Code Enforcement Clarifies Setback Rules for Accessory Buildings

From Mecklenburg County Code Enforcement:

It has recently come to our attention that setbacks are being measured for all buildings the same, which is not the case for Accessory Buildings (i.e. Garages, Accessory Buildings and Accessory Dwelling Units) compared to the measuring of setbacks for principal dwelling structures.

In an attempt to clarify where setbacks are to be measured, we are providing the code sections below directly from the City of Charlotte Zoning Ordinance.  I have also included information regarding the allowance of mechanical equipment only a limited amount of setback encroachment and this applies to all structures.  This applies to all construction within the City of Charlotte zoning jurisdiction.

DWELLING STRUCTURES (Principal Residence)  Setbacks are to be measured from the property line, or from back of curb, depending on the information  listed on the permit in the NOTES section.    (See 12.106(5) below)

ACCESSORY BUILDINGS (Garages, Accessory Buildings, Accessory Dwelling Units)          Setbacks are measured from the property line to the most extreme architecture feature of the structure, usually a eave overhang.         (See 12.106(2)(a) below)                

Section 12.106. Uses and structures prohibited and allowed in required setbacks and yards.

(1) No principal building or principal structure shall be located within any setback or yard required by these regulations except as provided in this Section and elsewhere in these regulations.

Petition No. 2002-13, § 12.106(2), 4/15/02)

(2)        (a) No accessory structures, including architectural features, as cited in five (5) below, shall be located within any setback or side yard required of these regulations, or located within three (3) feet of a lot line in the established rear yard. No accessory structure shall be located within any established setback in any residential district, except as otherwise provided. If an accessory structure exceeds a height of 24 feet in the single-family, multi-family, urban residential and mixed use districts, it must be located at least 15 feet from the rear and side property lines. In all zoning districts, except as provided for in Section 12.108, if the accessory structure exceeds the height of the principal structure, it must meet the minimum side yard of the principal structure and be located at least 15 feet from the rear property line. In addition, no accessory structure, excluding the square footage of an accessory dwelling unit shall exceed the total square footage of the heated area located on the first floor of the principal structure.

(Petition No. 2009-079, § 12.106(2)(a), 1/19/10)

(d) Heating, ventilation, or air conditioning equipment are considered to be part of a structure and shall not be located in any setback, sight distance triangle, or required buffer or screening. Heating, ventilation, or air conditioning equipment may encroach into the required side yard or rear yard by no more than 50 percent of the required yard.

(Petition No. 2010-078, § 12.106(2), (d), 2/21/11)

(5)        In respect to a principal structure, architectural features such as cornices, eaves, steps, gutters, and fire escapes may project up to three feet into any required yard, unless they would obstruct driveways, which might be used for service and emergency vehicles. This does not apply to accessory structures.


Allowable Encroachment

DENR Now Accepting Public Comments on Wetland Standards Rules

DENR LogoN.C. Gen. Stat. §150B-21.3A, adopted in 2013, requires state agencies to review existing rules every 10 years. An initial review will be completed during the next five years, and thereafter rules will be reviewed on a 10-year review cycle. The NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ rules are located by subchapters in Title 15A of the NC Administrative Code. The Department’s rules will be reviewed on a schedule established by the Rules Review Commission.

Public comment period is now open for the following rules under review. The public may provide comments by clicking on the following links:


15A NCAC 02B – Surface Water and Wetland Standards
15A NCAC 02H – Procedures for Permits: Approvals
15A NCAC 02T – Waste Not Discharged to Surface Waters
15A NCAC 02U – Reclaimed Water

From each link, a list of subchapters under review are available on the left. Each subchapter is linked to a table that lists each rule by citation number, name, whether the rule implements or conforms to Federal Regulation and the agency’s initial determination. Clicking on the rule citation number will take the user to the rule itself.

