Governor Roy Cooper has signed into law a 44-page Regulatory Reform bill that contains several critical provisions for residential and commercial developers.
SB 131, ‘Regulatory Reform Act of 2016-2017’, contains two reforms that are of particular interest to developers:
Energy Efficiency Code Exemptions – Section 1.4 of the bill excludes from state Energy Efficiency Code requirements any buildings with the following use classifications:
Factory Group F
Storage Group S
Utility & Miscellaneous Group U
Furthermore, an amendment suggested by REBIC and introduced by Representative Bill Brawley ensures that the energy code exclusion ‘shall apply to the entire floor area of any structure’ included in the provision. This language was intended to prevent the office or showroom portion of a warehouse, industrial or manufacturing building from having to meet energy efficiency code requirements, when the majority of the structure does not.
This provision must be codified by the North Carolina Building Code Council, which next meets on June 13th in Raleigh. An effective date will likely be set for sometime this fall.
Stream Mitigation Requirements – Section 3.13 of the bill amends stream mitigation requirements to allow developers to disturb up to 300′ of stream bed before mitigation is required, unless otherwise prohibited by federal law. Current law requires mitigation whenever 150′ or more is disturbed. This provision would bring North Carolina in line with stream mitigation requirements in neighboring states.
This provision must be approved by the U.S. Corps of Engineers before it can take effect. A timeline for that adoption has not yet been determined, but REBIC will keep you posted as we learn more details.
Other key provisions in the law include:
An update of the general contractors licensing law which contains language clarifying that the determination of project cost for intermediate or limited license excludes the cost of land and any ancillary costs to improve the land.
A 5-year statute of limitations and a 7-year statute of repose on local governments to pursue an alleged violation of a land-use statute, ordinance or permit against a landowner. Current law does not contain any statute of limitations.