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.