Senate Approves Legislation Restricting Local Residential Design Controls

By a vote of 43 – 7, the North Carolina Senate this week passed a bill that would restrict the ability of local governments to place costly architectural and aesthetic design requirements on residential construction.

All five Mecklenburg County senators, Joel Ford, Jeff Jackson, Bob Rucho, Jeff Tarte and Joyce Waddell, voted ‘YES’ on SB 25 ‘Zoning/Design & Aesthetic Controls’, when it was heard on Monday night. Tarte and Ford were sponsors of the legislation, as were Union County Senator Tommy Tucker and Iredell County Senator Andrew Brock were also sponsors.

The bill now heads to the House, which passed an identical piece of legislation during the 2013 session by vote of 98 – 18. If it passes and is signed by the Governor, it would rein in cities and towns that have been exceeding their statutory authority by regulating the architectural design of new single-family homes, townhomes and duplexes.

SB 25 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 home builders or developers from freely volunteering to include 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.The bill would exempt structures built in designated historic districts, and those where design requirements are related to building safety or the National Flood Insurance Program.

REBIC supports the legislation, and will be working with the North Carolina Home Builders Association (NCHBA) to ensure its passage by the House in the coming weeks.

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