Mooresville Approves Mixed-Income Zoning Ordinance

The Mooresville Board of Commissioners earlier this month unanimously approved an ordinance to encourage Mixed-Income Residential development through by-right density bonuses and development fee refunds.

The ordinance, a product of the Town’s Comprehensive Housing Strategy, was approved after the Board heard supportive comments from members of the public, including both the Executive Director of the Mooresville Community Foundation and Madeline Keeter, REBIC’s Government Affairs Manager.

The voluntary program provides incentives for developers to include affordable units within new subdivisions. Developers using the ordinance can obtain a by-right increase in zoning density without a Conditional Use Permit as long as the total number of additional units yielded by the increase are priced for residents earning between 50% and 100% of Area Median Income (AMI), currently around $43,000 for a family of four. The ordinance would apply to the Town of Mooresville, as well as the ETJ.

REBIC supports Mooresville’s Incentive-based approach to producing more affordable housing, and looks forward to working with Town planners and elected officials to ensure it produces the desired results.

City Council Talks Affordable Housing, Economic Development at Durham Retreat

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Mayor Lyles opens the 2018 City Council Planning Retreat last week in Durham

DURHAM, NC — When Mayor Vi Lyles and the Charlotte City Council arrived in Durham Wednesday afternoon for the start of their 3-day planning retreat, the stage had already been set for a fascinating interplay between a series of emerging dynamics: Young vs. Old, Millennial vs. Boomer, Revolution vs. Status Quo. And with a menu of topics on their plate ranging from affordable housing and job creation, to sewer capacity and the completion of a new Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), the conversation and debate was sure to be one for the books.

Affordable Housing dominated Day 2 of the retreat, which was held at the comfortable Washington-Duke Inn, just outside the Duke University campus. After an economic overview by the always-fascinating Wells Fargo economist Mark Vitner, council members jumped into a full-throated discussion about affordable housing and creating ‘great’ neighborhoods — without once recognizing that the two goals may, in fact, be somewhat incompatible. Some of the highlights: Continue reading

UNC Charlotte Study Outlines Strategies to Expand Affordable Housing Options

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A report released this week by the Urban Institute at UNC Charlotte offers 12 strategies for expanding the supply of affordable housing in the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Prepared for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Advisory Board, the 66-page report outlines policies that ‘can be used to finance and facilitate the development of quality affordable housing, with a focus on long-term affordability.’

You can download the full report HERE.

Continue reading

Cities and Towns Amend Ordinances Following Passage of Aesthetics Bill

A recently enacted state law, S.L. 2015-86, is requiring many local governments across North Carolina to amend their planning and zoning ordinances. Formerly known as SB 25, the new law makes it clear that cities, towns, and counties do not have the authority to impose design standards on single-family homes, townhomes and duplexes. Home builders had pushed for the legislation because some municipalities had made it difficult to provide affordable housing due to the rigorous standards. Continue reading

City Council Approves Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance

An ordinance approved earlier this week means Charlotte could soon see more Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in both new and existing neighborhoods throughout the city. The change, which was supported by REBIC, will help increase both the diversity and supply of Charlotte’s stock of affordable housing, and provide a greater variety of living options for multi-generational households.

As defined by the Charlotte Zoning Ordinance, ADUs are a “second dwelling unit … located within the principal detached dwelling or within a separate accessory structure.” To qualify as a “dwelling,” the unit must include both kitchen and bathroom facilities and be intended for use as a year-round residence. ADUs are not uncommon — basement and garage apartments already exist throughout Charlotte — but because they were previously restricted for use by the elderly and handicapped, many were not constructed legally and remain unpermitted. The new ordinance will change that by allowing anyone to rent or occupy an ADU, unless their use is specifically prohibited by a neighborhood covenant or deed restriction.

The ADU ordinance is one of the first products of the city’s Incentive-Based Inclusionary Housing Task Force, initiated last summer with the goal of increasing the supply of more affordable, workforce housing in parts of Charlotte where those options are fast disappearing. It allows ADUs as a permitted accessory use in any Single-Family, Multifamily, Urban Residential, Mixed-Use or Office/Business district, with the following restrictions:

  • The ADU shall be clearly subordinate to the principal single family detached structure.
  • No more than one ADU shall be located on a lot.
  • The ADU and the principal dwelling shall be owned by the same person.
  • The ADU shall not be served by a driveway separate from that serving the principal dwelling, unless it is within an accessory structure and located on a corner lot or a lot that abuts an alley.

An ADU located within a principal single family structure must also comply with the following requirements:

  • Limited to 35% of the total floor area of the principal structure, or a maximum of 800 heated square feet.
  • The ADU shall not be internally accessible from the principal dwelling.
  • The pedestrian entrance to the ADU shall be located to the side or rear of the structure.

An ADU located within an accessory structure must also comply with the following requirements:

  • The ADU shall have a floor area no greater than 50% of the principal structure and under no circumstances cover more than 30% of the established rear yard. In no case shall the ADU exceed 800 heated square feet.
  • The accessory structure shall be no taller than the principal dwelling.
  • The ADU shall be located in the rear yard and not be any closer than 15 feet to a rear property line or along any side property line. If the ADU is located within a garage structure and the parcel abuts an alley, the structure may be located up to 5 feet from the rear property line if the garage is accessed from the alley.
  • If a new accessory structure is being constructed, the roof and exterior wall materials and finishes of the ADU shall be similar in composition and appearance to that of the principal dwelling.

A July 18 article in the Wall Street Journal focuses on the growing trend of amending local zoning ordinances to allow ADUs, and a recent report by the American Planning Association outlines the organization’s support for the units.

You can download the ADU amendments HERE.

Protected: ADU Language Poised to Move Forward, But Council Pushes Back on Duplexes

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Protected: City Council to Receive Briefing on Affordable Housing Proposals

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