National Association of Realtors® Weighs-In on Flood Insurance Bills

On Thursday, June 15, the House Financial Services Committee began marking up seven bills reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  These bills would reauthorize the NFIP for five years, as well as make changes to the program and how it’s administered, some which will affect the way that commercial properties purchase and utilize the program.  NAR sent a letter to the Committee ahead of the markup, which was joined by several commercial real estate trade groups, providing a list of priorities for commercial real estate to consider including in the NFIP reauthorization.

The House Financial Services Committee will continue its markup of the NFIP legislation on Wednesday, June 21.

(Source:  National Association of Realtors®)

General Assembly Begins to Address Local Impact Fee Authority

The North Carolina General Assembly is starting to take a close — and skeptical — look at the development Impact Fees charged by local governments across the state, and some big changes could be on the way in the months ahead.

Last week, the House State and Local Government I Committee heard two bills dealing with impact fees.  Representative Sarah Stevens (R-Surry) introduced two bills in March regarding impact fees which were authorized by the General Assembly more than 30 years ago.  The first, HB 406 Repeal Orange County Impact Fee, would strip Orange County of its ability to impose impact fees. Stevens noted that Orange County recently modified its impact fee structure causing the fee for a multi-family project to increase from $302,000 to $1,593,000. Impact fees for single family residences built in Orange County have been in excess of $10,000 per house.

The second bill, HB 436 Local Government/Regulatory Fees, would prohibit the future imposition of impact fees by cities and counties, and would repeal all existing authority for the twenty municipalities and three counties who were granted this authority pursuant to local acts passed primarily between 1985 and 1989. Continue reading

State House Passes Regulatory Reform Bill

The NC House of Representatives today gave final approval to a 44-page Regulatory Reform bill that contains several critical provisions for residential and commercial developers.

SB 131, ‘Regulatory Reform Act of 2016-2017’, was approved by the House on Thursday by a vote of 84-27, and now heads back to the Senate for a concurrence vote. Among the dozens of reforms it contains, two are of particular interest to developers:

Energy Efficiency Code Exemptions – Section 1.4 of the bill excludes from state Energy Efficiency Code requirements any buildings with the following use classifications:

  • Factory Group F
  • Storage Group S
  • Utility & Miscellaneous Group U

Furthermore, an amendment suggested by REBIC and introduced by Representative Bill Brawley ensures that the energy code exclusion ‘shall apply to the entire floor area of any structure’ included in the provision. This language was intended to prevent the office or showroom portion of a warehouse, industrial or manufacturing building from having to meet energy efficiency code requirements, when the majority of the structure does not.

Stream Mitigation Requirements – Section 3.13 of the bill amends stream mitigation requirements to allow developers to disturb up to 300′ of stream bed before mitigation is required, unless otherwise prohibited by federal law. Current law requires mitigation whenever 150′ or more is disturbed. This provision would bring North Carolina in line with stream mitigation requirements in neighboring states.

REBIC is continuing to review additional provisions in the Regulatory Reform bill, and will provide additional updates in the coming weeks on how this important piece of legislation affects your business.

Building Permit Reform Legislation Introduced in General Assembly

Legislation introduced last week in the North Carolina General Assembly would build on initiatives from recent years to improve and reform the state’s building code process.

HB 252, ‘Building Code Regulatory Reform’, was introduced by Representatives Mark Brody (R-Union), Dennis Riddell (R-Alamance), Larry Potts (R-Davidson), and Rodney Moore (D-Mecklenburg). It contains the following provisions:

