Bill Increasing Building Permit Threshold from $15k to $20k Passes House Rules Committee

Legislators wrapped up their business early last week in advance of severe weather that was forecast for Thursday. Nonetheless, the legislative calendar was packed full of committee meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday. Here is an update on some of the most important bills that we are tracking and additional bills that were introduced.

Representative Bobby Hanig’s (R-Currituck) House Bill 110 Increase Building Permit Building Threshold legislation that would raise the building permit exemption from $15,000 to $20,000 passed the House Rules Committee last week. The bill was calendared for Wednesday afternoon and passed the House 119-0. The bill now heads to the Senate.

A bill that would grant local governments the authority to exempt affordable housing projects from paying the system development fee was filed in the Senate on Thursday. SB 319 Local Government Units/System Development Fees was filed by Senators Paul Lowe (D-Forsyth) and Wiley Nickel (D-Wake). The bill would allow a local government panel to determine if the project qualifies for the exemption.

HB 220 Assuring Choice of Energy Service passed the House Public Utilities Committee on Wednesday. The bill would limit cities or counties from prohibiting particular types of energy servicing homes or businesses. Local governments in some places in the country have limited energy choice as an environmental conservation tool, most notably in California and Maryland. The passage of the bill was fairly partisan, as environmentalists contend that the use of gas is adding to carbon emissions.

Senator Natasha Marcus (D-Mecklenburg) introduced SB 243 Design Element Exemption-Historic Downtown District. This bill would exempt the Town of Davidson’s Historic District from landmark 2015 legislation that clarified that local governments do not possess the authority to mandate design and aesthetic controls be applied to any structure subject to the NC Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings including “exterior color, type of style of exterior cladding material; style or materials of roof structure or porches; exterior non-structural ornamentation; location or architectural styling of windows or doors, including garage doors; the number and type of rooms; and the interior layout of rooms” in both existing and future ordinances.

Numerous cities objected to this legislation, including Davidson in 2015. NCHBA stands against this legislation and any future attempts to dismantle the 2015 bill. As material costs continue to rise, home buyers cannot afford to have their cities turn into costly HOAs.

Representative(s) Jeff Zenger’s (R-Forsyth) and Larry Potts’ (R-Davidson) bill that would speed up the commercial plan review process was moved to the House Regulatory Reform Committee last week. HB 291 Building Plan Approval-Certain Commercial Projects would create certain timelines for the approval process of plans and enforce a penalty if those plans are not approved in a timely manner. As currently written, the local government would have 15 days to approve the plan or the fee for plan review would be reduced by 10% daily.

Senator(s) Todd Johnson (R-Union) and Steve Jarvis (R-Davidson) introduced SB 308 Building Code Inspection Reform on Monday. The bill seeks to streamline the issuance of certificates of compliance and to prevent unnecessary delays by stopping repetitive inspections. The bill prohibits inspection departments from charging an additional fee when a code violation is found on a component or element that had previously been inspected and found in compliance. The code violation would have to corrected; however, the inspections department could not charge an additional fee, based on their previous issuance of compliance.

This week, NCHBA’s legislative team is expected to introduce several bills that will address building code reform, tighter capacity fees and housing affordability. All three bills are in the final stages of drafting. Once these drafts are reviewed, they are expected to be introduced and assigned a bill number.

If you need any help with issues you are facing, please reach out to our staff. We stand ready to help. If you have any questions about this report, please email Steven Webb at

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NCHBA 1st Quarter Board Meeting
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NCHBA Legislative Conference & 2nd Quarter Board Meeting
November 12
NCHBA Third Quarter Board Meeting
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NCHBA 4th Quarter Board Meeting & Installation

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