Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Declarations of Conflicts of Interest (association with other groups that might conflict with TREBIC’s discussions today)
Welcome & Introductions – Sterling Kelly, Chairman
SPECIAL PRESENTATION: A ROADMAP FOR DEVELOPMENT!
GREENSBORO – HIGH POINT – GUILFORD COUNTY
WATER AND SEWER MASTER PLANS*
* The report (funded by State $$) by Timmons Group on feasibility to extend public water lines in Guilford County, was originally presented on Sept 6 in Oak Ridge.
PLANIT GSO—WHAT IS YOUR VISION? Brainstorming session to make sure your ideas and future development plans are reflected in the final document. Come prepared to talk about potential growth/redevelopment areas and the types of development you envision.
ELECTION RESULTS—from your Election Committee–Our new (old) County Commissioners:
At Large: Kay Cashion
District 1: Carlvena Foster
District 2: Alan Perdue
District 3: Justin Conrad
District 7: Carolyn Coleman
District 8: Skip Alston
PIG POULTRY AND POLITICS WASH OUT—Lee Ann Clark
TREBIC’s 19th Year Membership Drive —from your Membership Committee
TREBIC TROPHY Nominations? Who is going above and beyond to improve your experience?
(Trophies currently held by GSO Water Resources, GC Inspections, HP Development Services)
You are the End User! Why not say what you think at the Beginning of the Process?
Stakeholder Group Opportunities:
- High Point Comprehensive Plan
- High Point Sign Ordinance Rewrite
- Greensboro Stormwater Manual Update
- GC UDO Rewrite special topic committees
Members are reminded that all discussions are confidential, and agendas should not be shared with non-delegates.
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Other issues we are working on:
|GSO||GSO Delays in Erosion Control Review||Cass Heaton is the new Erosion Control Chief, filling the position formerly held by Ken Cook. Cass joined the City of Greensboro in 2005 and has held positions in Erosion Control, Code Enforcement, and Stormwater Operations Management.|
|GSO||GSO Development Services Reorganizing Space||The first change is that TRC meetings have moved to the conference room to the right of the Washington Street entrance
|GSO||GSO Airbnb Text Amendment||A Text Amendment to regulate Airbnb’s addresses a specific issue in a specific neighborhood and may need to be more flexible to be adopted Citywide. Staff is delaying because they do not want to regulate at all.
|GSO||GSO New Garden Strategic Plan||Open House for public comment will be held November 15, 4:00-6:30 pm at New Garden Friends School.
|GSO||GSO Inspections Personnel||This department is down 2 building inspectors and 1 plan reviewer. The first group of applications produced no qualified personnel. Management is asking Council for higher pay grades to attract applicants. In the meantime, inspections are slower than typical.
|GSO||GSO Planning Personnel||City is advertising for a zoning review planning position and a position in long range planning to fill Russ Clegg’s former position. Russ took Hannah Cockburn’s place.
|GSO||Affordable Housing Initiative||Recommendations from the study committee were made available early 2018. Council failed to act because of missing information from subcommittees. However, there are essential, easy to implement recommendations that can be accomplished through changes in public policy and text amendments. TREBIC members that served on the committee will be convened to determine how best to proceed. Details available below.
|GSO||Council Meeting Schedule||TREBIC staff is working with Council to change their meeting schedule. The schedule adopted January 2018 to allow one “town hall” meeting per month has resulted in only one business meeting per month—not enough time/flexibility for a growing economy.
Sign Ordinance Rewrite
|A Stakeholder Committee is working through several issues, starting with the definition of a sign. The first group of amendments to be presented to the Planning Board on November 14, include:
1) allowing 3 flags (in addition to US and NC flags) per property frontage
2) No limit on # of temporary real estate, construction, campaign, philosophical or yard sale signs,
3) expanded location of pole mounted banners
4) New definition of a sign: Any device, form, graphic, illumination, symbol, writing, trademark or changeable image/message used to advertise, announce the purpose of, or identify a person, place or entity, or to communicate information to the public. This definition shall not include works of art or murals provided they do not contain trademarks, logos or other identifying symbols or words associated with a business. This definition shall also not apply to any architectural feature directly integrated into or supporting a building.
