Departments > Planning > Ordinances and Manuals > Zoning Ordinance > ARTICLE 13: Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance

ARTICLE 13: Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance or APF

Article 13.1 - Short Title
Article 13.2 - Purpose, Intent and Findings
Article 13.3 - Definitions
Article 13.4 - Level of Service Standards
Article 13.5 - Applicability
Article 13.6 - Application and Review Procedure
Article 13.7 - Capital Improvements Program and APF Monitoring Reports
Article 13.8 - Appeals and Variances


This Article shall be known and may be cited as the Huntersville "Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance."


13.2.1 The purpose and intent of this Article is:

a) To implement the provisions of the Town of Huntersville Community Plan and other adopted plans of the Town related to the adequacy of Public Facilities as new growth occurs.

b) To ensure that Public Facilities needed to support new development meet adopted level of service standards.

c) To ensure that the Town maintains realistic Capital Improvements Programs to accommodate new development based on its ability to provide adequate Public Facilities to that development.

d) To protect the character of the Town and to conserve the value of buildings and encourage the most appropriate use of land throughout the Town.

e) To ensure that no Development Proposal is approved that would cause permanent reductions below adopted guidelines in the level of service for Public Facilities addressed in this Article.

f) To ensure that adequate Public Facilities needed to support new development are available within a reasonable period of time as new development occurs.

g) To establish uniform procedures for the review of APF Applications subject to the standards and requirements of this Article.

h) To encourage the efficient development of land in Huntersville.

i) To ensure that new growth occurs at a rate that is consistent with the Town’s and its partnership agencies’ obligation and ability to provide Public Facilities.

j) To encourage development in areas where Public Facilities are adequate and/or planned in Capital Improvement Programs.

k) To ensure that all applicable legal standards and criteria are incorporated in these procedures and requirements.

l) To ensure that Proposed Development will not adversely affect the public health, safety, and general welfare of existing and future residents of Huntersville. 

13.2.2 In adopting this Article, the Town hereby finds and determines as follows:   

a) The Public Facilities subject to the provisions of this Article are necessary for the public health, safety, and general welfare.

b) New growth and development within the Town has an impact on the availability and capacity of Public Facilities, the capacity of which can be maintained if development is approved consistent with adopted level of service standards.

c) The Town has prepared and adopted a Capital Improvements Program to provide the Public Facilities needed to accommodate reasonable rates of growth and development, which CIPs will be reviewed and updated if necessary annually to reflect changes in the Town’s growth rate, available financial resources, and other relevant factors.

d) The level of service standards adopted for each Public Facility are necessary for the protection of the public health, safety and welfare, and will not unduly inhibit new growth and development within Huntersville.

e) This Article is necessary so that continued growth does not outstrip the Town’s ability to plan for and fund necessary Public Facilities. 


The words, terms, and phrases used in this Article shall have the meanings set forth in 
Article 12.2

of the Huntersville Zoning Ordinance, except as set forth below.

Adequate Public Facilities (APF) Allocation – a reservation of Capacity made by the Administrator upon a Determination of Adequacy.

Adequate Public Facilities (APF) Application – an application for a Determination of Adequacy of Public Facilities.

Adequate Public Facilities (APF) Schedule – a schedule maintained by the Administrator that tracks the capacity of Public Facilities.

Administrator – the Huntersville Zoning Administrator or the Zoning Administrator’s designee.

Advanced Facility – a Capital Improvement proposed to be constructed, dedicated, or funded by an applicant pursuant to an approved Mitigation Plan.

Capacity – the demand that can be accommodated by a Public Facility.

Capacity, Allocated - Capacity reserved pursuant to an unexpired APF Allocation made under this Article.

Capacity, Available – the circumstance where Public Facilities have sufficient Capacity, based on adopted Levels of Service standards, to accommodate the demand created by a Proposed Development, including where an applicant has provided Advanced Facilities sufficient to mitigate the impacts of the Proposed Development on Public Facilities.

Capacity, Committed – Capacity consumed by development approved prior to the effective date of this Article and not subject to the requirements of this Article.

Capacity, Reserved – Capacity reserved for a specified development or use, other than those set aside pursuant to an APF Allocation, including developments proposed after the effective date of this Article, which impact Public Facilities, but which are exempt from the requirements of this Article.

