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The original item was published from 12/3/2021 12:58:46 PM to 12/11/2021 12:00:03 AM.

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Posted on: December 3, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Town Ordinances Updated



Wilson Hooper, Town Manager


December 3, 2020



[NORTH WILKESBORO, NC, December 3, 2021] – Last Tuesday evening, the North Wilkesboro Board of Commissioners updated twelve sections of the town code of ordinances with language intended to maintain criminal penalties for violations of the sections. This action was made necessary by legislation recently passed in the North Carolina General Assembly that decriminalized all municipal ordinances, except those specifically preserved by acts of local elected boards.

S.L. 2021-138, also known as Criminal Justice Reform legislation, was signed into law by Governor Cooper in September. It contains a number of new requirements intended to reform policing and criminal justice in North Carolina. The first provision to take effect is the decriminalization of local ordinances. Starting December 1, 2021, all local ordinances -except those specifically designated by acts of local governing boards before the law takes effect- will only be enforceable by civil penalties.

Per the requirement of the legislation, and on the advice of counsel from the North Carolina League of Municipalities, the town added a clause reading “[a] violation of this section shall be punishable as a misdemeanor as provided in N.C.G.S. 14-4 and subject to a fine not to exceed $500” to the following sections:

  • 7-2 – Permit required
  • 12-21 – Noise-generally
  • 12-32 – Riots, routs and unlawful assemblies
  • 12-43 – [Trees]-not to be wantonly or recklessly injured
  • 12-43.1 – Memorial Avenue trees and monument
  • 12-45 – Weapons and explosives-Discharge of guns, pistols and explosives
  • 12-53 – Offenses
  • 15-5 – Use of streets or sidewalks while under construction or repair
  • 15-6 – Removal or disturbance of components of streets, sidewalks, and public places
  • 15-7 – Structures not to encroach upon or obstruct streets, etc.-Nuisances  
  • 15-8 – Obstructions-prohibited
  • 15-9 – Riding, skating, skateboarding, etc. on sidewalks


The Board also amended the text of sections 12-53 and 15-9 to update the juvenile age from 15 to 18 years old to match the age in state law. Section 15-9 was also amended to add skateboarding to the list of activities prohibited on town sidewalks.

For municipalities wishing to maintain criminal enforcement of ordinances, the legislation prescribed a process for municipalities to carry out. It involved taking official action to add the enforcement language to each individual section prior to the law taking effect. The legislation also prohibited municipalities from taking action to amend their ordinances on the first hearing.

To comply with the requirements in the legislation, town staff presented the proposed updates to the Board of Commissioners at the board’s November 19, 2021 meeting. At that same meeting, the Board called for a special meeting and public hearing to be held on November 30, 2021, which was then duly advertised by town staff.

The full text of the amended ordinances can be read here.

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