December 2015 Updates
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’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.
- Here are some highlights:
- 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.
- 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.
- Amendments to Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) to be held on Jan 19 at 7:00 p.m. for more information visit: http://www.apexnc.org/DocumentCenter/View/7951.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.