Capacity, Used – capacity dedicated to habitable structures and existing land uses, served by the Public Facility at the time of the APF Determination.

Capital Improvements – a physical asset, including land, that mitigates the offsite impacts of new development on Public Facilities, the costs of which generally are non-recurring, may require multi-year financing, and provide additional capacity needed to accommodate the demand for Public Facilities.

Capital Improvements, Existing – Capital Improvements either constructed and operational at the time of an APF Application or the portion of a Capital Improvement which was designed to serve existing residents and employees as of the effective date of this Article.

Capital Improvements, Planned – Capital Improvements included on a CIP and expected to be available by the end of the third fiscal year following the date of the APF Application.

Capital Improvements, Total – Existing Capital Improvements and Planned Capital Improvements.

Capital Improvements Program or “CIP” – plans and budgets adopted by the Town, or service provider of a particular public facility, which itemize planned Capital Improvements and the timing and means of funding such improvements.

Determination of Adequacy – a determination by the Administrator, after consultation with the responsible agency or Town department, that each Public Facility impacted by a Proposed Development has Available Capacity, which determination may be based on an approved Mitigation Plan.

Development Proposal – any of the following applications that specify the amount of proposed floor area and/or number of units or lots, by land use type, and which has not received a Determination of Adequacy: 

(a) a special use permit;
(b) any overlay district for which a site specific development plan is required under the provisions of this ordinance;
(c) a conditional zoning district;
(d) a subdivision sketch plan or a preliminary plan when required by the subdivision ordinance;
(e) a final plat when no sketch plan or preliminary plan is required; or
(f) building permit.

Essential Public Services – facilities operated by governmental or quasi-governmental agencies that provide services on behalf of the public, which are critical to the health, safety, and welfare of the public. Essential Public Services may include but are not limited to governmental offices, parks and recreation facilities; public transit facilities; schools; gas, electric, or steam distribution systems; water and sewer services; solid waste systems; communications systems; emergency services; publicly-owned housing; fire protection services; and law enforcement services.

Level of Service (LOS) – an indicator of the extent or degree of service provided by a Public Facility, based upon and related to the operational characteristics of the facility, in comparison to the Capacity of the Public Facility.

Mitigation Plan – a voluntary plan, effectuated through a binding agreement, to ensure the provision of Available Capacity through Advanced Facilities, where Capacity would not otherwise be adequate to support the demand resulting from a Proposed Development.

Phased Development Proposal – a Development Proposal wherein the Proposed Development will be constructed incrementally in a logical time and geographical sequence according to an approved Phasing Schedule.

Phasing Schedule – a schedule that sets forth the timing of the development of a Development Proposal, including, but not limited to, provision of necessary Public Facilities, the number of units, as applicable, and their location on the site.

Proposed Development – development proposed pursuant to a Development Proposal and an APF Application.

Public Facilities – parks and recreation, law enforcement, and fire protection facilities.


13.4.1 The Level of Service standards applicable to Public Facilities are as follows:

 Facility Category
 Facility Type    
 LOS (per 1,000 population)

 Fire Protection
 Fire Vehicles (#)
 Fire Station (sf gfa)*

Law Enforcement
 Police Vehicles (#)
 Police Station (sf gfa)*

Parks & Recreation
Gyms (sf gfa) *
 Parks (acres)

*Square Feet Gross Floor Area

13.4.2 Based on the above Level of Service standards, the following demand factors apply, by land use: 

Facility Category

Facility Type
 LOS by Land Use Type
 Single-Family (per DU)*
Multi-Family (per DU)*
Commercial (per 1,000 sf gfa)
 Office/Civic Uses (per 1,000 sf gfa)
Industrial (per 1,000 sf gfa)

Fire Protection





(sf gfa)






Law Enforcement





(sf gfa)






 Parks & Recreation
(sf gfa)
1.933530  1.368668 n/a
 0.017442  0.012347 n/a

*Dwelling Unit

13.4.3 Based on the unique impacts of a Proposed Development on Public Facilities, the Town may initiate or an applicant may submit an application to the Administrator requesting that an alternative demand factor be applied to the Proposed Development for purposes of complying with the terms of this Article. The alternative demand factor must be supported by professional economic and land use-based analyses, such as the latest edition of the Trip Generation Manual (ITE), which clearly demonstrates an impact on Public Facilities different from those set forth in subsection 13.4.2, based on the Level of Service standards set forth in 13.4.1. The Town’s analysis or an application under this subsection must be approved by the Administrator prior to the submission of an APF Application and the completeness review provided under section
13.6.3 of this Article.


