TCC "in the KNOW" January 2016

January 2016 Updates

North Carolina:

  • North Carolina’s population surpasses 10 million – Carolina Demography: “North Carolina added an average of 281 people per day between 2014 and 2015, pushing its total population above 10 million in the U.S. Census Bureau’s recently released state population estimates. Since the 2010 Census, North Carolina’s population has grown by over half a million new residents (507,110), more than any state except for Texas (2.3M), California (1.9M), Florida (1.5M), and Georgia (526K). This represents a 5.3% increase in overall population, the 15th highest among the states and well above the national growth rate of 4.1% over this time period.  Migration continues to fuel North Carolina’s growth: 61% of state growth since 2010 has come from net migration. With more than 300,000 net migrants between 2010 and 2015, North Carolina received the 4th largest number of net migrants of any state.”
  • Economists say Charlotte and the Triangle will continue to drive N.C. growth –“As goes Charlotte and the Triangle, so goes North Carolina — that will be the central theme of the state’s economy again in 2016, according to Wells Fargo economists. And has been the case in recent years, the Triad will have to be content with modest economic improvements compared with its larger peers.”
  • Highlights from the N.C. Chamber and N.C. Bankers Association Economic Forecast Meeting include:
    • Gov. Pat McCrory said some parts of the state are seeing a “skill shortage at this point in time – primarily in IT, construction, welding, electricians, mechanics, and also health care, especially nursing ... That is one of our great challenges in this rebound.”
    • McCrory also talked up the $2 billion bond referendum that will go before voters in March. “The last bond referendum that North Carolina had was in the year 2000,” McCrory said. “In those 15 years we’ve grown by 2 million people.” The referendum “ties directly into our skills gap,” McCrory said. “We have a shortage of engineers, and yet some of our science facilities, our engineering facilities, are 1950s facilities. They’re an embarrassment.”
    • In the wake of the incentives package for recruiting industry passed by the legislature last year, McCrory said, the state is “going to go after the big dog in manufacturing, which is either aerospace or automobiles.”  He noted that the state has three or four sites large enough to be attractive to the automotive industry.
    • “Technological unemployment” – jobs replaced by technology – continues to loom as a major problem facing the state, said N.C. State University economist Michael Walden. The higher education system needs to stay attuned to these rapid changes and what occupations are falling by the wayside.”

Wake County:

  • Voters could see a referendum on a half-cent local sales tax on November’s ballot. The tax would help pay for the $2.3 billion Wake Transit Plan, which the Wake County Commissioners and two other boards are expected to approve this spring. The Wake Transit Plan for a 37-mile commuter rail line, running from west Durham through Research Triangle Park and Raleigh to east Garner, and lots of buses could quadruple transit ridership in the county by 2027. The plan seeks to balance frequency of trips with connectivity to outlying areas that have little to no public transportation.

Apex:

  • Officials in Apex hope to turn 92 acres of land near the intersection of North Carolina Highway 540 and Old U.S. Highway 1 into Pleasant Park, but neighbors say they are worried about safety as there is currently only one point of access to the property.
  • The Town of Apex will start looking to replace town manager Bruce Radford, who retired in December after 14 years on the job. The assistant town manager, Drew Havens, has been named the interim manager. The search could stretch several months into 2016.

Cary:

  • The Town of Cary is still looking for a new town manager after longtime manager Ben Shivar retired in September. After a four-month long search in 2015, the Cary Town Council decided to start the process over after not coming to a unanimous decision on any of the three finalists.
  • Columbia Development Group has submitted a preliminary development plan that includes a mix of retail, restaurants, office space and multi-family residential units. The Company contracted for the land off Cary Towne Boulevard with the State for $21.15 million in 2015. The town council envisions the development as a ‘destination,’ the ‘next North Hills’.
  • The Cary Town Council reviewed an Imagine Cary plan for the eastern Cary gateway area, which includes Cary Towne Center. Council supports high-rise buildings along I-40, multi-family housing, office space, restaurant and retail. There were some different opinions over the state-owned site where the Columbia Development Group wants to build a Wegmans.

Chapel Hill:

  • Consider 2015 Bond Referendum Results: The Council adopted a resolution certifying the 2015 General Obligation (G.O.) Bond Referendum results. On Nov. 3, 2015, a bond referendum was held to consider five bond orders for Town capital projects totaling $40.3 million. Voters approved all five bond orders. Learn more at www.townofchapelhill.org/bondinfo
  • Upcoming Scheduled Public Hearings:
    • 02-15-2016 Update on Development-Related Improvements in Chapel Hill; Presentation of Potential LUMO Changes.
    • 02-15-2016 Public Hearing to Amend Sections of the Land Use Management Ordinance to Comply with Recent Changes to State Law.
    • 03-14-2016 Concept Plan: Chapel Hill North Self Storage.

Durham:

  • On 2/4/2016 Council will consider adopting an Ordinance Revising and Establishing Certain Fees for the Underground Utility Installations. Proposed fee schedule: http://www.durhamnc.gov/agendas_new/2016/cws20160215/10733_EXHIBIT_EXISTING_FEE_SCHEDULE_383675_676943.PDF.
  • The City Manager’s office has requested from the Planning Department, to review the ability for Durham to incorporate a Development Services Department.  City has sought input from the Development community, and is actively reviewing options and programs.  The City’s target to finalize the first stage of the program is set for July of 2016.

Fuquay-Varina:

  • Voters overwhelmingly approved the Transportation, Sewer and Water bonds on the ballot with an approval rate of approximately 82%.  Transportation Bonds in the amount of $21-million will be used to fund several proposed projects including completion of the Judd Parkway loop around Fuquay-Varina, and improvements at the major intersections of Judd Parkway/Main St. and Purfoy Rd./Sunset/Main St. Planning efforts are currently underway. The bond will likely require a sizable property tax increase.
  • A final report detailing projects to improve local roads, sidewalks, greenways and public transportation is in, with several dozen recommendations. Their report, which is at bit.ly/1OoZS3D, gave nearly 40 recommendations broken into three categories: streets, public transit and bicycle/pedestrian.

Holly Springs:

  • Construction on two road projects expected to improve traffic flow on Avent Ferry Road will begin this year. Work at the intersection of N.C. 55 and Avent Ferry is expected to begin in February and will be completed by the fall. Another project, extending Main Street across N.C. 55 to Piney Grove Wilson Road, will also begin this year. The town is receiving federal and state funding to pay for most of the costs of the improvements. Town staff plan to seek additional funding from the N.C. Department of Transportation after the lowest bid for the combined projects came in over the estimated cost.
  • Holly Springs Town Council will be putting more emphasis on making changes, including some to local zoning rules, to encourage more developer interest in downtown. Town staff plan to update the town’s Village District Area plan – simplifying the plan to ensure that developers know exactly what the town’s vision is for downtown.

