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ACTION ALERT: HB 150 Moves To House Floor

March 13, 2013

HB 150 Zoning/Design & Aesthetic Controls was approved by the House Regulatory Reform Subcommittee on Local Government this morning. It now moves to the full House for consideration. This legislation would eliminate cities' ability to impose aesthetic controls over 1- and 2-family dwellings in all zoning districts (with limited exceptions), unless these controls are agreed to by the developer. Please continue to contact your Representatives and let them know how this legislation will hurt your local community.
 
Several city representatives addressed the committee regarding the problems this legislation would cause. Mayor Nancy McFarlane of the City of Raleigh spoke of the three-year, collaborative process to develop the City's Unified Development Ordinance, a process that included builders and developers. She also discussed the limitations the legislation would place on cities trying to ensure that infill development is consistent with that of existing development.
 
"We have great developers that build quality products," McFarlane said. "Is it fair to see their investment damaged because anything could be built adjacent to it?"

Mayor Jill Swain of the Town of Huntersville noted that the Town has had design-based standards since 1996, and during that time more than 5,300 single-family residential homes had been built at a wide range of price points.
 
"House Bill 150 as currently written would impact negatively Huntersville's ability to protect community character, which is a fundamental responsibility of local government," Swain said. "And, it is essential for us to be able to recruit economic development opportunities that include that population that would be looking for affordable housing that we encourage."
 
League Director of Governmental Affairs Paul Meyer addressed many of the arguments made by proponents of the bill and noted that while there may be limited local examples of problems caused by these standards, far more cities and towns are using this authority to the benefit of their citizens and businesses, and those cities should not see this ability eliminated.
 
"The policy question facing this committee is whether those stories warrant a statewide elimination of the ability of cities and towns to promote a vision for local communities and provide a say for city residents and businesses in the context of aesthetics," Meyer said. "On behalf of all cities and towns acting through the League of Municipalities, we believe the answer should be no."
 
View today's committee video here via WRAL. Thank you to Mayors McFarlane and Swain and the many other local officials who took their time to be present in today's committee hearing. Please continue to contact your Representatives to let them know how your citizens and businesses will be hurt by this bill, and please let us know how we can help.

Posted on March 13, 2013 by Paul Meyer