NC Supreme Court Denies Request for Rehearing in Cabarrus County APFO Suit

The North Carolina Supreme Court has DENIED a request by Cabarrus County to reconsider its August 24 ruling that invalidated its APFO ordinance and established a new statewide precedent for local zoning authority. The denial, issued last week, means the ruling in Lanvale Properties, LLC  and Cabarrus County Building Industry Association v. County of Cabarrus and City of Locust will now stand, and paves the way for legal action to recover more than $6 million in APFO fees and accrued interest paid to the county by the building and development industry over the years.

For more on the Supreme Court’s original ruling, click HERE.

Oil And Gas Rights Disclosure Now Required In ALL New Home Sales Contracts

With very few exceptions, North Carolina now requires all sellers of residential real estate, including home builders, to disclose in the sales contract the status of oil and gas rights regarding any property offered for sale.

Section 5 of SB 820 (Clean Energy and Economic Security Act), which the General Assembly passed earlier this year, amends the Residential Property Disclosure Act (GS 47E-2) to require that “an owner of real property shall include in any real estate contract, an oil and gas rights mandatory disclosure as provided by this subsection…(and) the exemptions provided under subdivision (9) and (11) of GS 47E-2 specifically are not excluded from this requirement.” Thus, this requirement applies even to transfers between parties when both parties agree not to complete a residential property disclosure statement [GS 47E-2(11)].

Consequently, as of October 1, 2012, all contracts for the transfer of residential real property consisting of not less than one nor more than four dwelling units, whether or not the transaction is with the assistance of a licensed real estate broker or salesman, must contain the following disclosure:

OIL AND GAS RIGHTS DISCLOSURE:

Oil and gas rights can be severed from the title to real property by conveyance (deed) of the oil and gas rights from the owner or by reservation of the oil and gas rights by the owner. If oil and gas rights are or will be severed from the property, the owner of those rights may have the perpetual right to drill, mine, explore, and remove any of the subsurface oil or gas resources on or from the property either directly from the surface of the property or from a nearby location. With regard to the severance of oil and gas rights, Seller makes the following disclosures: 

 

 

 
This requirement arose because of a practice engaged in by one particular building company regarding the severance of oil and gas rights which generated significant media attention and drew regulatory and legislative attention to this issue. Because this controversy arose in the sale of new homes, a limited exception was created in the otherwise broad exclusion of the first sale of a dwelling never inhabited from the requirements of Chapter 47E. This exclusion was placed into the law by the North Carolina Home Builders Association (NCHBA) prior to the 1995 enactment of the Disclosure Act.

Builders utilizing licensed real estate brokers or salesmen in the sale of new homes should experience no issues meeting this requirement as Standard Form 800-T (Offer to Purchase and Contract-New Construction) was recently amended to include this disclosure. Builders not utilizing this form should include this disclosure language, as it appears above and in bold, in any contract to convey residential real property. Obviously, if oil and gas rights have not been severed from the property and there is no intention to do so, the “No” boxes should be checked. If seller is uncertain if the oil and gas rights have been severed by a previous owner, the “No Representation” box would be the proper disclosure to the first question. The buyer should initial the form with respect to each question in the space provided to the left of each disclosure statement.

Please do not hesitate to contact NCHBA if you should have questions regarding this requirement.

Source: NCHBA

Insurance Commissioner Rejects Proposed Rate Hike

The North Carolina Department of Insurance (DOI) announced this week that it has rejected the homeowners insurance increases recently proposed by the NC Rate Bureau (the non-governmental entity comprised of insurance companies who write homeowners insurance coverage in the state). The rejection means that a formal public hearing must now be held before any rate increase can be approved. That hearing is scheduled for June 3, 2013 at 10:00am in Raleigh. More information is available on the Department of Insurance website.

Over the past few weeks, DOI received just under 9,000 comments from REALTORS® and other citizens across the state who overwhelmingly opposed the proposed rate increases, which would have been highest along the coast. The North Carolina Association of REALTORS® (NCAR) led the way in fighting the hikes, citing the still-struggling housing market and the financial challenges still facing thousands of North Carolina homeowners. You can read the letter that NCAR sent to Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin HERE.

REBIC thanks Commissioner Goodwin for taking a stand against the proposed rate hikes at a time when the people of North Carolina can least afford them.

