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House | March 13, 2013 | Committee Room | Regulation Reform

Full MP3 Audio File

[Speaker changes.]...alright, thank you. I wondered why when I asked them to take their seats, no one would listen. Ya'll are usually so polite. Good morning, a quorum being present, the House Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform of local government is in session. Our House Sargents-at-Arms today are Robert Rossi, Billy Jones, Carmelo Morello and Doug Harris. Where are my papers? I don't have a list of the Pages. Would you please stand and identify yourselves? [Speaker changes.] INAUDIBLE [Speaker changes.] Emily Hatcher...Hedger??? Maya Haynes??? from Wake County. Sally Hennessey???? from Cabarrus. Welcome to the House Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform of local government. Thank you for your service. We have one bill on the calendar for today. It is the intention of the Chair to vote today. Representative Nelson Dollar is recognized to present House Bill 150 and I believe we have a PCS. Is that in place before us? [Speaker changes.] Mister Chairman, I would move that the PCS be properly before us for discussion purposes. [Speaker changes.] OK...are you a member of the committee, Nelson? You are, aren't you? Yeah...OK...motion is in order without objection, so ordered. Representative is recognized to explain the bill. [Speaker changes.] Has the PCS been passed out? Thank you, Mister Chairman and members of the committee. I will try to keep my presentation reasonably brief and I know that there are some groups that wanna speak on this as well as some questions from the committee. Essentially, all this bill does...or what this bill does, is attempt to balance the scales between what municipalities in particular want to do in terms of regulating the aesthetics of an individual's home and the right of folks building homes and purchasing homes to be able to have more say in the aesthetics of what they purchase and what is available in the market place. We have seen, in a number of communities around the state, a host of evermore restrictive and evermore detailed efforts to control...you know, what shade of beige your...the cornice is on your house or what's the design on your front door. These kinds of things that have just kinda gone from trying to establish an overall look to a community to, in some cases, what has amounted to being bizarre or some sort of 1994 type of scenario, which I don't think we want in this state. This bill seeks to, and I believe does, balance out the interest...the municipality will still have considerable authority...if they do not want to grant zoning for a particular project, they will continue to retain that. In the past, there'd been some legislation that went much further than the bill before you this morning and sought to both place additional restrictions on municipalities with respect to commercial and multi-family development. This bill does not do that. This bill is a narrowly tailored bill that addresses one and two family dwellings and that's all this bill addresses. If you'll look in section one, you'll see that down on line 9, addresses one and two family dwellings. You'll also see that there are a list of six exceptions and those go to local historic districts, structures that are on the National Registry of Historic Places; structures that are individually designated either by local, state or national historic landmarks. It does not effect any regulation that would be put in place for applicable safety code.....

It does not effect or would not be able to restrict the municipality or a county in section 2 where they're seeking to regulate manufactured or modular housing. It also doesn't have an impact in terms of national flood insurance. I would also add, I guess I'm going to skip for just a moment, but if you will look in at the top of page 2 under item H and then also a corresponding section on page 3, excuse me, on page 2 line 36, you will see that it's clearly stated nothing in section G of this section shall effect the validity or enforcement of private covenants or other contractual agreements among property owners relating to building design elements and aesthetics or building design elements, so in other words if there are covenants in force those will stay in force, there's no, very clear about not having a scenario where you have covenants and then somebody's trying to break those with an infield piece of property. From line on the back on the front page from line 22-29 this is making sure that the negotiations are balanced between development and the municipality and then any sort of, what some of us would consider sort of back door coercion to say OK, well, we can't directly tell you what to put on your front door but unless you do this you're not going to get this or we're not going to allow folks to play those kinds of games so that's addressed, and then if you look down about 2/3 of the way down on line 29 you actually have building design elements, this is the aesthetics, this is the heart of the bill, that is defined as meaning the exterior building color, type and style of exterior cladding, material style or material of roof structures, porches, exterior, non-structural architectural ornamentation, location or architectural styling of windows, doors, including garage doors, the number and type of rooms in the interior, layout of rooms inside your house, which it seems to me the city shouldn't be concerned about how you want to design your house inside. We also have again a couple of more restrictions to what we're doing here. We're clearly laying out that in these building design elements that this does not include the municipality's ability to regulate height, bulk, orientation or location of a structure on a zoning lot and it does not in any way impede the ability of a municipality to address buffering/screening issues, light impacts, noise impacts, to protect the privacy of other neighbors or neighborhoods, so Mr. Chairman, I believe this is a very narrowly tailored bill. On the second page if you look at section 2 that is simply a mirror because you have the codes for municipalities, the statutes for municipalities in one section of the law and the statutes for counties in one section, so those are mirrored sections to make sure that we are covered. It's a narrowly tailored bill and I believe that it helps balance the scales and it certainly goes a long way to curbing what many people believe are really not licensed so to speak that a lot of municipalities have taken and how they address the specific aesthetics on house when it's clear to many of us that they really don't have the statutory authority to do this now, but this bill will clarify that. And, Mr. Chairman, I'd be happy to answer any questions. I know you have a number of people who want to speak on this issue. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Representative. What I'd like to do is take questions for the bill sponsor. We then have 10 people that have signed up to speak and I would like to allow them to speak before we debate the bill. Without objection, are there any questions for Representative Dollar. Representative McManus. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. I do have a question. You said that it would not undo any covenants, but it would

