City Council Approves 6-Month Extension of Stormwater Mitigation Fee Program

The Charlotte City Council has unanimously approved a six-month extension of a program that allows developers to pay a mitigation fee instead of constructing costly on-site storm water management systems. REBIC applauds the action as a way to maintain an alternative compliance option that can provide economic incentives for small-site redevelopment.

First adopted in 2011, the Post-Construction Controls Ordinance (PCCO) Mitigation Fee program is aimed at helping developers of small commercial sites by allowing them to contribute to the cost of public offsite improvements rather than installing onsite systems such as retention ponds, which often must be located underground because of site constraints. The fees collected ($60,000 for the first acre, $90,000 for each additional acre) are used by the City to make system improvements within the same basin as the development, from stream bank restoration to the purchase of private property in floodplains.

Over the past 2 years, the City has collected $898,000 in mitigation fees from 10 redevelopment projects totaling $14 million in value that chose to pay the Mitigation Fee in lieu of constructing onsite controls. The revenue was used to fund 6 public stormwater projects that might otherwise not have been completed, including wetlands restoration near McAlpine Creek and 3 new ponds in north Charlotte.

The Mitigation Fee program was adopted with a sunset provision of April 30, 2014, and city staff proposed a 5-year extension early this year. But because of a new state law that makes it more difficult for local governments to adopt environmental regulation, Council needed to give its unanimous consent for the initiative to continue.

The extension approved this week allows the program to continue until October 31, 2014, during which time city staff, environmental advocates and development industry representatives will conduct a review of how it may be improved. Councilman John Autry was instrumental in authoring the compromise extension, after expressing reservations about the impact of the program in helping to restore Charlotte’s impaired streams.

CONNECT Our Future Needs Your Input!

CCOG

The 14-county greater Charlotte region in North and South Carolina, will almost double in population, and in the number of jobs, by 2050.  We are the fastest-growing large metro region in the country, and we are also the largest metro without a shared regional approach for growth.  This affects our ability to compete for jobs in a global marketplace, and may affect the quality of life and access to opportunity the region’s current and future residents enjoy.

How and where should we grow?  CONNECT Our Future is working with residents throughout 14 counties to get to that answer.  Over 4,000 people to date have provided their ideas about what is important to them, and what needs they see for their community and the region.  Even if you have not participated before, you can share your ideas about your priorities, and about four different ways this region could grow, now.

Just take 5-10 minutes to visit http://ConnectOurFuture.metroquest.com.

It’s easy to use the tool— tell us your priorities (on the Priorities page), do the star rating for each growth option (on the Consider Options pages), and to let us know what county you’re from (on the Stay Involved page), then hit Submit, and you’re done!

Help our region stay a great place for our children and grandchildren, by Growing by Choice, Not Chance! Pass this on to your friends and family members and ask them to provide their input online!!

Sushil Nepal
Project Manager
CONNECT Our Future
Centralina Council of Governments (CCOG)
525 N. Tryon St., 12th floor
Charlotte, NC  28202
704-688-6509
snepal@centralina.org
www.centralina.org  / www.ConnectOurFuture.org

Defeat of Proposed Mechanic’s Lien Legislation a Big Win for Commercial Real Estate

In a meeting that lasted less than 10 minutes, a legislative study committee in Raleigh today voted unanimously to shelve a pair of bills that would have allowed a mechanic’s lien on the owner of a leasehold interest to be extended to the fee interest of the property owner.

The committee action is a BIG WIN for commercial property owners around the state, who would have faced significantly greater liability for unauthorized improvements made by tenants. The proposed legislation was strongly opposed by REBIC, the North Carolina Association of REALTORS® (NCAR), the Charlotte Regional Commercial Board of REALTORS®, and the Charlotte Chapter of NAIOP.

Current law allows contractors to place a lien on a leasehold interest when a tenant fails to pay for the goods or services for which they contracted. The lien can be extended to the property owner or landlord only if the owner or landlord contracted with the provider for the work performed.

Representatives of the associations for electrical, plumbing and mechanical contractors had proposed that improvements authorized by a tenant should be automatically presumed to be authorized by the property owner. This conflicted with a longstanding N.C. Supreme Court ruling, which states that it is the contractor’s duty to exercise due diligence in determining whether they are contracting with a tenant or property owner.

Thanks to everyone who helped defeat this terrible legislation, particularly Cady Thomas and Robert Broome at NCAR! Thanks also to State Representative Dean Arp, who co-chaired the Study Committee and made the motion to shelve the proposed bills.