Huntersville to Hold Public Hearing on Changes to Residential Design Standards

The Huntersville Board of Commissioners is preparing to hear public input on a proposal to amend its residential aesthetic requirements, but the draft ordinance doesn’t go far enough to comply with the intent of a new state law.

The public hearing set for next Monday night is on a proposal to eliminate the Town’s longstanding requirement for recessed or alley-loaded garages on all new homes. The change results from the recent passage of S.L. 2015-86 by the North Carolina General Assembly, prohibiting local governments from imposing design standards on single-family homes, duplexes and townhomes.

Currently, the Town requires all single-family homes built on lots wider than 60′ to recess the garage at least 10′ behind the front facade of the structure, and requires an alley-loaded garage on lots narrower than 60′ in width in most cases.

Unfortunately, the proposed amendment does not go far enough to bring Huntersville in compliance with the new state aesthetics law. While the draft language makes no mention of garage placement, would still require the construction of alleys to serve lots narrower than 60′, effectively dictating that those homes have rear-access garages.

S.L. 2015-86 specifically prohibits the application of any regulation dealing with residential ‘building design elements,’ including the ‘location or architectural styling of windows and doors, including garage doors’ (emphasis ours).

REBIC has met on multiple occasions with Huntersville’s planning staff, which has argued the alley requirement is needed to address street safety and driveway cut issues resulting from narrower lots. We do not believe the new language meets either the spirit or intent of the law, and will speak in opposition to the changes at next Monday’s hearing.

If you’re interested in attending or speaking at next Monday’s hearing, it will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Huntersville Town Hall, 101 Huntersville-Concord Rd.

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