Charlotte City Council Has a Full Plate in 2015

Gvmt Center 2The Charlotte City Council got back to work this week, with a wide-ranging agenda of issues for 2015.

During Monday’s meeting of the Transportation and Planning Committee, planning staff provided a general overview of the draft University City Area Plan. The plan proposes land use guidance for the areas surrounding the 3 northernmost stations of the Blue Line Extension near UNC Charlotte’s main campus. It has been in development for well over a year and will likely receive final City Council action in March or April of this year.

The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the draft plan next Tuesday, January 20th at 5:00 pm at the Government Center, and all interested property owners and developers are encouraged to attend.

Staff also provided an update on Charlotte’s WALKS Initiative, aimed at improving walkability throughout the city. Preliminary recommendations included:

  1. Create safer, more frequent pedestrian crossings
  2. Replace back of curb sidewalks
  3. Review regulations for sidewalk construction in new developments

On Tuesday, Mayor Dan Clodfelter gave his State of the City Address where he summarized some of last year’s accomplishments and described some significant agenda items for 2015. The Mayor specifically noted the ongoing effort to improve the city/county plan review and inspection process as a priority issue on City Council’s agenda.. He also highlighted the need for additional funding as the City attempts to meet its transportation goals under the 2030 Transportation Plan.

You can watch the State of the City address in its entirety HERE.

On Wednesday, the Housing and Neighborhood Development Committee met and was provided updates on the Quality of Life Dashboard, a tool designed to help assess the health of neighborhoods in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.

Staff also provided an update on the gentrification issue. Council Members expressed concern about “affordable housing stock being forced out to the edges,” and acknowledged that hard choices may soon be required to preserve existing neighborhoods, which could impede private property rights.

Finally, the Environment Committee also met on Wednesday and were provided an update on the PCCO Stakeholder Process that came about following the extension of the Mitigation Fee Option last fall. A task force is mostly in place and will include 13 members:

  • 4 from the development community
  • 4 from the environmental community
  • 2 citizens
  • 1 representative from the Chamber of Commerce
  • 1 representative of academia
  • 1 associated with a minority-owned business.

The first meeting of the PCCO Mitigation Fee Task Force is scheduled for Thursday, January 29th at 4:30 p.m. at the Government Center, Room 267. All meetings will be open to the public.

REBIC will continue to monitor all these issues, and advocate for the interests of our members building, developing, and transacting real estate in the City of Charlotte.

Improvements Coming to Mecklenburg County’s Plan Revision Process

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Mecklenburg County Code Enforcement is promoting upcoming improvements to its field-driven RTAP (Revisions to Approved Plans) process that it says will make the inspection and permitting process quicker and more convenient for customers.

Beginning in late January, when an inspector identifies work in the field that will require a Revision to Approved Plans, the customer’s project team will automatically receive an e-mail informing them why the RTAP has been required, and providing a link to upload any additional documentation that may be needed. The county is doing this with an upgrade to its inspectors’ software — when the inspector notes that an RTAP is needed on his or her tablet, the e-mail notification will go out instantly.

Depending on the project, the e-mail may be received by the contractors or design team. If the RTAP will require an additional plan review, the appropriate staff will also be informed.

The idea, the County says, is to keep everyone on a project team up-to-date, so customers can move as quickly as possible to address the issue.

Code Enforcement will inform customers when the service becomes available.

 

City Looking for Input on Planning Director Search

Charlotte SkylineThe City of Charlotte is looking for input from the real estate and development community on its ongoing search for a new Planning Director. The joint Charlotte Mecklenburg Planning Department is currently being managed by Interim Director Ed McKinney, since former director Debra Campbell was promoted to an Assistant City Manager post last September.

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Industry Receives Update on Recommended Changes to City/County Plan Review & Permitting Process

Gartner1Members of the Charlotte real estate industry received a comprehensive briefing this week on a series of recommendations made by Gartner Consulting on ways to improve the city and county development review and construction permitting process.

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Sign the Petition to Restore North Carolina’s Historic Preservation Tax Credit

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In 2014, the North Carolina General Assembly failed to renew the Historic Preservation Tax Credit, which provided a 20 percent credit against eligible project costs for the qualifying rehabilitation of income-producing historic properties. When combined with a 20 percent federal tax credit, the program helped incentivize the redevelopment of buildings like NoDa’s Johnston and Mecklenburg Mills, a pair of structures built in the early 1900s that remain one of Charlotte’s best-preserved early textile factories. Continue reading

General Assembly Gets Underway as Leaders Hint at Positions on Tax Reform & Incentives

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The 2015 North Carolina General Assembly got underway last week with a largely ceremonial session, while and House and Senate leaders began hinting at the agenda they intend to pursue when they get underway in earnest on January 28th.

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Congress Sends Terrorism Risk Insurance Reauthorization to President

US Capitol 2In one of its first major legislative actions, the 114th Congress last week passed a six-year reauthorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), a critical piece of legislation sought by commercial property owners after the program’s expiration on December 31st.

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