North Carolina House Overwhelmingly Rejects Senate’s Sales Tax Redistribution Proposal

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Representatives Jason Saine and Bill Brawley (at podium) join other House members last week at a bipartisan rally to oppose the Senate’s Sales Tax Redistribution proposal.

The North Carolina House last week overwhelmingly rejected a Senate substitute to HB 117, the ‘NC Competes Act,’ because of language that would redistribute a larger portion of locally generated sales tax revenue statewide, likely forcing metropolitan counties like Mecklenburg to raise property taxes and fees to make up the difference.

The Senate’s proposal for a 50/50 Sales Tax Distribution between point of sale and county population was included in the economic development bill along with provisions to fund the JDIG job incentives program, expand data center tax incentives, and extend for four years the airline fuel tax exemption for American Airlines.

But the ‘compromise’ language on sales tax redistribution (the original Senate proposal redistributed 80% of local sales taxes statewide, compared to 25% under current law) was opposed by business leaders and elected officials from North Carolina’s largest metropolitan counties, who traveled to Raleigh last week to speak against the bill.  Continue reading

REBIC Board Members Meet with Members of Congress to Discuss Real Estate Issues

Members of the REBIC Board of Governors met last week with two Charlotte-area Members of Congress to discuss a number of federal legislative issues impacting the real estate industry.

On Tuesday, Congressman Robert Pittenger (NC 9) met with a group of Charlotte home builders, Realtors®, commercial developers and brokers to talk about issues ranging from patent and tax reform to the EPA’s new Waters of the U.S. rule. The Congressman confirmed that he fully supports H.R. 9, “The Innovation Act of 2015,” and said he would vote for it when it reaches the House floor, potentially in September.

Pittenger

Congressman Robert Pittenger meets with the REBIC Board of Governors in Charlotte on August 18th.

Pittenger also said he did not expect Congress to take up any sweeping tax reform in the near future, but acknowledged there may be some limited actions. He reiterated his strong support for the Mortgage Interest Deduction and 1031 Like-Kind exchanges, as tax provisions that create jobs and boost economic growth. He also said he would oppose any effort to raise Capital Gains taxes.

When asked about the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent adoption of an expanded Waters of the United States rule, Pittenger confirmed his strong opposition and expressed his frustration with what appears to be excessive and regular overreach by the executive branch. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the National Association of REALTORS®, and other key trade groups strongly oppose the expanded rule, which has the potential to place thousands of acres of private land, including drainage ditches and man-made retention ponds, under federal jurisdiction.

Pittenger voted earlier this year to pass H.R. 1732, the ‘Regulatory Integrity Protection Act,’ which would force the EPA to withdraw the final rule and address many of the issues raised by the business community. Companion legislation is awaiting action by the U.S. Senate.

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Congressman Richard Hudson (at far left) meets with REBIC members on August 21st

On Friday, Congressman Richard Hudson (NC 8) had his turn in front of a group of REBIC members. Hudson agreed with Pittenger on many points, but took the opportunity to touch on some additional matters, including his desire to see increased energy production in the state of North Carolina, specifically drilling for oil and natural gas off of the eastern shore.

He also expressed his frustration with ongoing congressional efforts to find a long-term fix for the Federal Highway Trust Fund, which was recently reauthorized until October 29th of this year. Hudson said funding for roads and bridges should be a priority for the federal government, but conceded that the current strategy of paying for these improvements through a gas tax was insufficient to address our nation’s growing infrastructure needs. Both houses of Congress are expected to debate a longer-term fix for highway funding after the August break.

REBIC thanks both Congressmen Pittenger and Hudson for taking the time to meet with our members and discuss these critical issues.

Cabarrus County Commissioners Approve Changes to Zoning Code to Comply with Residential Aesthetics Law

Cabarrus County SealIn an effort to conform with the new Residential Aesthetic Design Law signed last month by Governor Pat McCrory, the Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners last week approved numerous changes to its zoning code, removing aesthetic design requirements on single-family homes, townhomes and duplexes.