Each row has a box that asks if the user agrees with the agency’s choice of category. Choose “yes” your comment will be recorded as agreeing. If you choose “no” a drop box will show other possible category choices for you to select. After choosing, you will be directed to a page that allows an opportunity to make a comment. In addition, there is another box allowing the user to make a public comment on the rule. An option to attach a document is also provided. Information regarding file size limitations are included. A public comment is defined as, a written comment objecting to the rule, in whole or in part, received by an agency from any member of the public, including an association or other organization representing the regulated community or other members of the public (G.S. 150B-21.3A(5)). In order for a comment to be considered by the Rules Review Commission, the comment must address the content of the rule.

The user may provide an affiliation in the boxes provided, although it is not required.

All comments submitted will be sent electronically to authorized staff.

The comment period for these subchapters concludes May 21, 2014.

The Department is required to evaluate each of the existing rules and make an initial determination from one of these three classifications:

Necessary with substantive public interest – the agency has received public comment on the rule within the past two years or the rule affects the property interest of the regulated public, and the agency knows or suspects that any person may object to the rule.

Necessary without substantive public interest – the agency determines that the rule is needed, and the rule has not had public comment in the last two years. This category includes rules that identify information that is readily available to the public, such as an address or telephone number.

Unnecessary – the agency determines that the rule is obsolete, redundant or otherwise not needed.

Note: the purpose of these comments is for the Rules Review Commission to determine which rules must be READOPTED by DENR under the procedures established by recent regulatory reform legislation. The Rules Review Commission does not evaluate the rules for their content, except within limited parameters such as whether the agency has the authority to adopt the rule or whether the language of the rule is clear and unambiguous.

Comments may also be submitted by mailing to: DENR Rule Comments, 1601 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699

If you would like to receive notices regarding rules undergoing rules review that are open for public comment, please subscribe to DENR’s mailing list by clicking on this link.

If you have any questions, please e-mail Lisa Martin ( or Steven Webb ( at the North Carolina Home Builders Association (NCHBA), or call 800-662-7129.

Source: NCHBA

City Offering Training for Electronic Submittal of Subdivision Plans

Charlotte LogoBeginning Tuesday, April 1st, the City of Charlotte will require all new applications for subdivision plans, final plats, and sketches to be submitted electronically through Accela Citizen Access web portal.

Electronic Plans may be submitted through the current EPlan process via e-mail to the Land Development inbox, until midnight on Monday, March 31st. Additionally, the resubmittal of plans originally submitted through the EPlan process should continue via email to until the plans are approved.

The City’s Land Development Division will be conducting two training sessions to demonstrate the use of ACA for plan submittal:

Tuesday, March 25th at 9:00 a.m.
Room 267 in the Government Center

Thursday, March 27th at 1:00 p.m.
Room CH-14 (basement) in the Government Center

You can register online for either session on the Land Development website. Although the training is focusing on submitting a subdivision, this will also be an excellent opportunity to refresh your skills or to assist new staff members in your organization in learning how to submit plans to the city.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Land Development Customer Service at 704-336-6692.

Senate Passes Bill to Address Flood Insurance Rate Hikes

The U.S. Senate voted 72-22 last week to approve the bipartisan Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act with amendments made by the House. The bill curtails flood insurance rate increases that property owners are facing across the country.

Both the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) applauded the passage of the bill, which repeals the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s authority to increase premium rates at time of sale or new flood map, and refunds the excessive premium to those who bought a property before FEMA warned them of the rate increase. It also limits premium increases to 18 percent annually on newer properties and 25 percent for some older ones.

Additionally, the bill adds a small assessment on policies until everyone is paying full cost for flood insurance.

“We appreciate the Senate’s swift action on the legislation, which is a responsible and balanced solution to the skyrocketing flood insurance premiums affecting residential and commercial properties that were unintentionally triggered by the Biggert-Waters reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program,” said NAR President Steve Brown in a statement.

The 2012 Biggert-Waters law set out to gradually phase out flood insurance subsidies as a way to make up for the National Flood Insurance Program’s $24 billion debt. As a result, home owners who had received federal aid to pay for flood insurance were being faced with tens of thousands of dollars a year in flood insurance hikes.

President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law when it arrives at the White House.