Morrisville:

  • 2016 could be the year that residents start to see results from the traffic portion of an $18 million bond voters approved in 2012. Work to start building the McCrimmon Parkway Extension, as a bypass for N.C. 54, should begin this year with a completion date in 2019. The work will open up hundreds of acres of developable land and pave the way for the construction of the Western Wake Competition Center.
  • Morrisville Parkway Project: NCDOT has announced that Morrisville Parkway, between Crabtree Crossing Parkway and Bristol Creek Drive/Quail Fields Court, will close as early as February 8, 2016 to traffic. Signs will be posted directing traffic to follow the detour route – NC 54, Cary Parkway, High House Road and Davis Drive. All businesses on Morrisville Parkway will be accessible during the closure from NC 54. It is anticipated that the road will open back up August 1, 2016. Construction is expected to be complete in May 2017. Over the last several years, the Town of Cary and Town of Morrisville staffs have been coordinating with NCDOT on the project and are getting ready for the planned detour. The detour will have an adverse impact on traffic flow and congestion along the planned detour route. In advance of the detour, NCDOT has made some minor intersection and traffic signal improvements along the detour route to help minimize the impact. The Town of Cary Traffic Management Center (TMC) staff will be implementing new signal timing changes along the detour route in order to keep traffic flowing as best they can. They expect traffic volumes will be higher along the detour route; therefore, delays will be expected since adjustments to signal timing cannot fully mitigate roadway capacity issues.

Raleigh:

  • Six Forks Corridor Study: A corridor study and summary report have been completed for the Six Forks Road Corridor. The corridor study was conducted by a consultant team led by Design Workshop and directed by the Department of City Planning, Urban Design Center, and the Office of Transportation Planning. Staff and the consultant team identified, evaluated, and prepared recommendations for street and streetscape improvements to Six Forks Road, from Interstate 440 to Lynn Road based on public input. The team also analyzed and provided recommendations for potential redevelopment areas along the corridor. The full study is available at http://www.raleighnc.gov/business/content/PlanDev/Articles/UrbanDesign/SixForksCorridorStudy.html.
  • TC-1-16 – Story Height Measurements: A hearing was held on 2/2/16 to consider adoption of an ordinance to amend part 10A of the Unified Development Ordinance to change the way story heights are measured. The text change will redefine from “top of the finished floor to the ceiling above” to “top of the finished floor to the bottom of the floor above.
  • In a meeting Dec. 1, the Raleigh City County heard a presentation on the plans for an update to Moore Square. Resident feedback was important to the design process, led by architects from Sasaki. Residents wanted to see Moore Square as a place for smaller, everyday events rather than just big events. The Sasaki representative told councilors that the history of the square was an important part of the design process. The plans emphasize trees along the South Park Heritage Walk and a flexible, open lawn to allow for a variety of events. The southeast quarter of the square will feature more buildings – restrooms, a cafe and a fountain.
  • A developer plans a 10-story building in downtown Raleigh: Heritage Properties paid just over $4M for a site at Hillsborough St. and Glenwood Ave. The project would include ground floor retail and a 650-space parking deck. This is the latest example of downtown redevelopment activity extending beyond the Fayetteville St. corridor.
  • Raleigh is pursuing a $40M grant to build a ‘smarter’ transit system. The U.S. DOT is offering $40 million for best ‘smart city’ proposal. Raleigh working with N.C. State on this high-tech vision. DOT to announce 5 semifinalists in March, winner in June.
  • The effective date for the Raleigh City-wide remapping (rezoning) is 2/14/16.  This remapping affects 30% of the City. For more information visit the City of Raleigh website at https://www.raleighnc.gov/business/content/PlanDev/Articles/Zoning/ZoningRemapping.html


2016 Members and Sponsors

Strategic Members:  HBA Raleigh-Wake County & Raleigh Regional Association of REALTORS®  
Partner Members:  Smith Moore Leatherwood   Colliers International  
Smith Anderson   Taylor Wiseman & Taylor   Triangle Apartment Association

Business Members:  Bass Nixon & Kennedy   Bohler Engineering   CalAtlantic  
Community Properties   Duke Energy   Fern Hill Properties   Fonville Morisey Barefoot
Gaines & Co.   Grubb Ventures   JPM South Development   K&L Gates   
M/I Homes
Kimley-Horn & Assoc.   McAdams   Morningstar Law Group   
Pulte Group   
Robuck Homes   Paragon Commercial Bank   Sepi Engineering  
Williams Property Group   Withers & Ravenel

Chamber/Gov:    Cary Chamber of Commerce   Morrisville Chamber of Commerce
Raleigh Chamber of Commerce   Midtown Raleigh Alliance              


 

TCC - Join us & "Meet the Mayors" on Wednesday, February 10th at 8 a.m.

Join us for TCC's 2016 Annual Meeting to welcome and congratulate Mayors Lance Olive (Apex), Bill Bell (Durham) and Harold Weinbrecht (Cary) on being elected and re-elected to their offices.  Each Mayor will discuss the state of business in their respective municipalities and provide some insight of what’s to come in 2016. 

Please register for this event at
http://www.tricc.org/annual-meeting/

We will also present our newly elected officers of the TCC Board of Directors, including our incoming 2016 Chairman David Lazzo. 

2016 will be a great year for the Triangle!

 

 

TCC "in the KNOW" December 2015

December 2015 Updates

TCC:

Join us on Wednesday, February 10th for the TCC Annual Meeting & Meet the Mayors Program!   Keynote Speakers are Durham Mayor Bill Bell, Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht and Apex Mayor Lance Olive will give an update on their respective municipality.  This promises to be an exciting meeting and space is limited, so make sure to register today!   

To register for this event please visit the TCC website at  http://www.tricc.org/annual-meeting

·         NC Homeowners Alliance:  Check out the 2016 NC Election Preview to know the candidates for each race, click HERE.

North Carolina:

  •  North Carolina’s highest court issued a ruling regarding much-debated district maps for the General Assembly and congressional districts. The North Carolina Supreme Court upheld maps drawn by Republicans in 2011 that lay out districts for the North Carolina General Assembly and the United States Congressional districts.
     