However, Cabarrus County regrettably chose to eliminate certain residential zoning districts and overlays, including their Planned Unit Residential (PUD) and Amenity Subdivision districts, which “traded” higher densities for residential design requirements on single-family homes.

REBIC believes that higher-density residential development provides numerous community and environmental benefits, including increased walkability, the preservation of open space, and reduced impervious surface.

Continue reading

Town of Davidson Approves Changes to Inclusionary Housing Ordinance

Last week, Davidson Town Commissioners approved a change to Section 5 of its Planning Ordinance amending its Inclusionary Housing requirement, which REBIC believes is illegal under North Carolina law.

DavidsonCurrently, the Town of Davidson requires that builders and developers set aside 12.5% of housing units in all new developments as affordable. Of those affordable units, at least 30% must be available for those earning less than 50% of Area Median Income (AMI). No more than 70% can be available to those earning 50-80% of AMI and no more than 20% can be available to those earning 80%-120% of AMI. Under the old language, builders could provide a payment of $26,550 in lieu of building just the most affordable units. The new language allows a payment to be made in exchange for building any required affordable units.

The move came as the result of the threat of legal action against the town. Under current law in North Carolina it is illegal for local governments to impose IZOs. We are only aware of two towns that currently do it in spite of the prohibition – Chapel Hill and Davidson. By passing the text amendment, the Town avoided a potentially protracted legal battle with a developer who threatened to take them to court over the ordinance.

Nearly two months ago, the text amendment was brought before the Planning Board where it was overwhelmingly voted down. At the time, several Board Members said the language was inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan. Staff supported the change and brought it to the full Commission. It was adopted unanimously on a 4-0 vote. Commissioner Rodney Graham asked that he be recused from the vote because he is a small custom builder and the language change would likely benefit him financially in the future.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Rob Nanfelt, REBIC Government Affairs Manager, at rob.nanfelt@REBIC.com or (720)771-3825.

Updates Take Effect for Charlotte Land Development Standards Manual (CLDSM)

The most recent set of revisions to the Charlotte Land Development Standards Manual (CLDSM) went into effect July 31st, and are available online for review.

A PDF file is available that contains just the updated pages from the CLDSM, and all of the detail drawings are also available in DWG format.

Special Note:  Some additional changes were made as a result of user comments during the review and comment period through the month of July:

  • Sidewalk cross-slope is now labeled throughout the manual as 1.5% (2.00% MAX)
  • A table entitled Example Sidewalk Construction Dimensions was added to page 9 of the Notes and Special Provisions section, as well as detail 10.22, “Concrete Sidewalks”
  • Accessible ramp running slope is now labeled throughout the manual as 7.5% (8.33% MAX)
  • An additional isometric view showing alternative ramp styles was added to detail 10.35A, “Standard Placement of Accessible Ramp and General Notes”
  • Reminder: previous details 11.01, 11.03, 11.04, 11.05, 11.06, 11.08, 11.10, 11.11, and 11.12 are no longer needed and were removed from the CLDSM.

Please contact Brendan Smith, City of Charlotte Land Development Division at bmsmith@charlottenc.gov if you have any questions or feedback regarding the CLDSM.

Pre-Construction Information Packet Available from Mecklenburg County

iStock_000005457175XSmallA Pre-Construction packet containing information for commercial development and single family subdivision construction is now available for download on the Development Services web portal under the “information” category as well as the  “checklists” category.

This packet, which includes various checklists for construction, will be provided to contractors at Pre-construction Meetings.

Customers are asked to take note of the section of the packet containing information about North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Standard 300.01.

This standard illustrates the type of backfill material required for all storm drainage systems. 

NC Senate Unveils New Tax Redistribution, Economic Development Proposal

nc-state-legislature-building-legislative-branchSenate leaders yesterday unveiled and approved a new Finance committee substitute to HB 117, the ‘NC Competes Act,’ with a new proposal for a 50/50 Sales Tax Distribution between point of sale and county population (the original bill redistributed 80% of local sales taxes statewide, compared to 25% under current law). The new ‘compromise’ language represents an effort by the Senate to reach a budget agreement with the House, after nearly three weeks of largely unproductive negotiations. Continue reading

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