so not prevent any homeowner covenants or that kind of thing from being created, right? [SPEAKER CHANGES] That's correct. And just to bridge off of that, if you look on page two, line 39, the effective date of this is for development approvals granted on or after the date of enactment. So it is forward-looking. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I just wanted to make sure that if a development, a new development, was choosing to create those homeowner covenants, that they would still be able to. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, absolutely. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Do you have another follow up, Representative? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I kind of do. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Did I ?? I was thinking about it? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yeah. [SPEAKER CHANGES] There are some small towns that actually do like having these kinds of restrictions. I'm curious as to whether an amendment would be possible that if a town voted to do this, they could still do that? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well, they have to, municipalities are creatures of the state, and as we have seen in a number of suits over particularly the last ten years, we've had a lot of municipalities really attempting to stretch what they can and can't do in a variety of areas. And the courts for the most part have been coming back time and time again saying, you do not have statutory authority for that. And many of us believe that a lot of this that's involved with the aesthetics is municipalities taking an approach to stretch their authority far beyond what they actually have a statutory underpinning for. I'm not sure that answers your question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Do you have a follow up? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes. We have a letter from the town of Morrisville, and they're opposing the bill because they like their restrictions. If that township chose to run a, I don't know what it would be called, a referendum where they let their citizens vote on whether they wish the town to establish those kinds of regulations, could they still do it? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well that's not in this legislation. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I'm going to let the staff answer that question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative McManus, right now, referendums are only allowed as specifically by statute. There is no statutory authority to have a referendum on that matter. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Terry. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I'm sorry. I noted on this correspondence regarding the Morrisville town, something about infill development. And I want to know what the impact of the infill development would be in a municipality where there is an ordinance about design as it relates to, a lot of our cities have vacant land that is not necessarily zoned contiguously for new development, but there is a lot of vacant land. How would this impact, coming into a municipality where you've got opportunities for development, for infill, in neighborhoods that are already established? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well, if it's a zoning matter, the municipality or the county would continue to have full zoning authority in terms of how they wanted to zone that piece of property. What this addresses is the problem that we've run into for which they really don't have, in many of our views, statutory authority to do, which is to determine the outside aesthetics of a particular, in this case, this just applies to one- and two-family residential homes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You helped me to understand exactly what I am trying to drive at. I'm speaking of areas that are currently older areas, developed, not anything new like the Morrisville town is. And what we're looking at is an ordinance that does require specific design, build criteria to blend with these old neighborhoods. They're large tracts, but they still need to

Improve the property and the area, the neighborhoods. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I don't think there's anything old in Mooresville anymore, but I'll lay that aside. I think that your question, if you have a covenant in place that deals with the design elements of the structures, the residential homes being built there that would still be in effect and that was what I was mentioning in terms of at the top of page 2. Those private covenants and agreements would still be in effect, they would not be affected by the legislation. If it's an older existing neighborhood, which you were addressing Innfield, then it would depend on whether or not there was some covenant for that. If not, they would be free to build within whatever the restrictions, the zoning restrictions are for that particular residential area. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Holley. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, thank you, Mr. Chairman. This one is. I'm all over the place on this one, on what I, can you hear me? Am I coming through? I'm all over the place on this one. First of all, I have a number of communities in my area that have protected covenances because they're newer developed neighborhoods but I also have a very large part of the city that does not have that design community. Personally, my district just became historic, my neighborhood became historic, but it would not have become historic had the homes that had been built there in recent years not adhered to the standards of the homes that were currently there that allowed us then to get the historic designation because the community had a level of continuity. I also understand affordable housing and my community is desperately in need of affordable housing and a lot of these issues would address some of the affordable housing by making it a little bit easier, but I'm concerned about in areas that do not have protected covenances or where it's not a community that can be built in and I'm just wondering how flexible are we on this. Can we hear what people have to say? I need more information. [SPEAKER CHANGES] All right. Well, let me try to answer part of