The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday heard but did not vote on a complex piece of legislation that makes wide-ranging changes to land-use regulatory statutes. SB 355 Land-Use Regulatory Changes includes provisions that would incentivize development-related litigation at local taxpayer expense and weaken protections for neighboring property owners of new developments. In its current form, it is opposed by the League.
While intended to ease subdivision development, the committee heard from Bonner Gaylord, a lawyer for large Raleigh-based mixed-use developer Kane Realty, who said the legislation could slow the multi-million dollar mixed-use development projects that help drive the state’s economy in major metropolitan areas. That result is likely because, as currently written, the legislation would affect how conditional use zoning negotiations – designed to meet developer needs while protecting surrounding property owners – take place by subjecting cities to increased liability, and therefore, more potential litigation costs.
League Chief Legislative Counsel Erin Wynia told the committee that the collective effects of the entire bill would be to significantly tilt rights in favor of the developer over neighboring property owners. She asked committee members for more time so that changes to the bill could be considered.
While committee chairs initially indicated that the legislation would be considered again in a meeting on Wednesday, the bill was dropped from the calendar, a signal that changes may be coming.