Planning for Growth - TCC Op/Ed

As one of the fastest growing areas in the nation for several decades now, Triangle communities, at different times, have become flash points in the debate over growth.  Consequently, local leaders have taken pains to manage growth in a way that contributes to our quality of life rather than detracts from it.  The Great Recession removed growth as a hot topic, as jobs and economic development moved to the top of the priority list. Some communities, like Raleigh, have made efforts during the slow down to prepare for the next wave of development. After updating its Comprehensive Plan in 2009, the City embarked on a Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) or new city code.  Its hallmark is ew zoning categories that permit a mix of uses rather than separate uses, as required in the old code.  In a shift from the Post-World War II suburban development patterns, the UDO encourages compact, walk-able communities with retail, offices and residences clustered on transportation corridors. 

Over the past year, the new UDO has been the subject of much debate.  A small but vocal group has attacked staff and the City Council, arguing the UDO will allow new development to overwhelm the City.  The discussion has caused some to wonder whether Raleigh has emerged from the downturn with a vengeance.  A new flashpoint in the growth debate may be at hand. 

Periodically, the Triangle Community Coalition has conducted public opinion research on local issues, particularly on growth and development.  We recently engaged Fallon Research, a nationally recognized polling firm, to undertake a poll in the City of Raleigh, surveying city residents. The poll takes a snapshot at an interesting time in the Raleigh's history as the next wave of growth moves in new directions. 

On balance, the public has a positive outlook.  Nearly 60% feel that Raleigh is on the right track, and over 60% approve of the work being done by the City Council.  In contrast, only 30% believe the State is on the right track.  Despite the improving economy, creating good jobs remains by far the top priority for respondents.  

A clear majority believe the rate of growth from retail, residential and offices is at the right pace.  Even though it can create more traffic and place demands on infrastructure, only a minority want to reduce the rate of growth. A majority also supports the goal of encouraging more urban patterns of development. In fact, the vast majority of respondents remain committed the vision outlined in the City’s Comprehensive Plan. 

Questions about the recent “controversial” Publix project in North Raleigh were also revealing.  More respondents favored the project than opposed it.  Moreover, voters would be less likely to support a candidate who voted against the project because neighborhood groups opposed it.   

In sum, attitudes on growth have not changed significantly in Raleigh despite tremendous demographic shifts and changes in living patterns.  Residents recognize they live in a growing region.  It comes with the territory as one of the best places to live, start a business, find a mate, raise a family, retire, etc.   The public understands the tension between growth and quality of life can only be resolved through
good planning, execution and long-term decision making.  If we lose faith in our planning professionals and react to the few loud voices, our framework for growth collapses.  New residents will continue to arrive every day.  Without a plan, the suburban sprawl that clogs roadways, makes school planning unpredictable, and increases infrastructure costs will be inevitable.

Click HERE for a copy of Fallon Research's presentation of the results!

 - Jacob C. Rogers, Executive Director

 

TCC Coffee Chat with the Town of Clayton on June 10, 2015.

The Triangle Community Coalition had another successful Coffee Chat
with the Town of Clayton on June 10, 2015.

Joining our members in an informal chat were Mayor Jody McLeod, Mayor Pro Tem Michael Grannis, Town Manager Steve Biggs, Assistant Town Manager, Nancy Medlin, David DeYoung, Planning Director.

We provided the Mayor and staff with a better perspective of the Triangle Community Coalition's goal to be a proactive partner in growth and land use issues and to work with senior staff and elected officials to develop policies, regulations, and procedures to encourage economic development, produce predictable (yet flexible) outcomes for all stakeholders, and protect the community's interests.

The Town of Clayton appreciated the TCC’s ability to offer objective facts and information in efforts to improve public policy debates and create effective working relationships between the business community and local government.  We had some great interaction with the TCC membership in attendance and had opportunity to talk about the following:

·         Mayor Jody McLeod

o    Downtown area is becoming strong. Great restaurant presence and continues to grow

·         Michael Grannis – Mayor Pro-tem

o    Top priority in Clayton is economic development

o    Currently partnering with coalition in Johnston County

o    Clayton is the leading municipality with growth in Johnston County and has the infrastructure to accommodate more

·         Steve Biggs – Town Manager

o    1/3 of his time is spent with Economic Development. Currently do not have a position dedicated for this effort. He and the mayor meet weekly about economic development. Also meets weekly with the Chamber. Town has a seat on the Chamber Board

o    With higher land costs in Wake County, they are hoping more development happens in Clayton

o    Town is growing to the west and north

o    Slightly ahead with building permits than this time last year

o    Clayton has a capacity of 4.4 million gallons of water with their facility and shared facilities throughout the area

o    Possible bond referendum for new school development in 2016 in Johnston County

·         David DeYoung – Planning Director

Town is currently in process of updating their comprehensive plan and will include a new future-use land map. Up to 20 units per acre in the downtown area. The Town would like to incentivize more development in the downtown area

·         David York asked about issues surrounding schools in Clayton.

o    Steve Biggs – schools are good. No issues. None of the schools in Clayton are on a year round schedule

·         Laurie Donofrio stated that more rooftops can attract retail and asked what numbers the Town needs to have to attract those stores.

o    Steve Biggs – Town is looking to work with Retail Strategies to help attract anchor retail stores. Currently do not have an engagement, but would like to see it happen soon 

·         David York asked if the community has “bought in” to the idea of higher density.

o    Mayor McLeod believes it is an education issue

o    Councilor Grannis believes they will always have push-back with issues like these, but they are a minority

o    David DeYoung – The pushback is coming from people outside of the town limits 

 If you are interested in participating in future meetings with the Town of Clayton or future Coffee Chats, watch for notices or contact the TCC offices at 919 812-7785 or Charlene Logan at charlenel@tricc.org to reserve your spot! 

These programs are a great way for you, as an exclusive benefit as a TCC member, to become active and help the TCC strengthen our relationships with local jurisdictions throughout the Triangle.   

Sincerely,  

 

Jacob Rogers  |  Executive Director  |  Triangle Community Coalition
5580 Centerview Drive #115  |  Raleigh, NC 27606  |  PO Box 383  |  Morrisville, NC 27560
Phone: 
919-901-8979  

TCC "in the KNOW" May 2015 Updates
North Carolina:

  • Below are some of the notable bills that crossed over.

H135 - Modernize Physical Therapy Practice.
H148 - Insurance Required for Mopeds. (House approves insurance requirement for mopeds – WRAL)
H364 - Clarify Laws on Exec. Orders and Appointments.
H528 - Establish Chiropractor Co-Pay Parity.
H532 - Malt Bvg Tech Changes/Sell Cider in Growlers. (Beer and liquor changes fail, cidery bill advances – Citizen-Times)
H640 - Outdoor Heritage Act. (NC House votes to allow Sunday hunting – N&O)
H661 - Teacher Recruitment and Scholarships.
H713 - Body & Dash Cam Recording/Public Access.
H739 - Repeal Business License Fees.
H774 - Restoring Proper Justice Act. (House bill seeks to end execution stalemates – WRAL)
H925 - Require Hospitals to Offer Influenza Vaccine.
S343 - Student Assault on Teacher/Felony Offense.
S419 - Limit Revolving Door Employment.
S480 - Uniform Political Activity/Employees.
S676 - Autism Health Insurance Coverage.
S694 - Employee Misclassification Reform. (Bill to block cheating employers’ advances in NC Senate – N&O)

  • Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law Senate Bill 372 on Thursday, extending the tax credit for renewable energy projects in the state. 

Property Tax Rates per $100: 

Johnston County:

Johnston County residents could vote as early as next spring on whether to borrow more money for school-building needs. Superintendent Ed Croom on Tuesday hinted at a bond referendum in 2016 to pay for some of the $75.5 million in building projects the schools hope to tackle.

Wake County:

The Wake County Transit Strategy partners are inviting residents to learn about four transit plan options and provide feedback on each of them. Community events are being planned throughout the summer. During these events, people will have an opportunity to watch an overview video, review maps, talk with technical staff and complete a survey about the four transit plan options. The latest events to be scheduled are listed below.

