you're reading...

Cornelius News

Inside government: Town will take up penalties Dec. 20

Photo by Jason Benavides

Nov. 29. By Dave Vieser. A new law signed by Gov. Roy Cooper could have a significant impact on local laws adopted over the years by cities and towns throughout the state, including Cornelius.

State aims to decriminalize laws

The Criminal Justice Reform Act requires municipalities to amend any local laws which have had criminal penalties applied by default. The difference between a criminal and civil penalty can be significant. In a criminal case, the guilty party is punished by incarceration, a fine, or both, whereas in a civil case, a fine is imposed by a government agency as restitution for wrongdoing. The civil fine is not considered to be a criminal punishment, because it is primarily sought in order to compensate the municipality for harm done to it, rather than punish conduct.

Laws that will be impacted

A report issued by the North Carolina League of Municipalities defines areas covered by the new law to include planning and regulation of development; stream clearing programs; regulating businesses and trades; outdoor advertising; taxis; setback lines; curb cut regulations; and ordinances regulating trees.

Who decides?

It will be up to each town to determine if they have any laws on the books in which need to be revised. In a recent meeting Davidson officials said they would present a list in December on their consent agenda. and Cornelius seems likely to follow a similar schedule.

“We plan on taking this issue to the Town Board on Dec. 20,” said Town Manager Andrew Grant.