National Association of Realtors® Weighs-In on Flood Insurance Bills

On Thursday, June 15, the House Financial Services Committee began marking up seven bills reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  These bills would reauthorize the NFIP for five years, as well as make changes to the program and how it’s administered, some which will affect the way that commercial properties purchase and utilize the program.  NAR sent a letter to the Committee ahead of the markup, which was joined by several commercial real estate trade groups, providing a list of priorities for commercial real estate to consider including in the NFIP reauthorization.

The House Financial Services Committee will continue its markup of the NFIP legislation on Wednesday, June 21.

(Source:  National Association of Realtors®)

The City of Charlotte Announces Reorganization of Neighborhood and Business Services

The City of Charlotte has announced the reorganization of Neighborhood & Business Services (NBS).  This adjustment is to focus more effectively on the city objectives of expanding both economic development and neighborhood development.  Whereas the NBS served both of these functions, they will now be served by two distinct departments – Economic Development and Housing & Neighborhood Services.

This shift will allow the city to increase its focus on the City Council’s Community Letter, the Focus Areas, and support a collaborative effort on economic development projects throughout the city.

If you have any questions, please email HNSinfo@charlottenc.gov or call 704.336.3380.

(Source:  City of Charlotte)

 

How Does the North Carolina RMI Tax Apply to Property Management Firms?

Since North Carolina’s sales & use tax on Repair, Maintenance & Installation (RMI) services took effect on January 1st, numerous questions have arisen about the implications for managers of real property, whose service agreements typically contain some services that are covered by the tax, and others that are not.

Recent meetings with General Assembly legislators and staff, as well as with senior officials from the Department of Revenue, have provided some clarification for property managers, as well as direction on how to comply with the new tax law. The following is in no way intended to be tax advice, but rather a summary of the key points gleaned from these meetings. For specific tax advice on how your business can comply with the RMI sales tax, please consult a qualified tax professional. Continue reading

Mecklenburg County Code Enforcement Plans July 1st Launch of Multi-Family Mega Team Initiative

Mecklenburg County’s ‘Mega Team’ Inspection program for multi-family projects should get a soft roll-out this summer, according to a presentation made to the Board of County Commissioners this week.

The Mega Multi-family Team, which is expected to launch July 1st, will merge Plan Review and Inspections under one umbrella, with the primary goal of reducing inconsistencies between the two. The job of the Team Manager will be to ‘advocate for the project’, from design and construction to the issuance of an Occupancy Certificate.

Continue reading

County Manager Discusses Code Enforcement Improvements with REBIC

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Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio

During a recent visit with REBIC, County Manager Dena Diorio discussed LUESA’s ongoing implementation of a new Electronic Plans Management system, as well as other technology improvements currently under development. Here are some key takeaways from the conversation:

Q: What can Code Enforcement customers expect in terms of improvements form the replacement of the electronic plans management system? 

 

A: The following are some of the major improvements that are being designed for the upgrade:

  • User-friendly dashboards with the ability to alert customers when the status of their plan review has been updated, or additional information is required.
  • System improvements, including:
    • Ability to accept any file format;
    • Scheduling Capability;
    • Management and creation of email templates
    • Replacement of Sheet Index (manual maintaining of drawings/revisions);
    • Incorporate integrated Auto-stamping process for approved drawings/files;
    • Computer Aided Design (CAD) software used for reviews;
    • More robust software that allows for annotations, exporting of annotations and comments; and,
    • Eliminate current File/Sever storage limitations.

Q: Customers frequently experience some misalignment between the County’s plan review system and the systems used by Charlotte and the Towns. Will this be addressed?

A: In short, yes. Currently Code Enforcement and the local governments use the same systems (Winchester and EPM), but they use them for different functions.  The Town land development agencies do not perform the same functions as Code Enforcement. Therefore, a customer could have differing experiences when working with the County vs. the Towns.  A goal of this project is to align those processes to the extent possible in the new system.  The following stakeholders are working with County Code Enforcement and IT to define future state to streamline customer experience with EPM.

Q: Are there any plans to embark on process improvements with the respective towns?

A: Yes, the towns are included in process improvements and the County Land Development team is working collaboratively to identify potential process improvements.  Additionally, town staff have provided their input into the development of the requirements for the new/upgraded EPM system.

Governor Signs Regulatory Reform Bill into Law

Governor Roy Cooper has signed into law a 44-page Regulatory Reform bill that contains several critical provisions for residential and commercial developers.

SB 131, ‘Regulatory Reform Act of 2016-2017’, contains two reforms that are of particular interest to developers:

Energy Efficiency Code Exemptions – Section 1.4 of the bill excludes from state Energy Efficiency Code requirements any buildings with the following use classifications:

  • Factory Group F
  • Storage Group S
  • Utility & Miscellaneous Group U

Furthermore, an amendment suggested by REBIC and introduced by Representative Bill Brawley ensures that the energy code exclusion ‘shall apply to the entire floor area of any structure’ included in the provision. This language was intended to prevent the office or showroom portion of a warehouse, industrial or manufacturing building from having to meet energy efficiency code requirements, when the majority of the structure does not.

This provision must be codified by the North Carolina Building Code Council, which next meets on June 13th in Raleigh. An effective date will likely be set for sometime this fall.

Stream Mitigation Requirements – Section 3.13 of the bill amends stream mitigation requirements to allow developers to disturb up to 300′ of stream bed before mitigation is required, unless otherwise prohibited by federal law. Current law requires mitigation whenever 150′ or more is disturbed. This provision would bring North Carolina in line with stream mitigation requirements in neighboring states.

This provision must be approved by the U.S. Corps of Engineers before it can take effect. A timeline for that adoption has not yet been determined, but REBIC will keep you posted as we learn more details.

Other key provisions in the law include:

  • An update of the general contractors licensing law which contains language clarifying that the determination of project cost for intermediate or limited license excludes the cost of land and any ancillary costs to improve the land.
  • A 5-year statute of limitations and a 7-year statute of repose on local governments to pursue an alleged violation of a land-use statute, ordinance or permit against a landowner. Current law does not contain any statute of limitations.

Town of Davidson Hosting May 8th Affordable Housing Forum

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Davidson citizens are invited to the Davidson Town Hall board room on Monday, May 8 at 6:00 p.m. for an affordable housing forum hosted by the Town of Davidson and the UNC-Charlotte Urban Institute.

The UNCC Urban Institute will present information and recommendations from the recently conducted Affordable Housing Needs Assessment. Following the presentation, attendees will break into smaller groups for round table discussions facilitated by the Urban Institute.

“The Davidson Board of Commissioners and town staff  hope citizens will attend to share their ideas about affordable housing,” said Affordable Housing Manager Cindy Reid.

For more information on the affordable housing program and to review the assessment, please visit www.townofdavidson.org/affordablehousing.

(Source:  Town of Davidson)