NAIOP North Carolina Voices Support for HB2 Repeal Bill


Charlotte, North Carolina (March 30, 2017) – NAIOP North Carolina, representing commercial real estate developers, brokers and other industry professionals in Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham, and the Triad, strongly urge members of the North Carolina General Assembly to pass HB 142 today as a bipartisan compromise that repeals HB2 and allows our state to recover from the economic damage suffered over the past year.

Since the passage of HB2 last March, North Carolina and its commercial real estate industry has suffered millions in lost revenue from taxes, leases and fees, as dozens of economic development prospects have passed over our state because of this law. The office and industrial sectors have been most strongly hit, and with millions of square feet coming on line over the next few quarters, net absorption will be insufficient to keep up with deliveries in Charlotte, the Triangle and the Triad. As a result, many of our state’s developers and real estate professionals are at financial risk once again, just a few years after the end of the Great Recession.

 Economic development recruiters increasingly tell our brokers that North Carolina is ‘off the list’ when it comes to company relocations. Despite the outstanding tax and regulatory climate the General Assembly has created over the past four years, the intended economic benefits will not be fully realized until HB2 is repealed and the economic boycott of our state is lifted.

NAIOP urges legislators to vote YES on HB 142, and repeal HB2 before more damage is done to our state’s economy and reputation.

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ABOUT NAIOP

NAIOP is the nation’s leading trade organization dedicated to representing industrial, office, retail and related commercial real estate. NAIOP is also one of the largest owner-driven commercial real estate associations the country, with more than 50% of its Principal members serving as CEO’s of commercial real estate. For more information, visit http://www.naiop.org.

Huntersville Planning Board Reconsiders Traffic Impact Analysis Ordinance

Last evening the Huntersville Planning Board heard from Town Engineer Max Buchanan about recently approved amendments to a Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA) Ordinance.  Despite the fact that the new ordinance had been approved unanimously by the Town Board on February 6th, a few members of the Planning Board expressed concerns about the changes, which provide more options for a developer to make infrastructure improvements to address traffic impacts caused by their project.

At last night’s called workshop, Planning Board Chair Hal Bankirer and other board members questioned Buchanan about how the new language may allow developers to pay less for infrastructure improvements than the original ordinance — implying the development community was not paying its fair share.  Buchanan defended the changes, arguing that they allowed for more flexibility for both developers and the Town, while established for a more common-sense solution to addressing traffic improvements.  Instead of tying the improvements to a direct dollar amount, they are now tied to an actual percentage based on improvement in traffic flow.

REBIC supported the recently adopted TIA amendments as a win-win for developers and the Town of Huntersville.  And while we recognize that the Planning Board serves a vital advisory role to the Town Board, we’re concerned that they’re overstepping that role in questioning an ordinance that was supported by staff and unanimously approved by the elected Town Board.

 

Town of Mooresville Implementing Comprehensive Housing Strategy

Following a nearly year-long data gathering effort which was followed by another year of additional research on how its strategy may be implemented, the Town of Mooresville appears ready to move ahead with some ambitious plans.  Working with some non-profit groups, as well as private developers, the Town is pulling the trigger on agreements to provide several hundred additional workforce housing units to members of the community in the coming months.  Final details are not yet available, but Mooresville seems to be moving in the right direction in terms of implementing the recommendations of the “Mooresville Comprehensive Housing Strategy–Housing Needs Assessment (Final Report)”.

Conducted as a collaboration between the Town of Mooresville and the Centralina Council of Governments (the Carolina Regional Realtors® Association and North Carolina Association of Realtors® provided some of the funding for the study and REBIC was represented on the Steering Committee), the assessment lays out several recommendations to insure the Town has the types and amounts of housing stock to meet future needs as residents age in place and as growth continues at a steady pace.  The two main recommendations were as follows:

  • Conduct Rehabilitation and Redevelopment
  • Encourage Low to Moderate Income Housing

In recent years, Mooresville has seen a number of new housing developments built with price points at the higher end of the spectrum, but seems to be lagging in housing stock available for those earning at or slightly below the Area Median Income (AMI).  The report also suggested offering developers density bonuses and fee waivers to encourage this type of development.

We look forward to continuing to work with the Town Commission and members of the staff as they seek to meet the Town’s future housing needs.

 

 

House Committee Approves Building Code Reform Legislation

The House Regulatory Reform Committee this morning approved important amendments to a bill designed to make substantive improvements to the state statute regulating building code and permitting processes, before moving it to the floor for likely consideration later this week.

