New legislation gets N.C. Dept. of Commerce more involved in addressing housing shortage

New legislation gets N.C. Dept. of Commerce more involved in addressing housing shortage

February 8th, 2023

A bill filed Monday in the North Carolina House of Representatives would have the state’s Department of Commerce take an increased role in addressing the lack of housing that’s affordable for essential workers.

State Rep. Ben Moss, Jr., (R – Richmond) introduced House Bill 54 entitled “Make North Carolina Home Act of 2023“, which is co-sponsored by First District Rep. Edward Goodwin (R – Chowan).

Under provisions of the bill, the “Department of Commerce shall develop and establish a program to partner with counties on residential site selection in the state, establishing measurable goals to fulfill housing needs in growing areas of the state by the year 2033.”

The bill also requires a database be established with “sites and locations to allow interested parties to make an informed site location decision, allow developers looking to build residential spaces in the state, to determine a suitable market and the prospective profitability of a given site.”

Also included is a requirement for the North Carolina Building Code to be translated into Spanish.

“North Carolina is growing rapidly, but we have a serious shortage of housing that is leaving thousands of individuals and families without affordable options,” Moss said in a news release.

“This bill is going to improve and streamline our system by collaborating with the Department of Commerce and local governments to create transparency and certainty in the land development and residential construction process,” Moss said.

Senate leader Phil Berger said Monday that there’s a “real concern” about having adequate housing for all the new jobs coming to North Carolina, N.C. Tribune reported.

“I think that as you address the supply issue, you will also address the affordability issue,” Berger said. “It’s an issue I’ve had a number of members express concerns about.”

The legislation comes as struggles continue between local governments and adjacent property owners over the location of housing on the Outer Banks that’s affordable for teachers, law enforcement, members of the hospitality industry, and others.

Dare County received $35 million in the state budget approved last year to help fund essential housing projects constructed by private developers, along with allocating $9 million in local support.

The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Local Government – Land Use, Planning and Development, and if reported favorable then head to the House Commerce Committee, followed by the House Rules Committee.

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