Development Reaches Critical Crossroad

Written by Tom Low What makes a good city? How well is Charlotte handling today’s challenges of growth? Every month for the last 10 years at Levine Museum of the New South, the Civic By Design Forum gathers citizens, planners, architects and interested folks to talk. It’s free and open to the public — a place in this fast-growing metropolis where cross-discipline community conversations regularly take place. Our 10th anniversary is an appropriate time to look back — and ahead. Here are some opportunities for making Charlotte better: Our center city has its swagger back. In two to three years, we will have a substantially new city core — one we all hope we can enjoy and be proud to showcase as equal to or better than competing cities. But too much of the street level is being built with blank “decorative” walls devoid of human activity. And too many buildings are excessively large with monotonous egg-crate-on-end facades that obscure daylight. Other popular cities don’t tolerate blandness and zombie streetscapes. We need better civic design for our public realm if we expect to have a competitive, beautiful city with an active urban street life in the near future. The University Area is booming, and this time leaders hope to get out in front of the development by using time-tested urban design rules for increasing the area’s A+ urbanism. Block structure is not something you hear about a lot in Charlotte’s development community, but it’s one of the most important rules for great urbanism and successful retail. We need better walkable site design to retrofit passé suburban apartment complexes, office...

APA-NC Celebrates Great Places at Town Hall Day

On March 18th, APA-NC celebrated Town Hall Day in Raleigh by joining with legislators to recognize the 2015 winners of the Great Places in North Carolina initiative. Senator Tamara Barringer and Representative Sarah Stevens welcomed all to the Legislative Building to celebrate the dynamic partnerships that bring together local and state governments. Program Chair Jason Burdette provided an overview of the Great Places in North Carolina program describing this year’s new categories: Great Greenways and Great Historic Rehabilitations. Incoming APA-NC Chapter President John Morck introduced all of the winning communities—Asheboro, Belmont, Goldsboro, Kinston, New Bern, Roanoke Rapids, and West Jefferson. Representatives from each community shared with those attendance a few words about what makes their respective place great. Behind every great place is North Carolinians working together to improve their community. APA-NC was pleased to join with legislators to celebrate these collaborative planning efforts. Legislators in attendance included Rep. Michael Wray, Rep. Pat Hurley, Rep. John Torbett, Rep. Dana Bumgardner, Rep. Allen McNeill, Rep. George Graham, Rep. Jonathan Jordan, Rep. Michael Speciale, Sen. Kathy Harrington, and Sen. Angela Bryant. North Carolina Secretary of Cultural Resources Susan Kluttz concluded the Great Places Legislative Event by highlighting the importance of restoring historic tax credits and developing planning partnerships to the creation of great...

APA-NC 2015 Summer Fellowship Program is Accepting Applications!

The APA-NC Fellowship Program was created to increase diversity in the planning profession by fostering increased interest among minority students and women in the field of urban planning. Towards this goal, APA-NC is offering a $1,500 Summer Fellowship for women and minority students pursuing graduate or undergraduate planning degrees or planning related degrees. The fellowship will be conducted June 1 – Aug 30 and pays $500 per month during the three month period. The application deadline is March 27, 2015. Fellowship Objectives To gain knowledge about the planning process. To gain knowledge of best planning practices. To build skills for effective communication (written, verbal, presentation) with local governments, state and federal agencies, and the citizens. Conduct policy research on a current topic as assigned, producing a final report (may include an evaluation of how municipalities and counties are handling this policy throughout the state, highlighting successes and opportunities, or how other states are addressing this policy, creating recommendations for the state of NC). Assist with the NCAPA Great Places Initiative and NC Planning Conference The $1,500 fellowship is available to graduate and undergraduate woman and minority students majoring in urban planning, urban design, urban studies, geography or public administration at an accredited university in North Carolina. The applicant should be a full-time student with a minimum G.P.A. of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale). Eligible students interested in applying should obtain an application by visiting downloading the application. Visit our Membership and Diversity Committee page for more information. For additional information contact: Cherie Jzar, AICP – NCAPA Membership/Diversity Committee Chair Email:...

Assembly Line – APA’s Legislative Summary

Written by Chad Meadows, AICP Legislative Committee Chairman 2014 was another difficult year for planning at the General Assembly. This year’s short session, like the long session in 2013, was fraught with rapid fire legislative proposals, complex catch-all omnibus bills, tax reforms that spell the end to several revenue sources, and a budget that cost several state planners their jobs. The following list summarizes key planning-related legislation that passed the General Assembly in 2014. This post also includes some details on the legislation that didn’t pass (but may be back in 2015) Bill #: Title/Description Summary S865 – Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction ETJ authority removed from Boone (and Weaverville). H1050 – Privilege Licenses Local governments can levy privilege license taxes for the rest of FY 2014 (and the amount may not exceed the amount charged in 2013). After FY 2014 ends, privilege license taxes will no longer be authorized. S734 – Vested Rights (Choice Provision) In cases where an applicant submits an application and the regulation changes after submittal but before a decision is made, a local government must allow the applicant to choose which rules they wish to follow. Does not apply to “zoning” permits, but does apply to subdivision rules and any development regulations housed outside the zoning code. S786 – Environmental Omnibus (Fracking) Allows the state Energy Commission to override local development regulations if the Commission finds the local regulations prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting oil and gas exploration/production. S402 (Budget) – Historic Preservation Tax Credits/Film Industry Incentives Current historic preservation tax credits (20% tax credit match from NC) & film industry incentives (25% refund) will sunset at the end of 2014....

Cache Owens awarded the 2014 APA NC Fellowship

Cache Owens is currently a graduate student at the University of North Carolina – Charlotte’s (UNC Charlotte) enrolled in the Master of Geography Community Planning program. Her academic achievements combined with her service work and overall passion for planning made her the best choice for the 2014 Fellowship. Prior to enrolling at UNC Charlotte, Ms. Owens obtained her Bachelors of Science degree in Environmental Planning and Policy & Public Administration from the University of Wisconsin Green Bay (2012). The selection committee was most impressed with Cache’s drive to take on self-­‐initiated community planning research projects and her leadership efforts in organizing a Student for New Urbanism interest group at the UNCC campus. Cache’ has a strong history of working towards diversity awareness and has stood out as a leader on working on social justice issues for vulnerable populations. These accomplishments are outstanding and we are certain that Cache’ will be enriched and greatly contribute to the work of our chapter through this fellowship program. “I am very excited to begin the work for this Fellowship, as I am confident it will allow me to meet several professionals from whom I can learn, and expose me to new aspects of the planning field. Opportunities such as this are advantageous, as they allow me to practice what I have learned in the classroom. This fellowship is excellent preparation for my upcoming transition from graduate student to professional planner. Outside of academics, I am a well-­‐intentioned (though amateur) nature photographer, traveler, and movie buff. My son and I are avid animal lovers, and also spend lots of time at area zoos and...
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