Davidson Approves Zoning Text Amendment, Falls Short of Conforming With New Residential Aesthetics Law

Davidson LogoOn Tuesday, January 12th, the Davidson Board of Commissioners passed a Planning Ordinance amendment intended to bring the Town into compliance with Session Law 2015-86, passed by the North Carolina General Assembly to clarify that local governments in North Carolina do not possess the authority to regulate building design elements for single-family homes, townhomes, and duplexes.

The proposed changes to Davidson’s ordinance are positive, but the language does not eliminate the garage setback requirement for front facing garages as required by the new aesthetics law.

Specifically, Section 4.5.2.F.2 of Davidson’s Planning Ordinance says:

“In all planning areas, except as stated below, the front setback of a street-facing, attached garage or carport shall be recessed a minimum of 10 feet behind the front façade of the house and shall be a minimum of 20 feet behind the front property line…” 

This provision clearly conflicts with the SL 2015-86, which defines “prohibited building design elements” as:

“exterior building color; type or style of exterior cladding material; style or materials of roof structures or porches; exterior nonstructural architectural ornamentation; location or architectural styling of windows and doors, including garage doors; the number and types of rooms; and interior layout of rooms.”

REBIC believes any attempt to mandate the location or orientation of a garage door is specifically prohibited under the residential aesthetics law.  We asked that a change be made to the ordinance to eliminate the 10′ setback required for all front-facing garages on single-family homes, townhomes, and duplexes, but the Commission declined to do so.

We will continue to have discussions with the Town Board and staff in hopes of having this issue resolved.  In the meantime, we will also work with the North Carolina Home Builders Association (NCHBA) on state legislation to further clarify the specific intent of the law when the General Assembly reconvenes in late April.

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