  1. Clarifies that counties and municipalities may not continue to enforce any ordinance or policy requiring the inspections of homes more than those specifically set forth in the North Carolina Building Code. Jurisdictions were prohibited from adopting such ordinances or policies by a law enacted in 2013 at the behest of NCHBA.
  2. Authorizes an employee under direct supervision of a licensed architect or licensed engineer to perform field inspections of the completed installation of an engineered component of a project.
  3. Clarifies that no architect or engineer certification is required for components that are engineered by the manufacturer when those components comply with the North Carolina State Building Code.
  4. Requires all local inspection departments to create and implement an informal review process of inspectors. Disagreements on interpretations or inspection issues will be subject to this process. Furthermore, the bill directs inspection departments to report annually to the Joint Committee on Local Government on the implementation of this provision.
  5. Subjects any future or existing codes to the process established in HB 255 for review and approval by the Residential Code Committee or the Building Code Committee of the Building Code Council before consideration by the Council.
  6. Clarifies that inspection agencies shall not apply any local or state interpretation of the building code to projects that are begun under a valid building permit.
  7. Finally, excludes lots with septic tanks or other on-site wastewater systems from dual meter requirements, if the cutoff valve and backflow prevention device are placed within 12 inches of the water meter.

REBIC supports the bill, although we will work with the North Carolina Home Builders Association (NCHBA) to ensure that favorable code interpretations MAY still be applied to projects with a valid permit at the applicant’s discretion.

The legislation has been assigned to the House Regulatory Reform Committee, but has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.

 

 

NAHB Examines Future of EPA’s WOTUS Rule

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Courtesy NAHB

Now that President Trump has ordered an extensive review of the “waters of the United States (WOTUS)” definitions in the Clean Water Act, many home builders and developers have questions about how this executive order changes the stormwater and wetlands permitting processes they have been following all along – and what the next steps are. Continue reading

NAIOP, Realtors®, Voice Support for HB2 Repeal Legislation

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Durham commercial developer David Green speaks on behalf of NAIOP North Carolina at Tuesday’s press conference at the General Assembly

Two North Carolina industry trade groups this week voiced their support for legislation introduced in the General Assembly to repeal HB2, which has cost the state thousands of jobs, millions in local tax revenue, and significant amounts of economic development opportunities.

NAIOP North Carolina, representing commercial real estate developers, brokers and other industry professionals in Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham, and the Triad, joined the North Carolina Association of Realtors® (NCAR) to strongly urge members of the North Carolina General Assembly to embrace HB 186 as a bipartisan solution that repeals HB2 and allows our state to recover from the economic damage suffered over the past year.

During a press conference at the General Assembly this past Tuesday morning, representatives from NAIOP and NCAR joined business leaders and trade associations from across the state, including the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, to speak in support of HB 186, which would repeal HB2 and give local governments the authority to adopt nondiscrimination ordinances in their communities. These ordinances could not regulate access to multi-occupancy bathrooms, shower rooms or changing rooms, and could be repealed through local referendum if a petition threshold is met.

With Democrats and Republicans at an impasse over the bill’s referendum provision, HB 186 did not gain any traction this week, and remained stuck in House Rules.

You can read NAIOP’s statement of support HERE, and NCAR’s position HERE..

Charlotte NAIOP Members Advocate for Commercial Real Estate Issues on Capitol Hill

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NAIOP members meet with U.S. Senator Thom Tillis on Capitol Hill

Members of the Charlotte Chapter of NAIOP recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with members of Congress about issues critical to North Carolina’s commercial real estate industry. The Capitol Hill visits were part of NAIOP’s annual Chapter Leadership and Legislative Retreat, and gave Charlotte developers a chance to advocate on a range of topics, including:

 

  • Preventing the taxation of Carried Interest compensation at ordinary income rates;
  • Protecting tax-deferred 1031 Like-Kind exchanges in any effort to reform the federal Tax Code;
  • Advocating for increased federal investment in our national infrastructure, including roads, ports and bridges; and,
  • Ensuring that capital markets and financial institutions are able to address the current and future credit needs of the commercial real estate industry.
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Charlotte commercial developers meeting with Congressman Patrick McHenry, The House Chief Deputy Whip, in his office in the United State Capitol.

During the course of the day, NAIOP members met with Senators Thom Tillis, and congressmen Robert Pittenger, Richard Hudson and Patrick McHenry.

Thanks to Charlotte NAIOP members Brendan Pierce (Keith Corporation), Jim Gamble (Bohler Engineering), Jason Moore (Rodgers Builders), Cheryl Steele (Horack, Talley) Chris Thomas (Childress-Klein), and  Scott Harris (Choate Construction) for taking time out of their busy schedules to make the trip to Washington!