Tuesday, May 26, at 6 p.m.  
Fuquay-Varina Town Hall
401 Old Honeycutt Road, Fuquay-Varina

Monday, June 1, at 5 p.m.  Knightdale Town Hall
950 Steeple Square Court, Knightdale

Wednesday, June 10, at 6 p.m.  Halle Cultural Arts Center
237 N. Salem St., Apex

Tuesday, June 30, at 6 p.m.  Morrisville Town Hall
100 Town Hall Drive, Morrisville

Monday, July 6, at 5 p.m.  Rolesville Town Hall
502 Southtown Circle, Rolesville

Wednesday, July 8 at 6 p.m.  North Regional Library
7009 Harps Mill Road, Raleigh

Thursday, July 9, at noon  Express Library Fayetteville Street
336 Fayetteville St. (Wake County Office Building), Raleigh

Monday, July 13 at 6 p.m.  West Regional Library
4000 Louis Stephens Drive, Cary

Tuesday, July 14, at 6 p.m.   Zebulon Town Hall
1003 N. Arendell Ave., Zebulon

Thursday, July 16, at 6 p.m.  Eva Perry Regional Library
2100 Shepherd's Vineyard Drive, Apex

Monday, July 20, at 6 p.m.  Cameron Village Regional Library
1930 Clark Ave., Raleigh

Wednesday, July 22, at 6 p.m.  East Regional Library
946 Steeple Square Court, Knightdale

Monday, July 27, at noon  Express Library Fayetteville Street
336 Fayetteville St. (Wake County Office Building), Raleigh

  • Wake County Manager Jim Hartmann presented the County's $1.13 billion fiscal year (FY) 2016 recommended budget, an increase of $67 million over the FY2015 budget, to the Board of Commissioners during its regularly scheduled meeting Monday, May 18, 2015. A key component of the budget is a 2.9-cent property tax increase, which will generate $36.5 million in new revenue to meet the growing needs of our population of more than one million people. The new property tax rate will increase from 57.8 cents in FY15 to 60.7 cents in FY16. Property owners will see an average increase of $77 per year on a home valued at $266,000.

 Cary:

  • The Cary Town Manager is proposing a three-cents property tax increase for the coming year: two cents to fulfill the Town’s promise to voters to pay for the 2012 Community Investment Bond Referendum; and one cent to help cover increasing operating costs – such as supporting multiple gigabit fiber projects -- and replacing the loss of $1.5 million resulting from the NC General Assembly’s statewide elimination of the municipal privilege license fee. Other proposed fee changes of note include: a $1/month rise in solid waste fees; an average 10-percent increase in transportation development fees (unchanged since 2013); and a 3.8-percent  increase in water and sewer rates—or about $2.75 more per month for residents using 5,000 gallons of water.
  • The Town has moved the discussion of the Round 31 amendments to a work session in July. A public task force has not been set up to discuss the amendments.

 Chapel Hill:

  • Some Chapel Hill residents are concerned that the proposed Obey Creek development could create more problems than it’s worth. Whereas supporters of the project praise its walkability, public transit and affordability options.
  • The Council held a public hearing on the proposed financing agreement for up to $2.3 million for various high-priority capital projects, including an emergency generator and HVAC improvements for Town Hall, a new roof for Hargraves Community Center, fire breathing apparatus equipment, and energy efficiency projects at various Town facilities. These projects were identified during the Capital Improvement Program review as plans that could be completed in a relatively short period of time but are too large for pay-as-you-go financing.
  • The Council received a presentation from Go Triangle (formerly Triangle Transit) staff on the Durham-Orange Light Rail Corridor Draft Environmental Impact Statement. The report provided additional analysis related to the alignment and station locations of the proposed light rail system between Durham and Chapel Hill. The next public meeting in the Chapel Hill area will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. June 2 at the Chapel Hill Public Library. Learn more here - http://www.townofchapelhill.org/town-hall/news-events/current-issues/durham-orange-light-rail-transit-project.
  • The Council provided feedback to Planning and Sustainability staff members on the Land Use Management Ordinance (LUMO) Update. This update will include information about the project timeline; topic areas include resource conservation districts, bed and breakfast establishments, sign ordinances and parking lot landscaping. The Council expressed interest in keeping the update moving forward toward completion. Learn more here - http://www.townofchapelhill.org/town-hall/departments-services/design-chapel-hill/lumo-update.
  • Chapel Hill budget increases to $100.7M, but no tax increase: Rising sales tax and development fee revenues will help cover a slightly higher town budget next year without increasing property taxes, Town Manager Roger Stancil said Monday. 

Clayton:

  • TCC has scheduled a “Coffee Chat” on Wednesday, June 10, 2015 at 8:00 a.m. come and meet with Mayor Jody McLeod, Mayor Pro Tem Michael Grannis, & Councilor Jason Thompson. Also chat with Town Manager Steve Biggs, Assistant Town Manager Nancy Medlin, Public Works Director Tim Simpson, Downtown Development Coordinator Bruce Naegelen, Parks & Rec. Director Larry Bailey and Planning Director David DeYoung to have an informal exchange of ideas about general policy matters and economic development issues. 

Durham (City):

  • City Manager Thomas Bonfield presented the FY 2015-2016 preliminary budget– which includes no property tax increase – keeping the current tax rate at 59.12 cents per $100 of assessed property value. To encourage resident feedback, the third annual e-Town Hall will be held on Monday, June 1 at 7 p.m. during the regularly scheduled City Council Meeting. Residents are asked to send their thoughts and questions now that they’ve heard the proposed budget. Comments and questions can be sent in a number of ways – by email, on Facebook, through Twitter (use #DurhamETH), by uploading a video to YouTube and sending the link by email, or by contacting Durham One Call (919) 560-1200. 

Hillsborough:

  • Proposed Budget Overview: Property Tax Rate: No change, remains at 68 cents for FY16. Rate also projected to remain unchanged for FYs17-18. Water Rates: No change for FY16 - this is the fourth consecutive budget without a water rate increase. For FYs17-18, a 4% increase is projected for each year. Sewer Rates: 8.8% increase in FY16 (98 cents per 1,000 gallons for in-town and $1.91 for our out-of-town customers) per the financial plan to pay for the $19.8 million Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade project and loss of the Efland-Cheeks customers. No sewer rate increases are planned for FYs17-18. 

Morrisville:

  • The Fiscal Year 2016 property tax rate is recommended to increase by $0.02 from the current year rate of $0.39 to $0.41 per $100 of property valuation. The $0.02 tax rate increase is directly related to the voter approved 2012 Street and Parks Improvement Bonds.
    • Adoption Schedule:
      • 6/04/2015- Mini-Budget Work Session
      • 6/09/2015- 2nd Briefing Budget
      • 6/23/2015- Proposed Budget Adoption 

Raleigh:

  • After years of planning, officials finally broke ground on Raleigh's new Union Station transportation hub. Funding has been the biggest hurdle for the project, but now that it's been secured and officials broke ground on the project. Raleigh's new Union Station is finally becoming a reality.
  • Included in the budget proposal is a property tax rate increase of 1.72 cents per $100 of tax valuation. This tax increase was approved by Raleigh voters in a parks bond referendum in November 2014. The approximately $92 million bond issue will fund improvements to greenways, community centers, historic sites, aquatic centers, and playgrounds. The 1.72-cent increase would bring Raleigh’s property tax rate to 42.10 cents per $100 of tax valuation. Also proposed is a 75-cent increase in the monthly solid waste collection fee.

·         Raleigh City Council continues to struggle with building heights and the new staff approved plan to allow buildings up to 40 stories in the City’s center.

o   Councilor Russ Stephenson has opposed the plan, while Councilor Wayne Maiorano has supported it by saying it is a vision statement to the rest of the country for what we want in our downtown. Mayor Nancy McFarlane seems to be on the fence and continues to include affordable housing options in the conversation despite the city attorney reminding the Council and Mayor that “inclusionary zoning” is illegal.