that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative, I'm not sure that there was a question in there, just a request for more knowledge and I think our speakers might be able to address some of the issues. With your indulgence, sir, I'll let you respond if you like, but I think at this point let's go ahead and hear from the members of the public that have spoken up. You're going to hear on both sides of that issue. I'd like to start with, are you ready, with Mark Zimmerman, and Mr. Zimmerman would you please tell us. I believe you're speaking in favor and would you tell us who you represent, sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman, Representative Dollar and members of the committee, thank you very much for letting me speak today. My name is Mark Zimmerman, I'm a realtor in the Triangle and the 2013 Legislative Chair of the North Carolina association of realtors. I'm here today to ask for your favorable vote on House Bill 150. The North Carolina Association of Realtors supports House Bill 150 and asks that you do the same because there are no public safety or welfare purposes served by regulating design and aesthetic elements of housing. Many local governments are mandating arbitrary architectural control through zoning ordinances that add significant cost to housing construction without providing an additional financial return to the homeowner. The result is less affordable housing. That's never a good thing, but its impact is worse right now as North Carolinians displaced by home ownership by the recent recession are finally setting their sights on purchasing a home again for their families. A few examples of design control elements that are impacting homeowners are the number and types of rooms in a house, dictating where garage entries may be placed on a house, specifying what materials can be used to clad the exterior and even minimum window spacing mandates. These type of design and aesthetic requirements drive up the cost of home. In addition, when local governments dictate these types of design requirements, they displace

The important role the free market plays in building appropriate housing stock. Homeowners lose the ability and quite frankly their right to choose the design elements of their home as it fits their individual needs and desires. Likewise home builders lose their ability and their right to produce a product that meets market demands and keeps up with consumer driven trends. Builders and consumers should be allowed to work together to build homes that best meet their needs in the most cost effective way possible without interference of a handful of local officials who desire to replace the efficiency and effectiveness of the free market with their own personal tastes and preferences. It is important to mention that House Bill 150 will not hinder a local government's ability to implement requirements pertaining to the health, safety and welfare of the citizenry nor will it prevent establishing requirements pertaining local historic districts, properties on the national register or historic landmarks. It will also not interfere with the covenants or private contracts established by homeowner's associations or similar voluntary private entities. The American dream of home ownership is such an important part of what makes this country so great. By unnecessarily increasing the cost of housing we are pricing people out of home ownership without any valid public purpose. Please help us preserve that dream for all who aspire to it by voting for a favorable report on House Bill 150. Thank you very much. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Zimmerman and thank you for keeping your remarks under 3 minutes and I would ask the speakers to limit their remarks to 3 minutes. Second speaking in opposition is Paul Meyer for the North Carolina League of Municipalities. Mr. Meyer. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman, members of the committee. I'm Paul Meyer of the North Carolina League of Municipalities. We appreciate the opportunity to express opposition of all North Carolina cities and towns and the taxpayers and residents that we serve to House Bill 150. With me today are other individuals who can further explain the problems the proposed legislation creates. Mayor Nancy McFarland, City of Raleigh on behalf of Wake County Mayors and other Mayors who hold elected office in cities who use aesthetics controls to enhance economic vitality in cities and towns. Mayor Jill Swand of Huntersville is here and Chad Meadows, Mr. Meadows is here representing the planning professionals in our state. What are aesthetics controls? You've heard Representative Dollar explain what this is. They are elements of local development codes which enable existing property owners and communities as a whole to have a say in the appearance of infield development, redevelopment projects and new subdivisions some of which are owned and some of which will be rental properties. These items include the orientation of buildings to the street, roof pitch on homes, type of materials on the exterior of the new buildings. Obviously each locality is using these codes in their own way to establish their own vision for their town, character of a given city and these development codes are used widely. These are not rare, ranging from small towns and resort communities all the way up to North Carolina's largest cities. The say of existing neighborhoods in a negotiation between the city and the builder of the developer as to what the aesthetic considerations can feasibly be integrated into the project to improve its support in a given community which in turn increases its changes of being approved by the given council and support across the community. The elimination of these planning tools as proposed in House Bill 150 will limit those negotiations. This is particularly important in projects proposing higher densities, where homes are closer together or even connected to one another. You will here that the authority of cities to control aesthetics does not exist under current law and why should builders have to sue cities to prove that that city is acting illegally. Municipal attorneys across the state disagree with the attorneys of the North Carolina Homebuilders Association on their interpretation of the law and not one North Carolina court has ever directly said elected city officials lack the authority to create planning and development codes imposing aesthetic controls. You'll also hear aesthetic controls drive up the cost of housing as to prevent affordable housing projects such as those created by Habitat for Humanity and other nonprofits from being built. Cities are the number one supporters of these type of projects and often times it is the inclusion of a few minor aesthetic changes in these projects which help turn the tide of opposition from neighboring property owners.

