County Code Enforcement Issues New Guidelines on Townhome Egress

A new Mecklenburg County interpretation of a section of state building code means builders of many urban townhomes will have to adopt one of two approaches to ensure compliance with life health safety requirements.

The issue involves language in IRC Code Section R310.1 – Emergency escape and rescue required. One provision in that section states that ‘Emergency escape and rescue openings shall open directly into a public way, or to a yard or court that opens to a public way.’ In late 2018, Mecklenburg County code officials began interpreting that provision to mean that an easement agreement was required in either the community Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CCRs) or on the recorded plat. Continue reading

New State Law Exempts Charlotte Redevelopment Projects from Stormwater Controls

State legislation passed last month at the conclusion of the 2018 session of the General Assembly means redevelopment sites in Charlotte are no longer required to include on-site stormwater controls if no additional impervious surface is created. A provision in SB 469, a Technical Corrections bill initially vetoed by Governor Cooper but ratified through a legislative override, specifically mandates the change to local stormwater ordinances, regardless of where a local government obtains its regulatory authority.

While a redevelopment exemption for stormwater has been state law for years, the City of Charlotte has previously required controls on all projects, citing its adherence to a federal NPDES stormwater permit that called for higher local standards. REBIC has long argued that stormwater controls should not be required on redevelopments where no additional impervious surface is created.

The provision in SB 469 also allows development within a vegetative buffer, as long as the runoff from the entire impervious area of the project is collected, treated, and discharged through a portion of managed vegetative buffer. Of course, stormwater controls will continue to be required on sites whenever additional impervious surface is created.

Thanks are due to the North Carolina Home Builders Association (NCHBA) and State Representative Dean Arp (R-Union) for their support of this critical legislation!

 

 

Charlotte Sets Public Hearing Date for New TOD Ordinance

img_1355.jpgThe City of Charlotte has set a February 25th Public Hearing date for a new Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Zoning Ordinance, despite a key Building Height Bonus provision still undergoing revision.

REBIC and other industry groups have worked with City staff on the draft for more than a year, as part of a comprehensive stakeholder review process that has seen a number of restrictive provisions pared down or eliminated. But the Building Height Bonus provision, intended to encourage the construction of Affordable Housing units along transit corridors, was only unveiled on December 13th, and has yet to be modeled for effectiveness.

The Height Bonus, which is designed to advance City policy priorities such as affordable housing, open space preservation and sustainability, will give developers the opportunity to amass points that can be used to increase their building height. It would allow buildings to rise as high as 300′ in the highest-density TOD district when the maximum amount of points are obtained. Developers would also be able to increase their building height by paying a fee-in-lieu that that would go into the city’s Housing Trust Fund. Continue reading

What a Government Shutdown Means for the Real Estate Industry

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As of midnight on December 21, 2018, the President and Congress were unable to agree on the provisions of a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the federal government. As a result, a partial shutdown of some government operations has occurred. This partial shutdown includes some federal housing, mortgage, and other programs of interest to the real estate industry. A summary of the impact on selected agencies is provided below.

Continue reading

Flood Insurance Extended to December 21st

On December 6, 2018, the House and Senate passed a two-week extension of the National Flood Insurance Program. The President is expected to sign the measure.

The program is being extended as part of a temporary appropriations bill called a continuing resolution to avoid a partial shutdown of the federal government. The legislation will move the funding deadline for fiscal 2019 spending bills that are still outstanding to Dec. 21.

By extending flood insurance as part of the continuing resolution, the next extension could be part of a long-term funding agreement, potentially running through September of next year.

NAR supports long-term reauthorization and reforms to strengthen the program.

Read more here.

Mortgage Loan Limits to Rise in 2019 to Keep Pace With Home Prices

Conforming loan limits got a boost for 2019 in nearly every part of the U.S. The Federal Housing Finance Agency, a regulator for mortgage financing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, announced that conforming loan limits will rise in 2019 to $484,350 in most parts of the country. That marks a 6.9 percent increase over this year’s $453,100.

The FHFA limits set the maximum single-family mortgage amounts that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will finance, as well as limits for the Federal Housing Administration program.

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“These limits are important for funding home sales in high-cost coastal markets like California, Virginia, and Maryland, but are increasingly important in other markets like Nashville and Denver, along with those in Utah and Wyoming,” the National Association of REALTORS® notes in a release.

The FHFA also announced an increase to loan limits in “high-cost areas,” where 115 percent of the local median home value is higher than the baseline loan limit. The new limit for one-unit properties in most high-cost areas will be $726,525 in 2019, rising from the current $679,650.

This is the third consecutive year that the FHFA has increased conforming loan limits. Justifying the rise, the FHFA notes that home prices are still increasing.

Read more here.

Kannapolis Development Ordinance Re-write

Earlier this week, the City of Kannapolis began a two-year process of updating their Unified Development Ordinance (Kannapolis Development Ordinance – KDO). The process started with a series of stakeholder interviews with staff to gain perspective on their experiences in Kannapolis and the region. The next step in the process should start in February 2019 with community feedback sessions.

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The main goal is to create an ordinance that is internally consistent, modernized, aligned with contemporary zoning and subdivision best practices, and more user-friendly.

To stay up to date with the process click here. REBIC will continue to stay engaged with this process and keep our members updated.