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.

Charlotte Schedules Public Workshops on 2040 Comprehensive Plan

CLTFuturelogo1The City of Charlotte invites you to the Charlotte Future 2040 Vision & Values Workshop. These forums will give Charlotte residents and stakeholders the opportunity to weigh in on how Charlotte should grow, and what land use and transportation policies the City should adopt in the years ahead.

Please RSVP at the following website to attend: https://cltfuture2040.eventbrite.com/

MEETING DATES & TIMES

Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Greater Mount Sinai Baptist Church
1243 West Boulevard, Charlotte, NC 28208
6pm – 8pm

Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Foundation for the Carolinas
220 North Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28202
12:00pm – 1:30pm

Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Simmons YMCA
6824 Democracy Drive, Charlotte, NC 28212
6pm – 8pm

Charlotte Planners Release Revised TOD Ordinance, Set Public Hearing for March 18th

The Charlotte Planning Department late last week released a revised draft of its proposed Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Ordinance, ahead of a March 18th public hearing.

REBIC is in the process of reviewing the ordinance, which is available for download HERE. We strongly encourage any developers considering projects in the City’s transit corridors to look through the draft and provide us with any feedback you may have.

Some of the changes in the new draft include:

  • Additional Bonus Menu Options: More incentives for the inclusion of affordable housing units, including a horizontal density bonus through open space reductions and building length, and the addition of several environmental items.
  • Open Space Changes: Calculations regarding open space are revised and include an easier calculation of the amount required and revised standards to when public open space is required.
  • Public Realm Standards: Provides clarification on language regarding streetscape and future back of curb measurements, based on varying street types and a planned citywide street map.
  • Revised Townhome Language: Clarifies that townhomes are not subject to the ordinance’s aesthetic requirements, reduces open space requirement.

City Council will receive a briefing on the TOD at their regular meeting on February 25th. REBIC will continue to engage on this critical issue issue through meetings with staff and Council members in the coming weeks.

Charlotte NAIOP Members Advocate for Commercial Real Estate Issues on Capitol Hill

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NAIOP North Carolina members with Senator Thom Tillis last week in Washington

Members of the Charlotte Chapter of NAIOP traveled to Washington, D.C., last week to meet with members of Congress about issues critical to North Carolina’s commercial real estate industry. The Capitol Hill visits were part of NAIOP’s annual Chapter Leadership and Legislative Retreat, and gave Charlotte developers a chance to advocate on a range of topics, including:

  • Establishing a reasonable cost recovery period for qualified leasehold improvements;
  • Advocating for increased federal investment in our national infrastructure, including roads, ports and bridges; and,
  • Encouraging Congress to incentivize energy-efficient construction without imposing new mandates.
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NAIOP Legislative Affairs Chair Jason Moore (Rodgers Builders, center) meets with Congressman Richard Hudson on Capitol Hill

During the course of the day, NAIOP members met with Senator Thom Tillis and congressmen Richard Hudson and Patrick McHenryThanks to those NAIOP members who took time out of their busy schedules to advocate for commercial real estate priorities on Capitol Hill!