and encourage City Councils to approve the projects. And you will likely also hear that local communities should not be involved in these decisions that the market should make these decisions without input from locally elected officials. To a large extent that is true, but in the broad sense mayors and city council members are elected by the people to enhance economic prospects for communities and to make decisions to improve the quality of life for city residents and businesses. And if the people don't like the decisions that are being made by the members of those City Councils they can be kicked to the curb in the next election. It's no different than members of the General Assembly. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Meyer? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Would you please wind up sir. You're coming up on 4 minutes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I will rap up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I'm under no illusion there are probably horror stories out there where builders justifiably feel they have been treated unfairly. But the policy question facing this committe is whether their stories warrant a statewide elimination of the ability of cities and town to promote a vision for local communites and provide a safer city residents and businesses in the context of esthetic. On behalf of all North Carolina cities and towns acting through the league of municipalities we believe the answer should be no. And we ask you not to not to support or approve House Bill 150. Thank you Mr. Chairman. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Myer. Our next speaker will be Carley Ruff, Master of Social Work with North Carolina Housing Coalition. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I thank you Mr. Chairman and thank you members of the committee. I'm Carley Ruff. I'm with the North Carolina Housing Coalition. We're a statewide advocacy organization striving to ensure that all North Carolinians have a safe, decent, affordable place to live. We've been doing that for 25 years. We're also a membership organization and we have members that are across the, back from affordable housing from homeless service providers all the back up to developers who develop affordable entry level home ownership opportunities and included in that as Paul said our Habitat For Humanity affiliates. When this bill was introduced last session and this session I reached out to our members who are Habitat affiliates and CDCs to see what their feelings were on this bill. There really was consensus among those folks that esthetic design controls do drive up the cost of producing housing affordable housing for folks who are looking to achieve that dream of ownership. And many of you probably have participated in habitat bills before. And if you have you know it's a beautiful thing where families working families come together to buy a home at 0% interest and provides what equity on their home along side members of their community. These sort of esthetic controls do drive up the cost and eventually get passed on to the buyer. In some cases these kinds of controls can effecitvely zone out effective housing and organizations like Habitat For Humanity who are looking to provide housing for working members of the community. So I will be brief and just say that I hope you will support House Bill 150 and support all of those working families in your communities that are looking for affordable home ownership opportunities. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Ms. Ruff. Next will be the Honorable Nancy McFarlane, Mayor of the City of Raleigh speaking on behalf of the Metroplitan Mayor's Conference. Welcome Mayor. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you very much and thank you all for allowing me the time to address this important bill. My name is Nancy McFarlane. I'm the Mayor of Raleigh. I have with me also Miles Atkins who is the Mayor of Morrisville. I have Russell Killen who is the Mayor of Knightdill, dale. I have Ken Bowers. He is the our Deputy Planning Director who is also available to answer any questions about impacts on codes and city development and a representative of the Raleigh City of Commerce. I'm here, I am also, I'm representing the Wake County Mayor Association who unanimously passed a resolution and opposition to this bill and the Metropolitan Mayor's Coalition and Organization. It represents the 28 largest cities in the state. We have serious concerns about House Bill 150. You know the most important part of local government is the input with its citizens. We work cooperatively to develop our codes and regulations in direct response to what our community wants. In Raleigh we just completed our unified development ordinance. This was a three year collaborative process with developers, the homebuilders, and the citizens that have come up with a code that will shape how we grow. We know that there are cities and towns across the state that all work very hard with their constituents to make sure that they develop their standards in response to what their community wants. But you're right there may be a few that have gone too hard. Our concern is that you are passing a bill that will really take the entire state to the lowest common denominator

Just for the actions of a few. This bill is in direct conflict from what we hear from our electric. We all have the same goal in this room and that is to produce cities and a state that focuses on economic development and affordable housing. We're just asking that we work together to make sure that we get the details of this bill right so there are no unintended consequences. We have some serious concerns about the restrictions on interior placements of rooms. This opens to door to a 4 bedroom 4 bathroom single house that could be used as a rooming house that could be introduced into any single family neighborhood. We have great concerns about that. We also have great developers that build quality products. Is it fair to see their investment damaged because anything can be built adjacent to it? People work hard their entire lives to buy a home. It's their primary investment. Is it fair to them to lose their savings because someone builds a boarding house or something next door? Raleigh, along with Wake County, and the other cities of this state are excellent examples of how to do it right. We hope that you will continue the conversation and allow the mayors the courtesy of being apart of the discussion going forward. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mayor. Next speaker is Chad Meadows representing the North Carolina Planning Association. