Home Builders Advocate for Reforms at General Assembly

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Charlotte-area home builders met in Raleigh with Rep. Andy Dulin and Senator Dan Bishop, along with other members of the Mecklenburg and Cabarrus delegations.

Home builders from Mecklenburg and Cabarrus counties joined their colleagues from across the state this week to advocate for permitting and code enforcement reforms at the General Assembly, during the North Carolina Home Builders Association’s (NCHBA) annual Legislative Day.

In addition to talking with legislators about the state of the local housing market, HBA members advocated for passage of a number of critical bills, including:

  • HB 948 – Building Code Regulatory ReformSponsored by Representative Mark Brody (Union), this bill makes some very beneficial changes to the permitting and inspection process, including:
    • Clarifies existing language allowing a licensed architect/engineer to certify a component or element of a building, without the need for a city or county to inspect and approve that component.
    • Gives the NC Department of Insurance the statutory authority to create an Inspector Marketplace Pool, composed of retired Code Enforcement officials, from which builders could request an inspection in the event the local officials cannot provide one within 2 business days.
    • Provides greater flexibility for the State of North Carolina to grant provisional licenses to Code Enforcement officials who are certified and in good standing in other states, which will help address the challenge of Code Official vacancies in fast-growing counties like Mecklenburg.
  • HB 507 – Land Use Regulatory Changes: This bill passed the Senate last year, but needs to be taken up this session by the House. It includes several important reforms including statutory clarifications to Permit Choice – a developer can choose which version of a rule to apply in the event an ordinance changes after they submit an application. Among other things, the bill also expands the 7-year vesting protection for multi-phase development projects.
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Meeting with Senator Jeff Jackson during the NCHBA Legislative Reception in Raleigh

Builders also continued to lobby for the passage of HB 457 — Performance Guarantees/ Subdivision Streets, a bill that would create a specific timeframe for NCDOT to approve and accept county subdivision roads once they are completed. This bill passed the House last year, and is awaiting action by the Senate. Finally, HBA members advocated for additional changes in the state’s RMI Sales Tax law, to allow sales tax credits to be claimed through deductions on applicable sales tax receipts remitted to the State of North Carolina.

Realtors® Talk Housing Issue Priorities on Capitol Hill

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Charlotte Realtors® meet on May 16th with Congressman Robert Pittenger in his Capitol Hill office.

Realtors® from Mecklenburg County joined their colleagues from across the nation last week in Washington, D.C. to discuss real estate industry issues with their members of Congress. During a full day of meetings on Capitol Hill, Realtors® met with Senators Thom Tills and Richard Burr, and Congressmen Robert Pittenger and Richard Hudson, as well as the Chief of Staff for Congresswoman Alma Adams. 

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North Carolina Realtors® meet with Senator Thom Tillis on Capitol Hill

While last year’s federal Tax Reform legislation remained a major topic of conversation, Realtors® also advocated for the following critical issues:

  • Reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program, which is set to expire on July 31st if no action is taken by Congress;
  • Extension of the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Exclusion through the 2018 tax year;
  • A doubling of the current $10,000 deduction limit on state and local taxes (SALT) for married couples filing joint returns;
  • Adoption of legislation protecting Americans from housing discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity; and,
  • Strong Net Neutrality protections to ensure the public has continued open access to real estate websites and MLS search engines.
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Realtors® meet with the Chief of Staff for Congresswoman Alma Adams

Thanks to all those Realtors® who took time out of their busy schedules to lobby for Realtor® Party priorities in Washington!

Charlotte Extends Comment Period for Draft TOD Ordinance

Light RailThe City of Charlotte has extended the comment period for its draft Transit-Oriented Development A (TOD-A) ordinance, which would allow higher-density, mixed-used development within a quarter-mile of transit stations like the CATS Blue Line.

TOD-A is the first of at least 4 transit-oriented zoning districts that the Planning Department plans to unveil in the next few months, and is intended to accommodate the highest-intensity development along the transit corridor, with allowable building heights as tall as 250′.

