Although municipal planning efforts are not legally binding regulations, recent research suggests that local comprehensive plans that include strong affordable housing policies lead to better housing outcomes. Such plans are positively correlated with a decreased share of cost-burdened low-income households that pay more than 30% of their income for housing. Strong state support for local planning is also important.
Except in the 20-county coastal area, comprehensive plans are voluntary in North Carolina, rather than mandatory as in Georgia and Florida. However, the state Fair Housing Act protects affordable housing against discrimination in land-use decisions, lending strong support to local affordable housing initiatives. Learn more at Fair Housing.