  • A New Year means more than 20 new laws take effect Dec. 31. Several focus on cars and driving. Others address abortion, taxes and unemployment. While citizens will notice some changes immediately, other laws won't be felt for a few months, or even until 2017.
    • Here are some highlights:
      • Most registered voters will have to show one of several types of photo identification to vote in person, although the requirement doesn't begin in earnest until March, when early voting begins for the March 15 primary.
      • Motorists already enjoying lower pump prices get another 1-cent drop in the state gasoline tax to 35 cents per gallon. It's the second of three incremental gas-tax reductions lawmakers approved last spring. The rate is to fall to 34 cents July 1.
      • The legislature agreed to the first widespread upward adjustment of Division of Motor Vehicles fees since 2005. On average, each fee category is going up by 30 percent. For example, a private car title will now cost $52, up from $40; and the base annual plate registration will increase to $36 from $28. A regular driver's license good for eight years will cost $40, up from $32. DMV fee proceeds benefit transportation.
      • Standard deductions for individual income-tax filers are increasing by $250, $400 or $500 depending on filing status, beginning with income earned in 2016, so many won't notice the change until they file returns in 2017. A married couple filing jointly now won't pay taxes on the first $15,500 of 2016 income, up from $15,000. Corporations filing taxes quarterly should see earlier benefits from a 2016 income-tax-rate decline from 5 percent to 4 percent.
      • North Carolina business owners now have a certain legal recourse against people who deliberately get jobs to steal company secrets or record purported maltreatment at farms or factories. The "Property Protection Act" in part responds to hidden-camera exposes of animal cruelty and was opposed by animal-rights groups. Supporters of the law argue legitimate whistleblowers still will be protected.

Chatham County:

  • As part of a regional effort to reduce vulnerability to natural disasters, Pittsboro, Goldston, Siler City and Chatham County are requesting public feedback on natural disaster risk and preparedness. This feedback will assist the efforts of Chatham, Harnett, Lee, and Moore Counties to combine respective local natural hazard mitigation plans into one regional plan.  A mitigation plan identifies and assesses a community’s natural hazard risks, and determines how to best minimize or manage those risks. A brief survey provides the public an opportunity to share opinions and participate in the regional planning process. Residents of Chatham, Harnett, Lee, and Moore Counties and their respective municipalities are invited to participate in this survey at: http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1503137/Public-Participation-Survey-for-Hazard-Mitigation-Planning-Cape-Fear.

Wake County:

  • The Wake County Board of Commissioners is expected to approve a $2.3 billion transit plan next spring that could eventually change how Raleigh residents commute to work, visit downtown and make their way to neighboring Triangle cities and towns. The plan includes commuter rails between Raleigh, Research Triangle Park and Durham, and also expanded bus service that could quadruple transit ridership in Wake County by 2027.  Click HERE for the plan. 

Apex:

  • The public will take notice of public hearings before the Town of Apex Planning Board and the Apex Town Council. The purpose of these hearings is to receive public comments on proposed Peak Plan 2030: The Apex Comprehensive Plan and 2030 Land Use Map Amendments. The Town Council will discuss whether to set the Town Council public hearing at their January 5, 2016 meeting, held in the Council Chambers at 73 Hunter Street, Apex, North Carolina at 7 p.m. The Town Council discussed possible changes to Peak Plan 2030: The Apex Comprehensive Plan to reduce Medium Density Residential from 6 units per acre to 5 units per acre and the Economic Development Committee of Town Council discussed the 2030 Land Use Map and recommended amendments to the land use in two areas:
    • 1. The area near Tingen Road and southwest of Salem Village to the west bordering 540; and
    • 2. The mixed use area at US 64 Hwy west of N. Salem/ Davis Drive. For more information visit: http://www.apexnc.org/DocumentCenter/View/7800.
  • Rezoning Case: Petitioner/Owner/Authorized Agent: Tony M Tate, Property location: South of US Hwy 64, east of the American Tobacco Trail, north of Olive Chapel Road, Acreage: ± 270.514.
  • Rezoning Case: Petitioner/Owner/Authorized Agent: Matt Kirkpatrick, Kirkpatrick & Associates, Property location: 1450 Kelly Road, Acreage: ± 1.752.

Cary:

  • Beginning Saturday, January 2, consultants working for the Town of Cary will start calling more than 400 Cary residents asking them to state their opinions on how well their government works for them.  Topics will include solid waste, taxes, safety, quality of life, customer service, communications, street repair, and downtown.  The scientific telephone poll will be conducted through January 30, with citizens being asked to spend about 25 minutes answering about 60 questions. The survey’s margin of error will not exceed five percent.
  • Construction of Midtown Square at 215 E. Chatham St. is expected to be completed in fall 2016

Two tenants have signed leases to move into the 25,000-square-foot office and retail space

The former building of the Flower Cupboard, a longtime downtown Cary business, was demolished for the project after the business moved to NW Cary Parkway.

Chapel Hill

  • Residents, home builders, architects, and others who are interested to know more about how state regulatory changes impact the Town’s development rules are invited to attend a public information meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14, in the Council Chamber of Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. The NC General Assembly has passed legislation in the 2015 session that affects the Town’s rules and policies. A subset of this legislation has invalidated sections of the Land Use Management Ordinance (LUMO) that conflict with the legislation. Changes are proposed to LUMO to remove unenforceable rules in order to provide clarity for residents, applicants, and staff.
  • Are you working on a home improvement project? Have you recently completed one or are about to begin? Do you have ideas for improving Chapel Hill’s land use rules for houses? The Town of Chapel Hill will hold a special workshop on these topics titled “Come Build with Us – Simplify!” from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 12, in the First Floor Conference Room of Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Hillsborough:

  • The Town of Hillsborough is proposing creating a stormwater utility and fee to fund the town’s existing stormwater management program as well as new state requirements. New state regulations require the town to reduce the stormwater pollution that reaches Falls Lake, an impaired waterway into which Hillsborough’s watershed drains. The Falls Lake Rules significantly expand the town's stormwater requirements. However, an analysis conducted by the town's stormwater program manager also found that additional funding and staffing are needed to comply with requirements of the town's existing program and to address maintenance and citizen concerns with town-owned drainage and stormwater infrastructure. Fees would be assessed with the annual property tax bills. Proposed annual fees are:
    • Residential Properties — $50
    • Tier 1 Non-residential Properties (0 to 30,000 square feet) — $500
    • Tier 2 Non-residential Properties (30,001 to 90,000 square feet) — $1,500
    • Tier 3 Non-residential Properties (over 90,000 square feet) — $2,500

The stormwater utility fee is proposed to become effective July 1. A public hearing is planned for March 14. A vote to formally adopt a stormwater utility ordinance would follow at a later meeting of the Hillsborough Board of Commissioners. Public informational meeting: 7 to 9 p.m. Jan. 26 in the Town Barn on the Town Hall Campus, 101 E. Orange St.

