Senate Passes Critical Building Permit Reform Legislation

The North Carolina Senate last week unanimously passed a critical piece of legislation to improve the local building code & inspection process statewide. HB 255, ‘Building Code Regulatory Reform,’ includes a number of important provisions that will benefit home builders and general contractors in Mecklenburg County and across the state, such as:

  • Creates a 7-member residential code committee within our 17-member state building code council (BCC), which would have to approve any proposed change in the One- and Two-Family Code before it could be further considered by the full council.
  • Prohibits “partial inspections” by requiring a code official to complete all parts of a builder-requested inspection, instead of the practice in some jurisdictions where inspectors end their inspection when a single item “fails.” This should substantially reduce “re-inspections” and be more efficient for the builder and the inspector.
  • Clarifies that inspection fees must be spent only for activities of the inspections department and not for other purposes.
  • Clarifies code official misconduct by providing specific examples of actions subject to discipline by the Code Officials Qualification Board (e.g., enforcement of a code requirement more stringent than or otherwise exceeds Code requirements; the habitual failure to provide requested inspections in a timely manner).
  • Tasks the BCC with studying procedures and policies for speeding approval of alternative materials, designs or methods.
  • Requires that all appeal decisions, interpretations and variations of the Code issued by the BCC and all commentaries and written interpretations made by the DOI staff be posted on the DOI/ Council’s website within ten (10) business days.
  • Provides that components or elements of in the construction of a building prepared under seal by an architect or engineer can be accepted without the need for further inspection by the county or city if the design professional performs a field inspection and certifies that the component or element meets the Code.
  • Clarifies that while an inspector may make as many inspections as necessary to be satisfied that the work is being performed in accordance with the applicable requirements, only those inspections specifically set forth in the NC Building Code may be required.
  • Raises the financial threshold from $5,000 to $15,000 triggering when a building permit is required while retaining the current exceptions to the monetary limit (e.g., addition, repair, replacement of load bearing structures; the addition replacement, or change in design of plumbing, HVAC, electrical wiring, etc.).

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Mooresville Hosts Community Open House Tuesday Night on Comprehensive Housing Strategy

Mooresville Housing Strategy Banner

As it launches a multi-year effort to develop a Comprehensive Housing Strategy, the Town of Mooresville will host a Community Open House this Tuesday, June 30, from 5 – 7 p.m. at the Charles Mack Citizen Center, 215 N. Main Street in downtown Mooresville. Realtors®, home builders, and anyone else interested in the Town’s future growth are invited to stop in anytime during the event to share their thoughts on the types of housing that will be needed in the decades ahead. Continue reading

In Memorium: H. Allen Tate, Jr.

Allen Tate color*150Allen Tate, Jr. rose from a modest upbringing in rural Gaffney, South Carolina, to lead the largest real estate firm in North Carolina, and become one of the state’s most important civic voices. On Friday, hundreds of friends, family and business associates gathered in the packed sanctuary of Myers Park Baptist Church to celebrate Allen’s life, five days after he passed away at the age of 84.

Tony Zeiss, president of Central Piedmont Community College and a longtime friend of Mr. Tate, spoke of the real estate entrepreneur’s dedication to community service and mentoring others coming into the business. “I suspect every hand in this church would go up if I asked who Allen has helped,” Zeiss said during his eulogy.

Since launching his real estate career from an office on South Tryon St. in 1957, Allen Tate was a pillar of Charlotte’s business and civic community. He chaired the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission from 1970 through 1979, served on the Central Piedmont Community College Foundation from 1988 to 1989, and held a variety of leadership positions with the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, including as its chairman in 1999. He received the state’s Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 2008, and was inducted into the North Carolina Business Hall of Fame in 2010.

Mr. Tate also became a recognized leader among his industry peers. In the 1970s, he partnered with developer John Crosland, Jr., in establishing REBIC, to give the Charlotte real estate industry a voice in local politics and regulatory affairs, and to advocate for the cause of affordable housing.

Allen Tate and Governor Pat McCrory at the dedication of the last segment of I-485 in his honor this past March.

Allen Tate and Governor Pat McCrory at the dedication of the last segment of I-485 in his honor this past March.

In addition to his countless contributions to the business community, Mr. Tate was a longtime proponent of transportation issues, serving as chair of the Charlotte Chamber’s Regional Roads Committee, the Toll Roads Solutions Committee and the most recent Committee of 21. In 2008, he led the charge for I-485 to be completed ahead of schedule — and that tenacious leadership was recognized when the final section of the interstate was named in his honor earlier this year.

Today, The Allen Tate Company is the largest in the Carolinas based on volume and transactions, and the seventh-largest in the U.S., with more than 1,400 professionals in 45 offices from Greenville, S.C., to Raleigh.

Allen Tate, Jr., is survived by his wife, Bessie; four children, Allen III and wife Sha; Elizabeth (Libby) Gordon and husband Paisley; Lauren Campbell and husband Malcolm; and Frank Burgess and wife Heather; and nine grandchildren. Memorial gifts to help needy Charlotte families may be sent to the Tate Family Endowment, care of Myers Park Baptist Church, 1900 Queens Rd., Charlotte, NC, 28207.

Senate Passes Budget; Sets Stage for Lengthy Negotiations with House

The North Carolina Senate yesterday approved HB 97, ‘The 2015 Appropriations Act’, which is markedly different from the version the House passed a few weeks ago. The 508-page Senate budget is a more austere spending plan, and includes numerous provisions that alter elements of tax law and other policy areas. Continue reading

Governor McCrory Signs Residential Aesthetics Bill Into Law!

GovPatMcCrory-HQGovernor Pat McCrory this morning signed SB 25 (“Zoning/Design & Aesthetic Controls”) into law, restricting the ability of local governments to place costly architectural and aesthetic design requirements on residential construction. With the Governor’s signature, the act became effective immediately, and applies “to ordinances adopted before, on, and after the effective date,” which is today.

Session Law 2015-86, as the bill is now known, 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). Continue reading

Senate Approves Legislation Exempting Inventory Homes from Improved Tax Valuation

The North Carolina Senate this week passed a bill to help residential builders by reducing the amount of tax they would owe on unsold inventory homes.

HB 168, “Exempt Builder Inventory”, would exempt from property tax any increase in value of a single-family home or duplex held for sale by a builder, to the extent the increase is attributable to subdivision or other improvement. Model homes and homes intended for use as rental properties would NOT be exempt. Builders would have to apply annually for the exemption, and could receive it for no more than three years on each inventory home. Continue reading

CFPB Proposes 60-Day Delay of TRID Rule on Closing Documents

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) last week announced it is proposing a 60-day delay in the effective date of the TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule set to take effect on August 1 of this year.

The delay, which has been sought by the National Association of REALTORS® and other consumer groups, would set the new implementation date for TRID as October 3rd, 2015. The delay will not be finalized until after a public comment period closes on July 7th, and the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) plans to submit comments in support of the proposal.

In his statement announcing the proposed delay, CFPB Director Richard Cordray said a newly discovered “administrative error” would have delayed the law by at least 2 weeks under federal law, and that the new implantation date would “better accommodate the interests of the many consumers and providers whose families will be busy with the transition to the new school year at that time.”

In May, Realtors® from across the nation met in Washington, D.C., and asked their members of Congress to sign a letter asking CFPB for a grace period for the rule, which will replace the HUD-1 settlement statement, Good Faith Estimate forms, and Truth in Lending Act disclosure with a new Closing Disclosure and a new, single Loan Estimate. There will be changes to the closing process as well, including a new rule preventing any changes to the loan terms or settlement amount within 3 days of the closing date.