Source: NAR Real Estate News

NAIOP North Carolina Wins Chapter Merit Award for Legislative Efforts in Raleigh

naiop_header_r1_c1At the NAIOP Chapter Leadership and Legislative Retreat last month in Washington, DC, the three North Carolina chapters of NAIOP were awarded the Best Legislative / Government Affairs program for a small chapter based on our successful advocacy at the state level during a lengthy and controversial effort to overhaul the North Carolina Tax Code.

Through effective collaboration with one another, NAIOP’s three North Carolina chapters played a key role in ensuring the success of state Tax Reform, while simultaneously protecting the interests of commercial real estate developers and investors as the legislation was being drafted and negotiated.

CDOT Seeking Input on Driveway Manual Update

The Charlotte Department of Transportation (CDOT) is in the process of updating its Driveway Regulations to reflect current City Council policies that relate to street design and land use.
The goal of the update is to provide regulations that:

  • Provide a better balance of predictability and flexibility;
  • Provide context-based guidance relative to the Centers Corridors and Wedges Growth Framework and the Urban Street Design Guidelines;
  • Incorporate the use of hyperlinks to reference other applicable manuals, policies, and standards
​The scope and applicability of the proposed regulations is largely unchanged from the current manual; however additional guidance is provided for:
  • ADA compliance,
  • Driveway spacing near traffic signals,
  • Driveway requirements for schools, and
  • Urban infill sites

The first draft of the new manual is now available for review, and CDOT has also created a handy Comment Submittal Form to make it extremely convenient to provide feedback on the proposed changes.  You can e-mail the completed form to Dennis Rorie, CDOT Land Development Manager, at

CDOT anticipates two rounds of public review, with an anticipated completion by May. This process could be extended if the department receive feedback that requires significant time and public engagement to properly address.

REBIC strongly encourages all professional engineers to review the proposed Driveway Manual revisions and provide feedback to CDOT as soon as possible!

County Commission Hears Update on Code Enforcement Review

At its regular meeting this past Tuesday night, the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners heard an update from Assistant County Manager Leslie Johnson and LUESA Director Ebenezer Gujjarlapudi about the status of an ongoing effort to improve the permitting and inspection operations of the Code Enforcement division.

Johnson told commissioners that the process to address efficiency issues in the department was underway in six areas:

  1. Independent Review of Plan Review & Inspections: The County is in the process of hiring an independent consultant to review industry complaints about turnaround time and inconsistencies with Plan Review and Inspections. A separate review is being conducted by the City of Charlotte into potential improvements in the planning and development process.
    Status: Consultant to be hired in March; Review scheduled for completion by October.
  2. Creation of a Select Committee by the Building-Development Commission: The BDC is in the process of creating a special subcommittee comprised of industry representatives and Commission members to evaluate potential process improvements in plan review, permitting and inspections.
    Status: The BDC is expected to discuss the Committee formation at its next meeting on March 18th; the group is expected to complete its work by May.
  3. Creation of a Customer Service Center: Another committee, of which REBIC is a member, is continuing to look at opportunities to improve customer interactions both through the Code Enforcement website and at the permit counter in the Hal Marshall Building — both of which will be redesigned in the months ahead. In addition, the Department has just hired a Customer Service Manager to help address issues in this area.
    Status: A new Customer Service Center in the Hal Marshall Building should be completed by July or August.
  4. Review of Quality Control Data: An effort is underway to review existing County data and determine the level of inconsistency that exists between Plan Review and Inspections.
    Status: To be completed by May.
  5. Redesign of Code Enforcement Website: A comprehensive review of the entire County website is currently underway to make information more accessible and automate a number of basic permitting processes.
    Status: The County hopes to have the website improvements completed by December.
  6. Improve City/County Collaboration: The County is creating a series of stakeholder Focus Groups to review the development and building permitting processes that require the involvement of both the City of Charlotte and LUESA, with the goal of identifying opportunities for improvement.
    Status: Focus Groups should be established by the end of May.

REBIC will continue to work with Mecklenburg County staff and the Board of Commissioners to find ways to improve the plan review and inspections process, and will keep you appraised of our progress.