Earlier this week, the Charlotte City Council’s Environment Committee voted unanimously to support a series of recommendations from a citizen task force that would make permanent the citywide Mitigation Fee program in Charlotte’s Post-Construction Storm Water Ordinance (PCCO).
First adopted in 2011, the citywide Mitigation Fee option gives developers an alternative way to meet the on-site storm water requirements of the PCCO on redevelopment sites. The fee option, which is approved administratively, is currently $60,000 for the first acre of redevelopment and $90,000 for each additional acre or portion thereof. Some onsite control measures are still required for most sites to manage volume and peak flow downstream, but costly water quality measures are eliminated through payment of the fee.When the program came up for renewal at the end of 2014, City Council voted for a temporary, 3-year extension, while convening a Task Force to consider whether the citywide Mitigation Fee should be made permanent.
The final proposal, which was agreed to by representatives from REBIC, NAIOP, the HBA of Greater Charlotte, the Greater Charlotte Apartment Association, Sustain Charlotte, the Catawba Riverkeeper, the Sierra Club, the Charlotte Chamber and other groups, would make permanent the citywide Mitigation Fee program, while modifying it as follows:
- Require a new downstream analysis to determine if a ‘quality stream’ segment exists within the project’s impacted watershed, using the existing 10 percent rule.
- If a quality stream segment is identified within this downstream area, the developer will be required to provide 1-year, 24-hour volume control and 10-year, 6-hour peak control, as well as two water quality controls from a range of options approved by the city:
- Sediment Forebay installation
- Parking lot / Vehicular Area Sweeping (at least twice monthly)
- Built-Upon-Area Reduction of at least 10% from pre- development conditions;
- Parking Lot / Vehicular Area Reduction of at least 50% from pre-development conditions;
- Partial Stormwater Quality Treatment, using onsite controls from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg BMP Design Manual.
- If no quality stream segment is identified, but onsite detention is still required to address downstream flooding, the developer must also provide ONE water quality control from the list above.
- If the Stormwater Administrator determines that physical conditions at a site preclude compliance with the requirements for onsite controls, then quality stream protection, detention and storm water quality control may be waived.
- Mitigation Fees would increase from $60,000 for the first acre and $90,000 for every acre thereafter, to the following schedule:
- $75,000 for the first acre or portion thereof;
- $90,000 for the second acre or portion thereof;
- $105,000 for the third acre or portion thereof;
- $120,000 for every acre (or portion thereof) above acres.
- A new fee credit of 25% would be provided for all projects providing onsite controls as required by the downstream analysis above.
- There would be no sunset date on the Mitigation Fee program, which would be available for use on redevelopment sites anywhere within the City of Charlotte.
The Task Force did NOT address the Mitigation Fee program in place prior to 2011, which allows developers to pay a fee-in-lieu in transit station areas and the city’s Distressed Business Districts — a crescent-shaped swath of acreage around Uptown targeted for economic revitalization. The fee option in these areas was not evaluated by the Task Force, and will not change under the consensus proposal.
The full City Council will take up the proposal in late February or early March, with a targeted implementation date of July 1, 2016. The current provisions of the mitigation fee program will remain in place until that time.
REBIC believes the consensus proposal reached by the Task Force is one that will continue to promote the reuse of underutilized sites across the city, while also providing additional water quality protections for creeks and streams.
By making the Mitigation Fee permanent beyond transit station areas and Distressed Business Districts, City Council can ensure that Charlotte remains committed to revitalizing its older neighborhoods by encouraging sustainable, infill redevelopment that creates jobs, generates tax revenue, and provides funding for the rehabilitation of urban waterways.
REBIC is grateful to the efforts of our industry representatives in this important initiative:
- Nate Doolittle, LandDesign
- Paisley Gordon, CPG Real Estate
- Marc Houle, Yarbrough, Williams & Houle, Inc.
- Ken Szymanski, Greater Charlotte Apartment Association
- Steve Wilson, Landworks Design Group
You can find additional information about the task force here: http://charmeck.org/stormwater/regulations/Pages/2015taskforce.aspx
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