Under North Carolina law, the developer of any real estate project is the owner of all unsold lots or units in the project. As long as the developer owns the majority of them, it controls the votes and therefore the association itself. The developer (or its successors) may have the power to amend the covenants and restriction so long as it acts in accordance with the legal documents creating the association. The developer has a fiduciary obligation to act in good faith, in accord with the law, and in the best interest of the association.
(Note: Residential developments created on or after January 1, 1999 are covered by the North Carolina Planned Community Act if they have more than 20 lots or units and a covenant in their chain of title requiring owners to pay the expense for common property.* Smaller projects created after the date and older properties that meet the definition of a planned community may, under certain circumstances, be brought under the Act so long as they have covenants requiring payment of common expenses).
*The Act covers creation, alteration and management of planned communities.