Permit Reform Legislation Reintroduced in North Carolina

Legislation has been reintroduced in North Carolina that will bring transparency, accountability and predictability to the permit process and spur commercial development, economic growth and job creation within the state. Local building permits are an essential and fundamental requirement for the development, rehabilitation and improvement of commercial real estate. However, the process for obtaining these permits varies by city and county and can be cumbersome and costly. These variations lead to uncertainties and delays, which impact project financing, cost, and the retention of contractors, construction equipment and other materials.

The passage and enactment of HB 332/SB 275 in North Carolina will bring important reforms to local permitting procedures and reduce inefficiencies. Basic elements of the bill include:

  • A local permitting entity has 21 days to review an application unless otherwise agreed to by all parties.
  • During the 21 days, the local entity shall resolve issues associated with the application and may seek additional information from the applicant.
  • If additional information is needed or the application must be resubmitted, the permitting entity has 15 days from receipt of the additional information to issue a permit.
  • If the local permitting entity is unable to meet the time parameters, the applicant or inspections department may seek approval from a certified third party or the department of insurance.
  • Upon acceptance of a certified approval of an application, the local government shall have 72 hours to issue the permit and refund all applicable fees.
  • Upon issuance of the permit based on third party certification, the local government and inspection department are released from any liabilities, responsibilities or claims arising under this legislation.

Passage of HB 332/SB 275 is a top legislative priority for the three NAIOP chapters in North Carolina and will be the centerpiece of their legislative advocacy day in Raleigh on April 26.