipality or agency, department or subdivision of it, that uses any real property, as owner or tenant, within the limits of any county in this State but not within the limits of the municipality is subject to the zoning ordinances of the county.

(D) The provisions of this section do not require a state agency, department, or subdivision to move from facilities occupied on June 18, 1976, regardless of whether or not their location is in violation of municipal or county zoning ordinances.

(E) The provisions of this section do not apply to a home serving nine or fewer mentally or physically handicapped persons provided the home provides care on a twenty-four hour basis and is approved or licensed by a state agency or department or under contract with the agency or department for that purpose. A home is construed to be a natural family or such similar term as may be utilized by any county or municipal zoning ordinance to refer to persons related by blood or marriage. Prior to locating the home for the handicapped persons, the appropriate state agency or department or the private entity operating the home under contract must first give prior notice to the local governing body administering the pertinent zoning laws, advising of the exact site of any proposed home. The notice must also identify the individual representing the agency, department, or private entity for site selection purposes. If the local governing body objects to the selected site, the governing body must notify the site selection representative of the entity seeking to establish the home within fifteen days of receiving notice and must appoint a representative to assist the entity in selection of a comparable alternate site or structure, or both. The site selection representative of the entity seeking to establish the home and the representative of the local governing body shall select a third mutually agreeable person. The three persons have forty-five days to make a final selection of the site by majority vote. This final selection is binding on the entity and the governing body. In the event no selection has been made by the end of the forty-five day period, the entity establishing the home shall select the site without further proceedings. An application for variance or special exception is not required. No person may intervene to prevent the establishment of a community residence without reasonable justification.

(F) Prospective residents of these homes must be screened by the licensing agency to ensure that the placement is appropriate.

(G) The licensing agency shall conduct reviews of these homes no less frequently than every six months for the purpose of promoting the rehabilitative purposes of the homes and their continued compatibility with their neighborhoods.

(H) The governing body of a county or municipality whose zoning ordinances are violated by the provisions of this section may apply to a court of competent jurisdiction for injunctive and such other relief as the court may consider proper.

SECTION 6-29-780. Board of zoning appeals; membership; terms of office; vacancies; compensation.

(A) As a part of the administrative mechanism designed to enforce the zoning ordinance, the zoning ordinance may provide for the creation of a board to be known as the board of zoning appeals. Local governing bodies with a joint planning commission and adopting a common zoning ordinance may create a board to be known as the joint board of appeals. All of these boards are referred to as the board.

(B) The board consists of not less than three nor more than nine members, a majority of which constitutes a quorum, appointed by the governing authority or authorities of the area served. The members shall serve for overlapping terms of not less than three nor more than five years or after that time until their successors are appointed. A vacancy in the membership must be filled for the unexpired term in the same manner as the initial appointment. The governing authority or authorities creating the board of zoning appeals may remove any member of the board for cause. The appointing authorities shall determine the amount of compensation, if any, to be paid to the members of a board of zoning appeals. None of the members shall hold any other public office or position in the municipality or county.

SECTION 6-29-790. Board of zoning appeals; officers; rules; meetings; notice; records.

The board shall elect one of its members chairman, who shall serve for one year or until he is re-elected or his successor is elected and qualified. The board shall appoint a secretary who may be an officer of the governing authority or of the zoning board. The board shall adopt rules of procedure in accordance with the provisions of an ordinance adopted pursuant to this chapter. Meetings of the board must be held at the call of the chairman and at such other times as the board may determine. Public notice of all meetings of the board of appeals shall be provided by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality or county. In cases involving variances or special exceptions conspicuous notice shall be posted on or adjacent to the property affected, with at least one such notice being visible from each public thoroughfare that abuts the property. The chairman or, in his or her absence, the acting chairman, may administer oaths and compel the attendance of witnesses by subpoena. The board shall keep minutes of its proceedings, showing the vote of each member upon each question, or if absent or failing to vote, indicating that fact, and shall keep records of its examinations and other official actions, all of which must be immediately filed in the office of the board and must be a public record.

SECTION 6-29-800. Powers of board of appeals; variances; special exceptions; stay; hearing; decisions and orders.