  • The City of Raleigh launched a program on May 1 to improve customer service and further ensure that construction in Raleigh is permitted and completed in accordance with State and local building laws. The Permit Notification Program applies to building, electrical, plumbing, mechanical, and other related permits issued by the Inspections Department. If you have questions about the City of Raleigh’s permitting and inspections program, please call 919-996-2705 to speak to a customer service representative. 

Rolesville:

  • “Community Conversation” is an initiative created by Wake County Commissioner Jessica Holmes for the purpose of engaging the community in the decision making processes. The Town of Rolesville, Wake County, and the Wake County Public School System have teamed together to hold a joint meeting…a community conversation. This event will be held at Rolesville Town Hall on Tuesday, June 2 at 7:00 pm. All are welcome to attend and express to the elected officials what your vision is and to learn more about what is going on.   

Wake Forest:

  • The Wake Forest Board of Commissioners on Tuesday evening unanimously appointed Kip Padgett as Wake Forest’s new town manager. Padgett, who has been the city manager in Gainesville, Ga., since 2009, will succeed Mark Williams who retired in April. He is expected to begin working in Wake Forest on Monday, July 6. He will earn an annual salary of $145,000.

Other:

  • Triangle J Council of Governments has announced Lee Worsley as its new Executive Director. Worsley is currently the Deputy County Manager for Durham County. He follows Kirby Bowers who announced his retirement earlier this year. He will assume his new role on July 13, 2015.
  • The Midtown Raleigh Alliance invites you to join them for a morning of Real Estate Facts and Trends on June 18th from 8:00am – 9:30am at the First Citizens Corporate Conference Center, 4300 Six Forks Road.  Hear from a panel of residential real estate experts from the Midtown Market that includes Nicole Petroff, Kane Residential; Kate Kenney, Coldwell Banker HPW; Anne Scruggs, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services YSU; Amy Butler, Fonville Morisey; and Phyllis Brookshire from Allen Tate.  Plus, get a commercial update from Charlie Coyne, CBRE Senior Director of Retail, and Lee Clyburn, Senior Vice President for Office. Finish up the morning with a very special update from John Kane, Chairman of Kane Realty Corporation on current and future North Hills development.  To register HERE!

 

TCC Coffee Chat Summary with Town of Holly Springs

The Triangle Community Coalition had another successful Coffee Chat
with the Town of Holly Springs on May 20 2015.

Joining our members in an informal chat were Mayor Dick Sears, Councilor Jimmy Cobb and Councilor Tim Sack, Town Manager Chuck Simmons, Senior Project Manager Daniel Weeks, Development Inspection Administrator Rodney Campbell, Senior Engineer Aaron Levitt, Director of Economic Development Jenny Mizelle and Jeff Jones, Planning Department.

We provided the Mayor and staff with a better perspective of the Triangle Community Coalition's goal to be a proactive partner in growth and land use issues and to work with senior staff and elected officials to develop policies, regulations, and procedures to encourage economic development, produce predictable (yet flexible) outcomes for all stakeholders, and protect the community's interests.

The Town of Holly Springs appreciated the TCC’s ability to offer objective facts and information in efforts to improve public policy debates and create effective working relationships between the business community and local government.  We had some great interaction with the TCC membership in attendance and had opportunity to talk about the following:

·         Mayor Dick Sears noted the vision to make the Town of Holly Springs where the people have everything they need here.

o    In 1990 the population was 1000,  in 1995 – 3500 and in 2015- 31,000

o    He noted the new stadium will host the Carolina Coastal League on May 28 and is sold out

o    The North Main Athletic Complex will be used for town football, baseball, lacrosse, and soccer programs; rentals, concerts, festivals and other events

o    Holly Springs is noted as the #1 safest town in North Carolina

·         Councilor Tim Sack noted the economic development struggle when the Town of Holly Springs was at 90% resident and 10 % commercial.

o    Jenny Mizelle the Economic Development Director noted Holly Springs is now 75% residents and 25% commercial.  Goal is to be 60% resident and 40% commercial

o    Novartis has employed over 800 people, much more than they expected

o    Town Council approve an amendment near 540 interchange, by the new athletic facility and along main street for a heavy commercial parcel area for development

·         Councilor Jimmy Cobb noted how the town was “plan forward” working towards a common goal in the 21 years he has lived here.

·         Town Manager Chuck Simmons noted the vision and strategy are in place and sees the community as partners.  Holly Springs is diverse and has a sense pf place.  

o    Will continue to invest in infrastructure by working with developers and the utility companies

o    Educate public regarding the growth coming into the area – regional and local

o    The town will reduce requirements re: stormwater projects if it is in the Downtown area

o    The town is working on changing Downtown traffic circulations to make it more pedestrian accessible

o    Older homes and businesses would not be require to do infrastructure upgrade

o    The Town anticipates growth at 1200 residents per year and expects to cap at about 55K.

·         Jeff Jones, Sr. Planner noted that infill projects were happening in the town. 

o    20-40 acre parcels are available to develop

o    Challenges are with utilities

o    Growth in the south west part of Holly Springs

o    Looking at comprehensive plan

o    Holly Springs staff has toured Downtown Raleigh to look at their high density and
3 story row housing

o    Town will have an underground pedestrian walkway between Athletic Facility and shopping areas

o    Expect development by interchange in 5 years

o    Water and Sewer can support the 55k residents

o    The Town has areas that use the reclaimed water access.

Alan Thompson, Allen Tate noted Wake County has 62 new residents per day.  40 are transient and 22 are new.  He also noted there were 4500+ housing projects approved.

Steve Leach, Lennar noted that the town did an excellent job on the downtown area.  How would HS help facilitate small parcels around the downtown area?

o    Holly Springs has created a Village District, which now includes the Saturday Farmers Market. 
This has now become a weekly event to residents and visitors

o    The Village District was developed for infill area and the town wants as much density as possible 

The TCC asked that the Town of Holly Springs include the development community in the process of developing the Village District.

·         Councilor Tim Sack noted the economic development struggle when the Town of Holly Springs was 90% resident and 10 % commercial.

o    Jenny Mizelle the Economic Development Director noted Holly Springs is now 75% residents and 25% commercial

·         Jenny Mizelle noted the need for local restaurant’s in the downtown area. 

o    The new Law Enforcement Center will open in November 2015 with an additional 25K square feet

o    The affordable office space co-working project that will offer free space for residents and visitors to work offering free Wi-Fi.

The Town of Holly springs has 13 miles of fiber optic network ready to use and can lease to a 3rd party.  They are currently working with a DOT’s pilot project that will utilize the Towns fiber optics to synchronize the traffic lights.
The Town offers free public Wi-Fi to all parks and public facilities.  The town anticipates a 7 year pay off on this investment.

If you are interested in participating in future meetings with the Town of Holly Springs or future Coffee Chats, watch for notices or contact the TCC offices at 919 812-7785 or Charlene Logan at charlenel@tricc.org to reserve your spot! 

These programs are a great way for you, as an exclusive benefit as a TCC member, to become active and help the TCC strengthen our relationships with local jurisdictions throughout the Triangle.  

 

TCC "in the KNOW" April 2015 Updates

North Carolina:

  • At least five bills focused on homeowners insurance, mostly with a pro-consumer slant, have been introduced in the state House and Senate. So far, however, all but one of the bills is still in committee; to remain alive, the others must be passed by at least one chamber by the April 30 crossover deadline.
  • HB 630 would require the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to research whether all the current Falls Lake environmental laws are necessary. It also would ask DENR to determine whether the SolarBee water circulators might clear the waters of Falls Lake, a water source for more than 500,000 people in Wake County.
  • More businesses in North Carolina would be required to use the E-Verify system to check the immigration status of workers they hired in legislation clearing one General Assembly chamber. The bill passed 80-39 in the House would lower the threshold for businesses to participate to those with at least five employees. It’s now 25. An exemption for some temporary employees is gone, although exceptions would be added for farm workers and independent contractors. Republican sponsor Rep. George Cleveland of Jacksonville said the bill’s result would bring another 110,000 employers under E-verify. Other bill supporters complained immigrants unlawfully in the country are draining services and keeping wages low. Democratic Rep. Ken Goodman of Rockingham opposed the measure. He said the requirement would impose a great burden upon some small businesses.
  • SB 285 – Dealing with Protest Petition changes has passed the House and is now in the Senate. This bill would require two-thirds vote of a City Council to approve a rezoning in which a protest petition has been filed. HB 201, which would end protest petitions, is currently in the Senate Rules Committee.

