City Council Defers Vote on Minimum Housing Code Amendments

ssi002.ilookabout.comA City Council Committee has deferred a scheduled vote on proposed amendments to Charlotte’s Minimum Housing Code to allow REBIC, the Greater Charlotte Apartment Association (GCAA) and other stakeholder groups to meet with staff and try and find ways to improve the draft language.

REBIC and GCAA have expressed concern that the proposed changes Ordinance could negatively impact housing affordability by raising the cost of property management and code compliance for landlords. We have also described how the costly and ambiguously worded amendments could reduce the City’s already dwindling supply of Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing.

A full list of the proposed changes is available here, along with the presentation made last month to City Council’s Neighborhood Development Committee. They include:

  • Requiring roof drains, gutters and downspouts be maintained in good repair and free from obstructions and designed to discharge rainwater away from
    the structure.
  • Requiring any existing air conditioning systems to be ‘in good working condition.’
  • Requiring that cabinet doors and drawers be ‘operating as intended and have functional hardware.’
  • Requiring that exhaust ducts for clothes dryers be equipped with a back-draft
    damper.
  • New fines of $500 per day for failure to correct any dangerous violations within 48 hours.
  • Enhanced penalties for Environmental Court convictions that include probation or up to 30 days in jail.

REBIC and GCAA will be convening a stakeholder meeting with City staff later this month to begin working through our concerns, which were outlined in a joint letter issued last week.  You can read the full list of our concerns here.

 

City Hosting Meeting Next Thursday on Upcoming TOD Corridor Rezonings

Meeting Flyer_July18PublicMtg_1-0

The City of Charlotte is hosting an Informational Open House this Thursday, July 18 to inform community members about the City’s plan to rezone parcels along the Blue Line light rail corridor to one of the new TOD zoning districts.

The parcel rezonings, which will begin this fall, will formally remap hundreds of individual properties along the LYNX light rail corridor to one of the four new TOD districts Council adopted in April:

  • TOD-UC Transit Urban Center
  • TOD-NC Transit Neighborhood Center
  • TOD-CC Transit Community Center
  • TOD-TR Transition

On June 30th, all districts zoned under one of the previous conventional TOD districts were automatically rezoned to the medium-density TOD-CC, but the remapping process will reassign many of these parcels to a higher- or lower-density district, depending on its proximity to a transit station, activity center, or existing neighborhood.

You can find out if your property is included in the TOD Alignment Rezoning by using the City’s online map. Simply enter the street address or nearest intersection into the map’s search feature to locate your parcel. If your property is included in the TOD Alignment Rezoning, it will be shown with the color that corresponds to the TOD zoning district for which it is recommended. If your parcel does not have a color, it will not be rezoned as part of this initiative.

Parcels with a previously approved URBAN conditional zoning will NOT be rezoned in the mapping process.

This Thursday’s community meeting will be held in the Fellowship Hall on the first floor of the Pritchard Building, Pritchard Memorial Baptist Church, 1117 South Boulevard. Drop-in times are 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.  Presentations are scheduled for 11:15 a.m., 12:15 p.m., 4:15 p.m., 5:15 p.m., and 6:15 p.m.

Free parking is available in the parking garage behind the church at Caldwell and Templeton. The church is also a short walk from the Carson Boulevard LYNX station.

Read more about the new TOD Ordinance here.

Mooresville Considers Zoning Changes at Tonight’s Meeting

MooresvilleThe Town of Mooresville will consider a text amendment to the Zoning Ordinance at tonight’s Board of Commissioners meeting that will provide more density options to builders. The proposal tonight will allow for townhouses to be built in the R2 and R3 zoning designations through the use of conditional zoning.

The proposal passed the Planning Board by a 5-3 vote at its June 13, 2019 meeting.

The Town Board of Commissioners will meet this evening at 6:00 p.m. at Mooresville Town Hall.

Charlotte Holding Additional Meetings this Week on Housing Code Changes

Housing Code Meetings

The City of Charlotte is hosting a second pair of community meetings this week to discuss proposed changes to its Minimum Housing Code, which are scheduled to be considered by a City Council committee on July 17th.

