City Council Approves New TOD Ordinance


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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City Council Talks Affordable Housing, Economic Development at Durham Retreat


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

City Council Defers Proposed Sidewalk Amendments for Further Review

The Charlotte City Council this week voted 8-1 to refer a controversial sidewalk ordinance back through its committee process, after REBIC and top affordable housing developers voiced concerns over the impact on housing costs.

The ordinance under consideration would require all owners of by-right property along a city thoroughfare to install 6’ sidewalks and 8’ planting strips along their entire frontage when certain development thresholds are met. Unless that property already has a sidewalk at least 4’ in width, along with a planting strip of another 4’, the sidewalk is considered ‘substandard’, and would have to be replaced with a new sidewalk meeting the standards above. Continue reading

City Council Adopts 2017 Budget with Higher Regulatory Fees, But No Reduction in Solid Waste Services

The Charlotte City Council tonight adopted a $2.45 billion operating and capital budget for FY 2017, which begins July 1. The budget includes NO property tax increase, while adding more than 100 new police officers and firefighters, and allocating funds for the purchase of a new ladder truck to serve the Northlake Mall area.

The most controversial topic in the Council’s budget discussions was a proposal to eliminate trash collection for apartment communities, which would have resulted in significant cost increases for rental households across the City. But pushback from REBIC, the Greater Charlotte Apartment Association, and other community groups ensured all city residents will continue to receive trash service for the immediate future, for an annual increase of only $8 per year for each single-family home or multifamily unit. Instead, Council will conduct an comprehensive revaluation of its solid waste services policy over the next 12 months.

REBIC supports the nominal trash collection fee increase as a workable solution to avoid critical service cuts to residents. Continue reading

Charlotte Considering Modifications to Rezoning Process

Charlotte planers are evaluating potential modifications to the rezoning process that are intended to streamline the procedures for project review, shorten the time between application and approval, and improve collaboration between developers, staff, and members of the community.

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Charlotte City Council Adopts Budget with Tax Increase, Regulatory Fee Hikes

In a 7 – 4 vote this past Monday night, the Charlotte City Council adopted a budget for FY 2016 that includes both a property tax increase and hikes in regulatory fees for the development industry — although at lower levels than initially proposed.

The City is dealing with $21.7 million budget gap from the elimination of the Business Privilege License Tax and a reduced property tax digest resulting from the ongoing revaluation process. However, staff have said the regulatory fee increases were NOT intended to address the deficit, but rather to implement a 2005 Council policy requiring 100 percent recovery of all service costs through regulatory user fees.

The manager’s original budget proposal included substantial increases in fees for development permits, plan review, and major rezonings, with some more than doubling in cost. But after meeting with representatives from REBIC, NAIOP and other industry trade groups, Council agreed to reduce four of the most significant fees to a level that recaptures just 80 percent of service costs. Continue reading