(A) The board of appeals has the following powers:

(1) to hear and decide appeals where it is alleged there is error in an order, requirement, decision, or determination made by an administrative official in the enforcement of the zoning ordinance;

(2) to hear and decide appeals for variance from the requirements of the zoning ordinance when strict application of the provisions of the ordinance would result in unnecessary hardship. A variance may be granted in an individual case of unnecessary hardship if the board makes and explains in writing the following findings:

(a) there are extraordinary and exceptional conditions pertaining to the particular piece of property;

(b) these conditions do not generally apply to other property in the vicinity;

(c) because of these conditions, the application of the ordinance to the particular piece of property would effectively prohibit or unreasonably restrict the utilization of the property; and

(d) the authorization of a variance will not be of substantial detriment to adjacent property or to the public good, and the character of the district will not be harmed by the granting of the variance.

(i) The board may not grant a variance the effect of which would be to allow the establishment of a use not otherwise permitted in a zoning district, to extend physically a nonconforming use of land, or to change the zoning district boundaries shown on the official zoning map. The fact that property may be utilized more profitably, should a variance be granted, may not be considered grounds for a variance. Other requirements may be prescribed by the zoning ordinance.

A local governing body by ordinance may permit or preclude the granting of a variance for a use of land, a building, or a structure that is prohibited in a given district, and if it does permit such a variance, it may require the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the local adjustment board members present and voting. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the local governing body may overrule the decision of the local board of adjustment concerning a use variance.

(ii) In granting a variance, the board may attach to it such conditions regarding the location, character, or other features of the proposed building, structure, or use as the board may consider advisable to protect established property values in the surrounding area, or to promote the public health, safety, or general welfare;

(3) to permit uses by special exception subject to the terms and conditions for the uses set forth for such uses in the zoning ordinance; and

(4) appeals to the board may be taken by any person aggrieved or by any officer, department, board, or bureau of the municipality or county. The appeal must be taken within a reasonable time, as provided by the zoning ordinance or rules of the board, or both, by filing with the officer from whom the appeal is taken and with the board of appeals notice of appeal specifying the grounds of it. If no time is provided, the appeals must be taken within thirty days from the date the appealing party has received actual notice of the action from which the appeal is taken. The officer from whom the appeal is taken immediately shall transmit to the board all the papers constituting the record upon which the action appealed from was taken.

(B) An appeal stays all legal proceedings in furtherance of the action appealed from, unless the officer from whom the appeal is taken certifies to the board, after the notice of appeal has been filed with him, that by reason of facts stated in the certificate a stay would, in his opinion, cause imminent peril to life and property. In that case, proceedings may not be stayed otherwise than by a restraining order which may be granted by the board or by a court of record on application, on notice to the officer from whom the appeal is taken, and on due cause shown.

(C) The board shall fix a reasonable time for the hearing of the appeal or other matter referred to it, and give at least fifteen days' public notice of it in a newspaper of general circulation in the community, as well as due notice to the parties in interest, and decide the same within a reasonable time. At the hearing any party may appear in person or by agent or by attorney.

(D) In exercising the above power, the board of appeals may, in conformity with the provisions of this chapter, reverse or affirm, wholly or in part, or may modify the order, requirements, decision, or determination, and to that end shall have all the powers of the officer from whom the appeal is taken and may issue or direct the issuance of a permit. The board in the execution of the duties specified in this chapter may subpoena witnesses and in case of contempt may certify this fact to the circuit court having jurisdiction.

(E) All final decisions and orders of the board must be in writing and be permanently filed in the office of the board as a public record. All findings of fact and conclusions of law must be separately stated in final decisions or orders of the board which must be delivered to parties of interest by certified mail.

SECTION 6-29-810. Contempt; penalty.

In case of contempt by a party, witness, or other person before the board of appeals, the board may certify this fact to the circuit court of the county in which the contempt occurs and the judge of the court, in open court or in chambers, after hearing, may impose a penalty as authorized by law.

SECTION 6-29-820. Appeal from zoning board of appeals to circuit court.

A person who may have a substantial interest in any decision of the board of appeals or an officer or agent of the appropriate governing authority may appeal from a decision of the board to the circuit court in and for the county by filing with the clerk of the court a petition in writing setting forth plainly, fully, and distinctly why the decision is contrary to law. The appeal must be filed within thirty days after the decision of the board is mailed.

SECTION 6-29-830. Notice of appeal; transcript; supersedeas.

(A) Upon the filing of the appeal, the clerk of the circuit court shall give immediate notice of it to the secretary of the board and within thirty days from the time of the notice the board shall file with the clerk a certified copy of the proceedings held before the board of appeals, including a transcript of the evidence heard before it, if any, and the decision of the board including its findings of fact and conclusions.

