• 50°

SPENCER — Spencer aldermen may request an exemption from a proposed state law that would prevent towns and cities from restricting the appearance of most residences.
Aldermen had a lengthy discussion Tuesday night about House Bill 150, which the N.C. House of Representatives passed 98-17 last month and is now in a senate committee. If it becomes law, the legislation would prevent local governments from enacting design or architectural rules for most single-family homes and duplexes.
“If we end up being governed by Raleigh, it’s not a good fit for Spencer,” Mayor Pro Tem Jim Gobbel said.
Appearance rules could still be applied in historic districts, and planned subdivisions could still adopt covenants governing the neighborhood.
Alderman Jeff Morris said he supports the bill, which he said was drafted in response to abuses by Cary and Chapel Hill in restricting what homeowners could do to their property.
Those cities are held up in seminars around the state as examples of good planning, Morris said, adding that he is concerned other communities will follow their lead.
In that case, legislators should be targeting Cary and Chapel Hill, not trying to pass a law that would have a negative impact on all municipalities in the state, Alderman Reid Walters said.
“Do a bill that is specific to those towns,” Walters said, calling the legislation an example of “narrow-mindedness” in the General Assembly.
“A handful of municipalities are abusing it, and the vast majority of them in the state are not,” he said.
Walters said he has talked to N.C. Rep. Harry Warren (R-Rowan) about the possibility of seeking an exemption for all N.C. towns with fewer than 5,000 residents. Spencer’s population is about 3,000.
Gobbel said he wants to pursue an exemption for Spencer, regardless.
“What are we going to do to protect our zoning and our aesthetic controls?” he said.
Morris urged the board to wait and see what happens with the legislation. Even if it passes, the town can ask for an exemption next year, he said.
Others urged faster action.

Eventually, aldermen agreed to ask town staff for more information about what’s currently in the bill and exemptions requested so far by Morrisville, Montreat and Biltmore Forest.
Morris said Spencer would have to show it has a unique reason to be exempt.
“We need to say more than just, ‘We don’t like having our hands tied,’” he said. “We have to show why we merit exclusion from something that’s going to affect the whole state.”
Mayor Jody Everhart said the board needs to study the issue further before deciding whether to request an exemption. Town Manager Larry Smith and Planning Director Price Wagoner said they would have details and a recommendation ready by the next board meeting, May 14.
“I hope we don’t miss the boat,” Gobbel said.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

Comments

Comments closed.

Education

Rowan County administers 700 vaccines, with majority going to local educators

Crime

Shoplifting at Walmart presents challenge for Salisbury police

Local

Commissioners will hear details about changes to solar energy policies

Business

After overcoming obstacles, local barber Daniel King earns registered status

Lifestyle

39th annual K12 student exhibitions go virtual

Business

Biz Roundup: Chamber of Commerce to host ‘Salute to Agri-Business’ at March Power in Partnership

Local

Local legislators back bills ranging from new restrictions on sex offenders to Holocaust education

News

After surviving COVID-19 scare, Lois Willard set to celebrate 100th birthday

High School

Carson rolls over South 41-0 as about 600 allowed in to see season opener for both

Education

East Spencer after school program looks toward opening, nonprofit status

Lifestyle

Frank Ramsey inducted into the NC Military Veterans Hall of Fame

College

Livingstone’s Stoutamire inducted into 2021 CIAA Hall of Fame

Nation/World

J&J’s 1-dose shot cleared, giving US 3rd COVID-19 vaccine

Coronavirus

13 deaths reported in Rowan, county stresses need to receive second dose

Coronavirus

10% of Rowan residents receive first dose; eight COVID-19 deaths reported this week

News

North Carolina State Highway Patrol commander to retire

Education

UNC School of the Arts may go for online learning due to COVID-19 spread

Coronavirus

Greensboro site to administer 3,000 daily vaccine doses starting March 10

Nation/World

Update: $1.9 trillion relief bill passes House, moves on to Senate

Nation/World

Lady Gaga’s dogs recovered safely

Coronavirus

Update: FDA follows advisers’ recommendation, OKs single-shot COVID-19 vaccine from J&J

Local

Post wins 18 N.C. Press Association Awards

Education

Cooper vetoes bill that would force K-12 schools to reopen

Local

Lanning named Spencer’s fire chief