Bill Summary for S 303 (2015-2016)

Summary date: 

Jun 15 2016

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2015-2016 Session
Senate Bill 303 (Public) Filed Tuesday, March 17, 2015
AN ACT TO PROVIDE FURTHER REGULATORY RELIEF TO THE CITIZENS OF NORTH CAROLINA.
Intro. by Barefoot, J. Davis, Hise.

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Bill summary

House committee substitute makes the following changes to the 4th edition.

Section 2.3

Amends GS 115C-47(41), which sets out the duty of local boards of education to encourage recycling in public schools, by clarifying that the local boards of education must comply with GS 160A-327 (displacement of private solid waste collection services by public enterprises). 

Section 2.4

Deletes proposed subsection (o) of GS 153A-340, and proposed subsection (k) of GS 160A-381, which required counties and cities to deem an affirmative vote to amend the zoning ordinance as a simultaneous amendment to the comprehensive plan or unified development ordinance. Instead, provides the following.

Amends GS 153A-341, concerning the purposes in view of zoning regulations of counties, by moving, and amending, the existing language into five subsections, (a) through (e).

Requires that, prior to adopting or rejecting any zoning amendment, the governing board must adopt a statement describing whether the action is consistent with an adopted comprehensive plan and any other officially adopted plan, including any unified development ordinance (previously, does not require the statement to include whether the action is consistent with any other officially adopted plan including any unified development ordinance), and explaining why the board considered the action taken to be reasonable and in the public interest. Makes conforming changes to the provisions relating to the planning board's advisement and comment on proposed amendments.

Directs that, if the governing body adopts a zoning amendment that is inconsistent with the comprehensive plan or any other officially adopted plan, including any unified development ordinance, the governing board must deem the affirmative vote adopting that zoning amendment as a simultaneous amendment to the comprehensive plan and any other officially adopted plan, including any unified development ordinance, for the property identified in the zoning amendment only.

Amends GS 160A-383, concerning  the purposes in view of zoning regulations of cities and towns, by moving, and amending, the existing language into five subsections, (a) through (e), to make the language identical to that of GS 153A-341, as amended by the act and described above.

Section 2.5

Deleted proposed subsection (c) to GS 153A-335, defining subdivision as it applies to the planning and regulation of development in counties, and replaces it with the following. Establishes that the county may require only a plat for recordation for the division of a tract or parcel of land in single ownership if five criteria are met: (1) the tract or parcel to be divided is not exempted under subdivision (a)(2) of the statute; (2) no part of the tract or parcel to be divided has been divided under subsection (c) in the 10 years prior to the division; (3) the entire area of the tract or parcel to be divided is greater than five acres; (4) after division, no more than three lots result; and (5) after division, all resultant lots comply with any lot dimension size requirements of applicable land use regulations (if any), the use of the lots is in conformity with the applicable zoning requirements (if any), and a permanent means of ingress and egress is recorded for each lot.

Deletes proposed subsection (c) to GS 160A-376, defining subdivision as it applies to the planning and regulation of development in cities and towns, and replaces it with identical language as that in GS 153A-335(c), as enacted by the act and described above, except replaces "county" with "city."

Section 2.6

Amends proposed subsection (21) of GS 1-52, which establishes a three-year statute of limitation for an action (other than for the recovery of real property) against the owner of an interest in real property by a unit of local government for a violation of a land use statute, ordinance, or permit or any other official action concerning land use carrying the effect of law. Establishes that the claim for relief accrues upon the occurrence of the earlier of any of the following: (1) the facts constituting the violation are known to the governing body, an agent, or an employee of the unit of local government or (2) the violation can be determined from the public record of the unit of local government (previously, the claim accrues when the violation is either apparent from a public right-of-way or is in plain view from a place to which the public is invited).

Amends GS 1-50(a) to add a new subdivision (8) to establish a six-year statute of limitation for an action (other than for the recovery of real property) against the owner of an interest in real property by a unit of local government for a violation of a land use statute, ordinance, or permit or any other official action concerning land use carrying the effect of law. Provides that subdivision (8) does not limit the remedy of injunction for conditions that are actually injurious or dangerous to the public health or safety, but does prescribe an outside limitation of six years from the earlier of the occurrence of any of the following: (1) the violation is apparent from a public right-of-way or (2) the violation is in plain view from a place to which the public is invited.

Section 2.8

Deletes language in GS 89C-13(a), which specified requirements for licensure as a professional engineer, and replaced it with language specifying the requirements for certification as an engineer intern.

Adds new GS 89C-13(a1), which specifies the new requirements for licensure as a professional engineer. Requires that the applicant be of good character and reputation, submit five character references, comply with the requirements of the new law, and meet the requirements related to education, examination, and experience. Authorizes the State Board of Examiners of Engineers and Surveyors to allow licensure by comity or endorsement and based on long-established practice. Authorizes waivers for examination requirements under certain circumstances.

Effective October 1, 2016.

Section 2.11

Amends proposed subsection (a1) of GS 132-6.2, setting out the provisions for copies of public records, to add a "notwithstanding subsection (a) of the statute" clause before the previously proposed language of the new subsection. Also, requires that a public agency satisfying its requirement to provide access to public records and computer databases under GS 132-9 by making those public records or computer databases available online in a format that allows a person to obtain a copy by download to also allow for inspection of any public records also held in a non-digital medium. 

