Major Housing Affordability Legislation Introduced
A major piece of legislation has been introduced that would seek to make major changes to land-use policy in the state. Senator(s) Chuck Edwards (R-Henderson), Paul Newton (R-Cabarrus), and Toby Fitch (D-Wilson) introduced SB 349 Increase Housing Opportunities. The bill would make it easier for builders to build duplexes, triplexes, and quadplexes in residentially zoned areas. The bill would also limit local government abilities to regulate the construction of accessory dwelling units. Additionally, the bill makes modifications to the previous land-use legislation that passed in 2019 and 2020. Housing affordability has become one of the top issues for legislators as they look for ways to increase the supply across the state. While some of the provisions will be controversial, drastic steps are needed to improve the supply to help mitigate rising costs. There is a House companion bill that was also introduced, that bill number is HB 401, and the sponsors are Destin Hall (R-Caldwell), Tim Moffit (R-Henderson), Mark Brody (R-Union), and Billy Richardson (D-Cumberland).
HB 425 Development Regulations/Multijurisdiction was introduced in the House last Thursday. The bill would establish a default jurisdiction for a parcel of land that is within multiple jurisdictions. If there is no mutual agreement between the jurisdictions, the developer would have the choice as to what jurisdiction they would like to enter into agreement. The bill would also allow the developer to deal with more than one jurisdiction if they see fit. This bill was introduced by Representative(s) Mark Brody (R-Union), Larry Potts (R-Davidson), Tim Moffitt (R-Henderson), and Billy Richardson (D-Cumberland).
NCHBA’s legislative team wrapped up work on drafting this year’s building code regulatory reform bill. For the last 8 years, building code reform bills have proven to be one of the most important pieces of legislation dealing with inspections and the building code. This year’s bill includes provisions that would clean up the fees and paperwork needed for sedimentation control on individual lots and raise the sprinkler requirement threshold on single entrance subdivisions that some jurisdictions have enforced. Representative Mark Brody will likely introduce the legislation early this week.
Another proactive bill from NCHBA was introduced last week. HB 344 System Development Fees Update was introduced by Representative(s) Dean Arp (R-Union), Bobby Hanig (R-Currituck), Jon Hardister (R-Guilford), Graig Meyer (D-Orange). The bill would place tighter parameters around the formula that determines the fee charged to builders for future water and sewer capacity. The intent is to get a more accurate rate that could potentially lower the development fee.
HB 342 Building Code/EV Charging Stations was introduced last Wednesday. The bill would direct the NC Building Code Council to amend the building code to include that charging stations be installed in all new construction homes. The bill has an effective date of January 1, 2022 and was introduced by Representative(s) Deb Butler (D-New Hanover), Julie Von Haefon (D-Wake), Cecil Brockman (D-Guilford) and Terry Brown (D-Mecklenburg). This bill would simply be an additional cost to new homes that are already being hit hard by sky-high material costs. NCHBA suggested to the sponsor that this type of policy should be in the form of a tax credit for builders. NCHBA will oppose the current measure, if the bill moves forward.
Representative Bobby Hanig’s (R-Currituck) House Bill 110 Increase Building Permit Exemption Threshold legislation that would raise the building permit exemption from $15,000 to $20,000 cleared the House on Tuesday. The bill now heads to the Senate.
A bill that will keep the unemployment insurance tax at 1.9% moved passed 2nd reading in the House on Thursday. SB 114 DES COVID Modifications and Technical Changes addresses a number of unemployment/COVID issues. Most notably, it maintains the current employer rate of 1.9%. That number would have reset on April 1, 2021 to 2.4% without the action of the North Carolina Home Builders Association and other business interests. The bill will be up for a final vote in the House this week.
Finally, a bill that would allow ungraded lumber to be used in limited construction situations passed the House Regulatory Reform Committee last Thursday. The lumber would be required to meet building code standards and could be used in the construction of a personal home if purchased directly from the mill. There were objections to House Bill 141 Promote North Carolina Sawmills from large lumber producers, however, interested parties worked to alleviate those concerns.
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