13.5.1 Generally.

Except as provided in subsection 13.5.2, below, the provisions of this Article shall apply only to Development Proposals submitted on or after the effective date of this Article, as follows: 

a) Residential Uses.

This Article shall apply to residential Development Proposals that involve more than twenty (20) lots or dwelling units.

b) Nonresidential Uses.

This Article shall apply to nonresidential Development Proposals that either (i) involve 10,000 square feet or more of floor area or (ii) are expected to create fifty (50) or more peak hour vehicle trips or 500 or more daily vehicle trips, whichever is less.

c) Parks and Recreation.

A Determination of Adequacy is required for any residential Development Proposal within the Town or its extraterritorial jurisdiction. No Determination of Adequacy is required for nonresidential Development Proposals with respect to parks and recreation facilities.

d) Fire Protection Facilities.

A Determination of Adequacy is required for any residential or nonresidential Development Proposal within the Town or its extraterritorial jurisdiction with respect to fire protection facilities. The adequacy of fire protection facilities will be determined based on the stations and vehicles within the Huntersville/Craighead Fire District only.

e) Law Enforcement Facilities.

A Determination of Adequacy is required for any residential or nonresidential Development Proposal within the Town or within its extraterritorial jurisdiction if the applicant offers to be annexed into the Town limits, with respect to law enforcement facilities.

f) Consecutive or Sequential Applications.

Proposed Developments may not be phased or subdivided in piecemeal fashion to avoid application of this Article. Two or more developments represented to be separate developments shall be aggregated and treated as a single development under this Article if the Administrator determines them to be part of a unified plan of development and physically proximate to one another, based on the following factors:

1). There is unified ownership, indicated by the fact that:

(a) The same person has retained or shared control of the developments;

(b) The same person has ownership or a significant legal or equitable interest in the developments; or

(c) There is common management of the developments controlling the form of physical development or disposition of parcels of the development.

2) There is a reasonable closeness in time between the completion of 80 percent or less of one development and the submission to the Town of a Development Proposal for a subsequent development that is indicative of a common development effort.

3) The voluntary sharing of infrastructure that is indicative of a common development effort or is designated specifically to accommodate the developments.

4) There is a common advertising scheme or promotional plan in effect for the developments.

5) Any information provided by the applicant that the project is not being phased or subdivided to avoid the requirements of this Article.

13.5.2 Exemptions.

a) Essential Public Services.
The provisions of this Article shall not apply to Essential Public Services.

b) Agricultural & Farm Uses.
Upon determination of the Administrator, the provisions of this Article shall not apply to any lands or structures dedicated to bona fide farm purposes.

c) Accessory Structure or Use.
The provisions of this Article shall not apply to any Development Proposal, or portion thereof, that is an accessory structure or use, as defined in
Article 12

d) Previously-Approved Development.
The provisions of this Article shall not apply to any Development Proposal that was part of a conditional zoning plan or subdivision plan submitted prior to the effective date of this Article.

e) Vested Rights.
This section shall not be interpreted or deemed to affect any rights that have vested prior to the effective date of this Article, nor shall any provision of this Article be applied to a specific property or applicant in a manner that would result in a taking of a property.


13.6.1 When required.
Subject to the requirements of this section, no Development Proposal Application will be accepted by the Town unless an Adequate Public Facilities (APF) Application is submitted prior to, or in conjunction with the Development Proposal application.

13.6.2 Requirements for APF Application.

a) Pre-Submittal Meeting Required. Prior to submission of an APF Application, the applicant must meet with the Administrator to confirm the scope and applicability of this Article and to identify potential Public Facility deficiencies that may need to be mitigated. At or following the pre-submittal meeting, the Administrator shall:

(1) provide the current APF Schedule;

(2) identify planned and funded Capital Improvements that affect Available Capacity for the project;

(3) provide other relevant and available demand and Capacity information for Public Facilities; and

(4) summarize the scope of the APF Application requirements, which shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, the information listed in subsection 13.6.2(b).

b) General APF Application Requirements. The APF Application shall include:  

(1). A description of the Proposed Development, including the type and amount of each proposed land use.

