Senate Passes Legislation Setting Curbs on Local Development Bonding Requirements

DevelopmentEarlier this week, the North Carolina Senate unanimously passed HB 721, ‘Subdivision Ordinances/Land Development Changes’, which would help address issues developers are having with bonding and letters of credit for subdivision roads and other improvements.

The bill would curb policies by some local governments that often require excessive periods for holding performance guarantees for improvements. It would also outlaw the practice of some local governments to put “permit holds” on permits or COs as leverage to require improvements to other parts of the development.  Continue reading

Governor McCrory Signs Legislation Ending Use of Protest Petitions in North Carolina

GovPatMcCrory-HQOn July 23, Governor Pat McCrory signed into law HB 201, ‘Zoning Changes/Citizen Input’, which repeals the North Carolina Protest Petition statute and eliminates a tool frequently used by neighborhood groups to force concessions from property owners and developers. The law will be effective for any rezoning petitions filed August 1st or later.

HB 201 eliminates a longstanding state law that allowed as few as 5 percent of the neighbors within 100′ of a proposed development to file a petition that would force the applicant to secure a supermajority of affirmative votes from the city or town council for rezoning approval. In the City of Charlotte, this meant a petitioner had to secure 9 of 11 Council votes for a rezoning to be approved.

The law still allows residents to protest rezoning actions through a variety of methods, including delivering letters to the City or Town Clerk two days in advance of a rezoning vote. Neighbors can also make their voice heard at rezoning public hearings, or by directly contacting their elected officials.

REBIC worked closely with the North Carolina Home Builders Association (NCHBA), the three NAIOP Chapters in North Carolina, the Apartment Association of North Carolina, and the Charlotte Commercial Board of Realtors® (CRCBR) to ensure the passage of this legislation, by delivering letters and visiting with state legislators.

Charlotte City Council Discusses Impact of New Aesthetics Law on Zoning Cases

Construction 2The Charlotte City Council Monday night began grappling with the impact that the new Residential Aesthetics law (SB 25 – ‘Zoning/Design & Aesthetic Controls) will have on its rezoning process. The legislation, signed by Governor Pat McCrory June 19th, prohibits local governments from regulating “building design elements” on residential single-family homes, townhomes and duplexes, and applies to any ordinances adopted before, on, and after the effective date.

The law defines “building design elements” as:

  • Exterior building color;
  • Type or style of exterior cladding material;
  • Style or materials of roof structures or porches;
  • Exterior nonstructural architectural ornamentation;
  • Location or architectural styling of windows and doors, including garage doors;
  • Number and types of rooms; and,
  • Interior layout of rooms.

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CFPB Finalizes 60-Day Delay of TRID Rule on Closing Documents

CFPB LogoThe Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today issued a final rule moving the effective date of the ‘Know Before You Owe’ mortgage disclosure rule, also called the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures (TRID) Rule, from August 1st to October 3, 2015.

The TRID regulations will replace the HUD-1 settlement statement, Good Faith Estimate forms, and Truth in Lending Act disclosure with a new Closing Disclosure and a new, single Loan Estimate. There will be changes to the closing process as well, including a new rule requiring everything to be in place three days prior to closing. Continue reading

North Carolina Senate Approves Legislation to End Use of Rezoning Protest Petitions

nc-state-legislature-building-legislative-branchBy a vote of 39 – 10, the North Carolina Senate this morning approved HB 201, ‘Zoning Changes/Citizen Input’, which would repeal the North Carolina Protest Petition statute and eliminate a tool frequently used by neighborhood groups to force concessions from property owners and developers. The bill will go back to the House in mid-July for a concurrence vote, and then to the Governor’s desk, where Pat McCrory has indicated he WILL sign the legislation.

HB 201 would eliminate a longstanding state law allowing neighbors in the immediate vicinity of a proposed development to force the applicant to secure a supermajority of affirmative votes from the city or town council for rezoning approval. If as few as 5 percent of the neighbors within 100′ of the property line sign and submit a valid Protest Petition to the local planning department, they can obtain enough leverage to force financial or design concessions from the property owner or developer that would otherwise be difficult if just a simple majority vote were required for the rezoning.

No other action taken by local government action requires a supermajority vote.

The House approved the legislation in late March by an 81 – 31 margin, and is expected to concur with the bill when it comes back to the chamber sometime after the General Assembly’s July recess.

Much credit is due to the North Carolina Home Builders Association (NCHBA), which led the fight for this legislation, as well as NAIOP North Carolina, the Apartment Association of North Carolina, and the Charlotte Commercial Board of Realtors®, whose members provided much-needed support.

Senate Passes Critical Building Permit Reform Legislation

Construction 2The North Carolina Senate last week unanimously passed a critical piece of legislation to improve the local building code & inspection process statewide. HB 255, ‘Building Code Regulatory Reform,’ includes a number of important provisions that will benefit home builders and general contractors in Mecklenburg County and across the state, such as:

  • Creates a 7-member residential code committee within our 17-member state building code council (BCC), which would have to approve any proposed change in the One- and Two-Family Code before it could be further considered by the full council.
  • Prohibits “partial inspections” by requiring a code official to complete all parts of a builder-requested inspection, instead of the practice in some jurisdictions where inspectors end their inspection when a single item “fails.” This should substantially reduce “re-inspections” and be more efficient for the builder and the inspector.
  • Clarifies that inspection fees must be spent only for activities of the inspections department and not for other purposes.
  • Clarifies code official misconduct by providing specific examples of actions subject to discipline by the Code Officials Qualification Board (e.g., enforcement of a code requirement more stringent than or otherwise exceeds Code requirements; the habitual failure to provide requested inspections in a timely manner).
  • Tasks the BCC with studying procedures and policies for speeding approval of alternative materials, designs or methods.
  • Requires that all appeal decisions, interpretations and variations of the Code issued by the BCC and all commentaries and written interpretations made by the DOI staff be posted on the DOI/ Council’s website within ten (10) business days.
  • Provides that components or elements of in the construction of a building prepared under seal by an architect or engineer can be accepted without the need for further inspection by the county or city if the design professional performs a field inspection and certifies that the component or element meets the Code.
  • Clarifies that while an inspector may make as many inspections as necessary to be satisfied that the work is being performed in accordance with the applicable requirements, only those inspections specifically set forth in the NC Building Code may be required.
  • Raises the financial threshold from $5,000 to $15,000 triggering when a building permit is required while retaining the current exceptions to the monetary limit (e.g., addition, repair, replacement of load bearing structures; the addition replacement, or change in design of plumbing, HVAC, electrical wiring, etc.).

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Mooresville Hosts Community Open House Tuesday Night on Comprehensive Housing Strategy

Mooresville Housing Strategy Banner

As it launches a multi-year effort to develop a Comprehensive Housing Strategy, the Town of Mooresville will host a Community Open House this Tuesday, June 30, from 5 – 7 p.m. at the Charles Mack Citizen Center, 215 N. Main Street in downtown Mooresville. Realtors®, home builders, and anyone else interested in the Town’s future growth are invited to stop in anytime during the event to share their thoughts on the types of housing that will be needed in the decades ahead. Continue reading

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