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:

  • SB 355 (Land-Use Regulatory Changes) — Cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. This was the third time the bill was discussed in this committee and, after some debate, the bill was approved and sent to the final committee stop, the Senate Rules Committee, which passed it yesterday. 

    With NCHBA’s approval, the bill was amended to include the provisions of SB 422 (Planning/Development Changes) which combine and modernize existing city and county planning and zoning chapters. This bill has been introduced in the past several sessions at the behest of the NC Bar Association. Once the bill “crosses over” to the House, it is anticipated that a stakeholder group will be convened among interested parties both to explore language alternatives and to ensure internal consistency between the two parts of this bill. 

    SB 355 is calendared for a full Senate vote on Monday where passage is expected. NCHBA would like to thank the bill’s primary sponsors Senators Dan Bishop (R-Mecklenburg), Paul Newton (R-Cabarrus) and Sam Searcy (D-Wake) for their hard work and perseverance in getting us to this point.The bill helps level the playing field between landowners and local governments by, among other things:

     

    • Integrating permit choice and vesting laws to ensure that the rules are not changed in the middle of a development project.
    • Protecting landowners against 3rdparty rezoning efforts.
    • Allowing certain claims to bypass the Board of Adjustment and proceed to Superior Court.
    • Placing limits on conditional zoning abuse, while preserving flexibility for developers.
  • HB 675 (Building Code Regulatory Reform) — Passed the House on Monday night. The bill was sponsored by Representatives Mark Brody (R-Union), Dennis Riddell (R-Alamance), Jon Hardister (R-Guilford), and Billy Richardson (D-Cumberland). This is the 5th in a series of similarly titled bills where we have worked with Rep. Brody and to ease the regulatory burden and improve efficiency in the process. Among the important provisions in this year’s bill are: prohibiting developers from having to bury power lines outside of a subdivision, eliminating minimum square footage requirements for homes and expediting the local plan review process.The bill passed the House chamber overwhelmingly by a margin of 102-11. The bill will now head to the Senate. Click here for a comprehensive summary of this legislation.

 

  • HB 492 (Simplify Builder Inventory Exclusion), whose primary sponsors are Representatives Mark Brody (R-Union), Julia Howard (R-Davie) and Brian Turner (D-Buncombe) would allow a builder to file for the property tax exclusion once, instead of having to file annually in the county tax office. This bill would make the process less burdensome. Once the exemption is initially filed, it is good for up to three years on residential projects and five years on commercial projects (or until the property is sold). This will reduce the administrative burden on both the builder and the county tax department. This bill will now head to the Senate, where several Senators have already expressed their support for this legislation.

 

  • SB 316 (Affordable Housing), directs cities with a population over 90,000 to report the amount of money that they are spending on subsidies as well as the activities and steps they are taking to produce affordable homes. The report would include regulatory burdens builders are currently facing and creative ways zoning can be used to produce cost-effective housing.

 

  • HB 873 (System Development Fee/Clarify Time of Charge) passed the House on Thursday evening. The bill would clarify the time of collection of the fee after the local government has followed the proper steps to calculate their development fee. For new development, the time of collection will be when the plat is recorded. Projects in jurisdictions where water and sewer lines were installed prior to October 1, 2017 and did not previously have authorization to enact a capacity fee are exempt from the fee. This bill will now head to the Senate.

Source: North Carolina Home Builders Association

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