Section 2.16
 
Requires the DOT, for each type of permit issued by the Highway Divisions under GS Chapter 136, to make uniform all processes and procedures followed by the Highway Divisions when issuing that type of permit. Requires DOT to report no later than February 1, 2017, on the implementation of this subsection, including information concerning the processes and procedures as specified. Requires the report to be submitted to different committees depending on whether or not the General Assembly is in session at the time of the report: if in session report goes to the House of Representatives Committee on Transportation Appropriations and the Senate Appropriations Committee on Department of Transportation; if not in session, the report goes to the Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee.
Enacts new GS 136-93.01 to allow an application submitted for a permit issued by DOT or its agents under GS Chapter 136 (Transportation) to be submitted electronically.  Effective December 31, 2016.
 
Amends GS 136-19.5 to now require DOT to also reimburse the utility owner for the cost of moving cable service when DOT requires the relocation of the cable and it is located in a right of way for which the utility owner contributed to the cost of acquisition.
 
Allows DOT to adopt temporary rules to implement the provisions of this section.
 
Section 2.17
 
Amends the process for becoming a licensed general contractor as found in GS 87-10, requiring first that an applicant submit an application before being entitled to an examination. Further requires any applicant to (1) be at least 18 years old, (2) possess good moral character, (3) provide evidence of financial responsibility, and (4) submit the appropriate application fee (previously, applicant only had to file an application for the examination on the correct form, at least 30 days before any regular or special meeting of the Board).  Also provides that the State Licensing Board for General Contractors (Board) must require an applicant to pay an examination fee not to exceed $100 (previously, the Board was permitted to charge the fee but not required). Makes organizational changes and deletes provisions concerning proof of good character. Further provides that an applicant must identify an individual that has successfully passed an examination approved by the Board; provides that for the purposes of this section this individual is known as the qualifier or qualifying party.  Set outs requirements for the examination if a qualifier or qualifying party wants to take an examination. Provides that if the qualifier or qualifying party passes the examination, and after review of the application and all relevant information, then the Board must issue a license to the applicant to engage in general contracting in North Carolina, which can be limited as specified (previously, the Board would conduct an examination, either oral or written, of all applicants for license for the classification of license for which an applicant has applied).  Further amends the process for taking the examination, making conforming and organizational changes, creating a new subsection (c1) concerning the disconnection of a qualifier or qualifying party from the licensee, providing that the license will remain in full force and effect for 90 days. After 90 days the license is invalidated, but the licensee is entitled to a return to active status pursuant to all relevant statutes and rules from the Board. Provides that during the 90-day period, no licensee can bid on or undertake contracts from the time the qualifier or qualifying party ceased to be connected to the licensee until the license is reinstated (previously, in times where the examined person was disconnected from the applicant, the license was in effect for 90 days but then was canceled, with the applicant being entitled to a reexamination). Deletes provision which provided for reexamination for those failing to pass. Enacts new subsection (d1) providing that the Board can require a new application if a qualifier or qualifying party requests to take an examination a third of subsequent time.  Amends provisions concerning the validity and expiration of a license, providing that licenses expire the first day of January following its issuance or renewal (was, a certificate of license expired on the 31st day of December following its issuance or renewal).  Deletes provision providing that renewals could be effected any time during the month of January without reexamination by payment of a fee to the Board. Adds language requiring all renewal applications to be submitted with a fee as specified.  Deletes language requiring the Board to mail written notice of the amount of the renewal fees for the upcoming year by November 30.  Adds language assessing a late fee for late renewal of applications received on or after January 1st (previously, late fee was assessed if received after January). Requires a licensee to fulfill all requirements of a new applicant as provided if desiring to be relicensed subsequent to the archival of license. Provides that archived license numbers are not reissued.  Deletes language that provided that no renewal of a license can be affected after a lapse of four years.  Effective January 1, 2017, applying to applications for licensure submitted on or after that date. 
 
Deletes Section 2.15 from the previous edition, concerning a building code study by the NC Building Code Council.  

Section 3.6

Deletes the previous version of the section, which made numerous changes to Article 21C, Permitting of Wind Energy Facilities, of GS Chapter 143. Replaces the changes with a requirement that the Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (Department) study the appropriate role for the Department with regard to evaluation of military related criteria for permitting wind energy facilities. Requires a report to the Environmental Review Commission and the North Carolina Military Affairs Commission by December 1, 2016.

Section 3.9

Adds the requirement that the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) study under what circumstances local governments should be allowed to exceed riparian buffer requirements mandated by the State and federal government. Require DEQ to also consider measures to ensure that local governments do not exceed their statutory authority for establishing riparian buffer requirements. Requires DEQ to consult with property owners and others entities impacted by riparian buffer requirements as well as local governments. Requires that for any recommendations made pursuant to this study or the DEQ study on whether to adjust the size of riparian buffers and activities allowed within the buffers, DEQ must include specific draft language for any rule or statutory changes necessary to implement the recommendations.

Section 4.10

Eliminates this section, which repealed Sections 29(j) and 29(k) of SL 2014-120, concerning annual reporting requirements by regulatory authorities concerning the informal review process for reviewing engineering work.

Section 4A

Adds a new section, amending GS 66-58(b), concerning the sale of merchandise or services by governmental units, to allow for the lease of parking spaces in accordance with the procedures set forth for leases in GS Chapter 146 for any period of time the Department of Administration determines the spaces to be in excess of need, or a ground lease of State-owned land in accordance with procedures for leases in GS Chapter 146. Effective July 1, 2016. 

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