N.C. Supreme Court Ruling Limits Ability of Local Governments to Assess Impact Fees

by Ted Hennessey, Attorney-at-Law, Robinson Bradshaw

Ted Hennessey

On Aug. 19, the North Carolina Supreme Court reversed a Court of Appeals decision and invalidated “impact fees” imposed by North Carolina municipalities. Robinson Bradshaw represented the North Carolina Home Builders Association as an amicus curiae supporting the plaintiff builders and developers before the Supreme Court.

You can read the full Supreme Court decision here.

In Quality Built Homes, Inc. et al. vs. Town of Carthage, the court rejected the town’s argument that the North Carolina Public Enterprise statutes gave it broad authority to impose fees and charges to operate, maintain and expand water and sewer infrastructure. The court implied that while the town may be able to set water and sewer rates, charged to all system users, to generate revenue for system expansion, it could not shift expansion costs to builders and developers via impact fees to be paid in exchange for building permits.

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City and County Continue Progress with Development Process Improvements

Source: Mecklenburg County LUESA

LUESA LogoMecklenburg County Code Enforcement and City of Charlotte Land Development staff continue to work jointly on the Phase I recommendations from the Gartner report. Gartner, an independent consulting firm, was commissioned in late 2014 to do a study surrounding the processes and current state of construction and development regulation in Mecklenburg County and provide feedback for enhancing customer service.

LUESA Director Ebenezer Gujjarlapudi and Code Enforcement Director Patrick Granson will speak at REBIC’s September 8th Public Policy meeting to provide a more detailed update and answer questions from builders and developers.  Continue reading

City Council Approves Tree Ordinance Amendments

The Charlotte City Council this week approved an amendment to its Tree Ordinance that immediately eliminates the density bonus for single-family lot development “not subject to” the subdivision ordinance, while also expanding a perimeter buffer requirement for all new single-family subdivisions using the tree save incentive.

REBIC had been lobbying against the changes, and while we were unsuccessful in convincing Council to preserve the incentive for individual lots, we were able to secure a three-month deferral in the effective date of the perimeter buffer requirement.

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City of Rock Hill Holding Monday Work Session on Impact Fees

Earlier this week, the City of Rock Hill held a work session on impact fees.  City staff briefed the City Council on a plan to phase in a two-year increase on fire, water, and wastewater impact fees beginning in July of 2017.  Under the proposal, the fire fee for single-family residential would be increased by 50% with multi-family seeing a 27% hike.  Combined water and wastewater fees would go up by at least 140%.  Developments with larger meter sizes could see as much as a four fold increase.  Additional details may be found in the presentation (City of Rock Hill Impact Fees Proposal).

The City originally passed its impact fee ordinance in 2003 and has not made any changes to the fee schedule since enactment.  Staff said the increases are necessary in order to meet the needs of a growing population.

The City Council has invited interested parties from the building and development industry to provide feedback at a meeting scheduled for 12:00 pm on Monday, August 29th, at Rock Hill Operations Center, 757 South Anderson Road in Rock Hill.  If you have or plan operations in the Rock Hill area you are strongly urged to attend.  A City Council Workshop has been scheduled for 12:00 pm on September 8th at Rock Hill City Hall, Room 373, 155 Johnston Street in Rock Hill.  At that meeting, Council plans to discuss the proposal further and may make adjustments based on the comments it receives.  REBIC will continue to monitor the situation as the process unfolds.

WFAE Hosts Panel on Charlotte’s Real Estate Market

Last Thursday WFAE 90.7 Charlotte Talks host, Mike Collins, hosted a fascinating discussion of our region’s real estate market.  The guests included Mark Vitner, Managing Director and Senior Economist at Wells Fargo, Maren Brisson-Kuester, President of the Charlotte Regional Realtor® Association, and Ely Portillo, Economic Development Reporter for The Charlotte Observer.  They discussed how the market model and how the Charlotte buyer has changed.  If you missed it, you can listen online here.

(Source:  Home Builders Association of Greater Charlotte)