After setting base densities and building standards, the ordinance uses a voluntary points system to incentivize developers to meet aesthetic design, open space and affordable housing objectives through allowances for greater building heights.

REBIC and NAIOP have significant concerns with the draft ordinance, which includes highly prescriptive design standards on everything from window spacing to the appearance and location of awnings and doorways. A revised draft of the ordinance, now available online, adds dozens of requirements for sign placement and landscape design, along with the existing building design standards already in the initial draft.

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REBIC and Real Estate Industry Partners Join Chamber in Backing Housing Trust Fund Bond Request

In a letter delivered yesterday to Mayor Lyles and members of City Council, REBIC and many of its member associations joined the Charlotte Chamber, the Leading on Opportunity Task Force, the Evergreen Team, and other community organizations in support of the $50 million Housing Trust Fund bond included in the City Manager’s proposed FY 2019 budget.

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City Manager’s Budget Proposal Invests in Housing, Development Plan Review Enhancements

Crown-Logo-GreenCity Manager Marcus Jones unveiled his proposed $2.6 billion FY 2019 Budget to Mayor Lyles and Council last night, which includes initiatives to expand Charlotte’s investment in affordable housing and improve the development review process. Some highlights are below, from our initial review of the budget:

  • The General Fund Budget is $693.8 million. This reflects an increase of $25.0 million or (3.7 percent) over last year’s adopted budget.
  • Includes a one-cent tax increase, which adds $9.8 million in additional revenue to and costs 83 cents monthly for every $100,000 in home value. Three fourths of a penny will help support enhancements in public safety and one fourth will help support the ongoing debt service needed for a $50.0 million affordable housing strategy.
  • Provides $70.3 million for housing programs, including an increase in the Housing Trust Fund bonds to $50.0 million in FY 2019. Charlotte voters will have to approve this investment when they go the polls in November.
  • Implements sweeping changes in the development plan review process, to address issues raised by REBIC and other industry groups over the past year.
  • Creates a ‘One Stop Shop’ in the lobby of the Government Center, where developers can access and meet with all relevant staff in a single location.
  • Transfers 22 staff positions from the Department of Engineering and Property Management to the Department of Planning, which will be re-branded the Department of Planning, Design, and Development.
  • Creates a new Enhanced Review pilot program for nearly all development review types, with reviews ranging from $1,000 for  plat revisions to $30,000 for expedited plan review on major development projects.
  • Adds 12 new positions in Planning to support the enhancements in planning and land development permitting
  • Aside from a 5 – 15% increase in rezoning fees (due to a planned step-down in cost-allocation subsidy), no new user fees for planning or land development.
  • Includes $500,000 for an Aging in Place pilot program. This program helps support low-income, senior homeowners who want to continue to live in their home and mitigate potential impacts of the new 2019 property valuation.
  • An additional $2.7 million for the ‘A Way Home’ rental assistance program.
  • Includes a significant increase in the starting pay for CMPD officers, raising the minimum salary for a recruit to $46,352.
  • Additional funding of $22.5 million is proposed for five existing General CIP projects in FY 2019, including the North I-85 Bridge and McKee/Providence Road Intersection. In FY 2021, an additional $2.5 million is proposed for the Idlewild and Monroe Road Intersection project.
  • Funding for the Sidewalk and Pedestrian Safety program is doubled from the originally planned $15.0 million in FY 2019 to $30.0 million
  • Accelerates funding of $46.1 million to complete all six planned police stations.
  • An increase in water and sewer fees averaging $1.89 per month for a typical residential customer.

You can review the Manager’s Budget Summary document here, and download the full budget proposal here. 

Charlotte Planning Director Outlines New Direction for UDO Process

Speaking to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission today, Charlotte Planning Director Taiwo Jaiyeoba described a new direction for the yearlong process of drafting a Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) for the City of Charlotte.

With the UDO process struggling to gain support from members of City Council, Jaiyeoba said he would like to shift the focus away from the Place Types concept to the creation of long-range comprehensive plan, while also finishing the development of a new TOD ordinance.

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The REBIC Primary Election Voter Guide is Now Available!

REBIC Primary Election Guide