Council hears details about Senate Bill 166: Village attorney discusses possible ‘far-reaching changes to the building code’

Published 12:08 am Thursday, May 16, 2024

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CLEMMONS — Besides updating and approving a couple of contracts involving zoning services and a sewer extension with the City of Winston-Salem in Monday night’s meeting, the Clemmons Village Council heard about some disturbing details from the town’s attorney regarding Senate Bill 166 that could impact local communities.

“Once again, I don’t get to bring good news to the village council,” Al Benshoff said. “I shudder when I see ‘Attorney’s Report’ on the agenda.”

Benshoff said he wanted to make the village aware the N.C. Legislature is in session and that it includes Senate Bill 166: Building Code Regulatory Reform.

“It’s about 74 pages long, and I can’t possibly summarize it, but let me say it makes far-reaching changes to the building code, to the zoning enabling statutes, to the statues that enable you to have stormwater control and some other things,” Benshoff said. “Not everything in there affects Clemmons because you don’t provide all of those functions, but certainly there will be a derivative effect to the extent that the building code administration will be reorganized at the state level.

“There will be some changes in the way building codes are administered that will affect the county and that will ultimately affect the village, so I suggested to the manager to send the bill to the staff, especially the stormwater staff, for their review and analysis of its impact on Clemmons. It’s changing week to week, if not day to day. What I read last week is already a little bit out of date.”

Mayor Mike Rogers added, “It sounds like we have some light reading to do.”

This is the latest in what seems like an annual ritual of Clemmons facing challenges with some bills being introduced by the N.C. Legislature.

Senate Bill 166, Building Code Regulatory Reform, was introduced by Senators Joyce Krawiec, Steve Jarvis and Paul Lowe.

Here’s the overview provided by the General Assembly: “Senate Bill 166 would amend various development regulations, amend various North Carolina State Building Codes, amend various construction contractors and design professionals regulations, amend various environment and environmental health regulations, reorganize the Building Code Council.”

In the first two business items on Monday night’s agenda, the council approved an interlocal agreement with the City of Winston-Salem for zoning services and then approved a sewer contract for Harper Road.

Planner Doug Moore said the agreement “provides the zoning services that we always contract out with them. We have removed the items that we now do in-house with this, so this has been scaled back from what we used to have.

“There was a lot of give and take. There were things I would have liked to have seen, but it is what it is. We do rely on those services from them at this time. What makes me nervous is the fact that we’re going to go through a major overhaul of our UDO (Unified Development Ordinance). When we do that, Winston-Salem has put in language if something that is too much of a change or increases their work, they won’t do that. We’re going to come up with a backup plan. For right now, it will get us by until we will need to do something different.”

The sewer contract with the City of Winston-Salem on a $737,205 extension off Harper Road was approved at the previous meeting in April, but Village Manager Mike Gunnell provided an update.

“In the last meeting, we agreed to go into a partnership with the City of Winston-Salem on the sewer extension, and our part of it was $435,600, where we agreed to pull for our cost we were going to use our Sewer Reserve Fund. We let the Utility Commission know that. However, they would like to see a motion and a vote by council to use those funds to pay for our portion of the sewer contract.”

The council approved the motion unanimously.

In other highlights from Monday night’s meeting, the council:

  • Appointed Lynette Fox, events coordinator, to serve as the Clemmons representative on the Historic Resources Commission’s America 250 Committee.
  • Approved a contract not to exceed $29,500 with Gibson & Company P.A. for annual audit services.
  • Approved accepting the resignation of Anabelle McElory from the Zoning Board of Adjustment, effective immediately.
  • Heard from Shannon Ford, marketing and communications director, on the official opening day of the Clemmons Farmers Market last Saturday at the Jerry Long Family YMCA. “It was a huge success,” she said. “We had 49 vendors and two food trucks and well over 1,000 customers.”