Affordable housing bill ‘will come back up this session,’ NC Senate majority leader says during panel | Eastern North Carolina Now

    Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the Carolina Journal. The author of this post is David Larson.

    On Dec. 8 at Raleigh's City Club, panelists from both the left and right sides of the aisle were largely in agreement that North Carolina's booming urban areas are not seeing enough homes being built for how quickly populations are growing, and that this was increasingly spiking the price of homes to a place outside the reach of too many residents.

    The summit, billed as "Keeping Housing Affordable in North Carolina," was co-organized by the CATO Institute and the John Locke Foundation.

    The event began with CATO Institute senior fellow Michael Tanner presenting a report on what went wrong in California's housing market and how other states can avoid their fate.

    "They stopped building housing, and the result is what you see today," Tanner said. "And you're seeing that in places like North Carolina now."

    He said, like California, North Carolina is drawing people quickly because of good economics, a great climate, good universities, and other attractive qualities. But, also like California, the state isn't building enough homes to house all of these new residents.

    He said that "the situation is actually growing worse," because while a decade ago the state was only slightly behind in building housing, that gap between the number of people arriving and the number of houses being built has expanded. And as a simple supply-and-demand equation, this has made those houses much more expensive as everyone competes to buy them.

    "More and more we find out that this one is not [a complicated equation]; this is a problem of Economics 101," Tanner said.

    After sharing some of the impacts of these spiking housing prices - including lost jobs, poverty, racial segregation, homelessness, and putting native North Carolinians at a comparative disadvantage - he highlighted a few solutions that could increase the number of housing units coming onto the market.

    Tanner said the main impediment was exclusionary zoning, which he said included overregulating things like setbacks, multi-family residences, parking spaces, lot-sizes, building height, and accessory dwelling units. He also said making building permits "by right" if they meet local regulations is important so that local zoning and planning boards don't hold up projects unjustly.

    Tanner said North Carolina's legislature could intervene and pass state-wide legislation on this because the state is a quasi-Dillon's Rule state, meaning that generally the state gets to decide what areas localities have jurisdiction over, as opposed to Home Rule states, where localities can rule on things unless the state has directly ruled they cannot.

    After Tanner's speech, there were two panels to discuss the issue further. The first - featuring Tim Minton of the North Carolina Home Builders Association, Brent Woodcox of YIMBY Raleigh, and Bill Rowe of the North Carolina Justice Center - discussed the problems; while the second panel - featuring state Sen. Paul Newton, state Rep. Tim Moffitt, and state Rep. Vernetta Alston - focused on solutions.

    In the first panel, Minton discussed 25-30% of the cost of many housing projects that his membership builds is due to regulations like those discussed by Tanner. Sometimes there are many units ready to be built, but local planning and zoning boards insist that they cannot use vinyl siding or other perfectly safe, efficient materials.

    In the second panel, Newton, who had been a sponsor of a bill last session to address affordable housing through making building easier across the state, recounted a story of a wedding venue he was involved in building.

    "I cannot describe the torture chamber that planning and zoning is unless you've been there," Newton said about building the venue in "the middle of nowhere" even after getting the approval of every neighbor. "They have no concept that time is money. It is horrific, and it is real that it adds time and cost to any building project."

    He said the planning board took the opportunity to delay the project again and again. They required the parking lot to be grass surrounded by trees, but then later delayed it further to make sure that the trees were doing a good-enough job blocking traffic on the lightly traveled two-lane rural road from seeing cars.

    "I guarantee you that the private sector will fill this void if we unleash them, but they cannot do that with these planning and zoning laws."

    Newton, who was just selected to be the next Senate majority leader, said that local officials are under a lot of pressure not to relax zoning restrictions, so they should be grateful that General Assembly leaders are willing to take this issue off their plate.

    "We're trying to make things easy for you with this bill, and it's going to come back up. Some form of it's going to come back up this session."
Go Back


Leave a Guest Comment

Your Name or Alias
Your Email Address ( your email address will not be published)
Enter Your Comment ( no code or urls allowed, text only please )




former French spy chief says mass migration ''threatens civil peace'' Carolina Journal, Editorials, Op-Ed & Politics Charitable giving up 40% at NC based charities


HbAD0

Latest Op-Ed & Politics

The 2023 Oscar nominations have been released with the film “Everything Everywhere All at Once” leading its competitors. The 2023 Oscars will be held Sunday, March 12, with Jimmy Kimmel as the host.
Move aside, purple horseshoes! General Mills announced today an exciting new addition to their Lucky Charms marshmallow lineup: Ukraine Flag charms, available for a limited time only.
does not reduce inflation, but does reduce your family budget
Congressman Greg Steube (R-FL) shared an update on his health on Monday after a fall from a ladder outside his Sarasota, Florida, home resulted in a trip to the Intensive Care Unit.
Greenville is urging the N.C. Supreme Court to consider a case challenging its red-light camera program. The city shut the program down last November.
A Florida Democratic lawmaker in favor of teaching a controversial AP African American Studies in high schools blasted the state on Monday, arguing that students shouldn’t be shielded from BLM or “black queerness.”
The Beaufort County Commissioners meet each month for one general meeting to do most of the People's business here in Beaufort County, and we present that meeting in full review here on ENC NOW.
Joe Rogan slammed legacy media for its “sh***y format” and said “it’s way less popular” than it’s ever been in history, naming CNN and evening news.
Tragedy struck the world and billions of people suddenly and unexpectedly lost their lives as the iconic Doomsday Clock inadvertently sprung forward for daylight saving time, plunging the earth into unspeakable darkness and ushering in the end of humanity as we knew it.

HbAD1

 
Back to Top