County Commission Discussion on Code Enforcement Improvements Gets Testy

iStock_000005457175XSmallA discussion of pending improvements to the building permitting and inspections process got testy last Thursday night, as members of the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners (BOCC) couldn’t seem to agree on whether Code Enforcement officials or customers were the source of the problems. Continue reading

Big Changes Coming August 1 for Residential Closing Documents

Home SaleRealtors® and their clients will see some big changes to their closing documents beginning August 1st.

The HUD-1 settlement statement and Good Faith Estimate forms will disappear, along with the Truth in Lending Act disclosure. In their place will be a new Closing Disclosure and a new, single Loan Estimate. There will be changes to the closing process as well, including a new rule requiring everything to be in place three days prior to closing. Continue reading

Charlotte NAIOP Members Advocate for Commercial Real Estate Issues on Capitol Hill

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Charlotte NAIOP members Clifton Coble (Bissell Cos), Chris Thomas (Childress Klein) and Jim Gamble (Bohler Engineering) on Capitol Hill February 11th.

Members of the Charlotte Chapter of NAIOP traveled to Washington, D.C., earlier this month to meet with members of Congress about issues critical to North Carolina’s commercial real estate industry. The Capitol Hill visits were part of NAIOP’s annual Chapter Leadership and Legislative Retreat, and gave Charlotte developers a chance to advocate on a range of topics, including:

  • Extending 15-year depreciation and cost-recovery periods for qualified leasehold improvements;
  • Extending the179D Tax Deduction for the installation of energy-efficient components in commercial buildings;
  • Ensuring the preservation of the 1031 like-kind exchange rules in any Tax Reform effort;
  • Preventing the taxation of Carried Interest compensation at ordinary income rates;
  • Advocating for increased federal investment in our national infrastructure, including roads, ports and bridges;
  • Opposing any extension of the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. rule in a manner that would increase development costs and reduce the value of private property; and,
  • Encouraging a streamlined approach to the EPA’s wetlands permitting process;

During the course of their visit, NAIOP members met with Senator Thom Tillis, and congressmen Robert Pittenger, Richard Hudson and Mick Mulvaney. All four voted earlier this year to reauthorize the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), and voiced their support for regulatory and tax reform measures that would help reduce costs and uncertainty for commercial development.

Thanks to Charlotte NAIOP members Chris Thomas (Childress-Klein Properties), Clifton Coble (Bissell Development), Barry Leasure (Greer Walker, LLP), Sherrie Chaffin (Trinity Capital), Scott Harris (Choate Construction) and Jim Gamble (Bohler Engineering) for taking time out of their busy schedules to make the trip to Washington!

Legislation Introduced in General Assembly to Prohibit Local Residential Design Controls

nc-state-legislature-building-legislative-branchA pair of bills introduced in the North Carolina General Assembly would restrict the ability of local governments to place costly architectural and aesthetic design requirements on residential construction.

H 36, “Zoning / Design & Aesthetic Controls,” and its companion bill, S 25 are both identical to H 150, which passed the House in 2013, and would rein in cities and towns that have been exceeding their statutory authority by regulating the architectural design of new single-family homes and townhomes.

The House version is sponsored by Representatives Bill Brawley (R-Matthews), Nelson Dollar (R-Cary), Jonathan Jordan (R-Jefferson) and Rick Glazier (D-Fayetteville). The Senate version is sponsored by Jeff Tarte (R-Cornelius), Rick Gunn (R-Burlington), and Tom Apodaca (R-Hendersonville), the chair of the powerful Senate Rules committee.

Both bills would exempt structures built in designated historic districts, and those where design requirements are related to building safety or the National Flood Insurance Program.

REBIC supports the legislation, and will be working with the North Carolina Home Builders Association (NCHBA) to ensure its passage by both chambers of the General Assembly.

Town of Mooresville to Launch Community Housing Assessment with Funding from Realtors®

MooresvilleThe Mooresville Board of Commissioners this week will approve an agreement with the Centralina Council of Governments to undertake a multi-year Community-based Housing Strategy project, funded by public and private dollars, including support from the Charlotte Regional REALTOR® Association (CRRA) and the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

Continue reading

Your Insurer is Demanding Consent for a Higher Premium. What Are Your Options?

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An increasing number of North Carolinians are receiving “consent to rate” letters from their homeowners insurance companies. These letters inform consumers that unless they consent to pay premiums higher than the state maximum set by the Insurance Commissioner, the insurance company may drop the consumers from their coverage plan.

If you receive one of these letters, don’t panic, but don’t ignore the letter. Instead, take a few simple steps to ensure you receive fair and affordable coverage for yourself and your family.

Three simple steps to take if you get a “consent to rate” letter:

Step One: Review your current policy. Do you have the right amount of coverage? Is your deductible too low? Are there other changes you can make to your policy that will reduce your monthly costs?

Step Two: Call your existing insurance company or insurance agent. Some consumers have lowered their premiums by adjusting their coverage. Your insurer may be able to quote you a range of options that don’t require signing an open-ended consent to rate form.

Step Three: No one likes the hassle of changing coverage, but take this opportunity to shop around. Check with other insurance companies for quotes of the coverage you need – you may find a better deal elsewhere.

Stay informed.

Remember to review your coverage every year when your policy renews to ensure you and your loved ones have a fair and affordable plan. While we can’t guarantee that you will find a lower premium or keep your previous rate, the Homeowners Alliance strongly encourages consumers to examine their options before consenting to an insurance company’s higher premium.

To learn more about the efforts the North Carolina Homeowners Alliance is making in Raleigh on behalf of homeowners, click HERE.

Source: North Carolina Homeowners Alliance

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.

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