Senate Tax Redistribution Plan Could Cost Mecklenburg County $50 Million a Year in Revenue

As members of the House and Senate meet behind closed doors next month to negotiate a state budget, a number of contentious issues will be on the table for debate, including funding of the JDIG job incentives program, a cap on the standard deduction, and an expansion of the sales tax on services.

But it’s the proposal for redistribution of locally collected sales tax dollars that’s causing the most heartburn for Mecklenburg and other urban counties. The current formula sends 75% of sales taxes back to the county where they were collected, and redistributes the remaining 25% statewide on a per-capita basis. Under the Senate’s proposal, that formula would gradually shift over the next four years to one that redistributes a whopping 80% of locally collected sales taxes statewide, on a per-capita basis.

That would mean Mecklenburg County stands to lose as much as $213 million over the next four years, based on revenue projections by the County Manager’s office. A loss of that magnitude would likely necessitate a property tax increase of as much as 5 to 7 percent. Continue reading

Governor Signs Legislation Setting Curbs on Local Development Bonding Requirements

A bill signed into law last week by Governor Pat McCrory will help address issues developers are having with bonding and letters of credit for subdivision roads and other improvements.

HB 721, ‘Subdivision Ordinances/Land Development Changes’, limits the ability of local governments to hold developer performance guarantees, such as bonds or letters of credit, for excessive periods before accepting the improvements. It  also prohibits the practice of putting holds on permits or COs in one portion of a subdivision as leverage to require improvements to other parts of the development.  Continue reading

Governor McCrory Signs Legislation Ending Use of Protest Petitions in North Carolina

GovPatMcCrory-HQOn July 23, Governor Pat McCrory signed into law HB 201, ‘Zoning Changes/Citizen Input’, which repeals the North Carolina Protest Petition statute and eliminates a tool frequently used by neighborhood groups to force concessions from property owners and developers. The law will be effective for any rezoning petitions filed August 1st or later.

HB 201 eliminates a longstanding state law that allowed as few as 5 percent of the neighbors within 100′ of a proposed development to file a petition that would force the applicant to secure a supermajority of affirmative votes from the city or town council for rezoning approval. In the City of Charlotte, this meant a petitioner had to secure 9 of 11 Council votes for a rezoning to be approved.

The law still allows residents to protest rezoning actions through a variety of methods, including delivering letters to the City or Town Clerk two days in advance of a rezoning vote. Neighbors can also make their voice heard at rezoning public hearings, or by directly contacting their elected officials.

REBIC worked closely with the North Carolina Home Builders Association (NCHBA), the three NAIOP Chapters in North Carolina, the Apartment Association of North Carolina, and the Charlotte Commercial Board of Realtors® (CRCBR) to ensure the passage of this legislation, by delivering letters and visiting with state legislators.

Charlotte City Council Discusses Impact of New Aesthetics Law on Zoning Cases

The Charlotte City Council Monday night began grappling with the impact that the new Residential Aesthetics law (SB 25 – ‘Zoning/Design & Aesthetic Controls) will have on its rezoning process. The legislation, signed by Governor Pat McCrory June 19th, prohibits local governments from regulating “building design elements” on residential single-family homes, townhomes and duplexes, and applies to any ordinances adopted before, on, and after the effective date.

The law defines “building design elements” as:

  • Exterior building color;
  • Type or style of exterior cladding material;
  • Style or materials of roof structures or porches;
  • Exterior nonstructural architectural ornamentation;
  • Location or architectural styling of windows and doors, including garage doors;
  • Number and types of rooms; and,
  • Interior layout of rooms.

Continue reading

CFPB Finalizes 60-Day Delay of TRID Rule on Closing Documents

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today issued a final rule moving the effective date of the ‘Know Before You Owe’ mortgage disclosure rule, also called the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures (TRID) Rule, from August 1st to October 3, 2015.

The TRID regulations will replace the HUD-1 settlement statement, Good Faith Estimate forms, and Truth in Lending Act disclosure with a new Closing Disclosure and a new, single Loan Estimate. There will be changes to the closing process as well, including a new rule requiring everything to be in place three days prior to closing. Continue reading

North Carolina Senate Approves Legislation to End Use of Rezoning Protest Petitions

By a vote of 39 – 10, the North Carolina Senate this morning approved HB 201, ‘Zoning Changes/Citizen Input’, which would repeal the North Carolina Protest Petition statute and eliminate a tool frequently used by neighborhood groups to force concessions from property owners and developers. The bill will go back to the House in mid-July for a concurrence vote, and then to the Governor’s desk, where Pat McCrory has indicated he WILL sign the legislation.

HB 201 would eliminate a longstanding state law allowing neighbors in the immediate vicinity of a proposed development to force the applicant to secure a supermajority of affirmative votes from the city or town council for rezoning approval. If as few as 5 percent of the neighbors within 100′ of the property line sign and submit a valid Protest Petition to the local planning department, they can obtain enough leverage to force financial or design concessions from the property owner or developer that would otherwise be difficult if just a simple majority vote were required for the rezoning.

No other action taken by local government action requires a supermajority vote.

The House approved the legislation in late March by an 81 – 31 margin, and is expected to concur with the bill when it comes back to the chamber sometime after the General Assembly’s July recess.

Much credit is due to the North Carolina Home Builders Association (NCHBA), which led the fight for this legislation, as well as NAIOP North Carolina, the Apartment Association of North Carolina, and the Charlotte Commercial Board of Realtors®, whose members provided much-needed support.