REBIC and other industry groups have expressed concern that the proposed changes Ordinance could negatively impact housing affordability by raising the cost of property management and code compliance for landlords.

A full list of the proposed changes is available here, along with the presentation made last month to City Council’s Neighborhood Development Committee. They include:

  • Requiring roof drains, gutters and downspouts be maintained in good repair and free from obstructions and designed to discharge rainwater away from
    the structure.
  • Requiring any existing air conditioning systems to be ‘in good working condition.’
  • Requiring that cabinet doors and drawers be ‘operating as intended and have functional hardware.’
  • Requiring that exhaust ducts for clothes dryers be equipped with a back-draft
    damper.
  • New fines of $500 per day for failure to correct any dangerous violations within 48 hours.
  • Enhanced penalties for Environmental Court convictions that include probation or up to 30 days in jail.

REBIC and the Greater Charlotte Apartment Association were successful in getting last week’s committee vote on the proposal deferred until Wednesday, July 17th, citing our concerns with the ambiguity and increased cost of many of the provisions, and the potential impact on the City’s dwindling supply of Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing. We will be meeting with City staff this week to discuss our concerns in more detail.

All interested landlords and property owners are strongly encouraged to review the proposed ordinance changes and attend one of the two community meetings scheduled for this week. 

 

 

Cabarrus County Commission to Consider Fee Proposals at July 29th Meeting

Last night at the Cabarrus County work session, Planning & Development Director Kelly Sifford discussed the Proposed Fee Increases on planning, zoning and building inspection fees.

 

 

During the presentation, Kelly did provide an overview of the several meetings held with REBIC, the Cabarrus Chapter of the Greater Charlotte HBA and the building community. REBIC proposed at those meetings that the Planning Department and building community continue these conversations quarterly, which they have agreed to. The first of these quarterly meetings will be announced shortly.

Kelly also responded to some of the requests from builders including the addition of a temporary power permit for residential building. Overall, the Planning Department was pleased with the feedback from both REBIC and the HBA. As another result of these meetings, some technology issues came to light that they were unaware of, which will be the focus of the first of the quarterly meeting between staff and builders.

County Commission Chairman Steve Morris praised staff and REBIC for their ability to work together and be innovative without being restrictive. Vice Chair Diane Morris also praised staff for being so responsive to the building community.

The County Commission is scheduled to vote to adopt the proposed fee schedule at the July 29th meeting.

 

Huntersville Assumes Land Development Review & Permitting Today

Huntersville Logo

Beginning today, the Town of Huntersville is assuming review of all land development review and permitting, bringing in-house a variety of services previously provided by Mecklenburg County.

But because the Town failed to request delegated authority for Erosion & Sedimentation Control from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), all E&S review and inspections for projects in Huntersville will continue to be provided by Mecklenburg County LUESA until at least mid-August.

All development plans previously submitted to LUESA will continue to be reviewed by the County, which will also conduct inspections on those projects. Any new development projects submitting from today forward will go through the Town’s Engineering & Public Works Department. Huntersville last month adopted a new fee schedule that is similar to the 2018 LUESA fees for land development plan review, bond maintenance and other related services.

Town board members have expressed their hope that bringing land development services in house would improve efficiency and reduce plan approval time for developers.

Home Builder Legislative Priorities Make Progress in Raleigh

NCHBAOne of NCHBA’s year’s top legislative priorities took a giant step forward last Thursday in the House Regulatory Reform Committee. SB 355 (Land Use Regulatory Changes) sponsored by Senators Dan Bishop (R-Mecklenburg), Paul Newton (R-Cabarrus) and Sam Searcy (D-Wake), cleared the committee after a unanimous vote. The bill helps level the playing field between landowners and local governments by, among other things:

  • Integrating permit choice and vesting laws to ensure that the rules are not changed in the middle of a development project.
  • Protecting landowners against 3rd party rezoning efforts.
  • Allowing certain claims to bypass the Board of Adjustment and proceed to Superior Court.
  • Placing limits on conditional zoning abuse, while preserving flexibility for developers.
  • Provisions of SB 422 (Planning/Development Changes) which combine and modernize existing city and county planning and zoning chapters as developed by the NC Bar Association.

