Design rules bill heads to Senate

Posted March 20, 2013

— Cities would be blocked from imposing appearance standards on new homes under a bill that cleared the state House Wednesday.

Cities around the state have used such ordinances to protect the character of neighborhoods or new additions. But critics say local officials have abused the practice – and some say municipalities don't even have the power to set such standards in the first place.

The bill got an initial positive vote on Tuesday. During that debate, opponents of the bill raised concerns the measure could block cities' ability to keep multifamily dwellings out of single-family neighborhoods.

To address that concern Wednesday, Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, offered an amendment that made clear cities could regulate things like the number of bathrooms or bedrooms in a house.

"This makes it very clear that municipalities can pass rules for one- or two-family structures," he said.

The measure passed the House 98-18. It now goes to the state Senate.


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