Proposed Mecklenburg County Budget Would Produce Higher Taxes for Most Property Owners

A significant number of Mecklenburg County property owners will see an increase in their tax bill this year under a budget proposal unveiled recently by County Manager Dena Diorio, which would adopt a tax rate almost 2 cents, or 3.3 percent, above revenue-neutral.

With an average property value increase of more than 50% following a countywide revaluation, the tax rate at which the County would collect the same amount of total revenue (known as the ‘revenue-neutral’ rate) is 59.7 cents per $100 of assessed value. The manager’s budget proposes a rate of 61.69 cents per $100, or 1.99 cents above revenue neutral. The impact of the higher rate means more than 65% of all Mecklenburg County homeowners, and more than 71% of all commercial property owners, will see higher tax bills this year.

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Charlotte Proposes Tightening Noise Restrictions on Construction Sites

The City of Charlotte is considering revisions to its Noise Ordinance that would allow the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) to designate specific construction sites as ‘chronic noise producers’ and require the creation of a formal plan to mitigate noise impacts on surrounding neighborhoods.

REBIC has scheduled an industry stakeholder meeting for Friday, May 10th at 2:30 p.m., at the Belmont Community Center, 700 Parkwood Ave. All interested stakeholders are encouraged to attend.

The changes, approved last week by City Council’s Neighborhood Development Committee, are part of an extensive update of the 2011 Noise Ordinance, which also include the creation of noise buffers around schools, churches or health care facilities, and tighter restrictions on the use of amplified sound. In addition to giving CMPD the authority to make the chronic noise designation, the ordinance would create escalating fines for repeat violations and add specific examples of construction equipment for greater clarity.

 

The proposed Noise Ordinance changes are available here.

City Council Approves New TOD Ordinance

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The Charlotte City Council last Monday night unanimously approved a new Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Ordinance, which sets standards for commercial and residential development in the city’s light rail corridor.

REBIC and our members worked closely with City planning staff on the ordinance over the past 18 months, and we are generally pleased with the final product. Many of our suggestions — from changes in maximum parking ratios to additional development incentives — were included in the final draft adopted by Council last week. Our only remaining significant concern remains the 130′ building height limitation, which can only be exceeded through the use of a bonus point system that encourages affordable housing investments, energy efficient construction, or the contribution of offsite infrastructure.

While we support each of these policy goals, we believe City Council should do everything possible to encourage density in our transit corridors, and not restrict itself from considering economic development opportunities that would otherwise be limited by the building height caps in each TOD district.

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LUESA Proposes Dramatic Development Fee Hikes for FY 2020

LUESA logoMecklenburg County LUESA is proposing dramatic increases to its Land Development, Zoning and Floodplain Permitting Fees for FY 2020, as it seeks to end a longstanding practice of supporting Land Development Services with excess stormwater fee revenue.

The proposed increases, combined with the elimination of two vacant stormwater positions, will allow Land Development Services to cover 100% of its operating costs, says Land Development Director Dave Canaan. With the Town of Huntersville starting its own land development permitting operation this summer, the County’s Land Development Services division will handle projects in the five remaining towns and the ETJ. The City of Charlotte charges separate fees for land development permitting within its boundaries.

Both REBIC and the Greater Charlotte HBA have voiced our strong opposition to the proposed fees (listed below), which represent year-to-year increases of nearly 200% in some cases. Fees for multi-year projects will be phased in over two years, and new fees will be implemented for re-inspections and re-reviews of development plans.

REBIC is working with members of the Board of County Commissioners to try and find alternative budget approaches that will keep the fees at their current levels, as the proposed increases will dramatically impact housing affordability in the ETJ and five towns. The Commission will hear a presentation on the new fees at a Budget work session on Tuesday, April 9th, and we will be present for the discussion.

LUESA Fee Schedule

Kannapolis Begins UDO Rewrite Process

As REBIC previously reported, the City of Kannapolis is rewriting its UDO.  In November 2018, City Staff along with the consultant team, Clarion, began that process.

Clarion has prepared a UDO Assessment Report for public review.  The report is diagnostic in nature, and serves as an outline of recommended changes that should be considered as the text of the UDO is drafted.

REBIC and the City of Kannapolis invite you to review the  UDO Assessment Report and provide your feedback.  You may do so by email or phone (contact information found below).

Clarion will also present the UDO Assessment Report to City Council at its March 25, 2019 meeting.  You are invited to attend.  The meeting will be held at 401 Laureate Way (City Hall), and begins at 6pm.

For your reference, below is a timeline of the UDO re-write process.

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If you would like to stay informed, please click the link to stay current.

 

Association Health Care Bill Passes NC Senate

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Last week,the NC Senate approved legislation that would allow for the creation of Association Health Plans, providing a needed option for independent contractors, like REALTORS®, to receive health insurance through plans supported by associations.

SB 86 — “Small Business Healthcare Act” passed out of its last Senate committee and proceeded to the Senate floor. The bill received votes on Wednesday and Thursday, passing by votes of 40-8 and 38-8 respectively. The bill now moves on to the House of Representatives.

We are very appreciative of the support of Senators Dan Bishop, Joyce Krawiec, and Chuck Edwards on this important issue. You can see how your Senator voted here by clicking “PASS” in the vote section on the right side of the page.

Check out the following editorial on the value of the legislation from two of its sponsors.

Source: NC Realtors®

 

Davidson Pursues Tree Ordinance Legislation that Would Negatively Impact Housing Costs

State Senator Natasha Marcus (D-Mecklenburg) has introduced legislation that would grant the Town of Davidson the authority to adopt an ordinance that would prohibit the removal of heritage trees, defined as a native tree with a diameter greater than 30 inches at breast height, from a property being developed for single family or duplex housing.

The Davidson Board of Commissioners has long complained about its inability to prohibit tree removal on residential development, per its local authority under state law. If adopted, SB 259 would dramatically increase the cost of single-family development in the Town, which already imposes illegal design and inclusionary zoning requirements on home builders.

Local government tree ordinances across North Carolina have proven to be restrictive and burdensome in many instances. While some local governments have obtained authority to adopt tree protection ordinances by local act, others have enacted tree ordinances without such authority. In general, some tree ordinances are far too restrictive and have a major adverse financial impact on housing. Look for more on this topic in future weeks.

REBIC opposes this legislation, and will work our colleagues at the North Carolina HBA and the NC Realtors® to ensure it does not become law.