  • Sidewalk Feasibility Study: Authorized staff to enter into a contract not to exceed $105,000 with engineering consultant Davenport to investigate the feasibility of installing sidewalks or walkways along the portion of North Churton Street from Corbin Street to U.S. 70 and along U.S. 70 Bypass from Lakeshore Drive to N.C. 86. The town will use $80,000 of Surface Transportation Program — Direct Allocation funds provided by the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization, along with a $25,000 match, for the work, which is expected to be complete by June 30.
  • Continued discussion of formulating an affordable housing policy. The board directed staff to investigate a study that would include how to arrive at sound affordable housing targets for Hillsborough and the exploration of development code amendments for existing neighborhoods to allow the construction of additional units as infill. The board would like to see an ordinance proposed by mid-2016.  

Holly Springs:

  • At its Dec. 15 meeting, the Holly Springs Town Council approved rezonings and development plans, and approved unified development ordinance amendments to encourage downtown development. The council approved rezoning 47 acres along Grigsby Avenue at Blooming Meadows Lane to R-10 residential, the same zoning as all adjacent properties. Staff discussed plans for the future connection of Teal Lake Drive, connecting the Somerset subdivision with the Parks at Bass Lake subdivision and Grigsby Avenue. Staff explained that the connection would need to be completed with the development of the property that was rezoned. The road connection will be reviewed once a subdivision plan is submitted. Estes Lane, also off Grigsby Avenue, could be extended across a stream and, with the connection of Teal Lake Drive, provide a road connection from Bass Lake Road to NC 55.
  • The council approved the Harris subdivision development plan. The subdivision includes 96 lots and is to be located south of 12 Oaks along Holly Springs-New Hill Road.
  • The council approved the development plan for Sunset Ridge North Business Center, II, a three-story office building. A breezeway will connect the building with the existing one near West Savannah Ridge Road and Linksland.
  • The council also approved unified development ordinance text amendments to encourage development of the downtown/village district by allowing construction on smaller lot sizes if certain architectural requirements are met. The council also voted to require construction of single-family homes downtown to obtain special exception use approval. Department of Planning & Zoning staff said the requirement was requested because the Town intends to update its Village District Area Plan soon, and staff wanted to ensure development is appropriate for the district.
  • Town staff updated the council on the bids received for projects to improve transportation on Avent Ferry Road. The Town is partnering with the North Carolina Department of Transportation to complete two projects to improve traffic flow on Avent Ferry Road: the extension of Main Street to connect with Piney Grove-Wilbon Road, and the reconfiguration of traffic movements in the intersection of Avent Ferry Road and NC 55. Five bids were received for the combined projects. Town staff said they will seek additional funding from the NCDOT as the lowest bid was well over the estimated cost.  

Morrisville:

  • The North Carolina Department of Transportation is closing Morrisville Parkway to all traffic between Crabtree Crossing Parkway and Bristol Creek Drive/Quail Fields Court for six months starting as soon as February 1. The Town of Morrisville said the road closure is needed to complete a new railroad bridge that will replace the current rail crossing near the Park West Village Shopping Center. Get project updates at http://www.townofmorrisville.org/msvpkwygradeseparation.  

Raleigh:

  • The Sandy Forks Road Improvement project, Raleigh’s first road built to Greenroads standards will begin construction in January. On Nov. 3, the Raleigh City Council awarded the $7,082,891 construction contract to Carolina Sunrock, LLC. The project will widen Sandy Forks Road from Six Forks Road to Falls of Neuse Road. The project includes installation of curb and gutter, sidewalk, bicycle lanes, LED lighting and landscaping. The funding for right-of-way acquisition and construction was included in the 2013Transportation Bond approved by voters.

City Council’s pre-budget public hearing will be held on Tuesday, January 5 at 7 p.m. in the council chamber on the second floor of the Avery C. Upchurch Government Complex, 222 W. Hargett St.

Welcome to 2016 from the TCC Incoming Chairman David Lazzo

Those Who Ignore History Are Condemned To Repeat It 

There was a fascinating article in the Wall Street Journal a little over a year ago about the economic situation in Venezuela.  Decades of tremendous oil profits made Venezuela a very wealthy country and its people, happily enjoying the spoils of wealth doled out by the Venezuelan government, became complacent and oblivious to matters that would one day adversely affect their lives.  As you may have guessed, when oil revenues plummeted, the government could no longer provide the standard of living to which the people had become accustomed.  When the people finally pulled their collective head from the sand, one stunned citizen exclaimed, “How is it possible we’ve gotten to this extreme?”   

That story’s relevance hits home for me when I see that we in the Triangle are treacherously treading down a similar path.  Remember the go-go days in the mid-2000’s when the Triangle was enjoying exponential growth?  We were building homes, shopping centers, improving roads, competing for new industry.  We were the best of everything: best place to live, work, commute, raise a family, get an education, find a mate, go for a walk, and on and on.  Scores of families moved into the Triangle every day.  We were all so busy making things happen and just trying to keep up with demand that we didn’t have time to pay attention to the insidious rise of a silent minority, surreptitiously popping up here and there to oppose growth.   

Like an infestation of fire ants, suddenly NIMBY-ism was in full swing.  Low-turnout elections placed this minority in control of local boards and governments.  These new officials began re-writing ordinances, often times in conflict with state statute, effectively placing moratoriums on growth and curtailing the rights of landowners.  This was portrayed by that minority as a great success, achieving what they were elected to do…slow growth.  

The great recession hit and we all found out what no-growth really feels like.  Jobs were pared, homes were lost, businesses shuttered, families suffered, and the flow of new families slowed to a trickle.  Once again, many of us were so busy trying to survive that we didn’t have time to pay attention to anything else.  All the while, the no-growth minority, still in control, kept working on their agenda to prevent a recurrence of dreaded growth. 

Fast-forward to 2015.  We pulled ourselves up by the bootstraps.  Families are once again interested in moving back to one of the best places to live in the country.  We are responding to that demand by building homes, expanding businesses, creating jobs, generating income, and growing responsibly.  We are, thankfully, so busy making things happen, heads down, just trying to keep up with demand.  But, in doing so, we once again run the risk of letting this resurgent minority further encroach on our ability find success in this economy.  Case in point:  the town of Apex is considering a moratorium on development until such time that elected officials, most of whom have no experience with land use, figure out how to control the use of other people’s land.  Proposals are on the table effectively devaluing generationally-owned land that many families see as their retirement, college funds for their grandchildren, and financial security for generations to come.   

This is just one fire ant mound that has popped up.  More are sure to come.  Who will stand up and fight for land rights and responsible growth?  Who will show up in support of good growth and its many benefits and rewards?  It must be us; it must be you; it must be me.   

It must be the Triangle Community Coalition.   

