The N.C. League of Municipalities says it hopes for a compromise on legislation that would strip cities and towns of the power to regulate home designs.
House Bill 36 would strike down residential guidelines that tell developers how homes must look. Republicans say the change is needed because some municipalities “had exceeded their authority” and claimed they had the power to dictate how many bedrooms a house can have.
The League supports draft legislation that would limit cities from mandating design in new neighborhoods but would maintain some regulations governing construction in established neighborhoods.
League spokesman Scott Mooneyham said the draft would address the concerns of the N.C. Home Builders Association, which pushed for the original bill.
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Rep. Stephen Ross, a Burlington Republican and a former mayor, is sponsoring the compromise effort in the House. He said cities need the ability to protect neighborhoods from a landlord who is creating a boarding house in a single-family area, for example.
“That type of thing is the concern,” he said.
Ross said he’s talking with sponsors of the original bill and hopes they’ll support the compromise.
The compromise could still have a big impact in Cary, because it would kill its “anti-monotony” rules that prevent developers from building homes that are nearly identical.
Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht said the town’s staff has met to discuss the compromise terms but hasn’t taken a position on them.
“We’re actively investigating it ... and working with the League of Municipalities,” he said.
Weinbrecht suggested the town would continue to lobby to keep its current powers.
“Every community is unique,” he said. “Our citizens want us to have the authority to enforce standards that they expect to see in their community.”
When a similar bill was proposed in 2013, it passed the House 98-18 but stalled in the Senate.
House Bill 36 has been parked in the local government committee without a hearing since early February. Its Senate companion bill has been sent to the rules committee.