Under the Dome

Bill that would limit local governments ability to regulate design of homes heads to full House

A House bill that would limit the ability of local governments to adopt design and aesthetic controls over new home construction was voted out of committee this morning.

The House’s Regulatory Reform committee recommended approval of the legislation – House bill 150 – which now heads to the full House.

Supporters say the bill would reign in local governments that have overstepped their rights by passing ordinances dictating design and aesthetic guidelines for houses. The bill would only apply to one- and two-family dwellings. Structures in historic districts would be except from law, as would manufacturing and modular housing.

The bill would also not limit the covenants that Homeowners Associations could place on communities.

The bill is supported by the N.C. Homebuilders Association , the N.C. Association of Realtors and the N.C. Housing Coalition, which argue that design and aesthetic requirements add unnecessary costs to the overall price of a new home.

The bill is opposed by the N.C. League of Municipalities and several mayors spoke against the bill this morning, including Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane.

Opponents of the legislation say local governments use aesthetic controls to ensure continuity of development and to development community character.

McFarlane said Raleigh’s design rules reflect what the community wants, and that prohibiting them could lead to an increase in rooming houses and other types of development that the city has attempted to limit.

A similar bill was introduced in the Senate in 2009 and 2011 but failed to become law.

1363194000 Bill that would limit local governments ability to regulate design of homes heads to full House The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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