City of Charlotte Considering Revisions to Minimum Housing Standards for Landlords

Housing Code Changes

The City of Charlotte is beginning the process of revising its Minimum Housing Code Ordinance, with changes that could impact housing affordability by raising the cost of property management and code compliance for landlords.

A full list of the proposed changes is available here. They include:

  • Requiring roof drains, gutters and downspouts be maintained in good repair and free from obstructions and designed to discharge rainwater away from
    the structure.
  • Requiring that exhaust ducts for clothes dryers be equipped with a back-draft
    damper.
  • New fines of $500 per day for failure to correct any dangerous violations within 48 hours.
  • Enhanced penalties for Environmental Court convictions that include probation or up to 30 days in jail.

A series of stakeholder meetings is scheduled over the next two weeks, and interested property managers can register at the link at the top of this post. REBIC is working with our members to evaluate the proposed changes and will weigh in at one or more of the upcoming stakeholder meetings.

Realtors® Visit Capitol Hill to Advocate for Homeowner Priorities

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Realtors® meet with Congressman Richard Hudson on Capitol Hill

Realtors® from the Charlotte region joined their colleagues from across the country on Capitol Hill last week to advocate for issues impacting homeowners — from the much-needed re-authorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), to legislation amending the Fair Housing Act to include protection for the LGBTQ community. The meetings, part of NAR’s annual Midyear Conference, brought more than 12,000 Realtors® to Washington, and concluded with a live address by President Donald Trump.

From a breakfast meeting with U.S. Senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr to individual meetings with Congressman Richard Hudson and legislative staff for Congresswoman Alma Adams, Realtors® spent their day on the Hill talking about issues from tax policy and GSE reform to infrastructure investment and Opportunity Zones.

Senators

Hearing from Senators Tillis and Burr on Capitol Hill

Flood Insurance was a particularly relevant topic of discussion, with the $1.3 trillion program set to expire May 31st. The House last Tuesday passed an extension until Sept. 30th — the end of the fiscal year — and the Senate is expected to take up the bill before the Memorial Day recess.

Congress has passed 10 short-term reauthorizations of the NFIP since 2017, and NAR has continued to call for a comprehensive overhaul of the program, which provides coverage to more than 130,000 homeowners in North Carolina alone.

Realtors® also thanked members of Congress for their support for the Qualified Opportunity Zone Program, which provides federal tax incentives for redevelopment in 252 low-income neighborhoods across North Carolina. And they asked them support H.R. 5, The Equality Act, which would amend Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, public accommodations, and other areas of law.

Thanks to all the North Carolina Realtors® who took time out of their busy schedules last week to visit with our lawmakers in Washington!

Home Builder Legislation Advances in General Assembly

legislative_building_5With the legislative “crossover deadline” of May 9th rapidly approaching, a number of pro-housing bills continue to advance through the General Assembly, thanks to the hard work of the lobbying team at the North Carolina Home Builders Association (NCHBA). Here are some of the bills we’ll be watching in the weeks ahead: Continue reading

LUESA Proposes Phasing In Higher Land Development Fees

Following meetings with REBIC and the HBA of Greater Charlotte, Mecklenburg County LUESA has proposed to phase in, over two years, a series of dramatic increases to its Land Development, Zoning and Floodplain Permitting Fees. The increases result from LUESA’s plan to end a longstanding practice of supporting Land Development Services with excess stormwater fee revenue.

LUESA Fee Schedue - Revised

The fees apply to any projects in the Towns of Davidson, Matthews, Mint Hill, Pineville and Cornelius, along with any projects in the ETJ. The City of Charlotte handles its own land development permitting, and the Town of Huntersville is leaving LUESA and starting its own land development permitting operation this summer.

Both REBIC and the HBA voiced our strong opposition to the proposed fees, which represent year-to-year increases of nearly 400% in some cases. We appreciate LUESA’s willingness to propose a phased approach to the increases, and will encourage the Board of County Commissioners to adopt their recommendation.

The fees are part of the FY 2020 budget, which is scheduled for adoption on June 4th. A public hearing on the budget will be held Thursday, May 9th at 6 p.m.

Proposed Mecklenburg County Budget Would Produce Higher Taxes for Most Property Owners

A significant number of Mecklenburg County property owners will see an increase in their tax bill this year under a budget proposal unveiled recently by County Manager Dena Diorio, which would adopt a tax rate almost 2 cents, or 3.3 percent, above revenue-neutral.

With an average property value increase of more than 50% following a countywide revaluation, the tax rate at which the County would collect the same amount of total revenue (known as the ‘revenue-neutral’ rate) is 59.7 cents per $100 of assessed value. The manager’s budget proposes a rate of 61.69 cents per $100, or 1.99 cents above revenue neutral. The impact of the higher rate means more than 65% of all Mecklenburg County homeowners, and more than 71% of all commercial property owners, will see higher tax bills this year.

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Charlotte Proposes Tightening Noise Restrictions on Construction Sites

The City of Charlotte is considering revisions to its Noise Ordinance that would allow the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) to designate specific construction sites as ‘chronic noise producers’ and require the creation of a formal plan to mitigate noise impacts on surrounding neighborhoods.

REBIC has scheduled an industry stakeholder meeting for Friday, May 10th at 2:30 p.m., at the Belmont Community Center, 700 Parkwood Ave. All interested stakeholders are encouraged to attend.

The changes, approved last week by City Council’s Neighborhood Development Committee, are part of an extensive update of the 2011 Noise Ordinance, which also include the creation of noise buffers around schools, churches or health care facilities, and tighter restrictions on the use of amplified sound. In addition to giving CMPD the authority to make the chronic noise designation, the ordinance would create escalating fines for repeat violations and add specific examples of construction equipment for greater clarity.

 

The proposed Noise Ordinance changes are available here.

City Council Approves New TOD Ordinance

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The Charlotte City Council last Monday night unanimously approved a new Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Ordinance, which sets standards for commercial and residential development in the city’s light rail corridor.

REBIC and our members worked closely with City planning staff on the ordinance over the past 18 months, and we are generally pleased with the final product. Many of our suggestions — from changes in maximum parking ratios to additional development incentives — were included in the final draft adopted by Council last week. Our only remaining significant concern remains the 130′ building height limitation, which can only be exceeded through the use of a bonus point system that encourages affordable housing investments, energy efficient construction, or the contribution of offsite infrastructure.

While we support each of these policy goals, we believe City Council should do everything possible to encourage density in our transit corridors, and not restrict itself from considering economic development opportunities that would otherwise be limited by the building height caps in each TOD district.

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