Johnston County:

  • Johnston County residents could vote as early as next spring on whether to borrow more money for school-building needs. Superintendent
    Ed Croom on Tuesday hinted at a bond referendum in 2016 to pay for some of the $75.5 million in building projects the schools hope to tackle.

Wake County:

  • The number of permits issued for new housing units was up 10 percent in March compared to the year prior and up 5 percent compared to the month prior with 568 permits issued to builders in March, according to a report from Wake County Revenue Department.
  • The total permitting value of the new homes being built is 6 percent higher than it was a year ago with nearly $342 million worth of new home construction planned or underway across Wake County in the first quarter, or an average $235,000 per unit.
  • Home remodeling projects are also continuing to rise with 655 new remodeling or home addition permits issued in March with a total value of $18.9 million, or an average $28,900 per project. That's an increase of 15 percent in the number of remodeling permits and an increase of 34 percent in total permit value compared to the year before.

Apex:

  • Southwest Apex could soon be home to a new greenway as growth spreads out toward New Hill and Chatham County. At the town
    council’s meeting Tuesday, April 21, board members will consider adding the path to its long-range Bicycle, Pedestrian and Equestrian Plan. If approved, Little Beaver Creek Greenway would stretch between the new Apex Friendship High School campus and Barker Road, which
    are a few miles east of Jordan Lake and just north of the New Hill community.
  • Former Town Council Member Lance Olive has announced his candidacy for Apex Mayor. He says he plans to make business growth a major emphasis in his campaign, and he wants the town to be more ambitious in encouraging development. Apex Town Council Member Denise Wilkie has also announced she will run for mayor.

Cary:

  • Cary Towne Center’s request to allow three-story buildings at the mall prompted a mixture of responses from Cary residents Thursday
    in what was seen as the first step in a long process toward welcoming TopGolf, a Texas-based company that builds elaborate driving range/restaurant complexes.
  • Land Development Ordinance Text Amendments Round 31 (PL15-046) Conduct a public hearing for proposed Round 31 amendments to
    the Land Development Ordinance (LDO). Next Planning & Zoning meeting to discuss is May 18th. Final action by Town Council on June 25th.
  • Protest Petitions: Council members oppose N.C. Rep. Stam’s bill, which would end residents’ ability to push for a super-majority in rezoning cases.

Chapel Hill:

  • The Town Council is scheduled to hold a hearing that could include a discussion of possible changes to Northside’s Neighborhood Conservation District, or NCD. The town’s NCD zoning includes land-use and development rules tailored to specific neighborhoods in an effort to preserve existing characteristics. It’s particularly used in areas that contribute to the town’s identity but may not be historically, architecturally or culturally significant. The changes proposed for Northside include:
    • Allow up to 3,000 square feet and six parking spaces for affordable duplexes
    • No longer include half-baths in the two-bath limit
    • Increase the maximum size home for the largest lots – about 20 percent – from 1,750 square feet to 2,250 square feet
    • Reduce the cost and time to get building permits.
  • Six Chapel Hill residents have applied for the vacant Town Council seat. Kevin Hicks, Adam Jones, Paul Neebe, Michael Parker,
    Amy Ryan and Gary Shaw applied to serve the remainder of Matt Czajkowski’s term, which expires December 2015.
  • The Council will consider a resolution to explore putting bonds totaling $40.3 million on the November 2015 ballot. Focus areas of the bond include streets and sidewalks, trails and greenways, recreation facilities, a solid waste transfer station and stormwater improvements. The bond referendum would not require a tax increase because the Town’s Debt Fund has capacity to repay the debt with the existing dedicated tax. The bonds will fund projects identified from extensive planning in recent years including the Community Survey, The Bike Plan, Greenways Master Plan, Comprehensive Parks Plan and more.

Durham (City):

  • Planning commissioners and neighbors gave thumbs up last week to two “infill” projects on long-vacant lots, one at the Old Five Points intersection near downtown and the other on Duke Street north of Interstate 85. Rezonings to allow the projects – for the time called “North Mangum Residential” and “Circle K at Duke Street” – got the advisory commission’s recommendation for City Council approval, and words of welcome.

Morrisville:

  • Three Wake County senators filed a bill March 19 that would allow Morrisville to charge townhouse and apartment developers a fee to help the town acquire open space for parks and recreational uses. This bill addresses one of four issues the Morrisville Town Council identified as priorities during the current legislative session.

Raleigh:

  • Raleigh residents are invited to comment on the draft Downtown Experience Plan crafted by the City of Raleigh and Downtown Raleigh Alliance. Comments will be accepted through May 13. They will help establish achievable action items that will continue the transformation of Raleigh’s city center. Download a copy of the Draft Downtown Experience Plan
  • Development Maps Update: Under the new zoning designations, dense growth would be centered on areas like downtown, Hillsborough Street and Brier Creek in northwest Raleigh. Residential areas – including much of North Raleigh – wouldn’t see much of that urban development. Those areas would remain the same. In 2013, the city took on the task of overhauling the UDO, which supports a larger comprehensive plan that lays out a big-picture vision of how Raleigh will grow. The plan supports a more pedestrian-friendly city with a focus on transit hubs and dense, urban pockets.
  • The Raleigh City Council has approved changes to Part 10 of the City of Raleigh Zoning Code and Part 10A of the City’s Unified Development Ordinance. The changes approved April 7, add regulations for permanently-parked vehicles used as a sign, increase the allowance for window signs in the UDO and add window signage regulations to the Part 10 Code, expand the number of colors allowed in unified sign criteria from three (plus black and white) to seven (plus black and white), and clarify the regulations related to changeable copy signs.
    • New Vehicular Signs Requirements: The new regulations would require that permanently-parked vehicle signs be located at least 40 feet from the right-of-way. Vehicle signs on permanently-parked trailer or box truck type vehicles shall not be located within 100 feet of the right-of-way of any street.  Vehicle signs used in direct connection with the business and those permitted as part of an approved temporary event or vehicles are not subject to these provisions during the course of their normal business usage.
    • Additional colors allowed for Common Signage Plans: The change would increase the number of colors permitted for signage associated with a common signage plan. A maximum of seven (7) colors could be used in the common signage plan. Black, white
      and any color that matches the building wall may be added to these seven colors.
    • Window Signage: The amount of window signage permitted in the UDO was increased to 50 percent of the window area.
      The regulation for signage located in the window between four and seven feet above the sidewalk was removed.
      Corresponding regulations were placed in the Part 10 Zoning Code.
    • New Changeable Sign Definition: A changeable sign is a sign on which copy is changed manually or automatically and copy is
      shown on the same sign face such as reader boards with changeable letters or changeable pictorial panels but not limited to the above. Poster panels and painted boards are not changeable copy signs.
  • Moore Square Plan: Raleigh will host open houses from 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 29, and from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 30, at Market Hall in City Market, 215 Wolfe St. Residents also can weigh in from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. during First Friday on May 1 at Market Hall and from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the City of Raleigh Museum, 220 Fayetteville St. Participate online at yourparksyourfuture.com.

 Wake Forest:

  • The Town of Wake Forest is continuously working to improve communication with their residents. Their commitment is grounded in Goal #2 of the town's strategic plan - "Enhance & Promote a Safe & Connected Community.” The town is using this survey to gather important information from you about how we communicate. 

TCC & Town of Cary Coffee Chat Summary April 1, 2015

 

The Triangle Community Coalition had another successful Coffee Chat with the Town of Cary
Elected Officials and Staff on April 1, 2015. 

Joining our members were 
Councilor Don Frantz and Councilor Jennifer Robinson.  Also attending were Town Manager Ben Shivar, Deputy Town Manager Michael Bajorek, Assistant Town Manager Russ Overton, Assistant Town Manager Tim Bailey, Director of Planning Jeff Ulma to have an informal exchange of ideas about general policy matters and economic development issues.
 

