As TOD Ordinance Advances, City Planners Turn Attention to Tree Ordinance Revisions

As Charlotte’s revised TOD Ordinance nears a March 18th public hearing and a possible late-Spring adoption, city planners are turning their attention to the next portion of the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) initiative: updating the Charlotte Tree Ordinance.

“Specifically, we will be considering ways to update Tree Ordinance standards for urban sites to allow better integration of trees in these developments,” read an committee invitation from planning staff.

REBIC has long argued that the Tree Ordinance, originally adopted in 1978, is a poor fit for the type of urban development now prevalent in Charlotte. Commercial developers typically elect the ordinance’s Payment-in-Lieu option, as the ordinance makes it difficult to preserve trees on small infill sites.

The committee will hold its first meeting on March 14th, and meet weekly for at least the next month. REBIC members will be participating in the process, and will continue to advocate for effective tree regulations that allow for the construction of affordable housing and urban development.

NC Home Builders Support Continuing Ed Legislation

legislative_building_5One of the top legislative priorities of the North Carolina Home Builders Association (NCHBA) took a big step forward last week as Representatives Larry Potts (R-Davidson), Mark Brody (R-Union), Julia Howard (R-Davie) and Ashton Clemmons (D-Guilford) introduced HB 162 – Continuing Education for General Contractors, (i.e., “CE for GCs”).

The bill would require all general contractors, home builders, and anyone with an unclassified licence to complete eight hours of continuing education annually. Two of those hours would have to be a mandatory course approved by the State Licensing Board for General Contractors, while the remainder can be approved electives.

HB 162 has been referred to the House Regulatory Reform Committee, but no hearing has yet been scheduled. There is also a companion Senate bill, SB 55 Continuing Education for General Contractors, sponsored by Rick Gunn (R-Alamance), Paul Newton (R-Cabarrus), and Don Davis (D-Greene).

The Carolina Associated General Contractors (CAGC) is also supportive of the legislation, which would take effect January 1st, 2020, if it becomes law.

Public Right-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines (PROWAG) Training

The City of Charlotte is hosting a training on the U.S. Access Board and the Public Right-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines (PROWAG).

Developers, Engineers, Designers and Contractors – this is your opportunity to learn the technical requirements of PROWAG directly from US Access Board Right-of-Way expert Scott Windley.

There will be two sessions each day.

March 21, 2019

8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. or 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

March 22, 2019

8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. or 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

The morning sessions will focus on design for engineers, designers, and developer, while the afternoon sessions will focus more on construction for the contractors. To accommodate as many firms as possible, we are limiting attendance to two registrants per firm.

To register for the training, click here.

Mecklenburg County Implementing New Building Plan Review System in 2019

LUESA logoBuilders and contractors working in Mecklenburg County will experience big changes in 2019, as Code Enforcement converts its electronic plan review system from POSSE to Accela — the same platform used by the City of Charlotte for zoning and development plan review.

In an announcement to customers, Code Enforcement says the replacement of its existing Electronic Plan Management (EPM) system will improve the customer experience for residential and commercial builders alike. REBIC has long been encouraging the County and City to adopt a common platform for plan review and permitting — a recommendation included in the 2015 Gartner Study that proposed a series of improvements to the building permitting process.

“Our focus is on providing our customers with a better customer service experience when conducting business with Mecklenburg County Code Enforcement and Mecklenburg County Land Development services,” the announcement read.

Despite County Code Enforcement and City Land Development sharing the Accela platform, the two systems won’t initially be able to interface with one another. Instead, the plan review systems will communicate with one another through the use of a ‘bridge’. Officials at Mecklenburg County LUESA say full integration of the two systems is the ultimate goal, but believe it will be at least another year or two before the technology is in place to make this happen.

REBIC will continue to work closely with both Mecklenburg County LUESA and the City of Charlotte to improve the development and building permitting process. We’ll continue to update you on the County’s Accela conversion as it progresses.