This fact led to a split of the court into Chrismon and Hall. The dissenters reportedly decided that rezoning on the basis of a particular proposal was illegal zoning by treaty, whether or not there was a mutual agreement. Unlike conditional zoning, contract zoning is illegal in North Carolina. It is also illegal to place a property in a conventional zoning district based on the representation that the land is dedicated to a specific project. If local elected officials want to grant rezoning, but only as a favor for the respective applicant, this is a sure sign that rezoning is inappropriate. • Development agreements are also considered legal in most situations, provided that zoning and other planning codes determine in advance when development agreements are required and how the public interest is protected. Community performance agreements as a type of development agreement are included in our generalisation. However, the local government should be very careful to maintain the appearance and reality that a particular development agreement is not a condition for rezoning. A typical example of such mutual insurance occurs when the applicant assures the City Council that the property will only be used for specific purposes and for no other purpose, and the City Council, taking into account this insurance, agrees to rezone the property in question and not to change the zoning for a certain period thereafter.  In the classic situation of contractual zoning, the local government and the landowner enter into a written agreement (sometimes called an act restriction) whereby when the government converts the property into a new specific zoning district, the owner makes a specific use and agrees to certain limits or conditions for that use.
Although a case in North Carolina has not yet directly implicated this situation, in Chrismon v. Guilford County, the court ruled that the actual zoning of the contract was inadmissible: two cases in the early 1970s established this principle of the North Carolina Zoning Act. Both cases occurred in Raleigh and both invalidated the zoning change that allowed for the development of apartment buildings in single-family neighborhoods. These first cases were called the zoning of this practice contract. The court has since dropped that characterization, but upheld the result — the practice remains illegal in North Carolina.  Id. at 545, 178 p.E.2d at 440–41. The site owner, who was the subject of the allred lawsuit, subsequently managed to rezone the site from R-4 to R-10. In this subsequent successful rezoning, the applicant submitted a professional traffic analysis, a study on the compatibility of the rezoning with the artery and a land use study. The applicant and staff carefully avoided referring to a particular project and instead focused on all authorized uses. A protest petition was submitted, but the zoning change was approved unanimously.
One-storey townhouses were eventually built on the site… Regardless of the reasons for the city council, any action by the city council that does not take into account the basic concepts of zoning as set out in the enabling legislation can be arbitrary and capricious. In Allred v. The City of Raleigh, a 9.26-acre property was rezoned from R-4 to R-10 to allow for the construction of high-rise twin residential towers in a former single-family residential area. Two previous applications for a similar zoning change for this site had been rejected. The review of the approved zoning change petition included a detailed discussion of the respective proposed project. The planning commission`s report on the project noted that the particular proposal for “very attractive” buildings was of “outstanding architectural” quality.  However, it recommended rejection because of the inconsistency of the proposal with the overall plan and because of the opposition of the neighbourhood. After an in-depth discussion of the project, in which a prominent member of the General Assembly represented the developer, City Council voted to rezone the property to “give the community the opportunity for this great development.”  The Trial Court and the Court of Appeal upheld the zoning change. However, the Supreme Court found that the zoning change was based on the applicant`s specific plans, that it did not take into account all the possible uses to which the land could be devoted under the new zoning and that it was therefore invalid.
Chief Justice Bobbitt wrote for a unanimous court: However, it remains very good advice to avoid treaty zoning or the appearance of treaties. The criteria are quite simple: however, the fact that concrete plans are submitted to the Board of Directors does not invalidate a rezoning per se, provided that it is clear that all authorized uses are taken into account. In Kerik v. Davidson County, the applicant for a 140-acre zoning change sent several memos to the board of directors during the petition review, outlining the proposed uses of the property in the event of a zoning change, outlining various conditions to be imposed on the property, describing the proposed utility, and setting out the intent: donate to the Parkland District. and note alternative plans for the site if they are not rezoned. The court ruled that this information did not invalidate the zoning change, as the record revealed that council had received a list of permitted uses in the proposed districts and discussed their potential impact (and the record showed that the planning committee had similar information and discussions). The situation is similar in Musi v. The Town of Shallotte noted that the fact that City Council became aware of a concrete plan to build multi-family condominiums on the site of a rezoning project did not in itself indicate that Council was not aware of other uses that could be made under the new zoning. The court noted that the range of permitted uses in the new urban zoning district was similar to those permitted in the district`s previous zoning (albeit with a higher density), and each council member testified in statements that they had considered the full range of permitted uses at the time of the rezoning. Blades vs.
The City of Raleigh presented a similar situation that led to the same result. In this case, a 5-acre lot was rezoned from R-4 to R-6 to allow for the construction of twenty “ultra-luxurious townhouses” (the existing R-4 zoning only allowed single-family homes). A site plan for the proposed development was presented at the rezoning hearing, and a representative of the owner explicitly noted that other permitted uses in the proposed District R-6 (e.B a sanatorium, hospital or retirement home) would not be “good development”. Although the Raleigh City Council has already passed a resolution that the zoning change should not be based on any particular use or plan, the court concluded, “It is entirely obvious that the amending order was only issued because the plaintiff satisfied council that he would use the land to build townhouses as specifically described. Nevertheless, the adoption of the order, if valid, would allow the use of this property for any other authorized purpose in an R-6 district.  Thus, the court again unanimously declared the zoning change invalid. This rule was then followed in North Carolina.  . In Alderman v. Chatham County, 89 N.C. App. 610, 366 p.e.2d 885, revision refused, 323 N.C.
171, 373 P.E.2d 103 (1988), a rezoning of 14.2 hectares from an agricultural residential area to a residential residential area became invalid because only the density of development under a restricted plan submitted by the owner and not all permitted uses in the new district were reviewed by the Board of Directors. The Court of Appeal found that a zoning change was invalid if it was “made as a direct result of the terms agreed to by the plaintiff and not as a valid exercise of the county`s legislative discretion.” Id. at 619, 366 p.e.2d at 891. In several cases, the courts have also ruled that it is inappropriate to issue a summary judgment if it is alleged that a rezoning decision was based on a single proposed project. Nelson vs City of Burlington, 80 N.C. App. 285, 341 P.E.2d 739 (1986); Willis v. Union County, 77 N.C. App. 407, 335 p.E.2d 76 (1985); Rose v. Guilford County, 60 N.C. App.
170, 298 P.E.2d 200 (1982). Contract zoning is just a concept, and only the courts can make a decision about when it occurs. When a particular zoning classification, such as . B Downtown Commercial, is assigned to a property, the courts have ruled that it is unconstitutional for the city government to provide for this zoning change in exchange for the promise not to do something that would otherwise be permitted under the local land use law. In our view, and we believe, the zoning of the property can only be changed from R-4 to R-10 if its location and associated circumstances are such that the property should be made available to all permitted uses in an R-10 district. .