Expanding Affordable Housing in NC

Author:  Leigh Anne King, Principal at Clarion Associates This summer, the APA-NC Affordable Housing Task Force was launched with the mission of developing a clearinghouse of information and case studies to assist planners, elected officials, and other housing advocates to expand affordable housing in NC. The Task Force is comprised of a broad array of disciplines and perspectives that work daily to achieve affordable housing in communities across our state. Affordable housing is being defined in the broadest way possible by the Task Force to include a variety of housing needs for residents of NC living in rural, suburban, and urban contexts. Earlier this fall the Task Force asked planners to participate in an online survey to better understand the types of information that planners and other housing advocates need to support their work. Thank you to the nearly 100 planners that filled out the survey! If you did not fill out the survey, but think you have an important strategy or tool to share with NC planners, please contact Leigh Anne King, APA-NC Task Force Co-Chair at laking@clarionassociates.com We look forward to sharing future updates on the progress of the Task Force work. Happy...

Union County and Indian Trail Successfully Plan for Monroe Expressway Growth

Authors: Bjorn Hansen, AICP, Union County Transportation Planner and Katie See, Town of Indian Trail Senior Planner With less than a month before the first expressway in Union County opened to the public, Union County and Indian Trail adopted a small area plan for two square miles of land adjacent to an interchange along the Monroe Expressway, the Charlotte region’s first toll road. Indian Trail, the county’s largest municipality, approached the Union County Planning Department in early 2017 about the potential to develop a joint land use plan for the area around the Unionville-Indian Trail Road interchange, an undeveloped area with scattered large-lot residential and forested lands. Both the County and Town had been approached by several developers interested in rezoning to a range of more intensive land uses and there was fear of disjointed development being approved without a common vision. The two jurisdictions focused on a planning process that focused on how to best harness the development pressures to implement a vision of the local residents. Research: While the interchange was the geographic and economic center of the study area, Secrest Short Cut Road was the historic focal point for residents and drivers. The stakeholder committee for this process therefore recommended the study be called the Secrest Short Cut Small Area Plan. The study began in December 2017 with a comprehensive assessment of existing zoning, adopted land use plans, infrastructure, and environmental features, and was led by Gresham Smith and Partners. The local planning staff determined the 2045 growth projections and allocations used in the 2012-2015 Connect our Future regional visioning process using the CommunityViz growth allocation tool were...

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 by 295...

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....
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