2018 General Assembly Election Results (Initial)

Author: Chad Meadows, Legislative Chair The initial results of the 2018 election have been tallied, and there are several changes to note. The following text details the current structure of the General Assembly and the how that may    change as election results are certified. Election results are not official until certified by the NC State Board of Elections on 11.16.18. NC GENERAL ASSEMBLY 170 Legislators: 50 Senators & 120 Representatives Pre-election Structure: • House: R = 75; D = 45. Supermajority for R• Senate: R = 35; D = 15. Supermajority for R • This structure remains in place until the 2018 session adjourns 2018 Election Results: As of 11.8.18 • Democrats picked up at least 11 seats, and lead in 4 other close races • If Democrats remain in lead in close races, Democrats gain 15 seats – (9 in House, 6 in Senate) • Potential post-election structure: House: R = 66; D = 54 (includes results of close races, as they currently stand) Senate: R = 29; D = 21 (includes results of close races as, they currently stand) Source: NCInsider.com Regardless of outcome of close races, Republicans continue to control both the House and the Senate Close Races:May be subject to recounts • Senate District 9 (New Hanover) D in front by 36 votes • Senate District 19 (Cumberland) D in front by 306 votes • Senate District 27 (Guilford) D in front of R by #? votes• House District 103 (Mecklenburg) R in front by 52 votes • House District 98 (Mecklenburg) D in front by 333 votes • House District 63 (Alamance) R in front...

Pushing Ahead with Inclusive Planning in North Carolina; A Toolbox for Local Governments to Address Inequality

Author: Nate Baker, AICP, Associate at Clarion Associates Conversations about equity dominated the American Planning Association National Conference held in New Orleans in April. Inequality has risen to the forefront of policy discussions, spinning off debates around the usual suspects: access to opportunity, gentrification and displacement, affordable housing, transit, economic justice, and other issues that affect vulnerable communities. Equity even influences other aspects of the human condition, such as isolation and despair. Inequality is not a new topic for planners, but the modern challenge of inequality as it relates to race, wealth, and income – is a unique one for planners. Unlike many previous urban crises like urban renewal, sprawl, and exclusionary zoning practices, the origins, scope, and perpetuation of 21st century inequality extend beyond the power of the planner, the borders of the planner’s jurisdiction, and the powers of local government. This leaves planners and policymakers scrambling to assemble tools that help alleviate inequality’s symptoms without addressing the origins of the crisis.  Luckily, there are ways North Carolina planners can help local governments alleviate disparities and promote fairer cities that serve everyone. Planners’ understanding of the interrelationships between complex issues and their context-sensitive solutions makes them uniquely qualified to play a key role in this process. Inclusive planning at the local level is a powerful tool for dealing with the symptoms of inequality and more communities are taking steps to diagnose the problem and find solutions. Their concerns about inequality are not misplaced; many communities we’ve worked in have seen median wages stagnate, and commute times and costs of necessities increase. Increasingly, planners and officials are recognizing and identifying the challenges facing their cities as...

Register to hear James and Deborah Fallows Discuss their new book “Our Towns” on November 13

Author: Ashley Williams Clark, UNC Charlotte Urban Institute Director of Outreach & Strategic Partnerships   I am pleased to extend an invitation from the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute for an evening of conversation with James and Deborah Fallows as they discuss their new book, Our Towns. We would be delighted if you and colleagues from can join us November 13th in uptown Charlotte. The event is FREE! Click here to register! The Fallowses’ view of the country — chronicled in Our Towns — is as complex and contradictory as America itself, but it also reflects the energy, generosity, compassion, dreams and determination of many who are in the midst of making things better. This event is part of the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute’s two-year Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection project funded by The Duke Endowment. In the spirit of Our Towns, the UI project seeks to find and feature stories of resilience and relationship that will influence the future of the region. For more information, visit http://ui.uncc.edu/programs/curc We invite you to share this invitation with your networks....

Hurricane Florence Recovery Action Alert

Author: Nathan Page, Legislative Committee Vice Chair Hello NC Planners! This is a message to planners in communities affected by Hurricane Florence.  The General Assembly just passed the Hurricane Florence Recovery Act (“SB3”) on October 15, 2018. If your community is in one of the counties subject to the major disaster declaration from Hurricane Florence (see them here), then you may NOT impose a fee for a permit, inspection, or certificate of occupancy associated with repair or reconstruction as a result of Hurricane Florence.  The bill is retroactive and remains in effect from September 13, 2018 through December 31, 2018.  If you charged a fee for this kind of work on or after September 13, 2018, the fee needs to be refunded and you need to post the information about no fees and available refunds on your website. See the text of the bill here....

Legislative Committee Update

Author: Chad Meadows, Legislative Committee Chair Hello NC Planners!  As Election Day draws near, we wanted to let North Carolina planners know about recent changes with the Legislative Committee.  We are pleased to announce two new Vice Chairs: Nathan Page, Planning Director for Graham, and Phillip Lookadoo, Planning Director for Morganton, have volunteered to serve in leadership roles for the Committee. Additionally, Katie Koffman, an incoming master’s student at the Department of City and Regional Planning at UNC, has volunteered to serve as Committee Secretary. Please be sure and thank them for their service when you see them!  We have reorganized the Committee structure for 2019 into four different teams, each with a unique function: General Assembly – The General Assembly team will focus on providing basic information about legislators, their districts, their contact information, and their legislative records with respect to planning issues. This team’s role is to make it easier for Chapter members to track and stay in contact with their representatives. Legislation – The Legislation team focuses on tracking pending bills in the General Assembly and making sure that Chapter members are aware of legislation that is helpful or harmful to planning in North Carolina.  This team’s role is to ensure Chapter membership is aware of pending bills and has the tools to respond as needed. Public Information – The Public Information team is charged with helping legislators, the press, and residents of North Carolina better understand what planning is, why it’s important, and how it contributes to our shared quality of life.  This team’s role is to prepare talking points and short information pieces for...

Upgrading Rail Infrastructure as an Economic Development Tool

Author: Roger Bardsley, AICP I very recently returned from a trip to Germany where I attended the wedding of one of my exchange students from 2007-08.  The wedding took place in a 200-year-old Schloss, which is a fancy name for what we would call a plantation house.  It sits in the middle of what was a very large farm in the north German plain. But, I digress.  Imagine that you lived in country that was taken over by an evil dictator who led everyone into a disastrous war that left the country devastated.  Imagine further that the first evil dictator was replaced by another evil dictator who ruled through fear and intimidation and who did very little to modernize the country or rebuild infrastructure. That country was East Germany, or the Deutche Democratic Republic (DDR) as it was known when it was reunified with West Germany in October, 1990.  What to do?  There were so many issues, both economic and social, involved in bringing the two countries together.  Berlin was in relatively good shape because much of the city had been part of West Germany.  In the north German plain, however, the farms and farm villages had seen no investment in decades.  This is a large, sparsely-populated area that stretches to the Baltic Sea and relies on farm and forest products for much of its economy. Fortunately, the area had railroad lines that dated to the 19th Century.  They pass through small towns and villages that were the market centers for their respective agricultural areas.  Each had a station that, at one time, was the heart of the community, handling...
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