Planit GSO: Comp plan rewrite
|The Comp Plan Rewrite Advisory Board has been named. District 3 Councilman Justin Outling will chair the committee. Members are drawn form Boards and Commissions: Adam Carroll, Alex Rosser, Anita Bachman, Bob Davis, Clinton Gravely, Cyndy Hayworth, David Sevier, David Wharton, Dawn Chaney, James Bennett, Jeff Smith, Joe Gonzales, Kim Record Mac Sims, Marc Isaacson, Michelle Lucas, Moussa Issifou, Saroj Patnaik, Suzanne Nazim, Vicki Foust, and Wayne Durham. We will convene TREBIC members serving on the committee to discuss how to move forward.
|GSO||Stakeholder Process||The Planning Department’s new willingness to use a stakeholder process for text amendments is great, however we will work with staff to refine. There are some text amendments that do not require the full process, just a quick check with TREBIC.
|GSO/GC||Inspections/Permitting||GBA and TREBIC members met to discuss current issues with building inspections departments. Please forward any current issues to Judy Stalder.
|HP||HP DOT TIA Requirements||HPDOT now requires that TIA’s for rezonings must be completed and sealed by the engineer before rezoning application deadline.
|HP||HP Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Plan Update||The process will begin late 2018 early 2019. The first year of research will be conducted by staff. Consultants will be retained to complete the process.
|HP||HP Sign Ordinance Rewrite||A complete rewrite of the sign ordinance (that was intentionally not part of the Development Ordinance) began with stakeholder meetings in early November 2018. Let Judy Stalder know if you want to be involved in the process.
|HP||HP Changing P&Z procedures||Council will consider a text amendment to eliminate the P&Z hearing as part of the process for Special Use Permits. Since state statute requires a quasi-judicial hearing, a P&Z hearing is an extra (unnecessary) step in the process. The amendment goes to P&Z Nov 13.
|HP||Rezonings to Become Final at P&Z?||TREBIC will ask Council to initiate this effort after staff completes the current initiative to eliminate quasi-judicial hearings for Special Use Permits at the P&Z level. After years of promoting the concept and asking the question on our candidate survey, for the first time ever our 2017 candidate survey reveals that all winning candidates are willing to switch to the same system that Guilford County and Greensboro have: Rezonings that win a supermajority vote at P&Z are final unless appealed to Council. This streamlines the process by about a month for most rezoning projects (only about 15% of Greensboro cases go to Council due to simple majority votes or appeals). That saves both time and money for all parties: applicants, staff, Council and neighbors.
|HP||HP using minimum housing regulations to target crime.||Police are working with Community Housing, to propose using the “top 10% of properties with crime and disorder” clause as a way for entry into problem properties. TREBIC staff sent the minimum housing amendment recently adopted by GSO for consideration.
|HP||HP Allowing Utility Easements on Private Streets||Public Services continues to push for master metering of water on private streets. However, at TREBIC’s request, the City Manager’s office stepped in and agreed to easements on the utilities. The strategy will require new verbiage in HOA documents because the City will not repave private streets after repairs. We will keep an eye on this.|
|HP||HP Public Services requiring dumpsters in townhome developments||Staff says narrow streets/rights of way inhibit automatic garbage pick-up and dumpsters should be required. Upon further discussion staff agreed to work with developers to designate pick up areas to allow individual service in townhome communities. Changes in street standards may solve this issue. See next issue.|
|HP||HP Flexible Street/RW Widths/Setbacks?||The Complete Streets program being pursued by HPDOT is an opportunity to address street/right of way setbacks to allow public streets instead of private streets in challenging townhome communities.|
|HP||HP Manufacturing SGA Grant||A Technical Assistance Grant will create a strategy for Economic Development for existing properties and vacant buildings in SW downtown area.|
|HP||HP Planning Personnel||Justin Westbrook resigned as of Aug 17. City is advertising for a senior planner for TRC review and BOA coordination. Plan review has already slowed as a result.
|HP||HP Accela Enhancements||As of October 1, a new dashboard will provide an overview of building activity. Auto-emails will have additional notifications to improve communication.
|HP||Fee Changes/Increases in Development Services||Application fees were eliminated, making the process more streamlined. Through the guidance of TREBIC staff, fee increases for residential permits were tempered and for large commercial projects were cut significantly. TREBIC regularly updates fee comparisons across the state for commercial and residential projects. City and county staffs rely on our input when evaluating fees, because by using our data they can determine just how far they can go and remain competitive.
|HP||Master Utility Agreement||The Planning Department is working on a text amendment that will expedite permitting for utilities that regularly encroach in the right-of-way.
|HP||Text Amendments||In September Council adopted a series of text amendments mostly to correct and make terminology more consistent. Two particularly helpful changes are 1) creating a simple perimeter setback for attached housing in single family districts rather than various setbacks for side yard/rear yard/street; 2) New standards imposed by the updated ordinance will be applied “to the maximum extent practicable” rather than “required” to avoid nonconforming uses.
|HP||Text Amendments||Another round of Text Amendments is proposed:
1) New procedure to allow “alternate designs” where a design feature is required and allowing approval of alternate at staff level.
