House passes Rep. Short’s bill to help rural development

In a late-night floor session on Tuesday, Feb. 16, the state House of Representatives passed legislation designed to help rural development and give counties more options when approving water systems.

Rep. Shelly Short, R-Addy and sponsor of House Bill 2061, said it was another tool in the toolbox for local jurisdictions to approve Group B water systems and help spur rural development.

“There are many barriers to rural development,” said Short, R-Addy. “I’m always looking for effective ways to loosen the bureaucratic red tape to help make housing more affordable and some level of development more attractive and attainable for our local builders.”

Short’s bill provides an important option for local governments to approve Group B water systems with nine or fewer connections as long as the water provided by the system meets the local potable water quality standards at the point of delivery.  This authority applies only to the four northeast counties in the 7th Legislative district and has an initial sunset clause, expiring in 2021.

“There are still stringent water quality standards and accountability built into the process,” said Short.  “But this will make it easier for smaller developments to be approved by the county legislative authorities.”

HB 2061 passed the House 70-27 and now moves to the Senate for further consideration.

The 2016 legislative session is scheduled to end March 10.

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