(2). A Phasing Schedule, as applicable.

(3). A description of any past or proposed Public Facility dedicated, constructed, or funded in order to mitigate the impacts of the Proposed Development.

(4). A Mitigation Plan, if applicable, proposing any improvements to be completed by the applicant.

(5). Other information required by the Administrator in order to evaluate the APF Application and to make a Determination of Adequacy.

13.6.3 Completeness review.

Within ten (10) working days of its receipt, the Administrator shall determine whether the APF Application is complete and complies with the submission requirements set forth in section 13.6.2. If the APF Application is complete and the submission requirements have been met, the Administrator shall provide copies of the application to responsible agencies and Town departments for review and input regarding Available Capacity. If the APF Application is not complete, the Administrator will notify the applicant of its deficiencies in writing within fifteen (15) working days of its receipt.

13.6.4 Determination of Adequacy and Allocation of Capacity.

a) After consultation with the responsible agency or Town department, the Administrator shall determine whether Available Capacity exists for each applicable Public Facility, based on the level of service standards set forth in section 13.4 and the following:
1) Calculate Total Capital Improvements by adding:

        a. Capacity provided by Existing Capital Improvements, based on the LOS standards set forth in Section 13.4, to

        b. The Capacity of any Planned Capital Improvements. 

     2) Calculate Available Capacity by subtracting from the Total Capital Improvements the sum of: 

        a. Used Capacity;
        b. Committed Capacity;
        c. Reserved Capacity;
        d. Allocated Capacity; and
        e. the demand on Public Facilities created by the Proposed Development.

b) The Administrator's Determination of Adequacy shall be reflected in a written report that: 

    (i)  Identifies Existing and Planned Capital Improvements and any Available Capacity of Public Facilities that serve the 
    Proposed Development, pursuant to the terms of this Article. 

    (ii)  Describes Capital Improvements funded and assumed to be in place to serve the Proposed Development. 

    (iii)  Identifies any previously dedicated, constructed, or funded Public Facility made in order to mitigate the impacts 
    of the Proposed Development. 

    (iv)  Sets forth findings and conclusions related to the impact of the Proposed Development on Available Capacity. 

    (v)  After consultation with the responsible agency or Town department, states whether there is Available Capacity 
    for each applicable Public Facility sufficient to accommodate the Proposed Development.

c) Approval of Determination of Adequacy.

1)  Where Available Capacity exists for each applicable Public Facility, the Administrator shall issue a Determination of Adequacy.

2)  Upon issuance of a Determination of Adequacy by the Administrator, the Administrator shall:

a.  Notify the applicant in writing within ten (10) working days of the Determination of Adequacy and APF Allocation; and

b.  Record the APF Allocation on the Adequate Public Facilities Schedule.

3)  If a Determination of Adequacy is based on an Advanced Facility, the APF Allocation and approval of the
APF Application shall be conditioned on the timely completion of the Advanced Facility.

13.6.5 Duration and effect of a Determination of Adequacy.

a) Unless an extension is granted as provided in (b) below, a Determination of Adequacy and the issuance of an APF Allocation shall be deemed to indicate that:

1) Available Capacity exists at the time of the Determination of Adequacy by the Administrator; and

2) Except as provided in (a)(3)-(5) below, a Determination of Adequacy shall remain valid provided that, within one (1) year the issuance of the Determination of Adequacy, the applicant has achieved vesting under section 2.2 of the Zoning Ordinance.

3) The Determination of Adequacy shall expire if one of the above approvals expires pursuant to the terms of the Zoning or Subdivision Ordinance.

4) A Determination of Adequacy issued as provided above shall expire if a certificate of occupancy, or final plat approval, as applicable has not been completed within three (3) years of the approval described in (a)(2) above.

