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.
Builders 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.
Post originally posted by REBIC.
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.
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Greg Copps and Lawrence Shaw, Managing Partners of Colliers International | Charlotte are pleased to announce two new promotions within the Charlotte office. Justin L. Smith, SIOR has been promoted to Senior Vice President within Colliers International | Charlotte. Justin joined Colliers International in 2013 as an Associate of the Industrial Team and in 2017 was promoted to Vice President. Chandler R. Knox has been promoted to Vice President. Chandler joined the Colliers | Charlotte in 2015 as an Associate on the Office Team and was awarded Rookie of the Year in 2016.
State legislation passed last month at the conclusion of the 2018 session of the General Assembly means redevelopment sites in Charlotte are no longer required to include on-site stormwater controls if no additional impervious surface is created. A provision in SB 469, a Technical Corrections bill initially vetoed by Governor Cooper but ratified through a legislative override, specifically mandates the change to local stormwater ordinances, regardless of where a local government obtains its regulatory authority.
While a redevelopment exemption for stormwater has been state law for years, the City of Charlotte has previously required controls on all projects, citing its adherence to a federal NPDES stormwater permit that called for higher local standards. REBIC has long argued that stormwater controls should not be required on redevelopments where no additional impervious surface is created.
The provision in SB 469 also allows development within a vegetative buffer, as long as the runoff from the entire impervious area of the project is collected, treated, and discharged through a portion of managed vegetative buffer. Of course, stormwater controls will continue to be required on sites whenever additional impervious surface is created.
Thanks are due to the North Carolina Home Builders Association (NCHBA) and State Representative Dean Arp (R-Union) for their support of this critical legislation!
The Charlotte planning department has postponed a public hearing for its new Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) zoning ordinance from February 25th to March 18th, as it revises the proposal to incorporate feedback from REBIC and other stakeholder groups.
While the updated draft isn’t scheduled to be released until the week of February 18th, it is expected to include an expanded menu of incentives to encourage developers to include affordable housing, make infrastructure investments, or participate in the City’s Minority, Women and Small Business Enterprises (MWSBE) program. The current draft only offers developers an opportunity to increase their building height, which REBIC cautioned could be of limited value to developers. In a letter to City staff last month, we encouraged the inclusion of incentives that would provide variances on building length, building articulation, or required open space.
Other elements of the TOD ordinance that raised concerns include:
- Open space, garage placement, and perimeter buffer requirements for Townhomes.
- The inability to request a building height variance in the optional TOD-EX distruct.
- Active-use requirements on parking decks
- A problematic requirement that finished floor elevations on interior spaces must meet grade along many building exteriors
While planning staff reworks the ordinance, the City’s Economic Development office, now overseen former Lincoln-Harris executive Tracy Dodson, is working on an economic impact analysis intended to ‘validate components of the bonus structure and specific design standards.’ The analysis will look at two prototype projects, including a high rise office building and a surface parked mid-rise apartment building.
REBIC appreciates the willingness of planning staff to consider our concerns with the OD ordinance, and looks forward to reviewing the revised draft upon its release.
Full details on the TOD ordinance, including the draft Text Amendment, are available on the City’s UDO website.
There has been a lot of information distributed about the new Opportunity Zone program and the benefits that it might can have for economic development. NC REALTORS® has launched an Opportunity Zone resource page at ncrealtors.org/opportunity-zones which includes a lot of great information which can help you better understand how the program works. Also on the page is the recording and slides from our January 31 webinar on this topic.