Members of the North Carolina Home Builders Association traveled to Raleigh in May to meet with and educate lawmakers about the importance of our industry and to brief them on key legislative session priorities.
The annual activities began on Tuesday, May 21 with our 2nd Quarter Meetings, where members from across the state received a briefing on bills that NCHBA’s legislative team is pursuing. That evening, members of the House and Senate and state elected officials (e. g., NC’s Secretary of State, Elaine Marshall, State Treasurer Dale Folwell and several judges from the NC Court of Appeals) joined our members for a reception at the North Carolina Museum of History.
The events culminated on Wednesday morning with members holding successful meetings with their legislators in their offices to advocate for NCHBA’s ambitious legislative agenda. The General Assembly was in the midst of its “long session.” NCHBA members worked hard to educate House and Senate members on the following bills:
The bill will require at least one qualifier of a building, residential or unclassified licensee to obtain eight (8) hours of instruction annually as a requirement for license renewal. Those 8 hours can be obtained either in the classroom or, beginning in 2021, online. Two of the hours will include a mandatory class approved by the NC Licensing Board for General Contractors, while the other 6 hours will be at the election of the contractor from sponsors and classes likewise approved by the board. These elective hours will provide the contractor with the flexibly to choose courses that best fit his or her individual construction information needs.
Most of the provisions contained in this legislation have been in bills considered and overwhelmingly passed by the House with strong bi-partisan support in both the 2015 and 2017 sessions. They include: • Providing better protections to landowners by integrating permit choice and vesting safeguards
• Prohibiting rezoning petitions from being filed by anyone other than the landowner, his or her agent or the local government which seek to downzone the landowner’s property
• Allowing certain claims (e. g., constitutionality, illegality, preemption, takings) to be filed directly in Superior or Business Court bypassing the Board of Adjustment
• Allowing landowners to challenge illegal conditions imposed by local governments which were not agreed to in writing by the landowner in order to obtain government approvals
• Adoption of a more realistic standard to award attorneys’ fees to landowners who successfully contest illegal actions by local governments
• Limit illegal conditions in the issuance of conditional zoning and in special or conditional use permits which are not otherwise agreed to by the landowner in writing
• Provide uniformity on curb cuts on state roads in municipalities
• Strengthen the doctrine of preemption with respect to the uniform statewide building code
The bill makes several refinements in our successful 2015 effort to reform the performance guarantee process. We were able to work out these changes in pre-session negotiations with the NC League of Municipalities so it is a consensus bill. The bill’s major provisions include:
• The duration of a performance guarantee (PG) shall initially be 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 the release of the PG.