2) Clarifying review standards for variances to the ordinance.
3) Clarifying accessory parking.
4) Clarifying the definition of temporary/special events.
5) Adding an administrative adjustment for required fenestration.
6) Adding provisions to the definition of exclusion maps and minor subdivisions per state statute.
7) Various adjustments to make terminology more consistent and correct incidental errors.
8) Removal of criminal penalties for zoning violations.
|HP||Acreage/Frontage Fees||The manager’s office is reviewing this at our request because why should developers be charged both fees if extending water and sewer at their own cost?|
|HP||Water/Sewer System Development Fees||Though current fees being charged are not in violation of new state legislation, staff wants to conduct the same study being done by other municipalities. Fees were increased last year, and we have told staff any fee changes need to stay revenue neutral.
|HP||Backflow Prevention||Following the GSO model, Public Services proposes revising backflow prevention rules to make their current policies clear. As a result of TREBIC suggestions, HP staff is working with GSO Water Resources on a few issues.
|HP||Online Access to Water/Sewer||Staff has met with the GSO Water Resources to learn more about their online access app. To keep up with GSO, HP’s Public Services Department is now also devising a plan to allow online access to utility information for members of the industry. Director Terry Houk and Deputy City Manager Randy McCaslin are leading the effort.
|HP||Small Cell Wireless||The Planning Department is working on a text amendment to allow development of Small Cell Wireless. A consultant has been retained due to staffing issues.
|GC NW Area Water Feasibility Report||The report by Timmons Group on feasibility to extend public water lines in the county, funded by state $$, was presented on Sept 6.
|GC||GC Green Incentives||In September, Commissioners adopted a Green Incentive Plan which provides 50% rebate of building permit fees for 3rd party certification of energy efficiency. This was one of the projects Drew Knauss, our summer intern, led.
|GC||Personnel||Les Eger retired as of October 1 which means the County is down one Senior Planner. Les worked well with TREBIC members.|
|GC||Economic Development Initiative for Shovel Ready Sites
|This is a local initiative to exempt new office and industrial buildings from additional taxes until they are occupied and filled with new jobs. It would allow the local government to enter into contracts to “grant back” the higher property taxes to the builders. More details available below.
|GC||Funding to convert well/septic information to online||With TREBIC’s input on the importance of this measure, BOC approved the request in the 2018-2019 Budget. The Department of Health says over 1 million pieces of paper with well and septic location data, stored in a file room, can be scanned and access by GIS for less than $60,000.
|GC||Digital Recording of Plats||Available soon.|
|An empowered Steering Committee has been convened including members of the original Stakeholder Committee plus key participant in the stakeholder interviews in June 2018. GC staff worked with TREBIC to find members and make sure we have a well-balanced representation on the committee. Additional members may be called in for specific discussions such as alternative septic service.|
|A $200 per lot inspection fee was adopted, to be paid when site plan is submitted for review. The fee will partially cover plan review and onsite inspection of water infrastructure installation by McGill Associates
|The Ordinance Review Committee has completed their work and is recommending eliminating RS-30; requiring all single-family lots to be a minimum of 1 acre. This measure will limit development flexibility unless RS-30 dimensional standards are allowed in the RS-40 district. The committee recognizes the Comprehensive Plan vision to support growth requires more than conventional zoning districts. The committee is also recommending keeping the PD District and adding an OSRD (Open Space Residential District) to support mixed use development, a variety of housing types including moderately priced housing.
|Referendum on Ballot||1) Voters favored: a person appointed to the town council would face re-election at the next scheduled election 2) Voters opposed: changing the town government from its current council-manager format to a mayor-council format.
This shows by and large, Summerfield has a reasonable citizenry.
|STATE||Revival of Rental Inspections||Rental Inspections programs are being discussed by planners in other parts of the state. We will watch for any efforts to revive locally.
|STATE||Jordan Lake Rules||Details available below.|
Members are reminded that all discussions are confidential, and agendas should not be shared with non-delegates.
Housing Our Community (Greensboro’s Housing Affordability Initiative) – A recommendations report has been adopted by the CFGG Board and is now available. GSO Council had a work session in March 2018 but declined to schedule it for acceptance at a public meeting. Concerns revolve around the (Social) Services Subcommittee recommendations, or lack thereof. It would be a shame if the whole thing gets shelved without proceeding with Stock and Finance recommendations. Clearly more work needs to be done. Though Council has failed to act, there are essential, easy to implement recommendations that can be accomplished through changes in public policy and text amendments. TREBIC members that served on the committee will be convened to determine how best to proceed.