We provided the Town of Cary leadership with a better perspective of the Triangle Community Coalition's goal to be a proactive partner in growth and land use issues and to work with senior staff and elected officials to develop policies, regulations, and procedures to encourage economic development, produce predictable (yet flexible) outcomes for all stakeholders, and protect the community's interests. 

The town appreciated the TCC’s ability to offer objective facts and information in efforts to improve public policy debates and create effective working relationships between the business community and local government.  We had some great interaction with the TCC membership in attendance and had opportunity to talk about the following:

·         Jennifer Robinson – Town Council

o    Seeing tremendous growth

o    Concern amongst citizens about school capacities, mainly middle schools

o    Concerned about small lot sizes in Southwest Cary

·         Don Frantz – Town Council

o    Council will meet with the County Commission later this month to talk about issues in Cary. Mainly schools

o    Believes that the schools are not used to the full extent of their capacities.
Would like to see the school board look into the capacity for each school

o    Vision for downtown – mixed use, walkability, restaurants

·         Russ Overton – Assistant Town Manager

o    Permits are currently down in Cary

·         Michael Bajorek – Deputy Town Manager

o    Town underwent reorganization last year to be more like a small business.

o    Want to be problem-solvers

·         Tim Bailey – Assistant Town Manager

o    Believes developments will have many positive impacts in their community

o    Working on transportation issues

o    Cary is well positioned for more development

o    Google plans to install 40 miles of fiber per week. Believes this will begin in July
and the first customer will be served by the end of the year. 600 miles of fiber throughout the area

·         Jeff Ulma – Director of Planning

o    Imagine Cary – just completed phase 2

§  Have drafted preliminary ordinances and presented to Council

§  Late fall 2015 will be the start of the adoption process

§  Wants to have a future growth map

o    Will be revising the LDO next year to align with the plan from Imagine Cary

o    75% of land use in Cary is residential

o    Architectural design standards are currently under review

·         Ben Shiver – Town Manager

o    Only 2 businesses have taken advantage of the historic tax credit in Cary

 

·         Craig Duerr asked Council to support the requests of department heads for additional staff

·         TCC members asked that the TOC to routinely inform Jacob Rogers of amendments and to include the stakeholders for their input.

If you are interested in participating in future meetings with the City of Raleigh or future Coffee Chats, watch for notices or contact the TCC offices at 919 812-7785 or Charlene Logan at charlenel@tricc.org to reserve your spot! 

These programs are a great way for you, as an exclusive benefit as a TCC member, to become active and help the TCC strengthen our relationships with local jurisdictions throughout the Triangle.  

 

TCC "in the KNOW" March 2015 Newsletter

March 2015 Updates

North Carolina:

·         Four North Carolina Republican Representatives introduced a bill this month that would allow renewables developers to bypass utilities and sell power directly to customers.  HB 245, or the Energy Freedom Act, would legalize the third party ownership (TPO) financing that has driven a rooftop solar boom where it is permitted. A coalition of businesses supports the proposed legislation. The bill is expected to be opposed by Duke Energy Carolinas, Duke Energy Progress, and Dominion North Carolina Power, the state’s dominant utilities, although a spokesperson said Duke Energy could support TPO in the context of broader energy legislation, like it did in South Carolina.

·         After North Carolina eliminated many tax credit programs in 2013, some legislators want to restore some of the more popular credits. Here's what's on the table this session:

o   Historic preservation: Heavily supported by Gov. Pat McCrory and mayors' groups, this program expired on Dec. 31 and rewards property owners who fix up historic buildings. McCrory's effort to restore the program last year fell short, but he included $12.2 million in his budget proposal this week for a scaled-back program that would offer smaller credits. The House Finance Committee on 3/24/15 approved plans to restore a tax credit for historic preservation projects, despite a few objections from Republicans.

o   Jet fuel: This provision caps sales taxes on jet fuel at $2.5 million per year. Only one airline buys enough fuel to hit that cap and avoid further taxation: American Airlines, which has a hub at the Charlotte airport. The credit is estimated to cost the state $10 million a year and is set to expire at the end of 2015. A provision in the House economic development bill would extend the program, and funding is in McCrory's budget.

o   Motorsports: The motorsports industry, including NASCAR, also receives a credit on fuel tax. McCrory's budget includes $1.2 million to keep the credit from expiring.

o   Data centers: The House economic development bill also includes an expansion of electricity sales tax credits for technology data centers. House Republicans want to apply the existing break to centers housing equipment for multiple companies. To qualify, centers would need to involve at least $75 million in private investment.

o   Renewable energy: Tax credits for renewable energy projects are set to expire at the end of the year. Owners of solar farms and other renewable energy facilities receive a tax credit equal to 35 percent of the project's cost. An industry report says the credit has paid out $182.6 million from 2007 to 2014. McCrory's budget proposal includes $7 million to extend the program, but it would no longer apply to solar projects. That industry has grown substantially, and McCrory's budget director says it doesn't need the boost anymore.

o   Research and development: This credit is slated to cost $58 million in McCrory's budget proposal. Companies’ spending money on research and development can receive tax credits for those expenses, and the credit is largest when the business paid a North Carolina research university for the work.

o   Democrats' plan: House Democrats have filed a 61-page economic development bill that restores numerous credits they say "were proven to work in the past." House Bill 89 reinstates credits for historic preservation projects, film productions, professional motorsports teams and cigarette exports, among others.

 Chatham County:

  • A group opposed to the planned Chatham Park development wants the Chatham County Board of Commissioners to insert itself into the planning process for the 7,000-acre project.

 Durham/Orange Counties:

  • Information on the Durham-Orange Light Rail project is available at Triangle Transit’s “Our Transit Future” website, nando.com/dolr.
  • A survey on the “five key questions” currently before planners, and a form for submitting general comments, is available at nando.com/12f.

Orange County:

  • Orange County Solid Waste Director Gayle Wilson presented two options: a $103 flat fee charged countywide or a two-part fee that charges $94 a year to urban owners of developed property and apartment dwellers, and $118 a year to rural property owners and residents.  

Apex:

  • Apex officials voted 3-2 to rezone 165 acres, making way for a mixed-use development known as Sweetwater that residents and officials say could drastically alter western Apex. The town has approved mixed-use developments before, but Sweetwater is especially large in size and ambition.

Cary:

  • LAND DEVELOPMENT ORDINANCE AMENDMENTS - Round 31- Specific chapters and sections proposed for amendment are listed and other related items, chapters and sections may also be considered for amendment. Substantial changes to the amendments proposed may result from the hearing process.

         Chapel Hill:

  • Shortbread property owners Larry Short and Roy and Bill Piscitello are looking east to build a new, 10-story apartment building with ground-floor retail and offices at 322 W. Rosemary St. A concept plan submitted to the town says the project would replace the site’s current occupants – Breadman’s Restaurant, which the Piscitellos operate, and Amity Apartments. A concept plan is an unofficial look at a project so the developer can get feedback. The plan for Amity Station shows 140 to 175 apartments in a 10-story building, with 1,200 to 1,500 square feet of retail and office space on the ground floor

          Durham (City):

  • A one-cent rise in the property-tax rate could be part of the city’s 2015-16 budget, if the fire and police departments show “data and strategy” to support adding firefighters and officers. A possible tax increase to pay for the new personnel is among the City Council’s guidelines for staff to follow in drafting a budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Otherwise the guidelines hold the line on the current property-tax rate of 59.12 cents per $100 valuation. Adding a penny would raise the tax on a $250,000 house and lot by $35. Formal adoption of the guidelines (nando.com/guide) is scheduled for the April 6 council meeting.

Hillsborough:

  • For Fiscal Year 2016, Town Manager Eric Peterson is recommending no change in property tax or water rates. An 8.8 percent increase in sewer rates is included, which is intended to be the last of a multi-year plan of raised sewer rates since FY12 to pay for the Wastewater Treatment Plant’s completed Phase 1 expansion and the projected loss of Efland-Cheeks sewer customers in the upcoming fiscal year. The draft budget also recommends continuing to lower the monthly minimum water usage for which Hillsborough charges, providing some savings to low-volume users.

