License Reciprocity Changes for North and South Carolina

As of February 29, North Carolina will be terminating the license reciprocity system it has had with other states.  Effective March 1, 2012, an out-of-state licensee (sometimes referred to in rules and regulations as “a foreign broker”) can obtain a North Carolina license by demonstrating that he/she has a license in good standing from their state and by passing the North Carolina specific portion of the real estate exam.  Also effective March 1, the North Carolina real estate licensing exam will be comprised of two parts:  the national portion of the exam which tests on non-state specific topics common in real estate and a North Carolina specific portion, which covers license law, state statutes and typical practices. Nonresident licensees will to continue to renew their nonresident North Carolina licenses without additional requirements.

South Carolina has informed North Carolina that they will honor fully completed requests for reciprocity until February 28.  SC nonresident licensees will receive renewal notices in the spring, renewing as they have in the past without any additional requirements.  Effective 3/1/12, any agent in North Carolina wishing to apply for a SC  license will need  to take the SC  portion of the state exam in order to obtain South Carolina nonresident license.

This process is the most common manner in which states are licensing nonresident licensees.

Deadline Approaching for Façade Improvement Grants

Was improving the façade of your business or property a New Year’s resolution? The City of Charlotte has a program that can assist you with paying for those improvements you may have been putting off. Its Façade Grant Improvement program assists businesses and property owners with matching funds up to $65,000 for eligible renovations. The next deadline for this program is February 15th.

The program seeks to provide assistance to projects that involve true architectural renovations to the exterior of commercial buildings as well as projects that bring parking, landscaping and signage into conformance with current codes.  For example, projects that are adding new windows and storefront entrances; installing decorative lighting and metal canopies; removing asphalt and installing trees and evergreen shrubs, etc., are eligible to apply. Every project is different and applications are considered based on the unique characteristics of each project.

To find out more about this opportunity, please visit: the Facade Grant webpage or contact Chris Hemans at chemans@charlottenc.gov, 704-432-3025.

Protected: Charlotte to Begin Drafting a Form-Based Zoning Code

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City Proposing Expanded Use of Marquee Signage

Charlotte’s planning staff has proposed an amendment to the zoning ordinance that would amend the definition of a marquee sign, permit their use on commercial buildings in the MUDD (Mixed-Use) district, and remove a restriction on their use in UMUD districts. Currently, marquee signs (the projecting, awning-like signs typically used by theaters, galleries and nightclubs) are only permitted in the PED, TOD and TS districts and in UMUD districts on buildings over 100,000 SF. REBIC supports this amendment, which will be voted on by Council in February. More information and a copy of the proposed changes are available on the Planning Department’s website.

Protected: CMPD Proposes Citywide Expansion of Rental Registration Program

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Protected: NCDOI Reverses Position on Elevators in 3-Story Apartment Buildings

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Davidson Plans for Rail Station Area Development

The Town of Davidson is in the process of creating a development plan for the rail corridor that it hopes will eventually bring Red Line commuter trains into its downtown. Over the past two months, citizens, planners and consultants from The Lawrence Group have reviewed potential development sites, land use proposals and urban design alternatives, and created conceptual site plans for the sites. The group is working from station area plans that date from 2005 and were discussed again in 2008. In those previous efforts, planners settled on a trackside site near the Metrolina Warehouse, at Jackson and Depot streets, for the rail station. The town and CATS would help pay for the station and infrastructure improvements by creating a “Red Line benefit district” in the area around the station.

At its last meeting earlier this month, the citizens group spent most of its time looking at three areas of town that could see rail-related development: a northern area off Beaty and North Main streets, the area around the Central Business District and West Side, and South Main Street. Participants drew suggestions on maps, such as turning Depot Street into a wider, more pedestrian friendly “boulevard,” with a public plaza at Jackson and Depot streets near the proposed site of the future rail station. The idea session, and a similar meeting held Dec. 15, were preludes to a formal public planning workshop coming up January 17-20. At that series of meetings, citizens, planners and the consultants will look conditions of potential development sites, draw land uses and urban design alternatives, and create conceptual site plans for the properties. That four-day workshop will run from 9 to 5 daily, in the Town Hall board room. Then on January 21, the town will host a followup open house and design critique. The plan will go to the Town Board for approval in April or May.

For more on Davidson’s rail corridor planning process, click HERE.