The North Carolina House of Representatives approved legislation on Thursday that would bring big changes to the rezoning process and could roll back portions of local regulations that exceed state mandates, including Charlotte’s Post- Construction Controls Storm Water Ordinance (PCCO).
SB 112, “Create Jobs Through Regulatory Reform”, was approved 84 – 28 in a late afternoon vote, and now heads back to the Senate, where it will hopefully be concurred with early next week. This legislation would provide regulatory relief to the North Carolina real estate industry by:
- Prohibiting cities and counties from enacting environmental regulations that are more stringent that existing state or federal regulations;
- Repealing the authority of counties and cities to allow for protest petitions in rezoning cases; and,
- Establishing a process for the review and expiration of existing state agency rules, and clarifying the definition of what constitutes a “policy”.
One such local ordinance that could be impacted by the passage of SB 112 would be the Charlotte PCCO, which was adopted with a Tree Save requirement that doesn’t exist in either state or federal law. While the existing federal NPDES permit would likely keep most of the PCCO intact, REBIC believes this provision could be challenged under the new law.
But it’s the elimination of the Protest Petition process that would have the greatest impact on property owners and developers, by removing a burdensome and costly process that effectively allows a small minority of citizens to hold a rezoning case hostage by forcing a supermajority vote. Should S 112 be signed by Governor McCrory, it will immediately make protest petitions a thing of the past, with the exception of those already filed.
Special thanks to House bill sponsors Rep. Tim Moffitt (R-Buncombe), Rep. Tom Murray (R-Wake) and Rep. Bill Brawley (R-Mecklenburg) who ensured that the provisions important to the real estate industry stayed in the bill, despite numerous amendments to remove them. Thanks also to Representatives Rob Bryan, Tricia Cotham, Becky Carney, Charles Jeter, Rodney Moore, Ruth Samuelson, Jacqueline Schaffer, who voted “YES” on the bill.
REBIC is working with the North Carolina Home Builders Association (NCHBA) to encourage Senate leadership to bring S 112 to the floor for concurrence as soon as possible, and will keep you appraised of the bill’s progress.