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

Town of Cornelius to Consider New Buffering Requirements

A public hearing will be held on December 5th during the regularly scheduled meeting of the Cornelius Board of Commissioners.  Cornelius Planning Director, Wayne Herron, will offer a proposal endorsed by the Town’s Land Development Code Advisory Board requiring more stringent buffering standards for new residential developments that abut existing residential uses.

The ordinance change would require a 50 foot buffer when a berm and vegetation is used as a screen and a 30 foot buffer when a wall is utilized.  Town staff is currently in the process of drafting language to be incorporated in the proposal that would provide additional flexibility.  We will provide updates in future blog posts as more information becomes available.

 

Charlotte to Hold Community Workshops on UDO Update

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The City of Charlotte is updating its land use policies and development ordinances.  This comprehensive effort — Charlotte Place Types & Unified Development Ordinance — will shape the future growth of our city.

Come lend your voice and learn more about these efforts by joining one of the upcoming workshop discussions.  Each workshop is the same; simply choose the one that is most convenient for you.

  • South Workshop — Tuesday, November 29, 6-8 p.m. Queens University Sports Complex, 2229 Tyvola Road, Charlotte, NC 28210
  • Central Workshop — Friday, December 2, noon-1 p.m. Main Library, 310 North Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28202
  • East Workshop — Thursday, December 8, 6-8 p.m. Charlotte Museum of History, 3500 Shamrock Drive, Charlotte, NC 28215
  • West Workshop — Tuesday, December 13, 6-8 p.m. Goodwill Opportunity Campus, 5301 Wilkinson Boulevard, Charlotte, NC 28208
  • North Workshop — Thursday, December 15, 6-8 p.m. The Oasis Shrine Auditorium, 604 Doug Mayes Place, Charlotte, NC 28262

Online meeting registration is encouraged.  To do so, please click this link.

For more information, please visit CharlotteUDO.org or contact Scott Adams, AICP, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Department, at scott.adams@charlottenc.gov.

(Source:  Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Department)

 

UNC Charlotte Study Outlines Strategies to Expand Affordable Housing Options

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A report released this week by the Urban Institute at UNC Charlotte offers 12 strategies for expanding the supply of affordable housing in the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Prepared for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Advisory Board, the 66-page report outlines policies that ‘can be used to finance and facilitate the development of quality affordable housing, with a focus on long-term affordability.’

You can download the full report HERE.

Continue reading

Rock Hill City Council Hears Proposal on CIP, Improvements to be Funded By Increased Fees

Yesterday the Rock Hill City Council heard a proposal from Deputy City Manager, Jimmy Bagley, that would result in $340,000,000 of infrastructure improvements over the next ten years.  The enhancements would be funded by bonds issued in alternating years over the next decade and would be paid back through increased user fees and impact fees.

Under the plan, combined water and wastewater impact fees would nearly triple over the next two years while most users would see annual fee increases over the next eight years.  Separate from the CIP Proposal, but as part of the overall funding discussion, it was mentioned that the fire impact fee would go up nearly 50% over the next two fiscal years for single-family residential developments.  Commercial and industrial developments would see their fees increase roughly 300% during the same time frame.

Staff justified the impact fee and rate fee increases by referencing Rock Hill’s rapid growth over the last decade.  This growth has apparently brought the existing water plant to its maximum output level which could result in the Council considering alternate measures, such as a moratorium, if new funding is not approved.  Council will continue to meet over the next couple of weeks to finalize a plan to address current and future growth.

N.C. Supreme Court Ruling Limits Ability of Local Governments to Assess Impact Fees

by Ted Hennessey, Attorney-at-Law, Robinson Bradshaw

Ted Hennessey

On Aug. 19, the North Carolina Supreme Court reversed a Court of Appeals decision and invalidated “impact fees” imposed by North Carolina municipalities. Robinson Bradshaw represented the North Carolina Home Builders Association as an amicus curiae supporting the plaintiff builders and developers before the Supreme Court.

You can read the full Supreme Court decision here.

In Quality Built Homes, Inc. et al. vs. Town of Carthage, the court rejected the town’s argument that the North Carolina Public Enterprise statutes gave it broad authority to impose fees and charges to operate, maintain and expand water and sewer infrastructure. The court implied that while the town may be able to set water and sewer rates, charged to all system users, to generate revenue for system expansion, it could not shift expansion costs to builders and developers via impact fees to be paid in exchange for building permits.

Continue reading