I am proud to be the incoming chairman of this great coalition of like-minded professionals and concerned citizens.  We have much work to do.  It will require significant support from you, not only financially, but with your active participation.  Your voice in support of our colleagues must be heard at public meetings.  We are all busy once again.  We can mind our own business and assume someone else is minding the store.  But when we find ourselves no longer able to contend with onerous policies put in place by a minority rule, we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves when we wake up and exclaim, “How is it possible we’ve gotten to this extreme?”   

Support the TCC!  I look forward to hearing from you in the coming year.

David Lazzo

TCC "in the KNOW" November 2015

WE NEED YOUR INPUT! Each year, the Triangle Community Coalition conducts Development Services Survey of Triangle municipalities. This survey helps us identify key issues with municipal processes and work with staff so that processes become more efficient and predictable. Please take a moment to answer the survey. Please only answer to those municipalities in which you have worked with in the last year. Please forward this survey to any of your colleagues and contacts. Here is the link for the Development Services Survey: http://www.tricc.org/survey/

 

North Carolina:

·         The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has put state officials on notice that North Carolina’s strategy is putting the state at risk of losing its authority to regulate industrial water pollution and air pollution. Since receiving the warning two weeks ago, the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality
is downplaying the incident as a misunderstanding. In a letter dated Oct. 30, Heather McTeer Toney,
a regional EPA administrator, cautioned department Secretary Donald van der Vaart that the state’s stance in several recent court decisions - that citizen groups did not have standing to challenge air and water quality permitting decisions - was troubling.

·         The General Assembly's work may not be over if Gov. Pat McCrory decides replenishing a key economic recruitment tool in North Carolina can't wait until January. McCrory said he may call legislators back to Raleigh for a special work session to ask for more money for taxpayer-funded awards designed to bring jobs to North Carolina as they compete with states offering their own incentives.

·         The North Carolina Homeowner’s Alliance has put together a list of members of the NC General Assembly that will not seek re-election in 2016. To view it, click HERE.

 

Wake County Schools:

  • Seventeen crowded Wake County schools from all parts of the district could be under enrollment restrictions next school year that mean newly arriving families would be shut out of those campuses. School facilities staff proposed placing new enrollment caps for the 2016-17 school year on Fuquay-Varina and Garner High Schools; Apex Middle School; and Cedar Fork, Davis Drive, Fuquay-Varina and Wiley Elementary Schools.

Apex:

  • Vote to approve Sweetwater annexation scheduled Dec. 1 before new council members sworn in. Some current council members wanted to take action before possible shift in philosophy. Council members said Sweetwater developers shouldn’t be punished after they’ve followed rules.

Cary:

  • High House Road/Cary Parkway Project: The Cary Parkway and High House Road Intersection Improvements Project will improve traffic flow and ease congestion through the intersection, especially during the morning and afternoon work commute times. This will be done by adding a second left turn lane on both approaches of High House Road and the southbound approach of Cary Parkway and adding a right turn lane to all four approaches.
    • Many of the existing trees and shrubs will be preserved and those impacted will be replaced in kind. All impacted sidewalks will also be replaced and the existing clock tower and walls at the intersection will be preserved.
    • The current schedule is for construction to be completed in 2017.
    • The project schedule was adjusted to accommodate DOT’s detour from the Morrisville Parkway railroad grade crossing project.
  • Construction and activity report. Items of note included:
    • In October, the average new single family dwelling was 3,695 square feet.
    • Compare it to an average of 3,818 square feet in 2011.
    • Cary had 13.5% of new single family permits in Wake County in the month of September.
    • Raleigh and Fuquay had more.
    • 85 CO’s were issued for new single family dwellings in 25 neighborhoods.
    • CO’s were issued for 24 multi-family units at Parkside Town Commons.
    • C0’s were issued for 59 multi-family unitsat Chatham Point Apartments.
    • Six new nonresidential CO’s were issued for the Restaurant Depot, the Children’s Lighthouse Daycare, and a new shell building.
    • Single family permits were down 26% from the previous month.
    • 12 new development plans were submitted in October that included 21,313 square feet of commercial and 139 hotel rooms, 145 single family dwellings, and 163 townhomes.
    • Approved plans in October included the Prestonwood fitness center, White Oak Elementary Road improvements, Crosspointe Church expansion, and the town’s downtown park.
  • Cary residents voiced concern about a proposed new shopping center in town, saying the proposal would create traffic and noise. The proposed shopping center would include a Publix, a Florida-based grocery chain that is making a major push into North Carolina.
  • The council approved a new connectivity ordinance that creates three tiers to determine whether or not connectivity to adjoining properties would be required. This – hopefully – will provide greater flexibility to applicants and neighborhoods who oppose connecting adjacent properties when public safety and traffic flow requirements are adequately addressed. In a nutshell, new development adjacent to older properties (those approved prior to 1999 that were not planned for connectivity and have adequate public safety and traffic access) would not be required to connect to the existing development. Pedestrian and utility connections however would still be required. Newer developments however (those planned for connectivity to include those with street stubs) would still be required to connect. Another bonus is that this decision can now be considered at the time of rezoning and not have to wait until site plan giving residents more security that what is proposed will actually happen.

Chapel Hill

  • Former Orange County Commissioner Pam Hemminger defeated Kleinschmidt 54 percent to 45 percent, according to unofficial results. Hemminger, who was on the Board of Commissioners from 2008 to 2012 and previously served four years on the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education, campaigned on making Chapel Hill more inclusive and fiscally responsible.
  • The Council received an update on the North-South Corridor Study and provided feedback on the proposed alternatives. The Chapel Hill 2020 Comprehensive Plan calls for improved transit service within the corridor, which runs along Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, South Columbia Street and US 15-501 South. Following a multi-phased alternative development and evaluation process, supported by public engagement initiatives, a total of six Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) alternatives have been developed for further review within the corridor.
  • Public Hearing: Tri-City Medical Building Master Land Use Plan Modification: The Council held a public hearing to receive comment on an application for a Master Land Use Plan modification for the Tri-City Medical Building at 5002 Barbee Chapel Road within the Meadowmont Development. The application includes a Special Use Permit for a two-story office building with 60,000 square feet of floor area and a three-story parking structure with 240 spaces. The public hearing was suspended until Nov. 23, 2015.

Durham (City):

  • City officials are advertising for a position that will be responsible for development of new ped/bike plan. Steps follow City Council earmarking $15 million for new sidewalk projects. Chair of advisory commission urges the city to pay special attention to underserved communities

Garner:

  • Wireless giant AT&T says it has officially launched its high-speed service, GigaPower, in parts of Garner, Holly Springs, Clemmons and Salisbury. AT&T representatives say that the service's one gigabit per second speeds will allow customers to download an HD movie in less than 36 seconds.

