Charlotte Zoning Assessment Meeting: Thursday, July 25

Charlotte planners may be getting ready to undertake what could become a comprehensive revision to its Zoning Ordinancefollowing a nine-month assessment of the existing code by Denver-based consulting firm Clarion Partners. The results of that assessment will be unveiled at a public meeting to be held on:

Thursday, July 25th
6:30 p.m.
Room 267
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center
600 E. Fourth St., Charlotte

Clarion’s two project reports, the Zoning Ordinance Assessment Report and Zoning Ordinance Approach Report, are now available for public review HERE.

In the report, the consultants said the current 830-page zoning ordinance “has become outdated and is not user-friendly.” Describing the feedback they received last fall from builders, developers, zoning attorneys and neighborhood representatives, they said, “many believe (the ordinance) is not well aligned with the City’s planning and development goals. adopted plans and policies, and modern best practices.”

Here are some of the highlights of the report:

  • The zoning code is inconsistent in many ways with the city’s Small Area Plans, and lacks many of the tools needed to bring about the community vision called for in the plans.
  • The consultants praise the flexibility provided by the TOD, PED and MUDD districts, but says they’re not broadly enough utilized to make an impact citywide.
  • The report encourages the City to consider adopting Residential Design Standards to protect the character of existing neighborhoods. It acknowledges that the legal authority for these standards is “unclear.”
  • The mixed-use districts in the ordinance are inadequate to accommodate the broad range of uses and higher-intensity development envisioned by the area plans.
  • The report criticizes the organization of the zoning ordinance, calling it “challenging to use.” It recommends Charlotte consider consolidating its zoning and development regulations (a Unified Development Ordinance) for greater clarity.

 

Governor, Senate, House Reach Historic Deal on Tax Reform

Raleigh, NC– Governor Pat McCrory, Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) announced late this afternoon they have reached a historic agreement on tax reform.

North Carolina has the fifth-highest unemployment rate in the country and needs tax reform to compete with neighboring states for job creation.

“All of us were elected to change the status quo here in Raleigh and address problems head on,” said Governor Pat McCrory. “One of the biggest challenges we faced coming into office was working to help create jobs in the existing environment. This tax reform plan is a major step in restoring confidence in the economy so that employers start hiring again, and it will help us continue to attract new employers.  Just as important, this tax reform will allow North Carolinians to put more money in their pocketbooks so that they can spend and invest in North Carolina.”

The tax reform agreement provides fiscally-responsible tax relief to all North Carolinians. It will lower income tax rates for all taxpayers to 5.8% in 2014, allowing North Carolina families to keep more of their hard-earned dollars. The corporate tax will be reduced to 6.0% in 2014 to make North Carolina more attractive to job-creators.

“Reforming a state’s tax code is no easy task in the face of a barrage of special interests fighting to preserve the special treatment they receive at the expense of all taxpayers,” said Senator Phil Berger. “We’ve seen several other states – Kansas, Louisiana and Nebraska – give it their best shot but miss the mark. I’m proud of what we’re achieving here in North Carolina – we are truly a positive model for the rest of the nation.”

The tax reform proposal is fiscally responsible and provides reasonable revenue growth every year to meet the state’s budget needs.  Since tax reform is expected to grow the state’s economy and bolster the tax base, further rate reductions could be triggered by revenue growth in 2016 and 2017.  However, if for whatever reasons the tax revenue does not grow, the further reductions will not be triggered, ensuring that state revenue is preserved for public services.

“This plan will provide tax relief for working families throughout North Carolina and will enable businesses to create jobs for our citizens,” said Speaker Thom Tillis.  “Our state will become more competitive because of this tax reform legislation, and North Carolinians will have more dollars in their pockets.  I congratulate everyone who had a role in this historic agreement, especially Representatives David Lewis and Julia Howard, who led this effort in the House.”

“This plan reducing both personal and corporate income taxes combined with the General Assembly’s successful efforts last session to repeal the temporary sales tax accomplishes broad based tax relief that is unmatched in North Carolina’s history,” said Governor McCrory. “No other state has accomplished this level of tax reform this year and I would like to commend Speaker Tillis and Senator Berger for their hard work and congratulate them on reaching this agreement.”

Tax Reform Proposal Highlights

Personal Income Tax:

  • Reduces and simplifies the 3-tiered state personal income tax from the current maximum rate of 7.75% and minimum rate of 6% to 5.8% in 2014 and 5.75% in 2015.
  • Increases the standard deduction for all taxpayers, applied to the:
  1. ​First $15,000 of income for those married filing jointly
  2. First $12,000 of income for heads of household
  3. First $7,500 of income for single filers;
  • Retains the state child tax credit and increases it for families making less than $40,000;
  • Offers a $20,000 combined maximum deduction for mortgage interest and property taxes;
  • Makes charitable contributions fully deductible;
  • Protects all Social Security income from state taxes.

Corporate Income Tax:

  • Reduces the corporate income tax from 6.9% to 6% in 2014 and then to 5% in 2015 a 29% rate reduction.
  • If the state meets revenue targets (i.e. if tax revenue grows due to a growing economy), the corporate income tax will drop to 4% in 2016 and 3% in 2017.

Other Highlights:

  • Caps the state gas tax;
  • Eliminates North Carolina’s death tax;
  • Preserves the sales tax refund for nonprofits.