The REBIC Primary Election Voter Guide is Now Available!

REBIC Primary Election Guide

 

City Council to Vote Monday Night on Controversial Sidewalk Ordinance Amendments

The Charlotte City Council is scheduled to vote Monday night on a controversial series of amendments to its sidewalk ordinance that will require the installation of new, separated sidewalk in all new by-right development, with the exception of single-family neighborhoods. The amendments are designed to eliminate what City staff refers to as the ‘sidewalk gap,’ a situation in which standard sidewalk is only required as part of a conditional rezoning, and not when a development permit is pulled on a by-right project.

The City’s Land Development Standards Manual requires all development along thoroughfares to provide a 6′ paved sidewalk separated from the curb by an 8′ planting strip. Where substandard, back-of-curb sidewalk exists, the City requires the developer replace it with separated sidewalk meeting the current standard.

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Charlotte Puts Neighborhood Character District On Hold

In response to concerns raised by REBIC, the Charlotte Chamber and other local organizations, the Charlotte Planning Department has decided to put its consideration of a Neighborhood Character District ‘on hold’ for reassessment.

The proposal was first presented to members of the Charlotte City Council in January, and would have allowed neighborhood groups though a simple majority petition to request the establishment of an Overlay District that could regulate building elements like home size, building height, setbacks, or lot dimensions — over and above the existing zoning district standards. REBIC raised strenuous objections to the proposal, which we believe would allow older neighborhoods around the City to restrict or prohibit the construction of necessary infill housing, and have a negative impact on the supply of affordable housing.

The City’s Planning Director, Taiwo Jaiyeoba, told City Council’s Transportation & Planning Committee this week that the proposal had been put ‘on hold’ until staff could re-evaluate its impact and direction. REBIC will continue to work with City staff and Council to ensure the rights of property owners are protected.

REBIC Hosts Industry Roundtable to Discuss Developer Issues with Duke Energy

DukeAn industry roundtable meeting with officials at Duke Energy this week provided a clear perspective into the wide range of frustrations Charlotte-area builders and developers have been experiencing with the utility company’s plan review and installation process.

Builders openly shared their frustration with what they described as Duke’s lack of communication, poor customer service, and cumbersome plan review process. They told company officials they missed having a single point of contact on a project, much as they do when working with other utilities like Piedmont Natural Gas.

Duke representatives at the meeting, including Senior Vice President Jeff Corbett, apologized for the broken plan review and utility installation process, and committed to make improvements within the next six months. They told builders that 100 new project engineers were hired in January, and that the plan review backlog should begin coming down in the next few weeks.

Some of the changes they promised include:

  • Establishing a clear point of contact for each development project, and ensuring customers get a response within 24 hours;
  • Providing specific timeframes for underground utility installation;
  • Giving at least a 2-day notice before contractors arrive on site;
  • Reviewing the Load Sheet process for possible revisions;

REBIC will continue to work with Duke Energy on these and other improvements to the plan review process, and will hold a follow-up meeting in before the end of 2018. Builders having specific issues with project installation should contact us for more information on who to contact at Duke. E-mail us at Joe.Padilla@REBIC.com

 

City Releases TOD Ordinance Draft, Seeks Feedback from Development Industry

Light RailThe City of Charlotte has released a draft of its Transit-Oriented Development A (TOD-A) ordinance, which would allow higher-density, mixed-used development within a quarter-mile of transit stations like the CATS Blue Line.

TOD-A is the first of at least 4 transit-oriented zoning districts that the Planning Department plans to unveil in the next few months, and is intended to accommodate the highest-intensity development along the transit corridor, with allowable building heights as tall as 250′.

After setting base densities and building standards, the ordinance uses a voluntary points system to incentivize developers to meet aesthetic design, open space and affordable housing objectives through allowances for greater building heights.

City Planning is looking for feedback on the draft from the development community, before moving it though Council for adoption in early summer. Comments can be submitted online through the City’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) website, which also contains the full text of the ordinance.

If you have any questions in the meantime regarding the TOD Districts, please reach out to Monica Holmes in the Planning Department: monica.holmes@charlottenc.gov.

Comments are due to the City by Friday, March 23rd.

REBIC is in the process of reviewing the draft TOD-A ordinance, and will work with our partner organizations to submit formal comments before the deadline.

Charlotte Hosting Unified Development Ordinance Summit on March 24th

UDO Banner

The City of Charlotte is a little more than a year into a multi-year effort to draft a comprehensive Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), which will update the policies and regulations that guide land use and development in Charlotte. When finished, the UDO will combine zoning districts and development ordinances in a single document that should allow for more a streamlined regulatory process.

The two major components of the UDO will include:

  • Policies: Place Types are a classification of land that provides guidance for how future development should look and function. They describe types and intensities of land use as well as important characteristics such as scale, site design, and accessibility.
  • Regulations: The UDO will be the primary tool to implement Place Types and Charlotte’s other plans and policies through development regulations. It will combine multiple development ordinances, including the Zoning Ordinance, into one set of regulations.

REBIC has been working closely with City staff over the past year to provide feedback on the effort, and the real estate development industry is well represented on the UDO Advisory Committee.

To help community members understand the UDO process and broaden the opportunities for stakeholder input, the City will host a half-day Community Summit later in March. Realtors®, home builders, developers, and others in the real estate industry are encouraged to attend.

What Can UDO Summit

Saturday, March 24th

8:30 am – 1:30 pm

UNC Charlotte Center City, 320 E. 9th Street

The summit will give participants a chance to meet the City’s new Planning Director, Taiwo Jaiyeaba, and hear from keynote speaker Mitchell Silver, FAICP. Mitch Silver was previously the Chief Planning & Development Officer for the City of Raleigh and the President of the American Planning Association. He now serves as the New York City Parks Commissioner and is internationally recognized for his leadership in the planning profession and his contributions to today’s planning issues.

The summit will also include two interactive workshops, from 9:30 am to 11:30 am, which are focused on “Living and Thriving in Charlotte.” The summit provides an important opportunity for stakeholders to ask questions about the project and share input regarding key issues such as how we’ll accommodate future growth in our community and respect established neighborhood character.

Please register at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/what-can-udo-summit-registration-42720419926

Lunch will be provided for all registered guests. 

For more information on the UDO process, visit the City’s UDO website.

 

 

Energy Code Exemption for Industrial Buildings Takes Effect March 1

Code Enforcement

An Energy Code exemption championed by REBIC and NAIOP will finally take effect this week, after the Rules Review Commission set an effective date of March 1, 2018, for N.C. Session Law 2017-10, formerly known as SB131.

Language in the bill, which was signed into law during the 2017 session of the General Assembly,  excludes from state Energy Efficiency Code requirements any buildings with the following use classifications:

  • Factory Group F
  • Storage Group S
  • Utility & Miscellaneous Group U

Furthermore, language in the legislation introduced by Representative Bill Brawley ensures that the energy code exclusion ‘shall apply to the entire floor area of any structure’ included in the provision. This language was intended to prevent the office or showroom portion of a warehouse, industrial or manufacturing building from having to meet energy efficiency code requirements, when the majority of the structure does not.

Customers who plan to apply for permits to be issued on or after March 1 have the option of utilizing N.C. Session Law 2017-10. Again, this applies only to buildings with a primary occupancy of F, S or U.

For more information, please contact one of the following:

Patrick Granson, Director of Code Enforcement, 980-314-3434
Melanie Sellers, Director of Permitting & Plan Review, 980-314-3108
David Gieser, Director of Inspections, 980-314-3093

(Source:  Mecklenburg County Code Enforcement)