Wake mayors work together to stop bill

March 18, 2013 3:26:14 PM PDT
Several mayors from Wake County are joining forces to stop a bill that they claim would undercut their restrictions on housing.

The group of mayors said the bill would take power away from local governments when it comes to managing the design and appearance of new residential development.

They gathered Monday in the lobby of Raleigh City Hall to ask lawmakers for another way.

The bill outlines a one size fits all set of rules and regulations when it comes to new development. There are provisions to protect the aesthetics of buildings that fall under certain guidelines such as historic districts.

But critics use the Town of Morrisville as an example. It worked for years with stakeholders to create a set of standards to protect their historic town center.

"This is an area that does not qualify for national register and would not be exempted by this bill," said Ben Hitchings, the Pres. of the N.C. chapter of the American Planning Association. "However, it's an area that has a distinct and wonderful character to it, but this bill would invalidate key provisions of that town center code that protects this area and undoes the efforts of Morrisville to create a vibrant gathering place."

Backers of the bill said local governments never really had the authority to put their own regulations in place, and they said a bill like this would protect homeowners from overly strict regulation.

They say they are willing to talk to individual leaders about where a line should be drawn.

The bill is not a done deal just yet. It's still pending in the State House.

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