As Sine Die Approaches, Some Reg Reform Bills Still Stuck in Committee

gavel1Since the General Assembly gaveled in its 2013 session back in January, REBIC has been working in partnership with the North Carolina Association of REALTORS (NCAR), the North Carolina Home Builders Associatoon (NCHBA) and NAIOP North Carolina to ensure the interests of the Charlotte real estate industry are advanced and protected in Raleigh.

When legislators began considering ways to overhaul North Carolina’s tax code, our industry successfully fought proposals to tax real estate transactions and levy an annual LLC Franchise Fee as high as one percent of a firm’s total assets. We’ve also been advocating for the passage of numerous regulatory reform bills, some of which have already passed both chambers of the General Assembly and are headed for the Governor’s desk — or already law. These include:

  • HB 480 (Environmental Permitting Reform): Requires NC DENR to create a fast-track process for approving storm water permits, with minimum design criteria that can be certified by a private engineer without the need for technical review. Signed into law.
  • 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) by giving the board latitude to hear any appeal of a development or land use administrative decision, and removing any need for an appellant to prove loss of any ‘reasonable use’ of the property. Signed into law.

But other important bills have yet to make it through the legislative process, and REBIC and our partner organizations are continuing to push for their passage as the General Assembly enters its final weeks. They include:

  • HB 150 (Zoning Design/Aesthetic Controls): Would prohibit local governments from regulating the appearance and architectural design of single-family homes and townhomes. Passed House; pulled from Senate calendar ahead of a floor vote in April, now sitting in Senate Rules.
  • SB 612 (Regulatory Reform Act of 2013): Would prohibit cities and counties from enacting ordinances that are more stringent that existing state or federal regulations, allow third-parties to a request a review of existing state rules through the NC Rules Review Commission, and remove gravel from the definition of “Built-Upon Area.” Passed Senate, awaiting a hearing in House Regulatory Reform.

  • SB 638 (NC Farm Act of 2013): Includes language that would effectively eliminate permit requirements for isolated wetlands. Reported favorably from House Agriculture; will be heard in House Judiciary B on June 26.
  • HB 201 (Reinstate 2009 Energy Conservation Code): Would repeal the 2012 North Carolina Energy Conservation Code for commercial buildings, and reinstate the 2009 Energy Code. Passed House, Reported favorably from Senate Commerce and on Senate calendar for June 26
  • HB 214 (Amend Real Estate License Law/Records): Would ensure the privacy of information submitted for a real estate license application or exam, unless submitted as evidence in a NCREC hearing. Passed House, awaiting a hearing in Senate Commerce.

REBIC and our partner organizations will continue to work in the coming days to ensure all of these critical bills come to the floor of their respective chamber for a vote before the final gavel falls on the 2013 session. Be on the lookout for a Call to Action as we approach session adjournment, as we may need your help in communicating to legislators the importance that regulatory reform has to the business climate in North Carolina!

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