NCHBA has pursued legislation containing many of the same provisions during the previous two sessions. While these previous bills have passed the House by wide margins, they failed to get across the finish line in the Senate. This year, your legislative team made the decision to pursue the bill in the Senate first and an outstanding team of sponsors was recruited in Senators Dan Bishop (R-Mecklenburg), Paul Newton (R-Cabarrus) and Sam Searcy (D-Wake). This strategy proved successful and the bill passed the Senate last month with a strong bi-partisan vote of 39-9.

After the bill was received by the House, NCHBA convened a broad stakeholder’s group which included the NC League of Municipalities, the NC Association of County Commissioners, the city attorney for Raleigh, and other local government and development advocates. After holding an initial meeting to identify issues of concern, NCHBA General Counsel Mike Carpenter and the League. Legislative Counsel Erin Wynia worked diligently with the other stakeholder leaders to craft a compromise bill. This compromise led to the local government advocates not opposing the bill. In turn, this agreement led to the unanimous committee vote and should pave the way for swift passage by the full House.

Leading our efforts on the House floor will be the sponsors of the House companion bill — Representatives Destin Hall (R-Caldwell), Majority Leader John Bell (R-Wayne), Debra Conrad (R-Forsyth) and Billy Richardson (D-Cumberland). The bill will then return to the Senate for a concurrence vote on the changes made in the House. It will then be presented to Governor Cooper and, in light of the agreement of the parties, we would expect the governor to sign the bill into law.

Another of NCHBA’s top session priorities, SB 55 (Continuing Education for General Contractors) was unanimously approved by the House Finance Committee on Wednesday morning and will now make one last stop in the House Rules Committee before a full House floor vote. Primary sponsors of this bill are Senators Rick Gunn (R-Alamance), Paul Newton (R-Cabarrus) and Don Davis (D-Greene). When the bill gets to the House floor, sponsors of the House companion bill, Representatives Larry Potts (R-Davidson), Mark Brody (R-Union), Julia Howard (R-Davie) and Ashton Clemmons (D-Guilford) will make sure it gets a big vote.

The bill would require at least one qualifier of a building, residential or unclassified licensee to obtain 8 hours of instruction annually as a requirement for license renewal.

This bill has been scheduled to be heard in the House Rules Committee on Monday and may be included on Tuesday’s House calendar. Upon passage, this bill will go directly to the Governor who is expected to sign it into law. If so, the continuing education requirement will take effect in 2020. Starting in 2021, all 8 hours can be satisfied by taking approved courses online.

Last Wednesday afternoon, the Senate Finance Committee approved another of our key priorities HB 675 (2019 Building Code Regulatory Reform), sponsored by Representatives Mark Brody (R-Union), Dennis Riddell (R-Alamance), Jon Hardister (R-Guilford), and Billy Richardson (D-Cumberland). Among the important provisions in this year’s bill are: prohibiting developers from having to bury power lines outside of a subdivision, eliminating minimum square footage requirements for homes and expediting the local plan review process.

The Senate Finance Chairs have indicated that this bill could be heard in their committee early next week, before heading to the Senate Rules Committee and finally the Senate floor. Since this legislation has been modified, it will have to go back to the House for a concurrence vote.

Another one of our legislative priorities also cleared the House Regulatory Reform Committee on Thursday by a unanimous vote. SB 313 (Performance Guarantee to Streamline Affordable Housing), sponsored by Senators Andy Wells (R-Catawba), Joyce Krawiec (R-Forsyth) and Mike Woodard (D-Durham), makes several refinements in our successful 2015 effort to reform the performance guarantee process. Prior to this year’s session, NCHBA was able to work out these refinements with the NC League of Municipalities to make it a consensus bill.

This bill has one additional stop in the House Rules Committee before reaching the House floor.

Source: North Carolina Home Builders Association (NCHBA)