REBIC FORUM Looks for Solutions to the Affordable Housing Challenge

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Keynote Speaker Wendell Cox

At last month’s REBIC Forum, keynote speaker Wendell Cox and a panel of local experts discussed ways in which local regulation and land use policies constrain the supply of affordable housing in a community, and limit the ability of middle-class Americans to achieve the dream of homeownership

Cox, an author and demographer who studies housing affordability across the United States and 8 other nations, argued that land use constraints such as urban growth boundaries, density caps and large minimum lot sizes make it increasingly difficult for private-sector builders and developers to deliver housing for middle- and working-class residents.

While anti-sprawl policies are popular with planners, community groups and elected officials, Cox argued they ultimately exacerbate the housing affordability crisis by reducing opportunity for buyers to find housing on the urban fringe, where land prices are far lower than in the urban core.

Following Cox’s presentation, a panel of local housing experts discussed strategies for improving Charlotte’s supply of affordable units. Multifamily developer John Porter, with Charter Properties, said ‘every regulation adds to the cost’ of housing, and encouraged City officials to look for ways to roll back burdensome development rules.

img_0053Pamela Wideman, Deputy Director for Charlotte’s Neighborhood & Business Services division, said the City is making progress on its proposal to expand the affordable housing supply by 5,000 units in the next 3 years, but acknowledged policymakers were still looking for new ways to meet the ambitious goal.

REBIC appreciates all the sponsors and presenters who helped make this year’s REBIC Forum such a huge success!

To download Wendell Cox’s Powerpoint Presentation, click here.

To view the presentation in its entirety, click here.

City Planning Department Announces Changes to Rezoning Schedule

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Department recently announced some changes to the  City’s rezoning process and calendar. The key changes include:

  • Initial comments from staff to the petitioner will be sent one week earlier, roughly four to five weeks after the initial submittal.
  • Submittal of site plans for public hearing will be required one week earlier, to allow staff to get the list of outstanding issues to the petitioner earlier.
  • The site plan submittal deadline for Zoning Committee will occur on the Monday one week after the public hearing, instead of the Thursday of the week of the hearing, to allow for the petitioner to have additional time to address issues discussed at the hearing.
  • The Zoning Committee meeting has been moved back six days (to the Tuesday fifteen days after the hearing) to allow more time for staff to prepare for the meeting and to work with the petitioner to finalize any remain issues.

REBIC is continuing to work with planning staff to improve the rezoning and plan review process, and welcomes any feedback you can provide on your experience with the process.

To see the list of changes as well as the new 2017 rezoning calendar thru June, click here.

If you have any questions, please contact Tammie Keplinger, Rezoning Program Manager, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Department at 704-336-5967 or tkeplinger@ci.charlotte.nc.us.

Charlotte Community Safety Committee Supports Changes to Rental Registration Ordinance

During the 2016 legislative session, the North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation restricting a local government’s authority to impose rental registration ordinances.  Several years ago the City of Charlotte enacted its Residential Rental Registration and Remedial Action Program and is now considering revisions due to the passage of the new law.  Session Law 2016-122 does the following :

  • regulates rental registration programs and ordinances throughout the state;
  • prohibits mandatory rental property registration and criminal penalties for violations;
  • allows local governments to force property owners to register when their properties fall within the top 10% of of all properties where crimes occur; and
  • allows civil penalties to be imposed.

During yesterday’s meeting of the Community Safety Committee, staff proposed several changes in order to come into compliance with state law:

  • conform the ordinance to only require registration when the risk threshold is met;
  • eliminate criminal penalties and replace them with civil penalties of $50 per occurrence; and
  • remove subsection of ordinance requiring posting proof of registration.

The Committee voted unanimously to recommend the revisions to the full City Council.  A presentation will be made to the Council at its next regularly scheduled meeting with a vote likely to follow.

BDC Green Lights Addition of 26 New Code Enforcement Positions

On Monday the Building Development Commission (BDC) voted to support a staff proposal that recommends adding twenty-six new positions to Mecklenburg County’s Code Enforcement Division.  The proposal comes as staff has had difficulty keeping up with the increased volume of projects around the city.  Many of these projects have been large multifamily, highly complex, or high rise buildings and the department anticipates a 30-40% increase in workload in the next fiscal year.  The new positions include the following:

  • 10 Mega Inspector/Plans Examiners
  • 5 Inspector I (Veterans Program)
  • 10 Inspector III
  • 1 Plans Facilitator

The additional hires are likely to cost (salaries, benefits, equipment including trucks, etc.) the department an additional $2.4 million dollars in the next fiscal year which begins July 1st of 2017.  The recommendation from the BDC now heads to the full board of the Mecklenburg County Commissioners for a vote which is likely to take place in the next couple of weeks.

Cabarrus County to Hold Open House on New Flood Data

The North Carolina Floodplain Mapping Program (NCFMP) would like to invite you to attend a public meeting scheduled for the areas of Cabarrus County with newly released flood hazard and flood risk data on the preliminary Flood Insurance Study (FIS).

The meeting will be held Thursday, January 19, 2017, at the Cabarrus County Governmental Center Multipurpose Room on the 2nd floor, at 65 Church St. S, Concord, NC from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. At this meeting, residents and other stakeholders will have the opportunity to review the revised data and ask questions of NCFPM staff.

The meeting will be conducted as an open house where attendees will have the opportunity to view the preliminary flood hazard data and ask staff questions specific to the flood risk of their property. Representatives from the NCFMP will be available.

For those not able to attend the meeting, a web site is available for making comments on the proposed maps using the preliminary data on the North Carolina Flood Risk Information System (http://fris.nc.gov/fris/) and the following web site https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BQX7Z2Z.

For more information, contact Susie Morris, AICP, CFM, CZO, Planning and Zoning Manager/CRS Prgram Coordinator at 704.920.2858.

(Source:  Cabarrus County Planning and Zoning)

2017 REBIC FORUM

2017-rebic-forum

City of Charlotte Announces Land Development Leadership Changes

City Engineer Jeb Blackwell recently announced that Dave Weekly has been named the interim Engineering Services Division Manager. To cover Dave’s current responsibilities, Tom Ferguson will serve as interim Division Manager for Land Development. 

Dave, a 1987 UNCC graduate in Civil Engineering, has been with the City for 22 years after spending seven years in the engineering private sector. He came to the City in 1994 as a review engineer in Land Development, then moved to Engineering Services as a design engineer and project manager. A six-year stint as a contract officer followed, with Dave then serving 13 years as Land Development Division Manager.

Dave will spend the majority of his time with Engineering Services but will also continue implementing permitting services recommendations made in Gartner Consulting’s two-year study of development processes. To that end, the City Manager’s Office has appointed Dave and Nan Peterson to the new City Executive Development Services Team, which is charged with creating a unified services model for development.

Tom graduated from Virginia Tech in 1983 with a B.S. in Civil Engineering. He has been with the City 28 years, joining what was then called the Public Service Division (now Land Development) in 1988. During that span he has served as Civil Engineer I, Civil Engineer II and Engineering Program Manager, all within Land Development.

(Source:  Charlotte Engineering and Property Management – Land Development Division)