by Becki Gray
Former Senior Vice President, John Locke Foundation
I spoke in favor of SB 349, Increase Housing Opportunities this afternoon in the Senate Finance Committee. Here’s what I said:
With the new census numbers in and as Apple’s recent announcement reminds us, North Carolina has been an attractive and affordable alternative for businesses and people to move. You (legislators) have done this with tax reform, with broad regulatory reforms, and since 2015 with reforms to land-use regulations.
SB349 may be the most ambitious state-level reform yet, but each piece is worthwhile in its protection of the rights of property owners. Overall, it takes strides to address “missing middle” housing with more allowance for duplexes, triplexes, and townhomes. It provides more freedom to add in-law apartments, backyard cottages, and other accessory dwelling units essential in high-demand areas.
If you tried building a home or an addition, before skyrocketing lumber prices made it almost impossible, you likely have some understanding of the costly delays in the permitting process that SB349 would also address. With the reforms in this bipartisan bill, the market can provide more, and more affordable housing without resorting to the temporary and artificial affordability of inclusionary zoning.
The bill was for discussion only, no vote was taken. The bill may not go anywhere right now but the problem of affordable housing costs is not going away. We look forward to continuing the conversation.