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr Chair, committee members. I am Chad Meadows. I am representing the North Carolina Planning Association. I've got 1,500 members who work everyday to create and preserve the great communities of our state. We are opposed to this bill. I believe you received just prior to the hearing a letter from the city of Mooresville along with a pair of photographs. I will talk with you about that for a minute. On one side of the photographs you see the page house. In fact it is something old that was built in Mooresville. It was built in 1830. It's an outstanding structure, good example of North Carolina architecture. If you flip the page over, you see what was built in an adjacent lot. Now this white house that you see was built without any design controls. A jarring contrast, to say the least. Now Mooresville has adopted design controls to stop this kind of thing from happening in the future. Those design controls would not be available to the city if House bill 150 were to pass. That's a source of serious concern for us. We're also concerned that the bill could reverse progress toward efficient development patterns that are taking place in the state. Movements toward homes on smaller lots to reduce sprawl. Compact development to reduce air pollution. Infill near existing infrastructure to help us better leverage our investment on infrastructure and higher tax base now to function as intended, efficient development patterns depend upon compatibility. Compatibility between new development and existing development that's already in place. Compatibility hinges upon good design. If local governments don't have the ability to work with applicants to get good design that's compatible with existing development, then the likelihood of getting infill and compact development approved is diminished. Finally, we think the bill limits predictability in the review process. One of the things that we find in efficient development codes are situations where clear standards are enumerated for all to understand and there's no negotiation necessary to get the kind of development that's preferred. This bill would call for local governments to rely on things like conditional zoning and other negotiation efforts to get the kind of development in their communities. So, because of these reasons, and for a variety of others, we encourage you to oppose House bill 150. Thank you very much. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Meadows. Our next speaker is Peter Cieslak. He represents the brick industry. Would the Sargents at arms help him with the microphone please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] 1, 2, can you hear me? No? Okay. Sorry. Wasn't close enough. I'm Pete Cieslak and I am executive director of the brick industry association. It represents North Carolina along with 8 other states but our roots are North Carolina. Our office is in Charlotte, I live in Charlotte and vote in 98, House 98, so I just want to tell you I'm not just some guy who flies in from Atlanta and tell you how to run your show here and then leave. I do come here today to

voice opposition to the bill specifically for the reason of it includes exterior siding materials, exterior cladding materials as written in the bill. A reason for mentioning that phrase is that we believe exterior cladding materials, particularly masonry, bricks, is more than aesthetics. They have other attributes that are important to municipalities as they have shown by ordaining mason- putting masonry ordinances in place. There are economic as well as health and safety. So our position would be to, if those exterior cladding materials was removed for the bill, then we would be alright with it. So thanks very much. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you sir. Our next speaker is Rick Turner from Ply Gem [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman and also committee members for allowing me to be here today. My name is Rich Turner, and I'm a 30 year resident of Raleigh, and I work with Ply Gem industries. Ply Gem industries is a building materials manufacturer with its corporate headquarters based in Cary, North Carolina. We are one of the leading producers and manufactures of PVC building materials in the country, employing approximately 1450 employees. For over 40 years, PVC cladding, more commonly known as vinyl siding, has been a cladding of choice for many homeowners around the country. Currently because of the low maintenance and because of the affordability cost associated with vinyl siding, 38% of all housing starts nationally choose vinyl exterior cladding. Our product line provides many affordable cladding options for homeowners to choose when making a decision for exterior cladding for their home. Our product line is designed to assist homeowners, municipalities, and other jurisdictions to have a great deal of aesthetic control and determination in the exterior appeal of homes that are built- or homeowners in cities and towns across the country. The installation of the products that we produce is very very important and very key, and because of that our industry works tirelessly through the vinyl siding institute which my company is a member of, to support and to push to educate and to train contractors and home builders and jurisdictions in the certified installation of our products. We're here today in support of 150, and we'd appreciate your support and I'd be happy to answer any questions from anyone now or later on if I can be of any help. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you sir, and just as a notice to members of the committee, there is not a committee in here following at 11, so we have the room, so we're not going to run out of time. We'll get ample chance to debate. Next speaker is Joe Padilla, who represents the Real Estate and Building Industry Coalition in Charlotte, North Carolina. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman, members of the committee. My name is Joe Padilla, I'm the executive director of the Real Estate and Building Industry Coalition in Charlotte. And I'm here on behalf of our home builder and realtor members in order to ask you to support HB 150. Our members are frustrated at being asked to meet arbitrary design requirements that add thousands to the cost of a home, while providing little or no value for the consumer. The majority of our local governments in Mecklinburg county require or are considering illegal design requirements, and many of our local officials don't currently understand what they have on the books. I've sat through zoning hearings in some of our towns watching board members debate whether a requirement for a full brick home means that the steps leading up to the porch should be made of brick. Our members have had to suffer patiently in town board meetings where town board members debated what shade of yellow can be on a particular set of shutters, where windows or doors may be located, and other design criteria. None of these requirements affect public health and safety, but they do add to a cost of a home and they exclude affordable housing from local communities. Now earlier in my career I worked for a national home builder, and we spent millions each year researching home buyer preferences so that we can design plans perfectly tailored to each local market. We learned that buyers, especially moving into their first home, are less concerned about whether their home has brick or hardy plank, and more concerned with whether they can afford the monthly mortgage payment.