(B) The filing of an appeal in the circuit court from a decision of the board shall not ipso facto act as a supersedeas, but the judge of the circuit court may in his discretion grant a supersedeas upon such terms and conditions as may seem reasonable and proper.

SECTION 6-29-840. Determination of appeal; costs.

At the next term of the circuit court or in chambers, upon ten days' notice to the parties, the presiding judge of the circuit court of the county shall proceed to hear and pass upon the appeal on the certified record of the board proceedings. The findings of fact by the board of appeals shall be treated in the same manner as a finding of fact by a jury, and the court may not take additional evidence. In the event the judge determines that the certified record is insufficient for review, the matter may be remanded to the zoning board of appeals for rehearing. In determining the questions presented by the appeal, the court shall determine only whether the decision of the board is correct as a matter of law. In the event that the decision of the board is reversed by the circuit court, the board is charged with the costs, and the costs must be paid by the governing authority which established the board of appeals.

SECTION 6-29-850. Appeal to Supreme Court.

A party in interest who is aggrieved by the judgment rendered by the circuit court upon the appeal may appeal in the manner provided by the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules.

SECTION 6-29-860. Financing of board of zoning appeals.

The governing authority may appropriate such monies, otherwise unappropriated, as it considers fit to finance the work of the board of appeals and to generally provide for the enforcement of any zoning regulations and restrictions authorized under this chapter which are adopted and may accept and expend grants of money for those purposes from either private or public sources, whether local, state, or federal.

SECTION 6-29-870. Board of architectural review; membership; officers; rules; meetings; records.

(A) A local government which enacts a zoning ordinance which makes specific provision for the preservation and protection of historic and architecturally valuable districts and neighborhoods or significant or natural scenic areas, or protects or provides, or both, for the unique, special, or desired character of a defined district, corridor, or development area or any combination of it, by means of restriction and conditions governing the right to erect, demolish, remove in whole or in part, or alter the exterior appearance of all buildings or structures within the areas, may provide for appointment of a board of architectural review or similar body.

(B) The board shall consist of not more than ten members to be appointed by the governing body of the municipality or the governing body of the county which may restrict the membership on the board to those professionally qualified persons as it may desire. The governing authority or authorities creating the board may remove any member of the board which it has appointed.

(C) The appointing authorities shall determine the amount of compensation, if any, to be paid to the members of a board of architectural review. None of the members may hold any other public office or position in the municipality or county.

(D) The board shall elect one of its members chairman, who shall serve for one year or until he is re-elected or his successor is elected and qualified. The board shall appoint a secretary who may be an officer of the governing authority or of the board of architectural review. The board shall adopt rules of procedure in accordance with the provisions of any ordinance adopted pursuant to this chapter. Meetings of the board must be held at the call of the chairman and at such other times as the board may determine. The chairman or, in his or her absence, the acting chairman, may administer oaths and compel the attendance of witnesses by subpoena. The board shall keep minutes of its proceedings, showing the vote of each member upon each question, or if absent or failing to vote, indicating that fact, and shall keep records of its examinations and other official actions, all of which immediately must be filed in the office of the board and must be a public record.

SECTION 6-29-880. Powers of board of architectural review.

The board of architectural review has those powers involving the structures and neighborhoods as may be determined by the zoning ordinance. Decisions of the zoning administrator or other appropriate administrative official in matters under the purview of the board of architectural review may be appealed to the board where there is an alleged error in any order, requirement, determination, or decision.

SECTION 6-29-890. Appeal to board of architectural review.

(A) Appeals to the board may be taken by any person aggrieved or by any officer, department, board, or bureau of the municipality or county. The appeal must be taken within a reasonable time, as provided by the zoning ordinance or rules of the board, or both, by filing with the officer from whom the appeal is taken and with the board of architectural review notice of appeal specifying the grounds of it. The officer from whom the appeal is taken immediately shall transmit to the board all the papers constituting the record upon which the action appealed from was taken.

(B) An appeal stays all legal proceedings in furtherance of the action appealed from, unless the officer from whom the appeal is taken certifies to the board, after the notice of appeal has been filed with him, that by reason of facts stated in the certificate a stay would, in his opinion, cause imminent peril to life and property. In that case, proceedings may not be stayed otherwise than by a restraining order which may be granted by the board or by a court of record on application, on notice to the officer from whom the appeal is taken, and on due cause shown.

