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.

Home Builders Notch Legislative Win with Passage of Changes to State Sales Tax Law

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NCHBA lobbyists Steven Webb, Mike Carpenter and Tim Minton on the floor of the State Senate as the General Assembly’s Short Session draws to a close.                      (Photo Credit – NCHBA)

No single piece of legislation passed by the North Carolina General Assembly this year will have a bigger impact on home builders and remodelers than HB 1030 (2016 Appropriations Act).  The finance portion of this legislation contains a number of important tax law changes that modify the taxation of repair, maintenance and installation (RMI) services, which became effective on March 1 of this year.

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Real Estate Industry Bills on the Move in the General Assembly

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Source: North Carolina Home Builders Association (NCHBA):

Another busy legislative week in Raleigh was capped off with the House officially voting not to concur with the Senate’s budget plan.  On Wednesday, the full House voted unanimously to reject the $22.2 billion plan which will send the measure to a conference committee to work out the differences in the two chambers’ versions. There seems to be a sense of cautious optimism that a deal can be struck in a reasonable amount of time.

The Senate budget plan includes largely favorable modifications to the current state law on sales and use tax provisions applicable to repair, maintenance and installation. NCHBA has worked closely with legislators and staff over the past few months to help craft these changes. We will continue to work with the House leadership to address these matters now that they are a part of the overall budget conference committee’s agenda. Continue reading

Charlotte-Area Home Builders Promote Housing Industry Priorities in Raleigh

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Home Builders from Mecklenburg and Cabarrus counties with Representative Charles Jeter earlier this week in Raleigh.

Home builders from Mecklenburg and Cabarrus counties joined their colleagues from around the state this week in Raleigh, to promote the priorities of the building industry to legislators at the General Assembly.

The meetings were part of the North Carolina Home Builders Association (NCHBA)’s annual Legislative Conference, which featured a unexpected visit by Governor Pat McCory, who dropped by Tuesday night’s legislative reception at the North Carolina Museum of History.

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Governor Pat McCrory speaks to home builders this week in Raleigh

On Wednesday, builders made their way through the halls of the Legislative Building, to talk with our senators and state representatives about the importance of regulatory reform, tax reform, and property rights. Some of the legislators we met with included Representatives John Bradford, Becky Carney, Charles Jeter, and Senators Jeff Jackson, Bob Rucho and Jeff Tarte. 

Some of NCHBA’s legislative priorities include:

  • Expanding statutory vesting protections for landowners;
  • Allowing landowners to more effectively bring legal challenges against local governments that are exceeding their statutory authority;
  • Tightening the language in last year’s Residential Aesthetics law, to ensure compliance by all local governments;
  • Modifying the new sales and use tax on repair, maintenance and installation (RMI) services to eliminate confusion over when the tax is paid; and,
  • Supporting a provision in the House budget to make the North Carolina Building Code available online.

REBIC thanks those builders who took the time away from their businesses to travel to Raleigh for these important meetings!

NAIOP Members Talk Economic Development Issues at General Assembly

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Members of NAIOP Charlotte meet with House Speaker Tim Moore in Raleigh

Members of the Charlotte chapter of NAIOP traveled to Raleigh this week for the commercial development association’s annual Day at the Capitol, and participated in a highly successful day of advocacy that included meetings with key members of the General Assembly.

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Meeting with Representative Bill Brawley

In meetings with Senate President Pro-Tem Phil Berger, House Speaker Tim Moore, and numerous legislators from Mecklenburg County and across the state, NAIOP members talked about the importance of regulatory reform and economic development initiatives that would help ensure North Carolina continues to attract new jobs.

NAIOP’s 2016 Day at the Capitol was a tremendous success, and gave members the unique opportunity to participate in direct conversations with North Carolina leaders on efforts to improve our state’s business climate.

Real Estate Industry Wins Big in Longest General Assembly Session in Ten Years

The curtain finally came down this week on a 10-month General Assembly session that delivered the real estate industry some of its biggest legislative wins in decades.

When legislators adjourned shortly after 4 a.m. Wednesday morning, they concluded an historic session that saw the passage of key bills to spur economic development, cut regulation, and protect consumer choice. Here’s a summary of the biggest legislative wins for home builders, Realtors®, commercial and multifamily developers, and brokers: Continue reading