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 Raises Objection to Proposed Noise Ordinance Amendments

Construction CraneAt a recent meeting with City staff and representatives from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD), representatives from REBIC, NAIOP Charlotte and AGC Carolinas raised objections to the Noise Ordinance revisions being proposed by the City of Charlotte.

Among other things, the amendments would allow 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.

Our three main concerns with the ordinance are:

  • The ambiguity of proposed language that could lead to the citation of construction activity occurring during permitted hours within 200 feet of schools, hospitals and religious buildings.
  • Proposed language stating “A business or construction site may be a chronic noise producer without having violated this article”.  REBIC believes 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.
  • Include additional activity exemptions for construction work that must happen at night, such as concrete pours and certain material deliveries.

REBIC will continue to meet with City staff and elected officials over the next couple of weeks to discuss our concerns. The amendments will be discussed at a June 3rd Council workshop, and a vote is scheduled for June 24th.

The proposed Noise Ordinance changes are available here.

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
    damper.
  • 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

Hudson

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.

Senators

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 Proposes Phasing In Higher Land Development Fees

Following meetings with REBIC and the HBA of Greater Charlotte, Mecklenburg County LUESA has proposed 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.

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.

The fees are part of the FY 2020 budget, which is scheduled for adoption on June 4th. A public hearing on the budget will be held Thursday, May 9th at 6 p.m.