Home Builders Visit Raleigh To Educate Lawmakers On Legislative Priorities

NCHBA Photo 1

The Home Builders Association of Greater Charlotte (HBAGC) joined colleagues from across the state in Raleigh this week to advocate for issues impacting the industry. In particular, home builder members spoke with NC House members about supporting the Continuing Education for General Contractors legislation (SB 55), which will require eight hours of continuing education annually for license renewal.

Meeting with Gaston County Representatives Dana Bumgardner and John Torbett, builders discussed SB 355 — Land Use Regulatory Changes, which would providing better protections to landowners and their property rights.


Members also met with Mecklenburg Representatives Chaz Beasley and Christy Clark who were interested in the industry’s efforts to make housing more affordable, including SB 313 — Performance Guarantee to Streamline Affordable Housing. The bill would maintain that the duration of a performance guarantee is only for one year, unless the developer determines that the scope of work for the required improvements necessitates a longer duration and an objective standard is set for its release.

NAHB Photo 3

Finally, members had a very productive discussion with Senator Jeff Jackson of Mecklenburg County about how the industry and the state can work together to ensure housing affordability. In addition, there was discussion surrounding HB 675 — Building Code Regulatory Reform Act of 2019, which is the industry’s annual legislation that addresses a wide range of issues which builders have faced during development and construction phases.

Thanks to all the HBA members who took time out of their busy schedules to make the trip to Raleigh!

REBIC Secures Noise Ordinance Fixes for Construction Sites

Construction CraneCharlotte City Council last Monday night approved a series of controversial amendments to the Noise Ordinance, but REBIC and our partner associations successfully advocated for the removal of a highly problematic provision that impacted home builders, developers and general contractors.

Among its many provisions, the amendments originally proposed by staff  would have allowed the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) to designate specific construction sites as ‘chronic noise producers’ and require the creation of a formal plan to mitigate noise impacts on surrounding neighborhoods. This designation is already used (though very sparingly) to address issues that arise with other businesses, like bars and nightclubs.

If a business is labeled as a ‘chronic noise producer’ by CMPD, the owner will be required to work with the City to develop a Noise Mitigation Plan, which could result in tighter restrictions on its operations.

Working with NAIOP and the Carolinas Association of General Contractors (CAGC), REBIC was successful in eliminating language in the proposed revisions stating that “a business or construction site may be a chronic noise producer without having violated this article”.  We argued that being labeled as a chronic noise producer should be based on multiple violations to the ordinance (not complaints), compounded with a lack of initiative to alleviate the noise problems.

The revisions adopted last week provide for escalating fines as high as $1,000 per offense, and create 200′ noise buffers around health clinics, hospitals, schools and houses of worship, within which amplified sound would be prohibited. They also add specific definitions for construction machinery and a more specific process for taking decibel readings.

The revisions do NOT change the permitted operating hours for construction machinery, which will remain 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. daily.

REBIC appreciates the willingness of city staff and Council to address our concerns with the proposed revisions, and will continue to work to identify opportunities to improve the Noise Ordinance in the months ahead.

Huntersville Adopts Land Development Fee Schedule

As it prepares to take over development plan review from Mecklenburg County on July 1st, the Town of Huntersville has amended its fee schedule to include the current (FY 2018) LUESA fees for land development plan review, bond maintenance and other related services. The fees are substantially lower than those proposed by Mecklenburg County in FY 2019 and 2020, which will increase more than 200% over a two-year period.

Huntersville fees

The main services the Town will take over from LUESA include development plan review; zoning, development and erosion control inspections; and bond administration. Five new positions have been created to provide these services, and the Town expects to have them in place within the next two months. The positions include a Street Inspector, an Erosion Control Inspector, a Bond Administrator, a Stormwater Plan Review and a Zoning Inspector.

City of Charlotte Considering Revisions to Minimum Housing Standards for Landlords

Housing Code Changes

The City of Charlotte is beginning the process of revising its Minimum Housing Code Ordinance, with changes that could impact housing affordability by raising the cost of property management and code compliance for landlords.

