American Planning Association
North Carolina Chapter
Current Legislative Issues
APA-NC Legislative Committee 2014 General Assembly Legislation Update 6-3-14
SB 786, the Energy Modernization Act
(preemption of local govt. ordinances limiting oil drilling) (ADOPTION PENDING)
SB786, the Energy Modernization Act, went to the Governor’s office for signature on May 29, 2014. It is expected to be signed into law shortly. The original bill included an 8% cap on the annual growth in tax revenues collected by a local government, but this cap was removed from the bill before approval, and has been sent to a study committee. This issue may return in next year’s long session.
The bill also authorizes oil and gas exploration, including hydraulic fracturing. The bill allows local governments to apply their planning and zoning authority to oil and gas activities, provided any development regulations applied to oil and gas uses are applied to all other industrial uses in the same zoning district. Local zoning ordinances that prohibit oil and gas exploration or production activities may be preempted by the NC Mining and Energy Commission.
HB 1191 Authority to Adopt Local Ordinances
(aka “the tree ordinance bill”) (IN AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE)
HB1191 includes language that recommended changes to Sections 153A-452 and 160A-458.5 of the General Statutes to bar cities and counties from adopting or enforcing any regulation affecting “The removal, replacement, and preservation of trees on private property within its jurisdiction.” While this bill is troubling, many General Assembly insiders have indicated that the bill will not move forward. The bill does not have a companion Senate bill, which is promising. The bill is still in the Agriculture Committee. The APA-NC Legislative Committee will continue to monitor this bill’s progress.
SB 139 (HB150), Design Controls
(IN SENATE RULES COMMITTEE)
This bill was up for reading by the Senate on Monday May 19, 2014 (it already passed the House). The bill was returned to the Senate Rules Committee for further consideration. Some characterize the Rules Committee as the “end of the line” for a draft bill, but it could be resurrected at any time. The bill has passed the House and is in the Senate Rules Committee. The APA_NC Legislative Committee will continue to monitor and report on the bill.
SB 763/H1050, Omnibus Tax Law Changes
(SIGNED INTO LAW)
SB763, Omnibus Tax Law Changes, has been signed into law by the Governor. The original bill included proposed changes to the privilege license tax system, capping it at a maximum of $100 per business. Last minute changes to the bill called for the issue to be further studied, and allowed privilege license taxes to be continued for one more fiscal year, provided they are applied only to businesses within the corporate limits and provided they do not exceed the rates charged in FY 13-14. The privilege license tax system is to be repealed next year in FY 15-16.
SB 734/H1136, Regulatory Reform Act of 2014
(Fertilizer, Permit Choice) (UNDER CONSIDERATION BY THE HOUSE)
This bill builds on the Regulatory Reform Omnibus bill of the 2013 session and adds two new provisions. The first is the addition of a “permit choice” provision in Section 143 that allows an applicant to choose which ordinance or rule to follow if ordinance provisions are changed by a jurisdiction between the time of application submittal and decision. It also includes a provision that bars cities and counties from adopting or enforcing any ordinances that limit the use, sale, storage, or production of fertilizer. The bill has passed the Senate and is under consideration by the House.
SB 738/H1166, Clarify Gravel Under Stormwater Laws
(gravel removed from definition of built-upon area)
SB738 seeks to amend Section 143-214.7(b2) of the General Statutes to remove gravel from the definition of “built-upon area”. This could have the effect of treating gravel as a pervious surface. The bill is under review by the Agriculture/Environment/Natural Resources Committee.
HB 1105, Soil Erosion/Sedimentation: Local govt. responsibility for enforcement
HB1105 includes new provisions directing that when the Sedimentation Control Commission approves a local government’s regulations for soil erosion and sedimentation control, that the responsibility for the administration and enforcement of the standards also be transferred to the local jurisdiction. The bill is under consideration by the Committee on the Environment.
The Legislative Committee will continue to monitor the General Assembly and the status of these bills as we progress through the short session. Feel free to contact Chad Meadows firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or information on how to contact your legislators regarding these bills.