Crossover Week Sets the Stage for a Busy Finish in Raleigh

nc-state-legislature-building-legislative-branchThe end of Crossover Week in Raleigh means the 2013 session of the North Carolina General Assembly is at last approaching the home stretch, even as Sine Die appears to be at least another month away. So as our legislators gear up for what’s certain to be a hectic race to the finish line, let’s review the status of some bills that could impact the real estate industry, and where they go from here.

  • HB 150 (Zoning/Design & Aesthetic Controls): Would prohibit local governments from enacting design requirements on single-family homes, townhomes and duplexes. Where is it now? After passing the House overwhelmingly in March, the bill was favorably reported out of Senate Commerce in April. It now sits in Senate Rules, after being pulled from the floor calendar just hours before a scheduled vote.
  • HB 773 (Local Gvmts/Buildings/Structures/Inspections): Would tighten restrictions on local Rental Registration programs, including mandatory universal registration of rental properties, posting requirements and misdemeanor penalties. It would effectively rollback most of Charlotte’s expansive Rental Registration program. Where is it now? Passed the House on May 14th, now awaiting a hearing in Senate Commerce.
  • HB 802 (Landlord/Tenant/Shorten Eviction Time): Would shorten, by as much as two weeks, the eviction process for a non-paying tenant. Where is it now? Passed the House on May 14th, now awaiting a hearing in Senate Judiciary.
  • HB 120 (Building Codes/Local Consistency): Would extend the existing building code revision cycle for residential construction from 3 to 6 years, and prevent local building code departments from requiring any more than the 8 inspections currently authorized under the state’s Administrative Code. Where is it now? Passed the House overwhelmingly in March, now awaiting a hearing in Senate Commerce.
  • HB 201 (Reinstate 2009 Energy Conservation Codes): Would repeal the 2012 North Carolina Energy Conservation Code for commercial buildings, and reinstate the 2009 Energy Code. An amendment approved in committee would preserve the 2012 Residential Energy Conservation Code, as most home builders had already amended their construction plans to comply. Where is it now? Passed the House on May 14th, now awaiting a hearing in Senate Commerce.
  • HB 480 (Environmental Permitting Reform): Would creating minimum design criteria and fast-track permitting for stormwater permits.  Where is it now? Passed the House in March, now awaiting a hearing in Senate Commerce.
  • HB 276 (Zoning/Board of Adjustment Changes)Would give property owners and land developers better standing when they bring a case before their local Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA). Where is it now? Passed House in April, now awaiting a hearing in Senate Commerce.
  • HB 200 (Require Certain General Reappraisals): Would require Mecklenburg County to conduct a full revaluation of properties in its tax digest and issue refunds to property owners when necessary. Where is it now? Passed House on May 2, now awaiting a hearing in Senate Finance.
  • HB 74 (Periodic Review & Expiration of Rules): Would require the sunset and evaluation of most state regulations every 10 years. Where is it now? Passed the House on May 14th, now awaiting a hearing in Senate Rules. A similar Senate bill (SB 32), failed to make the May 16 crossover deadline.
  • SB 612 (Regulatory Reform Act of 2013): Among other things, would prohibit cities and counties from enacting ordinances that are more stringent that existing state or federal regulations. Where is it now? Passed the Senate on May 2nd, now awaiting a hearing in House Reg Reform.
  • SB 638 (NC Farm Act of 2013): Would effectively eliminate permit requirements for isolated wetlands. Where is it now? Passed the Senate on May 9th, now awaiting a hearing in House Agriculture.

And don’t forget: there are at least three separate Tax Reform Plans floating through the General Assembly — some even have actual legislation attached. Because these plans deal directly with fiscal and budget issues, they were not required to meet the Crossover deadline, and may not even be voted on in committee until after Memorial Day. So while thousands of North Carolina families head out on vacation in June, it’s entirely possible that our state legislators could spend the month in the same place they’ve been since late January: inside that sprawling white building on Jones Street in Raleigh.

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