City Releases TOD Ordinance Draft, Seeks Feedback from Development Industry

Light RailThe City of Charlotte has released a draft of its Transit-Oriented Development A (TOD-A) ordinance, which would allow higher-density, mixed-used development within a quarter-mile of transit stations like the CATS Blue Line.

TOD-A is the first of at least 4 transit-oriented zoning districts that the Planning Department plans to unveil in the next few months, and is intended to accommodate the highest-intensity development along the transit corridor, with allowable building heights as tall as 250′.

After setting base densities and building standards, the ordinance uses a voluntary points system to incentivize developers to meet aesthetic design, open space and affordable housing objectives through allowances for greater building heights.

City Planning is looking for feedback on the draft from the development community, before moving it though Council for adoption in early summer. Comments can be submitted online through the City’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) website, which also contains the full text of the ordinance.

If you have any questions in the meantime regarding the TOD Districts, please reach out to Monica Holmes in the Planning Department:

Comments are due to the City by Friday, March 23rd.

REBIC is in the process of reviewing the draft TOD-A ordinance, and will work with our partner organizations to submit formal comments before the deadline.

Congressional Budget Deal Contains Big Policy Wins for Real Estate

img_0100The federal budget deal signed by President Trump last Friday contains a number of wins for real estate, including a temporary extension of federal flood insurance and extension of tax provisions that include relief from debt forgiveness, the deductibility of mortgage insurance premiums, and several energy-efficiency related provisions.

Flood Insurance

Extends the National Flood Insurance Program until March 23, giving lawmakers time to work on longer term reauthorization and reform legislation. It also adds $27 billion in mitigation and resiliency funds to address issues arising from last year’s hurricanes. The extension makes $12 billion available under the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to fund U.S. Army Corp of Engineers flood mitigation projects.

Continue reading

City Council Talks Affordable Housing, Economic Development at Durham Retreat


Mayor Lyles opens the 2018 City Council Planning Retreat last week in Durham

DURHAM, NC — When Mayor Vi Lyles and the Charlotte City Council arrived in Durham Wednesday afternoon for the start of their 3-day planning retreat, the stage had already been set for a fascinating interplay between a series of emerging dynamics: Young vs. Old, Millennial vs. Boomer, Revolution vs. Status Quo. And with a menu of topics on their plate ranging from affordable housing and job creation, to sewer capacity and the completion of a new Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), the conversation and debate was sure to be one for the books.

Affordable Housing dominated Day 2 of the retreat, which was held at the comfortable Washington-Duke Inn, just outside the Duke University campus. After an economic overview by the always-fascinating Wells Fargo economist Mark Vitner, council members jumped into a full-throated discussion about affordable housing and creating ‘great’ neighborhoods — without once recognizing that the two goals may, in fact, be somewhat incompatible. Some of the highlights: Continue reading

Mecklenburg County Hopes to Have POSSE System Back Online This Week

Code Enforcement

In the wake of last week’s cybercrime attack, Mecklenburg County is continuing to make progress on restoring permitting systems to full functionality. LUESA is running tests on the POSSE system today, and pending those results, is hoping to have it back up and running by tomorrow or Thursday.

LUESA director Ebenezer Gujjarlapudi told REBIC today he is confident that no plans or review comments were lost during the hack, so the department should be able to pick up where they left off once everything is back online.

Code Enforcement has been averaging about 1,000 inspections a week since the system collapsed, so they don’t expect there will be much (if any) of a backup once the system returns to normal. In addition, the County says they’ve had a number of on-schedule reviews completed this week using the paper process, and once the system is back up, they’ll contact all customers in the queue to let them know how they’ll be proceeding with their scheduled reviews. Again, they seem to expect a minimal disruption. Continue reading

Important Update from Mecklenburg County on Computer Outage

Code Enforcement

An Update for Our Customers

As the situation with Mecklenburg County’s computer system outage continues to develop, we want to keep our customers as informed as possible of the steps Code Enforcement staff is taking to help our customers. As of the afternoon of Wednesday, Dec. 6th:

  • Phone and e-mail systems are functional. is functional, but in some instances, that functionality may be limited, when the site links to or interacts with a program that has not yet been restored.
  • The following systems are still UNAVAILABLE: Permitting & Inspections software (also known as POSSE Outrider or the contractor login), Online Permitting (also known as HIP and TIP), Electronic Plan Management (EPM). Several smaller systems that support these programs or our daily business processes are also unavailable.
  • Inspections are being performed, but scheduled and managed manually. Since our inspections scheduling methods are currently unavailable, please call your inspector directly to request an inspection. If you do not have your inspector’s number, please call the Customer Service Center at 980-314-CODE or check our online staff directory.
  • When systems are restored, we will work closely with our plan review customers who had scheduled reviews pending. Plan Review customers with questions should contact their plan review coordinator directly.
  • We are exploring options for significantly scaled-back manual plan review and permitting processes.  We will update you when a modified process is available.
  • If you are facing an urgent situation, such as the need to have an inspection so power can be restored to a home, or having deadlines such as closing on a home purchase,  please contact the Customer Service Center at 980-314-CODE, or your inspector or coordinator, if you have their contact information.
  • Our office will remain open during regular business hours and our staff will be putting in extra time to help our customers as more of our systems are restored. Commercial and residential technical assistance is still available.

Our priority is minimizing the impact on our customers and community. We are committed to helping resolve each problem as quickly and efficiently as possible. We apologize for the inconvenience, and thank you for your patience.

We will continue to update you, our valued customers, as we have more to report.

City Council Defers Proposed Sidewalk Amendments for Further Review

The Charlotte City Council this week voted 8-1 to refer a controversial sidewalk ordinance back through its committee process, after REBIC and top affordable housing developers voiced concerns over the impact on housing costs.

The ordinance under consideration would require all owners of by-right property along a city thoroughfare to install 6’ sidewalks and 8’ planting strips along their entire frontage when certain development thresholds are met. Unless that property already has a sidewalk at least 4’ in width, along with a planting strip of another 4’, the sidewalk is considered ‘substandard’, and would have to be replaced with a new sidewalk meeting the standards above. Continue reading

General Assembly Adjourns, Sending Key Building Industry Bills to Governor

legislative_building_5The 2017 Session of the North Carolina General Assembly adjourned at 2 a.m. on June 30th, after one of the most hectic weeks of legislative activity in memory. With much left undone, legislators announced they will return to Raleigh on August 3rd to consider a limited range of topics (e.g., any veto overrides, bills that were in conference at the end of the session, potential redistricting issues). Further action on other legislation must wait for next year’s “short” session, set to convene on May 16, 2018.

The key legislation for the real estate and building industry are summarized below: Continue reading