Despite the challenges posed by COVID, NCHBA enjoyed one of its most productive and successful legislative sessions ever in 2020. The General Assembly enacted, and the Governor signed into law, virtually all of NCHBA’s pro-active agenda.
• Perhaps the most significant legislative victory was the passage of SB 720 (GSC Conforming Amendments/Land-Use Regulatory Changes) which capped a five-year effort by NCHBA to enact sweeping land-use reform. This legislation codifies our 2019 law which contains a number of very significant and beneficial changes in land-use law including vesting protection for an entire project; a new standard for the award of mandatory attorneys’ fees in lawsuits against illegal local government actions; prohibition on third-party rezoning downzoning petitions; allowing certain claims to be filed directly in Superior Court without having to go through the Board of Adjustment; assuring that the State Building Code preempts inconsistent local definitions for buildings or dwellings; limiting illegal conditions in conditional zoning and conditional use permits; and assuring uniform applicability of DOT driveway regulations on city-maintained state roads.
• Another NCHBA priority was the passage of HB 873 (System Development Fee/ADU Sewer Permit). It moves the time for the payment of system development fees for subdivisions from plat recordation to the later of building permit application or when the water and sewer service is committed. The current requirement for payment at plat recordation requires significant working capital to pay for the fees for all of the lots in the subdivision despite the fact that the water/sewer may not be provided for years in the future.
• A second provision allows a
property owner the same option to connect a sewer line to a detached accessory dwelling unit (ADU) as is the case for an attached ADU’s on the same lot. Currently, a special permit and engineer’s seal are required in order to pursue this option for detached ADU’s which is not required if the ADU is attached. Eliminating these requirements for detached ADUs will significantly reduce costs and thereby provide more affordable housing across the state.
• Another top NCHBA priority was the insertion of several provisions into SB 704 (COVID-19 Recovery Act) and HB 1105 (Coronavirus Relief Act 3.0). Those included extending local government development approvals for five (5) months; allowing licensed soil scientists to evaluate, inspect and approve on-site wastewater system projects during the coronavirus emergency; and provides time-limited civil liability immunity to “essential businesses” (including residential construction) for injuries or death resulting from customers or employees contracting COVID-19 at the business. Under Mark’s leadership, NCHBA continued to play an expanded role in the state’s political arena.
• During this election cycle, NC BUILD-PAC contributed a total of $241,602.55 to candidates in 141 races for the General Assembly. In the Senate, 39 of the 50 Senators to be seated in January received BUILD-PAC support. In the House, 95 of the 120 members of the NC House of Representatives to be seated in January received BUILD-PAC support. We participated in 141 legislative races and our candidate won in 134 of them (95%). We also contributed to 10 candidates in 9
statewide Council of State and appellate judicial races where 8 of these candidates won for an 80% winning percentage. All of the federal Congressional candidates supported by NAHB BUILD-PAC, at our request, were elected. A total of $75,500 was distributed to these winning candidates by our national PAC during the 2019-2020 election cycle.
• Also, during this cycle, the Home Builders Education Fund contributed a total of $599,432.19 to candidates in 90 races ($114,864,39 to 20 primary election candidates and $484,667.80 to 70 general election candidates). A total of 19 of our 20 primary candidates (95%) won and 68 of our 70 general election candidates won (97%) for cycle winning percentage of (96.6%). Of the 90 races, we participated in 75 by mailer support of the candidate and in 15 by a prominent billboard in their district.