A full list of the proposed changes is available here. They include:

  • Requiring roof drains, gutters and downspouts be maintained in good repair and free from obstructions and designed to discharge rainwater away from
    the structure.
  • Requiring that exhaust ducts for clothes dryers be equipped with a back-draft
  • New fines of $500 per day for failure to correct any dangerous violations within 48 hours.
  • Enhanced penalties for Environmental Court convictions that include probation or up to 30 days in jail.

A series of stakeholder meetings is scheduled over the next two weeks, and interested property managers can register at the link at the top of this post. REBIC is working with our members to evaluate the proposed changes and will weigh in at one or more of the upcoming stakeholder meetings.

Realtors® Visit Capitol Hill to Advocate for Homeowner Priorities


Realtors® meet with Congressman Richard Hudson on Capitol Hill

Realtors® from the Charlotte region joined their colleagues from across the country on Capitol Hill last week to advocate for issues impacting homeowners — from the much-needed re-authorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), to legislation amending the Fair Housing Act to include protection for the LGBTQ community. The meetings, part of NAR’s annual Midyear Conference, brought more than 12,000 Realtors® to Washington, and concluded with a live address by President Donald Trump.

From a breakfast meeting with U.S. Senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr to individual meetings with Congressman Richard Hudson and legislative staff for Congresswoman Alma Adams, Realtors® spent their day on the Hill talking about issues from tax policy and GSE reform to infrastructure investment and Opportunity Zones.


Hearing from Senators Tillis and Burr on Capitol Hill

Flood Insurance was a particularly relevant topic of discussion, with the $1.3 trillion program set to expire May 31st. The House last Tuesday passed an extension until Sept. 30th — the end of the fiscal year — and the Senate is expected to take up the bill before the Memorial Day recess.

Congress has passed 10 short-term reauthorizations of the NFIP since 2017, and NAR has continued to call for a comprehensive overhaul of the program, which provides coverage to more than 130,000 homeowners in North Carolina alone.

Realtors® also thanked members of Congress for their support for the Qualified Opportunity Zone Program, which provides federal tax incentives for redevelopment in 252 low-income neighborhoods across North Carolina. And they asked them support H.R. 5, The Equality Act, which would amend Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, public accommodations, and other areas of law.

Thanks to all the North Carolina Realtors® who took time out of their busy schedules last week to visit with our lawmakers in Washington!

Home Builder Legislation Advances in General Assembly

legislative_building_5With the legislative “crossover deadline” of May 9th rapidly approaching, a number of pro-housing bills continue to advance through the General Assembly, thanks to the hard work of the lobbying team at the North Carolina Home Builders Association (NCHBA). Here are some of the bills we’ll be watching in the weeks ahead: Continue reading

LUESA Agrees to Phase In Higher Land Development Fees

Following meetings with REBIC and the HBA of Greater Charlotte, Mecklenburg County LUESA agreed to phase in, over two years, a series of dramatic increases to its Land Development, Zoning and Floodplain Permitting Fees. The increases result from LUESA’s plan to end a longstanding practice of supporting Land Development Services with excess stormwater fee revenue.

The County Board of Commissioners adopted the new fees this week as part of their FY 2019/2020 budget, phasing them in as outlined below.

LUESA Fee Schedue - Revised

The fees apply to any projects in the Towns of Davidson, Matthews, Mint Hill, Pineville and Cornelius, along with any projects in the ETJ. The City of Charlotte handles its own land development permitting, and the Town of Huntersville is leaving LUESA and starting its own land development permitting operation this summer.

Both REBIC and the HBA voiced our strong opposition to the proposed fees, which represent year-to-year increases of nearly 400% in some cases. We appreciate LUESA’s willingness to propose a phased approach to the increases, and will encourage the Board of County Commissioners to adopt their recommendation.