CALL TO ACTION! Tell Your Senator to Vote YES on HB 150!

legbuilding

Thanks to your help, a bill that would limit the ability of local governments to require architectural and design controls on single-family homes, duplexes and townhomes, PASSED the North Carolina House by a vote of 98-18 last week, with the support of Mecklenburg County’s entire delegation! It now heads to the State Senate, where it could be heard in the Rules Committee as early as the second week of April.

Now, we need you to pitch in again to let our state Senators know how important this bill is for our industry and for housing affordability in North Carolina!

 Here’s what you can do:

  1. CLICK HERE to generate an e-mail to all Charlotte-area Senators.
  2. In the subject line, add, “Please vote YES for HB 150!”
  3. Copy and paste the letter below into the body of the e-mail. Feel free to include any specific examples you can provide about the cost that local aesthetic design regulations have had on your business and your customers:
  4. Add your signature and hit SEND!

Dear Senator:

HB 150 “Zoning/Design & Aesthetic Controls” will be before you in the coming days after being voted out of the State House by a margin of 98-18. On behalf of the North Carolina Home Builders Association and the North Carolina Association of REALTORS®, I urge you to vote ‘YES’ for this bill.

Local governments are currently imposing residential design mandates through both by-right requirements and zoning conditions that add to the cost of housing and infringe upon consumer choice. These mandates include minimum house size, incorporation of certain color schemes, requirements on exterior cladding material, garage size and placement, minimum window spacing, and façade design, among others.

Unlike elements of the building code, which regulate consumer health and safety, these aesthetic design requirements are non-structural in nature and serve no legitimate public purpose.  Local governments across North Carolina currently apply design requirements through zoning to all types of residential development, even though they DO NOT HAVE STATUTORY AUTHORITY to do so.

HB 150 clarifies that zoning ordinance regulations on “building design elements” may not be applied to residential structures governed by the NC Residential Code (one and two family dwellings and townhomes). This legislation does not prohibit design requirements pertaining to local historic districts or areas listed on the National Register.  It does not interfere with neighborhood covenants or private contracts. And it DOES NOT prevent property owners from freely offering architectural conditions as part of a rezoning or development approval. It will, however, ensure that housing in North Carolina remains affordable, and preserve the rights of builders and consumers to decide what their home should look like.

Please vote YES for HB 150, and help protect housing affordability and consumer choice in North Carolina!

Sincerely,

HB 150, “Zoning/Design & Aesthetic Controls” would restrict the ability of local governments to place costly architectural and aesthetic design requirements on residential construction. Sponsored by Representative Bill Brawley (R-Matthews), it closely mirrors SB 731, which was introduced in 2011 by Senator Dan Clodfelter (D-Charlotte) to rein in cities and towns that have been exceeding their statutory authority by regulating the architectural design of new homes. Clodfelter, along with freshman Senator Jeff Tarte (R-Cornelius) — a former town former mayor — is a primary sponsor of SB 139, a companion bill filed in the Senate.

Should either of these bills become law, local towns like Davidson, Mint Hill and Huntersville would have to make substantial changes to their zoning codes, which currently regulate architectural elements such as garage placement and exterior materials. Passage would also permanently sideline an effort underway by the City of Charlotte to adopt residential design standards limiting the length of blank walls and mandating garage setbacks from the front facade.

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