Background: In 2016 an assessment of the city’s affordable housing needs was completed that identified a $100M need. The 2016 $25M Housing Bond initiative grew out of that effort, and The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro has been discussing raising funds for an endowment for ongoing funding. Then CFGG and the City of Greensboro partnered to lead an extraordinary community initiative called Housing Our Community. The goal is to find solutions and best practices to address the needs and guide spending of the Bonds and the anticipated endowment. A Steering Committee was seated and began meeting in January of 2017. Three Working Groups met throughout 2017:
- Housing Stock (Co-chaired by Marlene Sanford and populated with many of our members, this committee made recommendations for preserving existing dwelling units, creating new DUs, and public policy at address affordability issues in general). At the November 2017 meeting, TREBIC members on the Housing Stock Working Group presented that group’s draft results. Recommendations are substantial and could move the needle.
- Planning & Resources/Finance (including some of our bankers) looked at funding issues.
- (Social) Services looked at wrap-around and social services issues. This group faltered and ceased meeting. Therefore, recommendations are weak and controversial.
Affordable Housing through Single Room Occupancy (SRO)?—SRO’s are allowed for student housing. Why not try this type of affordable housing for young professionals, seniors and others? TREBIC staff is working with NCHBA to add SRO’s to the building code possibly through the Code Council.
Economic Development Policy for Shovel-Ready Sites—This is a local initiative to exempt new office and industrial buildings from additional taxes until they are occupied and filled with new jobs. This can be accomplished as new sections in City and County Economic Development Policies. It would allow the local government to enter into contracts to “grant back” the higher property taxes to the builders of these new spec buildings until they are occupied or sold. Greensboro City Council’s Economic Development Subcommittee agreed about 3 years ago to pursue the project and asked us to work with the Manager’s office to draft it. Marlene and Judy have talked to leadership in Guilford County and High Point to match the program. There are 2 particular benefits of adopting such a policy locally instead of seeking state-wide legislation: it differentiates us as economic development leaders; and it allows us to customize incentives for certain geographic areas, redevelopment corridors or desired land uses. This initiative is similar to the 2015 state legislation to allow a 5-year exemption from property tax for incremental increases in value attributable to rezonings and infrastructure installation. The owner must make annual application. This program is valuable, but it still doesn’t help us get new spec buildings in the pipeline for economic developers to market to global prospects.
Jordan Lake Rules – TREBIC is working with NAHB and Senator Berger’s Environmental Policy Director Tom Reeder (who used to be NCDEQ Water Quality Division Director) on a new, federal approach to eliminating the Jordan Lake Rules: to Seek a Trump USEPA departmental ruling that “TMDL requirements are not applicable to man-made surface water bodies that are supporting their uses when the only impairment is for nutrients” (nitrogen and phosphorus, v. some actual toxic chemical impairment). Meanwhile, TREBIC has lobbied successfully through the 2017 legislative session to avoid any changes by the State to the 2016 Legislature’s plan described below. Background: The Jordan/Falls Rules Stakeholder group held its first meeting via conference call on 12-15-16. DEQ staff was cordial, but clearly stated that they have no problem with the rules as written and will not be proposing any changes. The new Governor may erode regulatory reform gains, including the 2016 legislation on nutrient management rule overhaul. TREBIC, City of Greensboro and Greensboro Chamber of Commerce are asking that the 2016 legislation be upheld:
2016 Legislation: Because most of the methods NC and the US have been using for cleaning lake water have had questionable impact, in 2016 legislators:
- Stayed any new rules;
- Funded two studies to look for new methods that will work; and
- Ordered a statewide overhaul of all rules by the end of 2020, including the Jordan Lake Rules. A statewide stakeholder group is required in this process, and Marlene Sanford is on that group.
Stay tuned for the inevitable “next” of this so-far-15-year-saga.
Tom Reeder (former Director of NC Div of Water Resources, now Environmental Policy Director for the Office of the NC Senate President Pro Tem) proposes a solution for the Jordan Lake Nutrient Management Rules issue (which would be a nationwide solution):
Seek a Trump USEPA departmental ruling that TMDL requirements are not applicable to man-made surface water bodies that are supporting their uses when the only impairment is for nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus, v. some actual toxic chemical impairment).
The reasoning is that the only impact is a little extra seasonal algae (summer), the water is still treatable for potable supply, and is not harmful to recreational users or wildlife.