HB 252, ‘Building Code Regulatory Reform’, includes the following provisions:

  1. Clarifies that counties and municipalities may not continue to enforce any ordinance or policy requiring the inspections of homes more than those specifically set forth in the North Carolina Building Code. Jurisdictions were prohibited from adopting such ordinances or policies by a law enacted in 2013 at the behest of NCHBA.
  2. Authorizes an employee under direct supervision of a licensed architect or licensed engineer to perform field inspections of the completed installation of an engineered component of a project.
  3. Clarifies that no architect or engineer certification is required for components that are engineered by the manufacturer when those components comply with the North Carolina State Building Code.
  4. Requires all local inspection departments to create and implement an informal review process of inspectors. Disagreements on interpretations or inspection issues will be subject to this process. Furthermore, the bill directs inspection departments to report annually to the Joint Committee on Local Government on the implementation of this provision.
  5. Subjects any future or existing codes to the process established in HB 255 for review and approval by the Residential Code Committee or the Building Code Committee of the Building Code Council before consideration by the Council.
  6. Clarifies that inspection agencies shall not apply any local or state interpretation of the building code to projects that are begun under a valid building permit, unless the permittee elects to have the new interpretation apply.
  7. Finally, excludes lots with septic tanks or other on-site wastewater systems from dual meter requirements, if the cutoff valve and backflow prevention device are placed within 12 inches of the water meter.

One critical amendment approved today by the committee addressed REBIC’s concerns with the code interpretation process, and now allows builders and contractors to choose whether or not a new state building code interpretation would apply to their project. We will continue to monitor the progress of this bill and advocate for its passage in the House.

 

Opportunity Task Force Report Recommends Action on Affordable Housing

A long-awaited, 92-page report issued yesterday by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Opportunity Task Force proposed a wide range of strategies for improving opportunities for upward social and economic mobility — including a number of proposals to increase the supply of affordable housing.

The Task Force was formed in May 2015 in response to a 2013 study conducted by researchers at Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley, which focused on the economic mobility of low-income families in major American metropolitan areas. The study found that ‘for children growing up in places like San Jose, California, the odds of moving from the bottom fifth of the national income distribution to the top fifth are 12.9 percent.’

In contrast, in cities like Charlotte, Atlanta and Indianapolis, the report indicated that ‘a child’s odds of moving from the bottom fifth to the top fifth are less than 5 percent—less than the average any developed country for which the data was available. At 4.4 percent, Charlotte was at the very bottom of the 50 cities ranked in the study.’

mobility-map-min

Source: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Opportunity Task Force Report

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City Council Considering Storm Water Fee Hikes in 2018 Budget

The Charlotte City Council is considering a 4% hike to local Storm Water rates in 2018, along with substantial cuts in fee credits provided to commercial property owners, to address a growing backlog of projects on pubic and private land.

City staff told Council members they have a current backlog of more than 1,500 storm water projects, with a wait time of 6 – 8 years. If no changes are made to the fee schedule, staff estimates their backlog will more than double, with customers waiting as long as 18 years for the City to complete their request. To address this, staff is asking Council to approve annual storm water fee hikes over the next decade. Even under that scenario, the project backlog in 10 years will remain right about where it is today.

Councilman Ed Driggs summarized the thoughts of many on Council when he said the City was “on a collision course with a big problem here.” Continue reading

Charlotte City Staff Requests Go Ahead From Council to Revise Locational Policy

At a recent meeting of City Council’s Housing & Neighborhood Development Committee, Housing Services Manager Pam Wideman briefed members on recommended changes to the Housing Locational Policy, which has been in place since the late 1980s.

Revised most recently in 2011, the Housing Locational Policy provides a guide for the location of new, rehabilitated, or converted subsidized multi-family developments designed to serve households earning 60% or less of the Area Median Income (AMI).  The objectives of the policy are to:

  • Geographically disperse subsidized multi-family housing developments;
  • Support the City’s neighborhood revitalization efforts and other public development initiatives;
  • Promote diversity and vitality of neighborhoods; and
  • Avoid undue concentration of subsidized multi-family housing developments.

REBIC believes the policy has inhibited the City from reaching its affordable housing goals, and will be a major impediment to achieving its ambitious pledge of creating 5,000 units of workforce and affordable units in the next three years.

Moving forward, with the Council’s approval, staff intends to revise the policy to:

  • Evaluate future proposed developments based on the current quality of life and updated geography; and
  • Combine the broader review of the Housing Locational Policy and Community Engagement Strategy into the development of a Comprehensive Housing Plan.

Staff will bring a more defined set of revisions to the committee at a future meeting.

Click to view the Housing Locational Policy Presentation made to the committee last week.