March 2016 Updates
· Primary Election Results: A lively Presidential race prompted strong voter turnout at the polls in North Carolina. 35 percent of voters voted in primaries this season, up from 2012 but falling short of 37 percent seen in the 2008 primary elections. Early voting in the state also drew record numbers of participants with 11 percent of voters casting ballots, exceeding turnout in 2008.
o U.S. Senate: Republican incumbent Richard Burr easily secured his primary victory over three challengers with 62 percent of the vote. Burr chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee and is seeking his third term in the U.S. Senate. Similarly, in the Democratic primary, former state Representative Deborah Ross secured 63 percent of the vote and cruised past three lesser-known candidates with no statewide political experience.
o North Carolina Council of State. There were few surprises in the top state races of the night.
§ Governor Pat McCrory and Attorney General Roy Cooper easily won the Republican and Democratic primaries for Governor respectively. Gov. McCrory cruised to victory with over 80% of the vote in a field of three candidates. Attorney General Cooper also handily won his race, though by a lesser margin, taking 68% of the vote in a two-person race. It's expected that this could be a hotly contested race. McCrory and Cooper will be joined in the fall by Lon Cecil, who did not face an opponent in the Libertarian primary.
§ Linda Coleman won the Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor with slightly more than 50% of the vote in a field of four candidates. This sets North Carolina up for a re-match of the 2012 race for Lieutenant Governor between Coleman and the current Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest. Forest did not a face an opponent in the Republican primary. Forest bested Coleman in 2012 by less than 7,000 votes out of more than 4.3 million votes cast (a margin of less than 0.2%). Coleman and Forest will be joined in the fall by J.J. Summerell, who did not face an opponent in the Libertarian primary.
§ Two sitting state senators won the Republican and Democratic primaries for Attorney General by roughly equal margins. Sen. Buck Newton won almost 55% of the vote in the Republican primary, while Sen. Josh Stein won the Democratic primary with more than 53% of the vote. This could be another close race in 2016. Stein resigned from the state Senate last week to focus on his campaign.
§ Steve Troxler handily defeated Andy Stevens in the Republican primary for Commissioner of Agriculture, taking more than 68% of the vote. Troxler, who has served three consecutive terms as Commissioner of Agriculture, will face Walter Smith in the General Election. Smith did not have an opponent in the Democratic primary.
§ Mike Causey won the Republican primary for Commissioner of Insurance with 41% of the vote in a three-person race. This sets up another rematch from 2012. Causey will face the current Commissioner of Insurance Wayne Goodwin in the general election. Goodwin, a two-term incumbent, did not have an opponent in the Democratic primary. Goodwin won the 2012 match-up by almost 160,000 votes out of almost 4.3 votes cast - a margin of less than 4%.
§ Charles Meeker, a former Mayor of Raleigh, defeated Mazie Ferguson to win the Democratic primary for Commissioner of Labor with over 56% of the vote. Meeker will face current Commissioner of Labor Cherie Berry in the general election. Berry, who did not face a challenger in the Republican primary, has held the position since 2001.
§ Mike LaPaglia defeated A.J. Daoud in the Republic primary for Secretary of State with over 61% of the vote. LaPaglia will face current Secretary of State Elaine Marshall in the general election. Marshall, who did not face an opponent in the Democratic primary, has held this position since 1997 after becoming the first woman elected to statewide office in North Carolina.
§ Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson handily defeated Henry Pankey in the Democratic primary for this position, winning almost 80% of the vote. She will be joined in the general election by Mark Johnson, who took over 53% of the vote in a three-person Republican primary.
§ Dan Blue III won the Democratic primary to replace retiring State Treasurer Janet Cowell. He defeated Ron Elmer, carrying over 58% of the vote. Blue will face Dale Folwell in the general election. Folwell, a former state legislator, faced no opposition in the Republican primary.
§ There was no primary for the position of State Auditor, as the Republican and Democratic candidates faced no opposition. The current State Auditor, Democrat Beth Woods, will face Republican Chuck Stuber in the general election.
o Bond Referendum: The Connect NC Public Improvement bond package was approved by voters with overwhelming support. 66 percent of voters favored the $2 billion package which will primarily support new buildings and repairs for universities and community colleges, as well as some other statewide projects. The bond will not fund any transportation initiatives, but allocates funds for measures like state park maintenance, water/sewer infrastructure, and National Guard facilities.
o June 7 Congressional Primary: A special primary will be held June 7 due to federal court action declaring two of North Carolina's congressional districts to be illegally gerrymandered. State lawmakers have drawn new districts for the June election.
- State environmental officials are seeking comments on the Jordan Lake water supply allocation recommendations, which are based on the Cape Fear River water supply evaluation. Approval of the recommendations will allocate around 96 percent of the water supply pool for use by Triangle communities to meet water supply needs through 2045. The Division of Water Resources will host two public meeting in Pittsboro and Wilmington. Input will let state know if there needs to be additional analysis or explanations. The first forum was on Tuesday, March 22 at the Chatham Community Library, 197 N.C. 87 North, Pittsboro. The second will be at 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 30, in the New Hanover County Government Center in Wilmington. Comments on the draft documents can be submitted until May 18 by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to Jordan Lake Comments, Division of Water Resources, 1611 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1611.