Raleigh:

  • Upcoming City Council Public Hearings:
    • December 1, 2015, 7:00 p.m.
      • STC-12-15 - Transylvania Avenue (portion)
      • Petition Annexation- Brookhaven Estates
      • Community Development Annual Action Plan
      • Glenwood South Hospitality District - Extension/Amendments
      • TC-11-15 - Townhouse Height in Mixed Use District
      • Streetside Vending - Pilot Program Proposal
    • January 5, 2016, 7:00 p.m.
      • Petition Annexations- Linville Ridge/Shady Grove Road
      • FY 2016-17 Pre-Budget Hearing
      • Z-38-15 - Shady Grove Road
  • Planning Commission recommended two site plan approvals:
    • SP-35-15 was also recommended for approval. It concerned a development at the intersection of Poole Road and South New Hope Road. It is proposed to be rezoned shopping center and to have two separate retail uses and one fuel station. It surrounded by heavy commercial and industrial developments. The parcel would be separated into four lots. The project aims to have over 200 parking spaces.
    • SP-32-15 was recommended for approval unanimously. It concerned two warehouse buildings that were to be converted to a restaurant and mixed use building. The parcel is eight acres and zoned industrial-2. Two designs were approved by the interim public works director. The two warehouses are located on the northwest quadrant at the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and Whitaker Mill Road. It’s a two phase project. The second phase leads to demolition and creates 122 parking spaces for the two buildings.

Zebulon:

  • Variety of factors led to stormwater improvement project coming in well over budget. Town delays website overhaul, chunk of resurfacing project on Wakefield Street. 90-day construction window expected to begin next month.

TCC "in the KNOW" October Update

 

TCC October 2015 "in the KNOW"

October 2015 Updates

North Carolina:

·         Member announcements continued this week with three more legislators announcing they will not be seeking reelection. Rep. Paul Tine (U-Dare), Rep. Leo Daughtry (R-Johnston), Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer (R-Mecklenburg) announced that they will finish their current term, but will not seek reelection for the 2017-18 General Assembly. Additionally, State Superintendent Dr. June Atkinson (D-NC) has announced she intends to run for re-election in 2016. However, Treasurer Janet Cowell (D-NC) announced on Tuesday she would not be seeking reelection next year.

·         All Division of Motor Vehicle (DMV) fees will increase under the 2015 Appropriations Act, the first time in a decade. The increase in the fees will be used toward funding additional Strategic Transportation Investment projects and DMV modernization. On Monday, Governor McCrory announced that online driver license renewal will be available statewide. The service is one of the changes implemented by the Governor’s “Driving Change” initiative.

·         Included in the Appropriations Act, HB 97, was a blueprint for the $2 billion infrastructure bond for capital projects, later included in HB 943, Connect NC Bond Act of 2015. The finance portion of the state budget was contingent on HB 943 passing both House and Senate chambers before January 1, 2016. NC voters will have a chance to vote on this issue on the 2016 Presidential Primary ballot in March.

·         Gov. Pat McCrory signed a bill into law called the North Carolina Data Center Infrastructure Act, which offers property and utility sales tax exemptions to data center providers and their occupants that have collectively invested at least $75 million in private funds in a given facility.

·         Gov. Pat McCrory signed House Bill 117, the North Carolina Competes Act, into law. This bill will provide our state with the tools necessary to recruit and retain businesses in our state. Key provisions of the NC Competes Act include:

·         An expansion of the Job Development Investment Grant program to $20 million per year

·         An additional $15 million in JDIGs for high-yield projects that produce 500 jobs or more

·         Tax incentives for data centers, aviation jet fuel and motor sports

·         Continues the ONE North Carolina that provides assistance to businesses or industries that create high quality jobs in high value-added, knowledge driven industries

Chatham County:

·         The Chatham County board of commissioners has chosen to promote from within in finding a replacement for outgoing longtime Chatham County Manager Charlie Horne. The board voted to promote Renee Paschal, Horne's long-time assistant county manager, as the county's new chief executive officer.

Orange County:

  • Orange County is the third best place in the United States to retire. A new report by real estate research site Find The Home rated the retirement index in Orange County as one of the highest in the country at more than 98. Counties are measured on quality of hospital and health care centers, entertainment, convenience and transportation, community, and housing.

Wake County:

  • Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space are considering improvements for its eight park locations and needs your help. From now through the end of October, residents and park visitors are being asked to share their thoughts on potential improvements and enhancements. The survey provides an opportunity to share feedback on each park individually. It can be completed online or in person at any park location. Staff will also be on hand at many upcoming events seeking public input. To take one or more surveys, visit the survey page, select a park location and follow the survey link.

Apex:

  • Election Day Bond: $15 million bond referendum for streets and sidewalks. Two-thirds of that amount would go toward completing the Apex Peakway, which would act as a bypass to N.C. Highway 55. Officials said the bond wouldn't require a tax increase.

Cary:

  • Just days remain for citizens to share their priorities as the Town of Cary begins building its Fiscal Year 2017 annual budget, which will identify services and infrastructure projects to be undertaken by the Town from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017. In addition to speaking directly to the Cary Town Council at the October 22 Town Council meeting, citizens can share their budget priorities via email at budgetinput@townofcary.org or voicemail at (919) 469-4307. Feedback is accepted on the Town’s social media accounts: www.facebook.com/TownofCaryNC and www.twitter.com/TownofCary(#TOCbudget). All comments must be received by 11:59 p.m., October 31, in order to be reviewed during development of the Town Manager’s FY 2017 Recommended Budget to be presented to the Cary Town Council for consideration this spring. Citizens can review the current year’s budget at www.townofcary.org or in hard copy at the Cary Library in downtown Cary or the West Regional Library. For more, search “Budget Development” at www.townofcary.org or call (919) 462-3911.
  • The two most controversial discussion items at the most recent council meeting were the Chapel Hill Road at Lake Drive rezoning and the Westhigh South rezoning. Both of these had valid protest petitions which require five out of six affirmative votes for approval. The applicants asked that these be postponed until the November 19 meeting, which was unanimously granted by council.

Chapel Hill:

  • Land Use Management Ordinance Amendment: This amendment addressed concerns previously expressed by town council members. The key issues outlined by this amendment included recreation space, transportation management plans, mechanical equipment screening and step backs. The amendment clarifies the enforcement, requirements and other ambiguous elements of the transportation management plans. A recommendation for further research on step backs was also included in the amendment.
  • The council approved the development application for Grove Park Apartments, which would replace Townhouse apartments on Hillsborough Street with 235 additional apartment units.
  • Chapel Hill kicked off the development of a $123 million renovation to University Square on Franklin Street. The updated, live-work-play space is being re-christened Carolina Square and is set to open in August 2017.
  • Election Day Bond: Chapel Hill residents will vote on five separate bond issues totaling just over $40 million. Projects include downtown streetscaping, building recreational facilities, expanding greenways and trails, providing more solid water services and making improvements in stormwater collection.