If the local government wants to participate in the building architect design process perhaps, they should also be willing to participate in the risk that each individual builder takes to build an affordable product. We ask you for your support with house bill 150 we, believe it will help to reign in some of the excessive design criteria that we are seeing in the local government without compromising the ability of builders and developers to freely negotiate, for a condition or a requirement on zoning that everyone would find suitable for that particular community or product. I thank you for your time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Our next speaker is the the honorable Jill Swain Mayor of Huntersville. Mayor Swain, welcome to rally. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you very much. I was here last week so it’s nice to be back, and it’s nice actually to follow Joe. We had a very good conversation yesterday. Which I think is the prime example of what should be happening more across this state. More communication between the builders and the municipalities. I think that we found areas that we agreed upon, with regard to Huntersville specifically, and I would like to share those with you. And take the opportunity to advise you of my town, Huntersville’s opposition. To some of the to some of the provisions in House Bill 150. Based on the town’s 17 years of experience with design standards. And, also with the citizen evolvement that created ordinance that supports affordable housing. Since 1996 the town of Huntersville, has had design based standards, during which time over 5,300 single family residential homes were built by production builders. With prices ranging from around $100,000 to $700,000. Even during the great recession, building did not stop in the town of Huntersville. Huntersville’s code provides maximum flexibility for development community by having 7 zoning districts, that have no maximum density, no minimum lot size, that have no minimum lot width. In fact, these zones allow single family, duplexes, town homes, apartments, by right, and even commercial uses in some cases. However, in exchange for this flexibility allowing the private sector to meet the needs of their consumers, quality design is expected. Particularly, the garage door located either flush, or 10 foot behind the front facade. Now, builders and developers decide on the exterior building materials, brick, vinyl, etc. And the styling of the architectural features in development. We allow flexibility in exchange for some design specifics. Current zoning enabling legislation specifically, provides for regulating the size of yards, which is the basis of establishing garage set backs. Further, the State Supreme Court in State vs. Jones, ruled that regulations based on aesthetics alone is valid when the reduction in property value is balanced against the corresponding gain to the public. But, the the town of Huntersville does not support communities using design and aesthetic controls to increase the cost of housing. Further, my town does not support establishing design and aesthetic controls without providing flexibility to the development community. In order that they can meet the needs of a changing environment. Basically, House Bill 150 as currently written, would impact, negatively Huntersville’s ability to protect community character. Which, is a fundamental responsibility of local government. And, it is essential for us to be able to recruit economic development opportunities that include that population that will be looking for affordable housing, that we encourage. Thank you, for your service to the citizens and your consideration, of those instances where towns may have exceeded their authority. But, lease realize, [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mayor you are coming up on four minutes could you whined it up please? [SPEAKER CHANGES] please realize that there are unattended consequences for those communities like Huntersville, that actually do it right. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mayor. Mike Carpenter.