Morrisville:

  • Three Wake County senators filed a bill March 19 that would allow Morrisville to charge townhouse and apartment developers a fee to help the town acquire open space for parks and recreational uses. This bill addresses one of four issues the Morrisville Town Council identified as priorities during the current legislative session.

Raleigh:

  • New pipeline will curb wastewater overflow problem in Crabtree basin. At 54 inches in diameter, the 21,000-foot line will run along Crabtree Creek from just outside the Beltline near Glenwood Avenue to just east of Capital Boulevard a bit south of the Beltline. Construction of the $30 million to $35 million pipeline is slated to kick off this spring and last until 2018, bringing with it rolling road and greenway closures. The project has a dedicated website (crabtreepipeline.com), phone number, email and Twitter hashtag. All residents within 1,500 feet of the project are expected to receive letters in the coming weeks with information about it.
  • Water and Sewer Rate Hikes? - The Raleigh City Council now is considering the first of those hikes, which also will affect Garner and Rolesville. Scheduled for July, the initial increase would add about 7 percent to a typical Raleigh residential bill, or about $3 on the average $49 monthly charge.
  • The Raleigh City Council today approved a contract with Kimley Horn, Inc. for an amount not to exceed $630,000 to conduct a comprehensive transportation and land use planning study for the southeastern portion of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s planning area. The region includes southeastern Wake County and western Johnston County. The study will also require an interlocal agreement with the North Carolina Department of Transportation for funding and project management purposes.

 Wendell:

  • Town Commissioners recently talked town project priorities and cited Wendell Park. Town leaders will have a further discussion and residents may soon be asked to vote on proposal. Other priorities include: installing fiber optic cable throughout the downtown and creating a transportation improvement plan.

 Zebulon:

  • Major setback in UDO Update.  The town broke ties with consulting group. 

TCC & Wake County Coffee Chat Summary March 18, 2015

The Triangle Community Coalition had another successful Coffee Chat with the Wake County Elected Officials and Staff on March 18, 2015.  

Joining our members in an informal chat were Wake County Commissioner John Burns, Wake County Commissioner Matt Calabria, Wake County Manager Jim Hartmann, Chris Snow - Parks, Recreation and Open Space Director, Tim Maloney - Planning, Development and Inspections Director and Clerk to the Board of Commissioners Denise Hogan.

We provided the Wake County leadership with a better perspective of the Triangle Community Coalition's goal to be a proactive partner in growth and land use issues and to work with senior staff and elected officials to develop policies, regulations, and procedures to encourage economic development, produce predictable (yet flexible) outcomes for all stakeholders, and protect the community's interests.

The County appreciated the TCC’s ability to offer objective facts and information in efforts to improve public policy debates and create effective working relationships between the business community and local government.  We had some great interaction with the TCC membership in attendance and had opportunity to talk about the following:

  • Commissioner John Burns
    • Balance issue is the most important with growth. Believes sustainability is a product of balance
    • Encourages access that allows availability to transit options among others
  • Commissioner Matt Calabria
    • Believes commission is committed to digging into details, data driven answers
      All-values board of commissioners
    • Defining character of Wake County is growth
    • Need to figure out how to pay for tomorrow’s infrastructure with today’s budget
  • County Manager Jim Hartmann
    • Foundation of the County is growth. The County needs to get ready for the next million people over the next 40 years
    • Transit plan is huge – must provide mass-transit plan for the community
      Report to be issued in late April. waketransit.com
    • Schools – 155,000 current students. Growing by 3,000 per year
      • Half of the County’s $1.1 Billion budget goes to the schools
      • County has good relationship with School Board
    • 52 projects currently with Economic Development. One that exceeds $1 Billion investment
  • Lack of local control – County has no influence with State legislation. Redistricting could affect County budget by $20 million.
  • Parks & Recreation
    • $10 million left to purchase land
      • RFP process to purchase land
      • Sent 50 letters to property owners last week
    • Strategic plan includes 30% of land to be open space in Wake County. Currently at 1/3 of that goal
    • Tim Maloney
      • Little River Reservoir is one of the future sources of water supply in 30-40 years.
        Most restrictive watershed.
    • Tim Minton asked the Commission to rank the needs of County dollars
      • Commissioner Burns – Education, transportation, and mental health facilities
      • Commissioner Calabria agreed with Burns
    • Suzanne Harris asked if school performance or capacity was the issue at hand
      • Hartmann – performance is key
      • Commissioner Burns – instead of using money for renovations, make the schools more efficient
    • Tom Anhut
      • Not currently using the capacity in schools
      • Says many people including himself would like to see a capacity study
      • Commissioner Burns agrees and said he was for year-round schools
    • Tim Maloney
      • Wanting to collect ordinances into a new comprehensive plan. Current document is 15 years old. Transportation plan is 10 years old. Believes both documents need updates and would work with municipalities when compiling the updates

If you are interested in participating in future meetings with Wake County or future Coffee Chats, watch for notices or contact the TCC offices at 919 812-7785 or Charlene Logan at charlenel@tricc.org to reserve your spot!

These programs are a great way for you, as an exclusive benefit as a TCC member, to become active and help the TCC strengthen our relationships with local jurisdictions throughout the Triangle.

Raleigh's GI/LID Work Plan

The City of Raleigh has developed a new work plan for the Green Infrastructure/Low Impact Development with the anticipation of presenting to Council at the March 3rd meeting. City staff are requesting anyone interested to attend the March 3rd City Council meeting to show your interest in the discussion about GI and LID in Raleigh.

Click here to access the "Overview of the Process and Work Plan for Next Steps"

Click here to access the "Work Plan for Advancing GI/LID in Raleigh"

Please email Jacob Rogers (jrogers@tricc.org) to have a copy emailed to you.

TCC "in the KNOW" February 2015 Newsletter

February 2015 Updates

North Carolina:

  • Consumers and businesses in Virginia and North Carolina could save an estimated $377 million annually in lower energy costs thanks to the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, according to an analysis by Virginia-based consulting firm ICF International. Virginia and North Carolina electricity consumers benefit from (the Atlantic Coast Pipeline) because the lower cost of natural gas to fuel power generation will, in turn, result in lower electricity bills for consumers.
  • Local governments all across NC are actively lobbying and speaking out against state legislation
    that would limit their power to regulate home designs and exert planning authority on their outskirts.
    The N.C. Metropolitan Mayors Coalition is lobbying against the bills, House Bill 36
    (and a companion in the Senate, Senate Bill 25) and House Bill 51.

 Chatham County:

  • Over the next 40 years, the planned Chatham Park development could generate $154 billion in spending statewide, including $80 billion in Chatham County alone. That’s according to a study by N.C. State University economics professor Michael Walden, whose report was released Tuesday by the Chatham Economic Development Corp.

 Durham County:

  • The City of Durham and Durham County governments in North Carolina have chosen OpenDataSoft,
    an award-winning Paris-based internet platform, to power their growing Open Data initiative. The deal marks OpenDataSoft’s first customer in the United States. “We chose OpenDataSoft because it was best suited to help us achieve specific distinctive project objectives,” said Greg Marrow, CIO of Durham County. “Our vision is to build a highly sustainable open data program that empowers our citizens, employees, private industry while being open to other local, state and federal governments.”

 Orange County:

  • A bond, if approved, could pay for some of the $330 million in needed repairs and upgrades that
    Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Orange County schools officials have identified. It also could address other needs, such as affordable housing and parks,

 Wake County:

  • Wake County leaders signaled that additional revenue from a property-tax increase will likely be needed soon to help keep up with population growth that is filling schools and stretching county services.

