Bill Summary for S 478 (2021-2022)

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Summary date: 

Apr 5 2021

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2021
Senate Bill 478 (Public) Filed Thursday, April 1, 2021
Intro. by Jarvis, McInnis, Woodard.

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Bill summary

Identical to H 489, filed 4/1/21.

Section 1

Authorizes the State Licensing Board for General Contractors (Board) to use a criminal background check in determining a general contractor's application for licensure under GS 87-10; requires compliance with the provisions of GS 93B-8.1. Requires general contractors to consent to a criminal background check as part of licensing application requirements, as required by the Board and at the applicant's expense. Provides for information obtained from criminal background checks to be privileged, confidential, and not public record. Deems records, papers, and other documentation containing personal information collected or compiled by the Board in connection with an application for examination, licensure, certification, or renewal or reinstatement, or the subsequent update of information to be not be public records. Effective January 1, 2022, and applies to applications for licensure submitted on or after that date.

Modifies GS 87-10.2 to require the Board to approve providers and instructors of continuing education courses for licensees and requires providers of the mandatory course to register Board-approved instructors affiliated with the provider to attend a training program established, approved, and administered by the Board. Regarding live instruction credit hours, adds that transmission of live approved presentation by an approved instructor is included. Makes changes to refer to approved providers throughout (instead of approved sponsor in some places). Directs the Board to ensure that all continuing education requirements can be satisfied by approved internet-based e-learning courses. Extends the Board's authority regarding disciplinary action for false continuing education certification to apply to qualifiers and qualifying parties in addition to licensees. Clarifies that the Board's duty to maintain and distribute educational coursework completion applies to required educational coursework. Requires annual requests to the Board for a licensee to place the licensee's license in an inactive status. Effective January 1, 2022, and applies to continuing education hours required on or after that date.

Regarding the Board's authority to seek injunctive relief for violations of Article 1 and rules adopted thereunder, requires the court to award reasonable attorneys' fees of up to $5,000 plus the costs associated with obtaining the relief and the investigation and prosecution of the violation when the Board is successful in its action (previously authorized the court to award costs associated with the investigation and prosecution). 

Directs the Board to adopt temporary and permanent implementing rules; excludes the Board from fiscal note requirements in adopting these rules. 

Section 2

Amends GS 143-138 to require the Building Code Council (Council) to conduct economic analysis or cost-benefit analysis of its own or that is submitted other than by the proponent of a proposed NC Building Code (Code) amendment or revision, excluding proposals for revision or amendments made upon motion of the Council or submitted by a State agency or political subdivision of the State. Updates statutory cross-references. Allows for rather than requires Council approval of local regulations approved by a local governing body which are found by the Council to be more stringent than the adopted statewide fire prevention code and regulate only activities and conditions in buildings, structures, and premises that pose dangers of fire, explosion or related hazards, and do not conflict with the Code. 

Section 3

Amends GS 160A-306 to add to the requirements of any setback lines to require they be designed to provide that measurements for sight distances at street intersections begin within the roadway or edge of pavement of a proposed or existing street. Makes technical changes.

Amends GS 160D-922 to provide that fees charged by local governments under their erosion and sedimentation control program are governed by GS 113A-60, as amended.

Section 4

Enacts GS 160D-1104(d1), prohibiting charging fees for follow-up inspections to verify completion or correction of additional violations of the NC Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings or the Code discovered during a follow-up inspection conducted to verify completion or correction of Code violations noted in a previous inspection, and the additional violations are within an area of work for which a final inspection has already been conducted. 

Section 5

Enacts two new subsections to GS 113A-54.1, which provide as follows. Deems the financial responsibility for land-disturbing activity on residential lots involving new construction owned by builders or developers to transfer to the new owner upon the builder or developer's conveyance of the lot to the new owner and deed recordation. Prohibits requiring additional erosion control measures for the development of a residential lot where an erosion control plan for the development phase in which the lot is located has received final inspection and approval. 

Amends GS 113A-54.2 to deem that GS 113A-60, as amended, governs the local government authority to assess fees for the review and approval of erosion and sedimentation control plans. 

Amends GS 113A-60 to authorize local governments to adopt ordinances establishing a fee for the review and approval of erosion and sedimentation control plans, inspections conducted pursuant to the plan, and related activities (was, review of the plan and related activities). Establishes fee parameters to require the fee be calculated on the basis of either the number of acres disturbed or set at up to $100 per lot developed, with the method of calculation at the option of the person submitting the plan for review and approval. Makes conforming and organizational changes. Enacts three new subsections, providing the following. Prohibits local governments from requiring a separate erosion control plan for development of individual residential lots within a development project which contains an approved master erosion control plan. Sets forth 11 specifications local governments can require for the review and approval of erosion control measures for such lot development. Establishes that, subject to federal law, local erosion control programs must provide that no periodic self-inspections or rain gauge installation is required on individual residential lots where less than one acre is being disturbed per lot, and, for a land-disturbing activity on more than one residential lot where the total land disturbed exceeds one acre, allow the person conducting the activity to submit a single erosion plan for all of the disturbed lots or submit for review and approval the erosion control measures of each individual lot as if under an approved erosion control plan. Prohibits development regulations and local erosion and sedimentation control plans from requiring a silt fence or other measure to be placed, or a wire-backed reinforced silt fence, which would not substantially and materially retain the sediment generated by the land-disturbing activity within the boundaries of the tract during construction upon and development of the tract, due to the natural contour and topography of the site. Effective July 1, 2021, and applies to erosion control plans submitted for review and approval on or after that date. 

Enacts GS 113A-61.1(d) to establish that the damage or destruction of a silt fence occurring during development or construction on a development project is not a violation of Article 4 so long as the silt fence is repaired or replaced within five working days of the inspection revealing the damage or destruction. 

Section 6

Requires the Council to implement Section D107 of the 2018 NC Fire Code and other provisions related to fire apparatus access roads for one- and two-family dwelling residential developments as follows. Directs the Council and Code enforcement official to not require an automatic sprinkler system in one- or two-family dwellings where there are fewer than 100 dwelling units on a single public or private fire apparatus access road with access from one direction. Requires the Council to adopt amendments consistent with this directive, as specified.