North Carolina Home Builder's Association. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman, members of the committee. I want to commend the sponsor and the co-sponsor for bringing this issue forward. This is not the first time that this issue has been in front of the general assembly. This, a predecessor of this legislation has passed the senate both in the 2009 and in the 2011 sessions, so it is not a new issue for this general assembly. Let me just summarize, I think I'm not going to repeat what was said, there have been some eloquent statements made. At the end of the day, local governments that are opposing aesthetic controls lack the authority to do that. Now, Mr. Meier says that his municipal attorneys disagree with that, but I would certainly suggest that they read the most recent decision of the North Carolina Supreme Court on the question of adequate public facilities, in which the league petitioned for rehearing on the very issue and sighted the lack of ability to control aesthetics as a basis for the Supreme Court to re-hear that case. So, I think that calls into question whether or not they actually believe they have the authority to regulate aesthetics. There is little doubt, however, that aesthetics causes, regulation of aesthetics, makes it more difficult to build affordable housing. Adds cost, as you have heard, without corresponding public benefit. So really at the end of the day, the question is, is this the proper role of government? To decided and let each jurisdiction that is doing this without any of limits, the ability to decide in each jurisdiction exactly what ought to be the shade of yellow on a shutter. Frankly, that is not the role of government and this legislation will end that while preserving the necessary things that are appropriate in this area. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Carpenter, he was our last speaker, so at this point is there discussion and debate on the bill? Representative Ramsey. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman could you explain, there was some discussion of conditional use authority that local governments are engaging in. Does this impact their ability to use conditional use zoning, so that where, in some cases you have a use of the property that is not provided for under the zoning controls but if they go through a conditional use process that's allowed? [SPEAKER CHANGES] The Chair recognizes Erica Churchill of research staff to answer the gentleman's question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I'm going to try, it's a relatively broad question and the PCS is relatively narrow on its impact on conditional use zoning. It would, the prohibition or regulation, is only on those related to design elements with respect to one or two family dwellings. So, if you're talking about a conditional use zoning issue with something outside a one or two family dwelling there is no impact. If it's that one and two family dwelling there may be an impact because the city would not be allowed to regulate building design elements unless it happened to be historic district or something of another nature that Representative Dollar talked about. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Does the gentleman have a follow up? [SPEAKER CHANGES] No follow up. Thank you Mr. Chairman. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Fulghum. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Would this bill have any impact on the ability of a municipality to further regulate the occupancy or density issues in any instance involving these buildings or any other buildings for that matter, obviously residential. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I believe the answer to that is no, but I would refer to the staff. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Fulghum, I believe Representative Dollar got it exactly correct, density is not impacted by this bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up? Representative Moffitt. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chair, at the appropriate time I'd like to make a motion. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Holley. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chair. I still see a lot of problems. I see some good things about it and I understand why it's happening and I understand why you don't particularly want all this regulation on aesthetics.

But, I could also see my community ending up with a lot of trailer like looking infield. Individual lots, areas that are not protected by a covenant because of the gunning in the particular development. Because we do not have these developments. I don’t have the answers, I’m just trying to figure out if there is something that we can do to limit. My two concerns, one is the areas about the kitchens, and being able to have so many kitchens and rooming houses because I can tell you now that there are a number of those in my area, that have become rooming houses. And the other is, what can we do to protect areas that are prehistoric? Like I was saying, you know, if you go in to an infield community that is beautiful right now, but all the sudden you start getting non aesthetic homes in that area, and in two years that area will no longer qualify for historic designation. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Dollar. [SPEAKER CHANGES] A couple of points. One with regard to manufactured or modular housing that’s one of the exceptions. Looking. Well the other exception Aye would mention to you, is talking about local historic districts. So if you’ve got the designation, you know, that’s an exception thats already in the legislation. The other comment, and we had talked before the meeting started. If someone using and there in a residential area, and they’ve got a rooming boarding house scenario. That’s not legal now and the city needs to enforce that code currently, that is a current problem, that is not a issue addressed in this legislation and will not stop them from preventing that from happening. And, if their not enforcing it, Aye would say go to the city, and ask them why their allowing a commercial operation like that to go on when, when it is not legal for that to go on. The other thing though, Aye would just, and this isn’t exactly what you said a moment ago but it did go back to a comment that was made earlier and that is, in terms of the layouts of the rooms, and the kitchens and stuff, Aye just, it just sends chills up my spine, to think that my local government is going to tell me how many bedrooms to have and wether or not Aye can have a kitchen downstairs, or wether or not, you know my mother is coming to live with me that Aye can’t, you know fix another kitchen in there. As long as it meets the codes and all the other applicable safety codes, which again are not in anyway impacted by this legislation. The government coming in, and telling me how many bedrooms to have is just mind boggling to me, and to think that we have gotten to that point. And, Aye think that this legislation in a very balanced way, says okay, we need to stop, we need to be reasonable. Cities still have tremendous powers in terms of zoning and the like. And also again, this legislation does not effect commercial development. It does not effect the design elements in your downtown areas, commercial areas in the like, and it doesn't effect multi family housing. So, Aye would encourage your support for the legislation. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Jordan [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman. Aye just wanted to go over a few things. A very key supreme court case came out in August called the Landfill Properties Case. That was pretty much on topic here. Our constitutional structure which was allows the legislator to delegate two cities, and towns, and counties, zoning powers. But, the counties don’t have any inherent authority to enact zoning ordinances, that comes from the general assembly. That’s in accordance with our constitutional frame work. The case was about wether a local government had an over reach.