Durham:

  • Please join us in welcoming Steven Hicks to the City of Durham! Steven is the new director of the City's General Services Department and has significant capital improvement experience with transportation, buildings, utilities, and parks projects. Read more about his background and experience at http://bit.ly/1F4H9vv.

Fuquay-Varina:

  • Election Day Bond: $26 million in transportation, water and sewer bonds. The bulk of that would go toward relieving traffic congestion, including improvements at busy intersections along Main Street. Officials said the transportation bond could lead to a tax increase of up to about $140 a year on a $200,000 home.

Holly Springs:

  • Though snubbed by Google Fiber, Holly Springs is still getting high-speed Internet, thanks to Toronto-based Ting Internet. Ting, a division of Tucows Inc., hinted this summer that parts of the Triangle were under consideration for its gigabit download speeds. As it turns out, its company officials have been having conversations with the town since late spring, introduced by Holly Springs’ fiber network consultant, CTC Technology & Energy.

Morrisville:

  • According to Mayor Stohlman: Two I-40 interchange projects (at Aviation Parkway and at Airport Boulevard) are coming in the next 5-10 years to alleviate congestion at both interchanges. Construction on a section of 54 down to Airport Boulevard has been moved up to a 5-10 year window as part of the NC-54 study program. Feasibility studies are going on right now.
  • Officials from Cary and Morrisville anticipate increased traffic on N.C. 54, but they also expect it will be about a decade before the already crowded road gets any major improvements. Cary wants a six-lane highway, Morrisville wants four lanes. State funding for the widening is likely about a decade away. Traffic will keep growing due to new development, like Weston Corners.
  • Morrisville Town Council approved the construction of 250 apartment units – Lake Crabtree Apartments – at the intersection of Aviation and Evans Road. There have been concerns about traffic and congested roads as the Town has estimated 1,336 vehicles travelling in and out of Morrisville each day. Click HERE to read more about this project.

Raleigh:

  • The Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department seek public input for the Crabtree Creek West Greenway project. The department has scheduled two open house meetings to engage the public on trail alignment and community connections to the Crabtree Creek West Greenway Corridor. Open House meetings are scheduled for November 5 and November 10, 2015 from 5:30 - 7:30 PM at the Laurel Hills Community Center located at 3808 Edwards Mill Road, Raleigh. Participants are welcome to stop by at any time between 5:30 and 7:30 PM on either meeting date.
  • Upcoming Public Hearing: November 3, 2015, 7:00 p.m. Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area Plan (Held open from 9/1/15 meeting).
  • The Council is still working on the UDO remapping at their Work Sessions on Monday afternoons at 4:00. Upcoming meetings will be held on November 9th and 16th.

Wake Forest

  • The town has yet to hear from RST about its repeated fiber promises. He explains that his team is looking for help in writing a formal business plan for a public-private partnership for fiber. 

TCC "in the KNOW" September 2015 Updates

"in the KNOW" pdf

September 2015 Updates

North Carolina:

·         After a nearly three-month standoff between House and Senate Republicans over policy and spending differences, the North Carolina General Assembly finally has a state budget. The measure, which spends $21.7 billion this year and a little more next year, pays for experience-based raises for public school teachers and confirms raising minimum teacher salaries to $35,000. All state employees and teachers also will get $750 bonuses at the end of the year. Other state workers in targeted fields will get permanent raises. There's also $600 million set aside this year for emergency reserves and government building repairs.

·         North Carolina's primaries, both for the presidential election and all other elections, would be held on March 15 under a bill reviewed by the Senate Rules Committee.

·         Counties would have more options to raise money for public schools and community colleges under a bill that cleared the House Finance Committee last week. Senate Bill 605 is a sprawling measure spanning technical corrections and minor clarifications to substantial policy proposals that stalled earlier in the session. In one key provision, the bill would allow counties to raise their sales taxes up to their current statutory limits to pay for education-related expenses in both K-12 classrooms as well as at community colleges. The measure is a simplified form of a bill from last session that pitted education and transportation needs against one another.

  • HB 721, a bill signed into law in August by Governor Pat McCrory, will help address issues developers are having with bonding and letters of credit for subdivision roads and other improvements. The bill limits the ability of local governments to hold developer performance guarantees, such as bonds or letters of credit, for excessive periods before accepting the improvements. It also prohibits the practice of putting holds on permits or COs in one portion of a subdivision as leverage to require improvements to other parts of the development. 

·         Taxes on NC Businesses:

o   North Carolina's corporate income tax rate will drop to 4 percent this year and could drop to 3 percent in future years if the state meets certain income triggers.

    • The state would adjust bank holding company provisions but repeal a bank privilege tax. The net result is neither a gain nor loss for state revenue.
    • The budget phases in a change to the way corporations are taxed, shifting the state to a "single sales factor" system. This type of change is particularly advantageous to manufacturers, who will pay based on how much they sell rather than how big their payroll is, or how much equipment they own and use. Projections show this change will decrease state revenue by $7.9 million in the current tax year when it takes effect Jan. 1, 2016. By 2018-19, corporations will be paying $70 million less per year than under current law.
    • The law changes initial franchise tax fees paid by businesses but offsets that by simplifying the franchise tax calculation. The net result is neither a gain nor loss for state revenue.
    • The Senate voted 46-2 on Wednesday to give preliminary approval to a plan to put a $2 billion bond proposal before North Carolina voters. A final vote is expected Thursday, and the House will likely vote on the bond package next week. Under the compromise proposal, which was rolled out Tuesday, University of North Carolina campuses would receive more than half of the bond money – $980 million for new construction and $45 million for repairs and renovations.
    • Urban legislators from both parties are teaming up in a bid to repeal a new provision in state law, which bars the state Department of Transportation from contributing more than $500,000 to any light-rail project. The limit, a late addition to the budget law, cancels DOT’s commitment to provide $138 million for the planned $1.5 billion Durham-Orange light-rail line. Critics, including Gov. Pat McCrory, said the measure undermined the spirit of the 2013 Strategic Transportation Investments law, designed to remove politics from decisions about where to spend transportation money.
  • State and federal authorities have approved plans — but not the funding — for a high-speed passenger rail line between Richmond and Raleigh, N.C., that would cut nearly in half the travel time between the two capitals and return rail service to a part of Southside Virginia that saw its tracks torn up nearly 30 years ago. The project is part of a larger plan to bring faster train service between Washington and Atlanta. The Richmond-to-Raleigh route would take just over 2 hours, compared with the 3.5 hours it takes today.
  • Former Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker has announced his candidacy for NC Commissioner of Labor.
  • State Sen. Josh Stein of Wake County announced that he is running for North Carolina Attorney General. Stein, a Democrat, is looking to replace Roy Cooper, who is expected to run for governor as a Democrat. Sen. Buck Newton, a Republican from Wilson, is running on the Republican side.

