From Benjamin Brown with THE INSIDER, 04/28/15 - The Senate on Monday passed and sent the House a bill to stop local governments from regulating the design and aesthetics of one- and two-family dwellings. Supporters say Senate Bill 25, approved 43-7, shines on private property rights and unties developers from sometimes costly mandates to give homes a certain look or style. "Aesthetic controls are expensive," said bill sponsor Sen. Rick Gunn, R-Alamance. "We have seen where builders have seen up to $10,000 or more in (required) design aesthetic improvements that have been put on them by cities. That's certainly not good for folks that are trying to buy homes as we’re trying to make housing affordable."
But opponents like the N.C. League of Municipalities continue their call for a compromise in the House that would, among other things, allow cities to maintain design controls on new construction in established neighborhoods. "By allowing compatible development, NCLM-supported language protects existing homeowners and their property rights, preserving property values and the character of existing neighborhoods that lack HOA requirements," says a handout from the group. The Senate bill would still allow local governments to impose residential design standards in historic areas, for public safety specifically or as important for participation in the National Flood Insurance Program. But in general it wouldn't allow them to control the exterior cladding material, paint colors, windows styles, or the interior layout of rooms, for instance. NCLM maintains it's important for cities to have the option to regulate rooms — for example, not allowing single buildings in certain zones to have numerous kitchens — as to prevent usage that isn't compatible with residential areas. (Benjamin Brown, THE INSIDER, 04/28/15).