It’s zoning ordinance authority. Basically, the court said, yes, it had overreached. The basic reason here is the zoning statutes are not ambiguous. The plain language of the zoning statutes given to the counties are not ambiguous. There’s no need for the local governments to try to do all of these other things because they’re set forth exactly what they are able to do. The provisions in that articulate basic zoning concepts and they impose reasonable constraints on how country governments can impose zoning powers. Architectural design and aesthetics are not part of what this general assembly has given to our local governments. This bill is making that absolutely clear because there are local governments that are overreaching. It’s quite clear. As far as the question that I know Rep. Hollo and I know some others have asked. How do we protect certain communities that are not in this bill. The Supreme Court opinion actually spells out a little about you do that. That is the subject of specific enabling legislation. The local government wants to do these kinds of things. They come to the general assembly. They explain their case. They make their case. They get us to say aye or naye. That has happened before. It has been allowed in some places and not in other places, depending on specific situation. That’s how you handle specific local situations that differ. Not by trying, like some of our speakers have said today, to let the statewide every local government go and do anything it wants to add to the current legislation. They can’t add to our legislation. We have been very clear in the past, the general assembly. Not me because I wasn’t here. We’ve been very clear about what they can do. This bill is making that even more clear based on these current cases that have come out. These current attempts to overreach. One of our speakers, Mr. Meyer from the league, who is a friend of mine, said that citizens can kick the municipal elected officials to the curb if they overreach. Well, there is something called an ETJ, and that’s for Jericho jurisdiction, where these same ordinances apply and controls apply on people. Those people can’t kick them out because they can’t vote in the city. That’s not an option available to a lot of folks. We’ve heard that current law allows municipalities to have their say. Actually, it’s more than that, they’re claiming that it allows them to dictate things. The way certain things look. They look good to me and not to you. That’s not an appropriate thing unless the community has come together and taken a look at it. Specific enabling legislation. That will be the way to handle this kind of issue. When the defendants who were some local governments were petitioning to re-hear this case. They spoke out specifically about what their concern was. Here’s what their petition says. That calling the Supreme Court opinion, which was a 5-2 opinion by the way. It’s not real close, 5-2. In their petition the local government said: this overly restrictive view of the general zoning powers calls into question the validity of a wide variety of types of regulations commonly contained in zoning ordinances. Such as, and one of those is, architectural design. They complained that they can’t do that because it’s not specifically mentioned in the zoning enabling legislation. That’s exactly the point we are here today to discuss. Zoning legislation doesn’t allow them to do this. We’re going to have to make it absolutely crystal clear. If particular communities that have problems, they can come back with local bills and take care of it if they have a good case. One of the final statements in the opinion was really good. It kind of was a good way to summarize this whole thing. The opinion says, we recognize that counties enjoy flexibility in enacting ordinances. But, the, and they talk about the sense and interpretation on certain statutes that aren’t quite clear on the face, plain language. The interpretation of the descent, carried to its logical conclusion, would give counties virtual carte blanche to enact an unlimited range of ordinances affecting the use of real property. No matter how tenuous the connection between the ordinance and our zoning statutes. We are not persuaded that the general assembly intended to give counties such expansive legislative power. We did not. This bill is making that absolutely clear to those who would argue otherwise. Who are out there now trying to argue that. Thank you Mr. Chairman.

Thank you Mr. Jordan Mr. Wilson did you want to address [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye [Speaker Changes] Thank you Mr. Chairman. ANd thank you to the people who have spoken both in favor of and against this proposed legislation. I would simply like to say that from my perspecive the devil really is in the details of things like this. And there are two things in particular that I would like to weigh in on. And that is the idea of citizens being able to bring their views in as well as community and neighborhood character. And those two remind me of a process through which a lot of municipalities have gone through. Particularly the U D O Process. And with that in mind even though the devil may lie in the details of this the idea of the legislationw was proposed two sessions before, and I'm a freshman so I don't know what those bills contained and why they were left undone. But I would like to have the value of more or better perspective in order to determine what on Earth were doing here in terms of not allowing communities to try and move forward in trying to develop some chracter so we can develop the value of community and opportunities for economic development in the State of North Carolina. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Representative Moffet is recognized for a motion {SPEAKER CHANGES} Thank you Mr. Chair. I move that the proposed be to substitute house bill 150 be given a favorable reprot unfavporable to the original [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Moffet moves a favorable report to P C S for H B 150 unfavorable to the original bill thre is now serial refferals so this will be reported out to the floor [SPEAKER CHANGES] Further discussion further Debate? So many as favor the motion say Aye. Aye ... . Opposed. 'silence' Motion carries. We are ajourned.