- Mike Dasher and Karen Howard won Tuesday’s Chatham County Democratic primary for the two open county commissioner seats. Howard will face Republican challenger Jay Stobbs in the November general elections. Dasher will run unopposed.
- Voters returned three incumbents to office in the race for the Durham County Board of Commissioners. With 43 of 57 precincts reporting, incumbent Wendy Jacobs was the top vote-getter of the 10 candidates seeking five seats.
- County Commissioners voted this week to conduct property revaluations every four years.
They previously conducted them every eight years.
- Republican John Adcock and Democrat Vicki Scroggins-Johnson, both new to county politics, will face each other in November in the race to become the first representative for the new District B seat on the county board.
- Pending LDO Amendment Round 34 to include revising thresholds for payment in lieu to allow director approvals versus Town Council approvals. Currently the Council must approve any PIL amount over $100,000. The pending revision to the code would allow the approvals at the director level. More to come on this item as it is developed and put on as an agenda item.
- Upcoming Public Hearings: for more information visit: https://www.townofcary.org/Departments/Town_Clerk_s_Office/publicnoticesportal.htm
- A Public Forum: Budget Development- the Council will open a public forum to allow the public to provide comments on a variety of topics related to the development of the fiscal year 2016-2017 Town Budget. The topics will include the annual budget, capital program, use of grants and other related items, and potential legislative requests. Dates of future budget meetings and more information can be found at townofchapelhill.org/budget.
- Land Use Management Ordinance (LUMO) Text Amendments to Improve the Residential Permitting Process and Development-Related Regulations. The Council will consider proposed development-related text amendments. The amendments are related to the petition submitted by the Home Builders Association of Durham, Orange and Chatham Counties regarding concerns with the residential development approval process.
- Land Use Management Ordinance (LUMO) Text Amendments - Proposed Changes to Comply with Recent Changes to State Law. The NC General Assembly recently made changes to state law concerning land use and development that affects the enforceability of portions of the Town’s Land Use Management Ordinance and Council Procedure Manual. Unenforceable regulations include design review and room limitations of single- and two- family structures, and protest petitions.
- Town of Chapel Hill Advisory Board and Commission members and community residents are invited to attend an “Overview of Legislative Updates Meeting” to be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 5, 2016, the Council Chamber of Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
- City Council hears presentation on addressing affordable housing. Current resources will not be enough to fund proposals. 15,000 low-income households spend over half their income on housing
- Expect construction to begin in April on the intersection improvements at Avent Ferry and N.C. 55 and on Main Street Extension; the Holly Springs Town Council approved project budgets and awarded the construction and administration contracts for the work at its March 15 meeting.
- The council awarded a contract for work to upgrade the Avent Ferry sewer line, which runs between the Braxton Village and Holly Glen subdivisions and to the wastewater treatment plant. Town staff opted for a construction method that minimizes disruption to property owners neighboring the line; only one easement will be needed for the project, which will replace the current line with a larger one that can handle additional capacity. Work is expected to be completed by fall of 2017 and will be paid for by wastewater reserves, which are funded by development.
- The first item up for discussion from the Planning Commission was Z-27D-14, an amendment to the citywide remapping case approved in February. Certain properties were examined by City Staff and the Planning Commission to see if the remapping could be made less restrictive. "We took each case independently, we have information from the applicants and we voted on each one independently," Planning Commission Chairman Steven Schuster said. A work session was held on Monday, March 28 at 4 p.m. to discuss the case further.
- Rezoning: The new zoning code puts a pretty strict timetable in place in order to keep projects moving forward. The Trailwood rezoning has been moved out of committee and went to the full council at the meeting on March 15. The rezoning conditions discussed during the committee meeting will have been submitted by then. Councilors will set the date for the public hearing, which is likely to be held on April 5. From there councilors can continue to keep the hearing open, or close it at which time more restrictive conditions can be added.
- There are approximately 65 parcels throughout the City that remain in the rezoning process to remove old zoning districts and apply new UDO districts. More information about these parcels can be found under the zoning case Z-27D-14. These final items are currently being reviewed by Planning Commission and will be referred to the City Council soon for final decisions, with a Public Hearing expected late spring 2016. Additional information relevant to Z-27D-14 will be posted here as the case progresses through City Council.
- Development Services Procedural Changes: Effective April 1, all Site approvals, including Final Site, Infrastructure Construction Plans, or Concurrent Review, whichever are applicable, must be secured and included in a Commercial Standard Review submittal package before it is accepted by the city for review. This initiative is a result of ongoing staff and stakeholder discussions focused on process improvement with a specific goal to streamline the building review process, reduce the number of review cycles needed for approval, and reduce redundancies identified under prior procedures.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Bradley Kimbrell, Development Services Customer Service Center Manager, at 919-996-2233. https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/NCRALEIGH/bulletins/13e90fb