The Mint Hill Times

Sen. Tommy Tucker

A bill that would limit the guidelines municipalities can have in dictating the look of homes is now in committee in the state house. If passed, it could have repercussions for municipalities across the state.
Senate Bill 731, named the Zoning/Design and Aesthetic Controls bill, passed the senate on May 17 by a vote of 38-10. It was introduced by Mecklenburg County Senator Dan Clodfelter and seeks to “clarify when a municipality or a county may enact zoning ordinances related to design and aesthetic controls.”
The bill is now in committee in the state house awaiting a vote that will send it to the floor. Representatives will then vote again and send it back to the senate for the final vote.
State Senator Tommy Tucker (Dist. 35), who represents the Mint Hill area, said the version of the bill that came of the senate was softened and lacked the “teeth” it once had. He said that is why he voted for it.
“The paragraph that was limiting to municipalities was taken out,” he said. “This is a gut check for both entities—builders and municipalities.”
He said there has been very little response to the bill from the public or towns and acknowledged that towns don’t always know what’s happening in Raleigh.
Both Mint Hill and Matthews town leadership crafted a letter that voiced opposition to the bill. It will be sent to state legislators who represent the area.
Tucker said he believes that the market place should have more say in dictating what homes can look like, and that it’s not a decision a municipality needs to always make.
He said that municipalities are imposing additional costs on builders with the current ordinances. He cited as an example a town which requires front porches on homes, noting that this adds $5,000-$10,000 in extra costs.
Mint Hill Commissioner Tina Ross said at the last town meeting two weeks ago that the bill would be bad for for not just Mint Hill, but other towns as well.
“I would like us to heavily oppose this bill,” she said. “We have tried really hard to maintain quality housing and this takes the ability away from us.”
Tucker said there needs to be a compromise that will be good for towns and businesses.
The passage of the bill is now in a race against time. General Assembly leaders have said they would like to wrap up this session by June 14. Tucker said that if the bill doesn’t pass vote in the senate by then, there is a good chance it won’t pass
at all this year.