(C) The board shall fix a reasonable time for the hearing of the appeal or other matter referred to it, and give public notice of it, as well as due notice to the parties in interest, and decide the same within a reasonable time. At the hearing any party may appear in person or by agent or by attorney.

SECTION 6-29-900. Appeal from board of architectural review to circuit court.

A person who may have a substantial interest in any decision of the board of architectural review or any officer, or agent of the appropriate governing authority may appeal from any decision of the board to the circuit court in and for the county by filing with the clerk of court a petition in writing setting forth plainly, fully, and distinctly why the decision is contrary to law. The appeal must be filed within thirty days after the affected party receives actual notice of the decision of the board of architectural review.

SECTION 6-29-910. Contempt; penalty.

In case of contempt by a party, witness, or other person before the board of architectural review, the board may certify the fact to the circuit court of the county in which the contempt occurs and the judge of the court, in open court or in chambers, after hearing, may impose a penalty as authorized by law.

SECTION 6-29-920. Notice of appeal; transcript; supersedeas.

(A) Upon filing of the appeal, the clerk of the circuit court shall give immediate notice of it to the secretary of the board and within thirty days from the time of the notice the board shall file with the clerk a duly certified copy of the proceedings had before the board of architectural review, including a transcript of the evidence heard before it, if any, and the decision of the board including its findings of fact and conclusions.

(B) The filing of an appeal in the circuit court from any decision of the board does not ipso facto act as a supersedeas, but the judge of the circuit court may in his discretion grant a supersedeas upon such terms and conditions as may seem reasonable and proper.

SECTION 6-29-930. Determination of appeal; costs.

At the next term of the circuit court or in chambers upon ten days' notice to the parties, the resident presiding judge of the circuit court of the county shall proceed to hear and pass upon the appeal on the certified record of the board proceedings. The findings of fact by the board of architectural review are final and conclusive on the hearing of the appeal, and the court may not take additional evidence. In the event the judge determines that the certified record is insufficient for review, the matter must be remanded to the board of architectural review for rehearing. In determining the questions presented by the appeal, the court shall determine only whether the decision of the board is correct as a matter of law. In the event that the decision of the board is reversed by the circuit court, the board must be charged with the costs and they must be paid by the governing authority which established the board of architectural review.

SECTION 6-29-940. Appeal to Supreme Court.

A party in interest who is aggrieved by the judgment rendered by the circuit court upon the appeal may appeal in the manner provided by the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules.

SECTION 6-29-950. Enforcement of zoning ordinances; remedies for violations.

(A) The governing authorities of municipalities or counties may provide for the enforcement of any ordinance adopted pursuant to the provisions of this chapter by means of the withholding of building or zoning permits, or both, and the issuance of stop orders against any work undertaken by an entity not having a proper building or zoning permit, or both. It is unlawful to construct, reconstruct, alter, demolish, change the use of or occupy any land, building, or other structure without first obtaining the appropriate permit or permit approval. No permit may be issued or approved unless the requirements of this chapter or any ordinance adopted pursuant to it are complied with. It is unlawful for other officials to issue any permit for the use of any land, building, or structure, or the construction, conversion, demolition, enlargement, movement, or structural alteration of a building or structure without the approval of the zoning administrator. A violation of any ordinance adopted pursuant to the provisions of this chapter is a misdemeanor. In case a building, structure, or land is or is proposed to be used in violation of any ordinance adopted pursuant to this chapter, the zoning administrator or other appropriate administrative officer, municipal or county attorney, or other appropriate authority of the municipality or county or an adjacent or neighboring property owner who would be specially damaged by the violation may in addition to other remedies, institute injunction, mandamus, or other appropriate action or proceeding to prevent the unlawful erection, construction, reconstruction, alteration, conversion, maintenance, or use, or to correct or abate the violation, or to prevent the occupancy of the building, structure, or land. Each day the unlawful erection, construction, reconstruction, alteration, conversion, maintenance, or use continues is considered a separate offense.

(B) In case a building, structure, or land is or is proposed to be used in violation of an ordinance adopted pursuant to this chapter, the zoning administrator or other designated administrative officer may in addition to other remedies issue and serve upon a person pursuing the activity or activities a stop order requiring that entity stop all activities in violation of the zoning ordinance.

SECTION 6-29-960. Conflict with other laws.