Durham/Orange Counties:

  • Planners of the Durham-Orange Light Rail Project say they plan to press forward despite a new state budget that caps funding for this kind of work. Gov. Pat McCrory signed the budget, which includes a provision that limits state funding on light rail to $500,000 per project.

Orange County:

·         County Commissioners could ask voters as soon as November 2016 to approve $125M in debt for affordable housing and seniors.

 

Wake County:

  • Residents and business leaders in Wake County communities can review and discuss the latest flood hazard and flood risk maps at four public meetings during the month of October. Now available digitally, preliminary flood hazard information is layered on top of the county's parcel data so property owners can better determine potential risks to their land. Open house events will be held at the following locations:
     

Ø  Monday, October 5, 5–7 p.m. Holly Springs Cultural Center - 300 West Ballentine St., Holly Springs

Ø  Thursday, October 8, 6–8 p.m. Wake Forest Town Hall – 301 S. Brooks Street, Wake Forest    

Ø  Wednesday, October 7, 7–9 p.m. 801 High House Road, Cary - Bond Park Community Center

Ø  Thursday, October 15, 4–8 p.m. 5857 Barwell Park Drive, Raleigh - Barwell Rd Community Center & Park

 

·         The public meetings provide an opportunity for residents to see the results of the revised studies and new flood hazard areas. County and municipal employees will be on hand to help residents locate their particular properties from the flood hazard data and determine the level of flood risk. Representatives from the North Carolina Floodplain Mapping Program (NCFMP) will make a short presentation on the flood study process, how the new digital hazard data can be used to reduce future flood losses, and how the preliminary hazard data may impact flood insurance and floodplain management. Attendees will also see a demonstration of the North Carolina Flood Risk Information System. Following the presentation, state emergency management representatives will be available to answer questions about the hazard data update process, flood insurance coverage and floodplain management. NCFMP was established in 2000, with a mandate to update flood hazard maps for all 100 counties. Through a partnership with FEMA, the state was charged with creating and maintaining the Flood Insurance Study for all North Carolina communities. Since 2003, the NCFMP has analyzed, updated and digitized the flood hazard data for all 100 counties and associated communities in North Carolina. This preliminary flood hazard data was developed based on local community requests for new flood hazard risk studies for the updated streams. Only those portions of the revised streams have been updated; therefore, some communities in the county will not have new flood hazard data, although adjacent counties may have some updates due to the seamless statewide format for the mapping program. Residents can access the flood hazard data online at http://fris.nc.gov/fris.  Digital flood hazard data can also be viewed here.  For more information, contact Wake County Environmental Services at 919-856-7541 or the North Carolina Floodplain Mapping Program at 919-825-2341.

 

Cary:

  • Academy Street’s new look will be pedestrian friendly and support more outdoor events and festivals. The new, $8 million streetscape will also connect a future downtown park with the arts center.
  • Election Day is less than two weeks away, and early voting starts in Cary on Wednesday, September 30, 2015. Election Day is Tuesday, October 6, 2015. This year’s election is a Town of Cary Municipal Election. Both Mayor Weinbrecht and At-Large Town Council Member Lori Bush are running unopposed for reelection to their current spots. Four new candidates are running for the vacant District D seat on Cary Town Council. This seat, which represents the southwest portion of Cary, was formerly held by Gale Adcock, who is now representing Cary in the North Carolina General Assembly. Two new candidates are running against incumbent Don Frantz for the District B seat, which represents Downtown Cary and its surrounding areas. You can read about the new and returning candidates in our Candidate 2015 series.

 

Chapel Hill:

  • Shortbread Lofts developers propose up to 165 apartments, retail and offices.  Town Council and residents are concerned about student vs. family housing, effect on neighborhood. Council members advise developers to talk with community before submitting official application

 

Durham (City):

  • A $5.25 million economic development incentive package approved by the Durham City Council this week will help fund the first phase of the the planned 1.7 million square foot science and technology "Innovation District."

Holly Springs:

  • Holly Springs saw a 26 percent increase in the number of people working in the town between 2010 and 2015. Town officials and staff attribute increase to business retention and expansion efforts. Town staff attracted RoviSys, an automation and information solutions company, to Holly Springs Business Park

 

Morrisville:

  • The Town Council approved Lake Crabtree Apartments, a four-story apartment building of 250 units at the corner of Evans Road and Aviation Parkway.
  • The town also recently approved 250 to 275 new apartments at Perimeter Park. There are several other residential projects still awaiting approval in Morrisville, and Cary has also given the OK to hundreds of new apartments along N.C. 54, just south of the Morrisville border
  • Morrisville Chamber of Commerce will hold its Candidate Forum on Thursday, October 22.  For more information and to register, visit their website at http://business.morrisvillechamber.org/events/details/candidates-forum-2015-1928

 

Raleigh:

  • The Raleigh City Council unanimously adopted a Downtown Plan that outlines a 10-year vision for the City’s central core. The plan defines a vision for Raleigh’s Downtown growth and development, identifies themes for that growth, defines five catalytic project areas within the Downtown area, and three major recommendations for implementing the plan. View the plan HERE.
    • The Raleigh Urban Design Center is hosting an event: Downtown Plan: The Next 10 Years. It will be held at the City of Raleigh Museum on October 14th from 12:00 – 1:30. No registration is required. For more information, click HERE.
  • A text change to create a new use for short-term rentals was given a 90-day time extension. Travis Crane, planning and zoning administrator for the city of Raleigh, said that city staff would be able to bring back the text change within one month for planning commission review.
  • The public hearing for the city of Raleigh’s Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area got off to a rocky start as Raleigh residents with ties to the affected area showed disapproval of the plan and the lack of communication from the city. The NRSA encompasses two historically African American communities — College Park and Washington Terrace, both of which are in proximity to St. Augustine University. The public hearing was held open until November 3 to allow for more input from the community.
  • At the City Council meeting on September 15th, Raleigh based architects and urban designer Ted Van Dyk, Frank Harmon, and Michael Stevenson made public comments regarding the Hillsborough Street roundabouts in the phase 2 streetscape plan. Citing concerns about cost, size, impacts on lots, and disruption, they asked Council to paint line markings in place of the future roundabouts to get a better “feel” of the layout. Council voted 7 to 1 (Crowder voted against) to paint the markings first.
  • City Council will hold UDO Remapping work sessions on Mondays resuming on October 12th from 4:00-6:00 to receive the public comments from the public hearings. 

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.