 Cary:

  • Town leaders blocked a proposed residential project despite a developer’s repeated attempts to quell their concerns that it might overburden local infrastructure. A rezoning request that would have brought 70 townhomes to 13 acres on Stephens Road in south Cary was effectively denied after a motion to approve the project failed with a 3-3 vote.
  • Town leaders seem open to loosening some of Cary’s building design rules, but they recently agreed that others need to be strengthened. For example, current rules require masonry materials to make up at least 75 percent of commercial building facades and at least 35 percent of apartment and townhouse facades. However, developers who follow the letter of the law sometimes have transitioned away from masonry material at an awkward place, such as at the middle of a window, rather than above it or below it. Council members said they also want to limit the use of dark glass windows on commercial buildings. Town rules require windows to account for 50 percent of the front facade on ground-level retail buildings, and developers currently are allowed to use opaque glass.

 Durham (City):

  • Durham residents have four opportunities to share their thoughts on the 2015-16 budget and the city’s priorities: three remaining Coffee with Council meetings and a public hearing. Coffees with Council are held, one in each Partners Against Crime district, but all are open to the public at large.
    • Budget Public Hearing, Monday, March 2, 7 p.m., City Hall council chamber (during regular City Council meeting)
    • Coffee With Council, Thursday, March 12, 5:30-7 p.m., City Hall Committee Room, Saturday, March 14, 10 a.m.-noon, Campus Hill Recreation Center, 2000 S. Alston Ave., Saturday, March 21, 9:30-11:30 a.m., Holton Career and Resource Center, 401 N. Driver St.

 Morrisville:

  • Town Council members indicated at their annual retreat last month that they want to examine the
    capital improvement list and start taking action on the highest-priority ideas. The town’s current capital improvements plan is 129 pages long and contains 32 potential projects.

 Raleigh:

  • New pipeline will curb wastewater overflow problem in Crabtree basin. At 54 inches in diameter, the 21,000-foot line will run along Crabtree Creek from just outside the Beltline near Glenwood Avenue to just east of Capital Boulevard a bit south of the Beltline. Construction of the $30 million to $35 million pipeline is slated to kick off this spring and last until 2018, bringing with it rolling road and greenway closures. The project has a dedicated website (crabtreepipeline.com), phone number, email and Twitter hashtag. All residents within 1,500 feet of the project are expected to receive letters in the coming weeks with information about it.
  • Water and Sewer Rate Hikes? - The Raleigh City Council now is considering the first of those hikes, which also will affect Garner and Rolesville. Scheduled for July, the initial increase would add about 7 percent to a typical Raleigh residential bill, or about $3 on the average $49 monthly charge.

 Wendell:

  • Town Commissioners recently talked town project priorities and cited Wendell Park. Town leaders will have a further discussion and residents may soon be asked to vote on proposal. Other priorities include: installing fiber optic cable throughout the downtown and creating a transportation improvement plan.

 Zebulon:

  • Visit www.zebulongreenways.com, where visitors can take surveys and stay up to date on the greenway master plan throughout the process.

TCC Luncheon Learn Program - “Best Practices in the Triangle: What Does Your City do Best?”

On Thursday, February 5, 2015, the Triangle Community Coalition hosted a Luncheon Learn Program with several Triangle municipalities to discuss what they do best in their planning and development processes.

With almost a hundred members, guests and elected officials, the TCC's first Luncheon Learn of 2015 was a statement of how working together can make a positive impact on Balanced Growth in the Triangle. This program is another step forward after last summer's survey of TCC members. Your input matters and the TCC have made sure that the municipalities have heard, with individual meetings with the leadership of each and every one. Look out for the next survey as we continue to make progress for our membership and the building community at large.

We would like to extend a special thanks to our keynote speakers as they provided the following information with their presentations: 

Apex: Jean Weatherman, Development Projects Coordinator  - Presentation*

  • Development Projects Coordinator – project manager for the Town’s construction plan development review process and approvals. Go-to person for the entire process.
  • Four main focus areas: Customer Service, Development Process, Department Liaison, and Development Approvals.
  • They will be rolling out a new website for Development Services in the Spring.
  • Currently exploring options for online review and permitting for single family residential. Developing online application for single trade building permits –
    late spring 2015 launch.
  • Apex Builder/Developer Workshop – February 19, 2015, 8:15-11:00 to be held at Apex Town Hall.

Cary: Russ Overton, Assistant Town Manager

  • 2015 Development Review Changes
  • Published review schedule – creates predictability and a time frame of the review.
  • Pre-Application meetings. Recently developed checklists to help during these meetings.
  • After March, staff will have meetings with the public to help with the Town’s predictability.
  • Development Liaison Service – focused on small business owners. Purpose is to have clear communication, includes call center. Very customer service focused.
  • Online Submittals:
    - Express 1-3 days
    - Helps eliminate trips to Town Halls

Wake Forest: Chad Sary, Assistant Planning Director

  • Presentation*
  • The Town maintains a “partnership mentality” with the development community and other town departments.
  • Ownership – the Town staff take pride in what they do. Believes in clear communication and being organized. Staff will return calls within 1 business day.
  • Flexibility in the Code:
    • Choices on how to get to the finished product
    • Believes in the power of pre-submittal meetings. They have proven to be very helpful. Established expectations
  • Town constantly seeks feedback through surveys on their website, attached to their emails, and at meetings.
  • Handbook for the UDO – guide to the UDO.

Raleigh: Christine Darges, Manager of the Office of Development Services

  • Express review process:
    • Focusing on project timeliness
    • Face-to-face option offered flyer*
    • At the moment, there are not enough slots
      Currently booked 6-8 weeks out
    • A regular application process can be started and then converted to Express Review
    • Trying to expand with the upcoming budget
    • 4-10 reviewers
  • Litchford Office – Customers love the convenience of the location. Ease to get in and out.
  • BED Services*

Durham: Gene Bradham, Director of City/County Inspections Department
                Dana Inebnit, Chief Plumbing Inspector

  • Presentation*
  • Free mobile app available to everyone:
    • Use for tracking the status of permits and inspections
    • App will let you know which inspection has occurred and each inspection that needs to be done
    • Will work in any mobile browser, no need to download app
    • Can also schedule inspections with personal ID assignment by Durham

Again, the Triangle Community Coalition thanks all our speakers for their time and insightful perspective to this program. We hope you can join us for our next Luncheon Learn re: Transit at our Annual Meeting on March 30, 2015.

A very special thank you to our sponsors for their support
to the TCC and the Luncheon Learn Programs!

Smith Anderson, Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, Smith Moore Leatherwood, Williams Property Group, K&L Gates, Raleigh Regional Association of REALTORS®, Triangle Apartment Association, Allen Tate Companies, Gaines & Company, Sepi Engineering, Northwood Ravin, Ramey Kemp & Associates, Ammons Development, Toll Brothers, Inc., Taylor Wiseman & Taylor, Duke Energy, McAdams, Morningstar Law Group, Newland Communities, WSP, M/I Homes, Stantec, Tri Properties, Kilpatrick Stockton, Withers & Ravenel, Community Properties

If you wish to sponsor a Luncheon Learn program, please contact Charlene Logan at charlenel@tricc.org or visit the TCC website at www.tricc.org for upcoming events and sponsorship forms. To be included on promotional materials and sign each month, you must have your form in 15 days prior to each event.

TCC "in the KNOW" January 2015 Newsletter

January 2015 Updates

 Wake County:

·         Some highlights for the New Year: Three new schools will open. The construction funding for the new schools comes from an $810 billion bond referendum voters approved last year to build 16 schools and renovate six schools to keep pace with a growing population. Design work is underway for many of those schools, and construction will begin on some in 2015. Democrats swept the Wake County
Board of Commissioners in this fall’s election, bringing new life to the debate about public transit. 

Western Wake County:

  • A recent hearing was held on a state proposal to allow the western Wake County towns a daily allotment of 33 million gallons of water a day, up from the current daily allotment of 24 million, to help their growing populations. DENR held another hearing on the proposal in Fayetteville on Jan. 22, and is accepting written comments from the public until Feb. 5. People can send comments to Harold Brady at the N.C. Division of Water Resources, 1611 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699, or by email to harold.m.brady@ncdenr.gov.
    The Environmental Management Commission will likely vote in March whether to approve the changes.

