January 2016 Updates
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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