5) A Determination of Adequacy shall be withdrawn from the APF Schedule, if an applicant releases the determination to the Town in writing.

b) Upon the request of the applicant, the Town Board may extend the duration of a Determination of Adequacy. No extension will be granted except upon a showing by the applicant that the application is actively continuing through the development process, by demonstrating such factors as:

1) whether building permits for the Development Proposal have been issued and remain active;

2) whether the applicant can demonstrate unique hardship or extenuating circumstances not created by the applicant; or

3) whether site improvements and development has progressed during the duration of the initial Determination of Adequacy.

c) A Determination of Adequacy shall not affect the need for the applicant to meet all other requirements set forth in the Zoning and Subdivision Ordinances or any other lawfully adopted ordinance or law of the Town. 

13.6.6 Nonavailability of Capacity; Mitigation Plans.

a) If the Administrator determines that Available Capacity does not exist for a particular Public Facility and no Mitigation Plan has been proposed pursuant to subsection (c)(3) below, the Administrator shall deny the APF Application and no Determination of Adequacy or APF Allocation shall be entered.

b) Upon denial of an APF Application, the Administrator shall notify the applicant in writing within ten (10) working days of the denial and shall state the reasons for the denial and any actions that the applicant may take voluntarily to receive a Determination of Adequacy.

c) Where there is no Available Capacity or upon a denial of an APF Application, the applicant may:

1) submit a Development Proposal that has a reduced amount of development for which Available Capacity exists;

2) submit a Phased Development Proposal that includes the following:

a. a proposed Phasing Schedule setting forth the amount, location, and timing of development associated with each proposed phase;

b. a showing that Available Capacity will exist for each phase of development;

c. where Advanced Facilities are proposed, the location and timing of the proposed facilities based on the Phasing Schedule and Mitigation Plan as provided in (c)(3) below; and

d. other additional information or materials identified by the Administrator or other Town staff as necessary to ensure the timely and adequate provision of Public Facilities, based on the level of service standards and requirements of this Article. 

3) propose a Mitigation Plan, at the applicant’s expense, which provides Advanced Facilities that would mitigate the proportionate-share impacts of the Proposed Development on Public Facilities, based on the Level of Service standards in section 13.4

. Should mitigation be required in conjunction with a Development Proposal, nothing shall preclude the participation of third-parties (public or private) in defraying all or a portion of the cost of such mitigation. Any Mitigation Plan that proposes the provision of Advanced Facilities must provide an estimate of the incremental cost of providing the Advanced Facilities, a schedule for commencement and completion thereof, and a description of how the Advanced Facilities will mitigate the impact of the Proposed Development. In order for a Mitigation Plan to be accepted, it must be approved by the Town Board.   


13.7.1 Capital Improvements Program.

a) Purpose. The CIP is the mechanism by which the Town of Huntersville and its partnering agencies provide new and expanded Public Facilities Capacity needed to accommodate anticipated future population and employment at adopted level of service standards. Through the implementation of CIPs, the Town will use all reasonable means to ensure that the provision of Public Facilities Capacity is sufficient to accommodate new growth and development, consistent with the reasonable availability of revenue sources; contributions of Capital Improvements; and physical, environmental, or topographical constraints on the expansion of the Capacity of Public Facilities.

b) Requirements for monitoring and evaluation. The Town and/or its partnering agencies shall maintain a CIP for the Public Facilities subject to this Article and shall implement this Article based on adopted CIPs.

13.7.2 Monitoring Reports.

At the beginning of each fiscal year, the Administrator shall prepare an annual report addressing the following:

a).  The Available Capacity of Public Facilities.
b).  Anticipated increases in residential and nonresidential development within the Town.
c).  The current need for any Public Facilities resulting from changes in population increase, employment growth, or other relevant factors.
d).  The development of lots and land uses approved prior to the effective date of this Article.
e).  Other matters or actions recommended to effectuate the purpose and intent of this Article, including any related to demand assumptions, need factors, level of service standards, and other matters recommended by the Administrator for reconsideration or revision.
f).  The projected financing for any additional Capacity resulting from the factors set forth in subsections (a) through (e), above. 

The monitoring reports shall be made available to the Town Board and each agency or department responsible for Public Facilities.


An applicant may seek a variance from the terms of this Article or appeal a determination by the Administrator or other Town official or agency, made pursuant to the terms of this Article, to the Zoning Board of Adjustment, as provided in 
Article 11.3 of the Zoning Ordinance.

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