Cary:

  • Work has begun on a road project at Walnut Street and Buck Jones Road, weather permitting, the town said. The construction area will cover Walnut Street from the U.S. 1/64 southbound ramp to Piney Plains Road and Buck Jones Road from Walnut Street to Best Motor Imports. The year-long project will add new sidewalks along Walnut Street; will add a lane from Meeting Street to Buck Jones Road; improve lane alignment; and widen the bridge over U.S. 1/64.

Chapel Hill:

  • Notice of Request for Proposals: The Town of Chapel Hill desires to engage qualified Energy Service Companies (ESCO) to design and implement energy conservation measures to be financed through a guaranteed energy savings contract. Services for this project may include, but are not limited to, a preliminary audit, cost-benefit analysis, investment grade audit, design and installation of energy conservation measures, training, and identification of other utility cost-saving projects. The ESCO shall be pre-qualified by the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Sealed proposals for guaranteed energy savings will be received by the Purchasing and Contracts Manager at Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr., Blvd., Chapel Hill, NC 27514, until February 9, 2015, at 1 p.m., at which time they will be publicly opened and read. A mandatory pre-proposal meeting will be held on January 30, 2015 at 1 p.m. in the 1st Floor Conference Room at Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr., Blvd., Chapel Hill, NC 27514. Complete document may be downloaded from the Town of Chapel Hill’s website at www.townofchapelhill.org.  Any questions concerning the advertisement should be directed to Zakia Alam at zalam@townofchapelhill.org. Any questions regarding the project should be directed to Jesse Freedman at jfreedman@townofchapelhill.org. The Town of Chapel Hill reserves the right to reject any and all bids and accept the bid most favorable to the Town.

         Durham:

  • Durham Strategic Plan: Participate in survey.
  • The City of Durham and Durham County governments are embarking on an open data partnership that will lay the groundwork for businesses, non-profits, journalists, universities, and residents to access and use the wealth of public data available between the two government organizations, while becoming even more transparent to the residents of Durham.

Fuquay-Varina:

  • Town leaders have been discussing speeding up development-related decisions, standardizing how and when to extend utilities to unincorporated areas and also possibly tweaking some of the aesthetic requirements – or lack thereof – within the town code

Hillsborough:

  • The Town of Hillsborough wants to know what you think of its draft “Vision 2030” plan, a blueprint that will shape town policies for the next 15 years. You can also send comments to Planning Director Margaret Hauth at http://nando.com/sg Town staff can attend homeowner association, neighborhood, or civic group meetings to discuss the draft document. Call Hauth to schedule a meeting: 919-732-1270, ext. 86. For more information about Hillsborough's Vision 2030, go to http://nando.com/sh.

Morrisville:

  • After months of discussions on where to build a downtown, Morrisville leaders selected the land off of Jeremiah Street just behind Town Hall. The town already owns 10 of the 25 acres on the site. The Town Council decided, after heated debate, to continue developing the site, even though outside experts have said it stands little chance of attracting retail, especially shops and restaurants.

Raleigh:

  • A $2.79 million plan aims to make a stroll down Oberlin Road near Cameron Village more pleasant
    by improving sidewalks, landscaping and lighting. The Raleigh City Council approved a plan for Oberlin between Groveland and Bedford avenues built on the idea that as more business and
    residential development comes to the area, more pedestrian-friendly streets are needed.

    Read the entire plan for Oberlin Street at bit.ly/1n8zI6n.

 Wake Forest:

  • The town plans to soon widen Ligon Mill and Rogers roads, the first projects to get underway after voters approved a $25 million bond measure last fall to pay for streets, parks, sidewalks and greenways. Wake Forest will sell between $4 million and $6 million of the bonds in March. The road-widening projects are expected to cost $2.5 million.

·         Wake Forest residents can expect to pay lower electricity rates when the town untangles itself from partial ownership of four power plants. Duke Energy Progress will buy out 32 eastern North Carolina towns’ share of power plants valued at $1.2 billion.

 Wendell:

  • Wendell Falls prepares to market homes as early as the end of this month. Interested parties can sign up at wendellfalls.com and on social media to receive information on pre-sales and project updates.

 Zebulon:

  • Visit www.zebulongreenways.com, where visitors can take surveys and stay up to date on the greenway master plan throughout the process.

TCC & City of Raleigh Coffee Chat Summary January 28, 2015

The Triangle Community Coalition had another successful Coffee Chat with the City of Raleigh Elected Officials and Staff on January 28, 2015.

Joining our members in an informal chat were Mayor McFarlane, Assistant City Manager Jim Greene, Planning Director Ken Bowers, Parks & Recreation & Cultural Resources Director Diane Sauer, Development Services Manager Christine Darges, Economic Development Director James Sauls, and Jamie Brown, Mayor Assistant.

We provided the City of Raleigh leadership with a better perspective of the Triangle Community Coalition's goal to be a proactive partner in growth and land use issues and to work with senior staff and elected officials to develop policies, regulations, and procedures to encourage economic development, produce predictable (yet flexible) outcomes for all stakeholders, and protect the community's interests.

The town appreciated the TCC’s ability to offer objective facts and information in efforts to improve public policy debates and create effective working relationships between the business community and local government.  We had some great interaction with the TCC membership in attendance and had opportunity to talk about the following:

  • Nancy McFarlane – Raleigh Mayor
    • Two big economic development opportunities
      • Google Fiber – more residential
      • New acquisition of Dix Park – 306 acres. Planning for the park will be a multi-year effort
      • She mentioned that this is more proof that Raleigh is the place to be
    • Legislation – mentioned the privilege license fee has been a $7 million loss to the City of Raleigh. No comprehensive plan yet to address the issue
       
  • Jim Greene – Assistant City Manager
    • Other cities are envying Raleigh because of its growth
    • They will be presenting a 3-5 year strategic plan to Council during their retreat. It ties closely with their comprehensive plan. It outlines and sets specific objectives and initiatives.
    • The City will have a new Development Services Department starting in July. They will also hire a Development Services Director that will report to Jim. The position will address issues and be accountable to those issues. He also mentioned that he understands the process needs to be clear and predictable.
       
  • Christine Darges – City of Raleigh; Development Services
    • Raleigh is experiencing a transition in development – more re-development and mixed use.
    • She met with Cary last week to discuss what they do in Development Services that works.
      She realized that Cary has been conducting electronic review for over 10 years.
    • She has seen an explosion with Express Review
       
  • James Sauls – Economic Development Director
    • The City lost Project Eagle with Mercedes, but strongly believes that it was great exposure for the City. The consultant hired by Mercedes said Raleigh will definitely see more projects come from their office.
       
  • Ken Bowers – Planning Director
    • Gave an update with the re-mapping efforts. 80 square miles.
    • UDO – believes the progress has gone well since inception.
      • User-friendly
      • Allows administrative review
      • Zoning is quicker and less expensive
    • Initiating text changes to UDO – can be done by Planning Director and his recommendation.
      Or a citizen petition
  • Dianne Sauer – Parks and Rec Director
    • Looking forward to the Dicks Park
    • Citizens are wanting more walkability in the city
    • City will also be re-investing in current parks with recent bond
    • Re-development of Moore’s Square Park will take place within the next 9 months
       
  • Tom Anhut asked Mayor McFarlane what legislative help she needs. She replied with tax credits. Mentioned that it was a great investment for the community. She also expressed concern about HB 150 concerning aesthetics control. She is against it and believes municipalities should be able to control what their city looks like.
  • Brian Purdy made a comment about the need for more positions in development services. Jim said the Planning Department submitted a budget request for more personnel and will be discussing that with the departments. He understands that there is currently a shortage with staff and that development is almost at the levels during pre-recession times. Currently, they have 8 staff less than before the recession.

If you are interested in participating in future meetings with the City of Raleigh or future Coffee Chats, watch for notices or contact the TCC offices at 919 812-7785 or Charlene Logan at charlenel@tricc.org to reserve your spot!

These programs are a great way for you, as an exclusive benefit as a TCC member, to become active and help the TCC strengthen our relationships with local jurisdictions throughout the Triangle.