When the regulations made under authority of this chapter require a greater width or size of yards, courts, or other open spaces, or require a lower height of building or smaller number of stories, or require a greater percentage of lot to be left unoccupied, or impose other more restrictive standards than are required in or under another statute, or local ordinance or regulation, the regulations made under authority of this chapter govern. When the provisions of another statute require more restrictive standards than are required by the regulations made under authority of this chapter, the provisions of that statute govern.

ARTICLE 7.

LOCAL PLANNING -- LAND DEVELOPMENT REGULATION

SECTION 6-29-1110. Definitions.

As used in this article:

(1) "Land development" means the changing of land characteristics through redevelopment, construction, subdivision into parcels, condominium complexes, apartment complexes, commercial parks, shopping centers, industrial parks, mobile home parks, and similar developments for sale, lease, or any combination of owner and rental characteristics.

(2) "Subdivision" means all divisions of a tract or parcel of land into two or more lots, building sites, or other divisions for the purpose, whether immediate or future, of sale, lease, or building development, and includes all division of land involving a new street or change in existing streets, and includes re-subdivision which would involve the further division or relocation of lot lines of any lot or lots within a subdivision previously made and approved or recorded according to law; or, the alteration of any streets or the establishment of any new streets within any subdivision previously made and approved or recorded according to law, and includes combinations of lots of record; however, the following exceptions are included within this definition only for the purpose of requiring that the local planning agency be informed and have a record of the subdivisions:

(a) the combination or recombination of portions of previously platted lots where the total number of lots is not increased and the resultant lots are equal to the standards of the governing authority;

(b) the division of land into parcels of five acres or more where no new street is involved and plats of these exceptions must be received as information by the planning agency which shall indicate that fact on the plats; and

(c) the combination or recombination of entire lots of record where no new street or change in existing streets is involved.

SECTION 6-29-1120. Legislative intent; purposes.

The public health, safety, economy, good order, appearance, convenience, morals, and general welfare require the harmonious, orderly, and progressive development of land within the municipalities and counties of the State. In furtherance of this general intent, the regulation of land development by municipalities, counties, or consolidated political subdivisions is authorized for the following purposes, among others:

(1) to encourage the development of economically sound and stable municipalities and counties;

(2) to assure the timely provision of required streets, utilities, and other facilities and services to new land developments;

(3) to assure the adequate provision of safe and convenient traffic access and circulation, both vehicular and pedestrian, in and through new land developments;

(4) to assure the provision of needed public open spaces and building sites in new land developments through the dedication or reservation of land for recreational, educational, transportation, and other public purposes; and

(5) to assure, in general, the wise and timely development of new areas, and redevelopment of previously developed areas in harmony with the comprehensive plans of municipalities and counties.

SECTION 6-29-1130. Regulations.

(A) When at least the community facilities element of the comprehensive plan as authorized by this chapter has been adopted by the local planning commission and the local governing body or bodies, the local planning commission may prepare and recommend to the governing body or bodies for adoption regulations governing the development of land within the jurisdiction. These regulations may provide for the harmonious development of the municipality and the county; for coordination of streets within subdivision and other types of land developments with other existing or planned streets or official map streets; for the size of blocks and lots; for the dedication or reservation of land for streets, school sites, and recreation areas and of easements for utilities and other public services and facilities; and for the distribution of population and traffic which will tend to create conditions favorable to health, safety, convenience, appearance, prosperity, or the general welfare. In particular, the regulations shall prescribe that no land development plan, including subdivision plats, will be approved unless all land intended for use as building sites can be used safely for building purposes, without danger from flood or other inundation or from other menaces to health, safety, or public welfare.

(B) These regulations may include requirements as to the extent to which and the manner in which streets must be graded, surfaced, and improved, and water, sewers, septic tanks, and other utility mains, piping, connections, or other facilities must be installed as a condition precedent to the approval of the plan. The governing authority of the municipality and the governing authority of the county are given the power to adopt and to amend the land development regulations after a public hearing on it, giving at least thirty days' notice of the time and place by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality or county.

SECTION 6-29-1140. Development plan to comply with regulations; submission of unapproved plan for recording is a misdemeanor.

After the local governing authority has adopted land development regulations, no subdivision plat or other land development plan within the jurisdiction of the regulations may be filed or recorded in the office of the county where deeds are required to be recorded, and no building permit may be issued until the plat or plan bears the stamp of approval and is properly signed by the designated authority. The submission for filing or the recording of a subdivision plat or other land development plan without proper approval as required by this chapter is declared a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, is punishable as provided by law.

