5. Preserved Industrial Commission Balance--HJR 1099, SJR 818 (Confirm Robert J. Harris/Industrial Commission) For more than three decades, NCHBA has been a leader of the business community in legislative and regulatory efforts to reform the workers’ compensation system administered by the NC Industrial Commission (IC). In reform legislation enacted in 2011, NCHBA insisted on including legislative confirmation for appointments by the Governor to the IC because it was then very much out of balance. Subsequently, this process has worked well and resolved the imbalance. However, in early February, the Governor nominated Mr. Harris to an employer seat which his record as a deputy commissioner did not support. Consequently, NCHBA and other business groups opposed and testified against his confirmation. Both bodies of the General Assembly rejected his nomination in separate votes (House 74-40; Senate 38-8). SAVINGS TO MEMBERS: Millions of dollars to NC employers in maintaining appropriate balance on the Industrial Commission.
6. Energy Code Doesn’t Apply to Garages--HB 573 (Business/Regulatory Changes) directs the Building Code Council to provide an exemption from the requirements contained in the residential energy codes for detached and attached garages located on the same lot as a dwelling. This provision will save builders significant sums in unnecessary energy requirements for this non-living space. Another provision allows wastewater systems to be installed within 50 feet of a well (instead of the current 100-foot setback) thus allowing builders to build homes on smaller lots. SAVINGS TO MEMBERS: Hundreds of thousands of dollars in avoided costs.
7. Clarify Grandfathering for Wastewater Permits--HB 374 (Regulatory Reform Act of 2018) allows a licensed soil scientist to inspect and determine that soil and land conditions have not been altered on a site where an onsite wastewater permit was previously issued has expired. A 2017 law grandfathered permits whose five-year period expired due to inaction largely during the Great Recession. These permits dating back to January 1, 2000, are deemed valid as long as the ground conditions remain unchanged. Some local governments misinterpreted last year’s law and failed to allow work to proceed, thus requiring this additional legislative fix. SAVINGS TO MEMBERS: Hundreds of thousands of dollars in avoided costs.
8. Successful Defense/Inclusionary Zoning– For more than 30 years, NCHBA has successfully opposed legislation which would authorize inclusionary zoning in North Carolina. Last session, SB 300 (Inclusionary Zoning/Durham), was introduced as a local bill to authorize this procedure in both Durham County and its municipalities. As a result of our efforts, the bill was never referred to a substantive committee. This session, HB 784 as proposed, contained a provision to authorize all local governments across the state to impose such a requirement. However, before the bill was introduced, its sponsor, sought our views and we were able to persuade him that this “solution” merely drives up the cost of the remaining units while actually exacerbating the very affordable housing problem that it purports to solve. SB 784 (Affordable Housing Act). SAVINGS TO MEMBERS: Millions of dollars in avoided costs if inclusionary zoning were ever authorized statewide.
9. Successful Defense/Wetland Mitigation & Docks--Mitigation credits must be purchased whenever development disturbs wetlands or other environmentally sensitive areas. These credits must be obtained from private mitigation banks unless they are unable to provide them in which case credits can be purchased from the state. HB 557 (Mitigation Services Amendments) would have eliminated the state program without any assurance that credits would be available. NCHBA successfully opposed this legislation. HB 1018, a local bill, would have allowed all local governments in Carteret County to regulate vegetation on private property and the size and placement of piers, docks, boatlifts, pilings and floating platforms, HB 1018 (Carteret County/Regulate Navigable Waters). SAVINGS TO MEMBERS: Potentially millions of dollars to preserve availability of wetland credits and hundreds of thousands of dollars for Carteret Co. builders.
10. Grew membership, successful 21CBEC show, profitable 2018 and increased advocacy spending— NCHBA membership increased 2.8% to 14,229 member-firms statewide, the 16th annual edition of the 21st Century Building Expo was a success and NCHBA will finish 2018 with another solid profit. Advocacy spending on candidates reached over $700,000 through our 527 entity (Home Builders Education Fund, Inc.) and BUILD-PAC.