Protected: Charlotte Considering New Zoning Category for Student Housing

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REBIC Working with Meck County to Resolve Firewall Issue in Master Plan Review

REBIC has been working with Mecklenburg County Code Enforcement to come up with a workaround that would eliminate the need for builders to submit a 1-hour rated wall option on every new Master Plan submittal.

The rated wall option is the result of a new fire separation requirement in the 2012 North Carolina Residential Building Code, which is outlined in full HERE.

Under the new code, any home constructed less than 5 feet from the property line is required to have a 1-hour rated wall, with openings on no more than 25% percent of the surface.  Any home constructed less than 3 feet from the property line is required to have a 1-hour rated wall, with NO openings (windows or doors) allowed.

This design change impacts more than just the wall construction, and could necessitate major interior floor plan alterations. But because a large number of approved and developed lots in Mecklenburg County allow homes to be constructed as close as 3′ from the property line, builders in these neighborhoods are often learning about the new firewall requirement as late as their framing inspection, and having to make the necessary changes in the field.

To address this issue, Mecklenburg County has implemented the following procedure:

  1. On all new SF permit applications, they are now requiring the builder to include a PE survey or contractor letter saying the home will be built at least 5′ from the side and rear property lines. These permits will go through without any need for changes to the Master Plan.
  2. Any permits submitted where the home will be built less than 5′ from the property line would have to go through a custom review, regardless of whether or not the County has an approved Master Plan on file. This will allow the builder to add the 1-hour rated wall option for approval with the permit.

REBIC supports this approach as a temporary fix to this problem, and is working with County Code Enforcement to try and identify a longer-term solution that will preserve the value of the Master Plan review process, which is intended to cover all possible design conditions for each plan.

Meck County Now Allowing Separate Master Plan Reviews

Mecklenburg County Code Enforcement will now allow homebuilders to to electronically submit their master plans for compliance review prior to the submittal of a specific building permit. This option, which the county implemented quietly a few months back, is one a handful of improvements put into place in the wake of the plan review backlog created by the bungled introduction of the 2011 Residential Code in March. It means builders can have approved master plans on file with the county before they’re needed, reducing the approval time for a new building permit. The process works as follows:

  • The customer submits the electronic master plan through                                  www.e-plan-nc.org.
  • The customer sends an e-mail to RTAC@mecklenburgcountync.gov authorizing Mecklenburg County to charge $435.00 to their contractor account for the advanced review of the master plan.
  • Mecklenburg County Code Enforcement will then deduct the $435.00 and proceed with the plan review.
  • Once the plans are approved the customer will be able to see the master plan PIN from the E-plan-NC Contractor Dashboard.
  • When the first permit application for that PIN is issued the $435.00 will be applied to the total permit fee.

REBIC applauds the Code Enforcement division for offering this service, and will continue to work with the county to find ways to streamline the plan approval process and expedite the issuance of building permits.

Charlotte Looking for Input on Transit Station Development

With construction of the long-awaited Blue Line Extension about to get underway late next year, the City of Charlotte is beginning to develop area plans for six of the new stations along the 9.3-mile corridor connecting Uptown with UNCC.

The planning process for each of these station areas will incorporate input from local residents, property owners and stakeholders to produce a framework for future growth that will guide zoning, land use and capital investment decisions. As with other area plans, the final product could recommend zoning changes that could have critical impacts on the value or utility of individual parcels with the plan boundaries, so affected property owners are strongly encouraged to get make sure their voice is heard during the process.

The planning process for the new station areas kicked off with a public input meeting on October 6. A pair of community workshops are scheduled for October 18 and November 1, at Sugar Creek Presbyterian Church, 101 W. Sugar Creek Rd in Charlotte. Both meetings start at 6 p.m., and will give participants the opportunity to help in the development of draft area plans for each of the following six transit station areas, which are outlined HERE.

  • Parkwood
  • 27 th Street
  • 36 th Street
  • Sugar Creek
  • Old Concord
  • Tom Hunter

Three other transit station plans were previously completed for the University City Blvd, JW Clay Blvd and McCullough stations, as part of the University City Area Plan, and a tenth plan for the UNCC station will be developed by the university.

If you plan on attending any of the upcoming public meetings, or if you’d just like to receive updates on the station area planning process, sign up HERE.