SECTION 6-29-1150. Submission of plan or plat to planning commission; record; appeal.

(A) The land development regulations adopted by the governing authority must include a specific procedure for the submission and approval or disapproval by the planning commission or designated staff. These procedures may include requirements for submission of sketch plans, preliminary plans, and final plans for review and approval or disapproval. Time limits, not to exceed sixty days, must be set forth for action on plans or plats, or both, submitted for approval or disapproval. Failure of the designated authority to act within sixty days of the receipt of development plans or subdivision plats with all documentation required by the land development regulations is deemed to constitute approval and the developer must be issued a letter of approval and authorization to proceed based on the plans or plats and supporting documentation presented. The sixty-day time limit may be extended by mutual agreement.

(B) A record of all actions on all land development plans and subdivision plats with the grounds for approval or disapproval and any conditions attached to the action must be maintained as a public record. In addition, the developer must be notified in writing of the actions taken.

(C) Staff action, if authorized, to approve or disapprove a land development plan may be appealed to the planning commission by any party in interest. The planning commission shall act on the appeal within sixty days and the action of the planning commission is final. An appeal from the decision of the planning commission may be taken to circuit court within thirty days after actual notice of the decision.

SECTION 6-29-1160. Recording unapproved land development plan or plat; penalty; remedies.

The county official whose duty it is to accept and record real estate deeds and plats may not accept, file, or record a land development plan or subdivision plat involving a land area subject to land development regulations adopted pursuant to this chapter unless the development plan or subdivision plat has been properly approved. If a public official violates the provisions of this section, he is, in each instance, subject to the penalty provided in this article and the affected governing body, private individual, or corporation has rights and remedies as to enforcement or collection as are provided, and may enjoin any violations of them.

SECTION 6-29-1170. Approval of plan or plat not acceptance of dedication of land.

The approval of the land development plan or subdivision plat may not be deemed to automatically constitute or effect an acceptance by the municipality or the county or the public of the dedication of any street, easement, or other ground shown upon the plat. Public acceptance of the lands must be by action of the governing body customary to these transactions.

SECTION 6-29-1180. Surety bond for completion of site improvements.

In circumstances where the land development regulations adopted pursuant to this chapter require the installation and approval of site improvements prior to approval of the land development plan or subdivision plat for recording in the office of the county official whose duty it is to accept and record the instruments, the developer may be permitted to post a surety bond, certified check, or other instrument readily convertible to cash. The surety must be in an amount equal to at least one hundred twenty-five percent of the cost of the improvement. This surety must be in favor of the local government to ensure that, in the event of default by the developer, funds will be used to install the required improvements at the expense of the developer.

SECTION 6-29-1190. Transfer of title to follow approval and recording of development plan; violation is a misdemeanor.

The owner or agent of the owner of any property being developed within the municipality or county may not transfer title to any lots or parts of the development unless the land development plan or subdivision has been approved by the local planning commission or designated authority and an approved plan or plat recorded in the office of the county charged with the responsibility of recording deeds, plats, and other property records. A transfer of title in violation of this provision is a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be punished in the discretion of the court. A description by metes and bounds in the instrument of transfer or other document used in the process of transfer does not exempt the transaction from these penalties. The municipality or county may enjoin the transfer by appropriate action.

SECTION 6-29-1200. Approval of street names required; violation is a misdemeanor; changing street name.

(A) A local planning commission created under the provisions of this chapter shall, by proper certificate, approve and authorize the name of a street or road laid out within the territory over which the commission has jurisdiction. It is unlawful for a person in laying out a new street or road to name the street or road on a plat, by a marking or in a deed or instrument without first getting the approval of the planning commission. Any person violating this provision is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be punished in the discretion of the court.

(B) A commission may, after reasonable notice through a newspaper having general circulation in which the commission is created and exists, change the name of a street or road within the boundary of its territorial jurisdiction:

(1) when there is duplication of names or other conditions which tend to confuse the traveling public or the delivery of mail, orders, or messages;

(2) when it is found that a change may simplify marking or giving of directions to persons seeking to locate addresses; or

(3) upon any other good and just reason that may appear to the commission.

(C) On the name being changed, after reasonable opportunity for a public hearing, the planning commission shall issue its certificate designating the change, which must be recorded in the office of the register of deeds or clerk of court, and the name changed and certified is the legal name of the street or road.





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