Bill Eliminating Aesthetic Controls On Governor's Desk
A bill which could change the way your neighborhood looks has made its way to Governor Pat McCrory’s desk.
Under current law, cities and towns can use zoning ordinances to mandate how new homes look on the outside. The type of siding or roof shingles, number and style of windows, in some cases even the color of houses.
Senate Bill 25 bans municipalities from regulating these and other aesthetic features, specifically for single family homes and duplexes. The bill easily passed the Senate in April. Tuesday night, it passed the North Carolina House as well shepherded by Republican Nelson Dollar who introduced the measure by saying, "This bill helps homeowners be able to have the homes that they want and it helps make those homes more affordable." Because, Dollar argued, it allows builders to use less expensive materials if they choose to. Dollar added this makes sure the property rights of everyone are respected. "I believe this bill is actually a very good balance," he said, "between someone who owns a home or property and someone who’s developing a piece of property."
But what about the neighbors who may be concerned that new house with the Corinthian columns or a polka dot paint job may pull down the values of their existing homes? Yes, these are extreme examples, but of legitimate concerns says Scott Mooneyham, the spokesman for the North Carolina League of Municipalities. "We need to have these types of design standards so that a home is not built in a way that has the potential to devalue the home of the existing homeowner there." And Mooneyham says, the loss of these municipal aesthetic standards can affect the character of neighborhoods, which is why the cities of Pineville and Matthews lobbied against the measure. In Charlotte, officials are still trying to work out what affects the bill would have on the city.
The aesthetics bill does have some carve outs, historic districts for example. And, said Representative Nelson Dollar, "This does not affect agreed upon Homeowner Association covenants."
Governor McCrory has 10 days to either sign or veto the bill. If he does neither it will automatically become law.