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May 21, 2021 

2021 Legislative Session Crossover Roundup

Last Thursday, May 13, 2021, was the crossover deadline in the North Carolina General Assembly. This blog posts summarizes the pieces of planning-related legislation that are still moving through the General Assembly.

What is the crossover deadline and what does it mean for pending legislation?

The crossover deadline is the date established at the start of the legislation session in which a bill would need to have successfully passed either the House or the Senate in order to be further considered during the current legislative session.  In other words, a bill that did not successfully pass either chamber by the end of day on May 13 is no longer eligible for consideration or a committee hearing. The only exclusions to this deadline are bills concerning finance or appropriations, constitutional amendments, appointments, or elections laws.

So, what important planning-related bills survived crossover day?

·        HB496 – Property Owners' Rights/Tree Ordinances.

·        HB 366 – Regulatory Reform Act of 2021.

·        HB 291 – Building Plan Approval- Certain Commercial Property.

·        HB 489/SB 478 – 2021 Building Code and Development Regulations Reform.

·        SB 455 - Decriminalize Non-Statutory Offenses.

·        HB271/SB378 Eminent Domain.

·        HB794 – Allow Schools in All Zoning Districts.

·        HB712  - Preservation of Workforce Housing.

·        HB 218 – Streamline Permits/Redevelopment of Property.

·        HB 425 – Development Regulations/Multijurisdiction.

·        SB 308 - Building Code Inspection Reform.

These 11 bills are still viable and moving within one of the two chambers of the General Assembly.  The Legislative Committee either opposes or is dubious about each of them.

In addition to the eleven bills listed above that we are concerned about, there are also 16 bills that made the crossover deadline that are planning-related but that we are neutral on or have no opinion about.  These bills, if passed, will affect your local provisions and how you go about your job, so it is a good idea to be familiar with them.

·        HB842 Clarify Deed Restrictions/Solar Collectors

·        HB 829 Private Residential Rentals

·        HB814  Neighborhood Occupantless Vehicle

·        HB781 Bring Business Back to Downtown

·        HB783 Create Building Code Permit Technician Certification

·        HB684 LRC Study Development Exactions

·        SB707    Development Regulations & Airport Authorities

·        SB605  North Carolina Farm Act of 2021

·        SB554 Encou.Affordable Housing/Shipping Containers

·        HB812 / SB531 Public Bodies/Mods to Remote Meeting Req.

·        SB 329 Building Code Modifications

·        HB 344 System Development Fees Update

·        HB 273 Modify Builders Inventory Tax Exclusion

·        HB 184 Support Private Property Rights

·        HB 161 Address Abandoned and Derelict Vessels

·        HB 110 Increase Building Permit Exemption Threshold

We strongly encourage our membership to continue to focus on the local and public bills that met the crossover deadline. Talk to your local officials and explain the ramifications of these action. Please consider advocating for your perspective, either professionally or personally, as you are able.

So, what important bills did not survive crossover day?

·        HB 865 – Private Commercial Inspection System.

·        HB 853 – Plan Review & Certificate of Occupancy Scope Changes.

·        HB 456 – Justice for Rural Citizens.

·        HB 401/SB 349 – Increasing Housing Opportunities.

While we are glad to see that some bills that were a focus of the Legislative Committee are not moving forward, it is important to note that bills that did move forward could be used to re-introduce provisions from bills that did not survive. Bills that passed either the House or the Senate are subject to amendments, which may include the insertion of provisions from bills that did not survive crossover. The Chapter’s Legislative Committee will continue to monitor legislation for this possibility and notify the membership should this occur with one or more pending bills.

We thank the membership of the North Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association for their diligence and attention to these bills, especially House Bill 401/Senate Bill 349. We believe your voices were heard!

Want to know more?

The Legislative Committee conducts conference calls on pending legislation on the first and third Fridays of the month at noon.  We go over pending legislation, answer questions, and look for input from planners. You will see the invites on the listserv, so please feel free to join us!  Please contact Chad Meadows, Legislative Chair, at chad@codewrightplanners.com if you have questions or would like more information.

May 11, 2021 

How to Get Involved in NCDOT's Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) 

In 2020, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) released their updated Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP). The Plan is a key component of North Carolina’s Highway Safety Improvement Program and focuses on reducing fatalities and serious injuries on all public roadways in the State. Stakeholders encompassing the 4 E’s of highway safety—engineering, education, enforcement, and emergency services—met throughout 2019 in 2 statewide summits, 3 regional summits, and 11 emphasis area working groups to develop the SHSP. The SHSP establishes statewide goals and objectives to focus implementation efforts for safety programs and countermeasures. The SHSP is organized by Focus Areas (Roadway Infrastructure, Human Behavior, All Users, Data and Evaluation, and Safety Culture) that group the 11 Emphasis Areas by similar crash types, road users, or other characteristics. These groupings provide the roadmap for implementation - which in now underway. 

Throughout 2021, a diverse panel of stakeholders with a wide range of professional backgrounds and expertise will help support implementation of the SHSP. NCDOT will organize stakeholders into working groups based on the five Focus Areas. The working groups will meet virtually over the summer to prioritize supporting actions, assign leadership roles, and select tracking mechanisms and milestones. Each working group will also establish an implementation plan and develop white papers on safety perspectives in North Carolina. The white papers will summarize research, include case studies, and consider potential impacts on the State's goals. 

To learn more about how you or your agency can be involved in implementing North Carolina's SHSP please contact Chris Oliver, NCDOT, at coliver@ncdot.gov.

April 29, 2021

APA-NC Legislative Committee Responds to Questions on HB 401/SB 349

On April 8, 2021 the APA-NC Legislative Committee responded via a conference call to submitted questions regarding HB 401/SB 349. A transcript of the Q&A was prepared and is now available to download. 

HB 401/SB 349 Q&A