Scot Berry and Brian Stark with the Town of Cary joined us as guest speakers for our February Governmental Affairs Committee meeting. Scot serves as Cary's Director of Planning and Development Services and Brian works as the Director of Inspections and Permits. They spoke about the continued trends they see of infill and redevelopment with only a 1.1% growth in greenfield development from January 2017 to present.
Cary continues to work on improvements to online submittals, development plan review and inspections scheduling. For example, building permits are now being submitted through the same portal as development plans. This has reduced the need for builders and developers to provide paper copies for permit submittals. Plans can be marked up digitally and emailed to the applicant. On the development side they have changed how they do comment review meetings. Now, development plan applicants can request a meeting with the Development Review Committee during any stage of the development review cycle. Previously these meetings were called Staff/Applicant meetings and typically only occurred after the first submittal of a development plan.
Scot shared some statistics with the committee showing that the number of rezonings and consequently development plans and single family lots approved have steadily decreased over the last few years. It came as no surprise when they shared the stats for the average number of reviews for development plan approvals. They are 5.9, 4.1 and 6 for major, minor and quasi-judicial reviews, respectively. Scot also shared that the average time split for these reviews was 68.68% staff time and 31.32% applicant time. When questioned on the high number of review cycles and length of time it took to get through a rezoning, there only seemed to be an affirmation that such was true, no suggestion that efforts were being made to try and cut those times down.
Brian then took the helm to share information on building permits. Cary issued 1,084 new residential single-family permits and 1,635 residential additions/alterations in 2018. When compared to the last 5 years, residential permits were slightly down in 2018. He indicated that they are on schedule with plan review for new residential permit issuance at 10 business days and residential addition/alteration plan review and permit issuance at 7 business days.
The last part of their presentation touched on House Bill 948 and the changes they were making to comply with the bill. As it pertains to the alternate inspection method for a component or element of the construction project by a licensed architect and/or engineer, the Town is finding that the letters of verification are missing important details. Consequently, they are looking at the NCDOI's guidance paper for direction and DOI who is in the process of developing a standard form to be used.
As for the part of the bill discussing "complete" inspections, the Town was initially concerned with how this would affect their metrics and business flow. However, they have responded by establishing a training session of the most commonly found "problem" items and have already held one very successful class. The Town is also relying on the reporting to DOI for framing inspections with 15 or more violations as being a disincentive for builders which in turn will encourage them to ensure they are ready for inspection when it's called in. Lastly, the Town is piloting remote re-inspections to see if that can aid them in meeting the requirement for inspections to be performed within two business days of the request.
Throughout Scot and Brian's presentation, questions were asked and great dialogue ensued. During the Q&A session we were sure to bring up some items that have risen to the top for our membership. One such concern involved house wrap inspections. Apparently there has been some question over whether this inspection was being portrayed as required or voluntary. We have been assured by Scot and Brian that it is in fact voluntary and some great suggestions were made during the meeting to help clear up communication in the future.
Lastly, we discussed the requirement the Town of Cary is placing on the developer to bury power lines outside of the subdivision. These are not new power lines, but may be power poles that need to be moved during road or sidewalk work for the subdivision. The legislative authority states, "Section 9.3. Underground utilities. In addition to the powers now or hereafter granted to municipalities by law, the Town Council by ordinance may require that all utility or other pipes, wiring, conduits, cables, and fixtures installed after the adoption of such ordinance within the planning and zoning jurisdiction of the Town be installed underground, whether or not the same are installed in public rights-of-way." They are hanging their hat on the word "installed" given that it doesn't specify new or old (re-installed). In a nutshell, if you have to move existing utility poles, then they are requiring you to bury the lines, otherwise you don't have to bury them.
Just before the holidays, Wake Forest began sending out letters of violation to those with signs located in the right of way (ROW). We were able to get them to temporarily delay enforcement of their fines through the holidays to give us an opportunity to talk with them about our concerns.
We have met multiple times with Wake Forest staff and had conversations with the Mayor and Commissioners since that time. However, the Town is still adamant about enforcing the ordinance they already have on the books, which disallows signs in the ROW. Previously, they had not been enforcing the ordinance on the books.
The "grace period" they provided has ended and they are once again sending out letters of violation to any owners of signs in the ROW. Please remove identified signs or anticipate the application of a fine.
Please know that we continue to work with staff and the elected officials to find alternative ways to allow the necessary signs our members need to provide advertising and way finding. More than likely, these will come in the form of permitted signs on the backside of the sidewalk, just out of the ROW or through other means such as pole banners or flags.
If you have any suggestions, please feel free to contact me so that we can discuss your ideas further. Thank you.
Please be aware that the Town is now strictly enforcing their sign ordinance which can be found here.
New turnaround times for all development processes in the City of Raleigh will go into effect as of February 1, 2019. This update is a result of additional review requirements and limited staff resources as they test new permitting software. The City apologizes for any inconvenience and expects these changes to ultimately bring an improved customer experience to the permitting and inspection process once implemented. Turnaround times will be revisited in the near future, as they look to improve the City of Raleigh development processes.
Please see the following information below related to the Town of Holly Springs:
Holly Springs Town Hall is closed the following days:
Monday, December 24, 2018
Tuesday, December 25, 2018
Wednesday, December 26, 2018
Tuesday, January 1, 2019
Planning & Zonings next plan/plat submittal deadline is Friday December 28th by 4:30 pm.
New submittal changes in 2019
Beginning Friday, January 4th, all Planning & Zoning plan/plat submittals will be on FRIDAYS by 4:30 pm. Additional information on this change will be sent.
Coming in 2019! Projects involving accessory structures and infill development will have a change in process. These changes are due to recently approved text changes. A text change is a proposal to modify an adopted ordinance.
TC-2-18 | Accessory Buildings
Starting on January 1, 2019 submittal requirements will increase for accessory structures:
TC-3-18 | Infill Notice
Starting on February 4, 2019 projects that involve infill development will be required to notify anyone living within 100 feet of the property. This applies to:
TC-7-17 | Residential Infill Compatibility Setbacks
To protect the integrity of existing residential developments, the rules for determining setbacks for new and redevelopment of residential lots are changing. As a result of this text change new processes will be in place by April 2019.
For questions or concerns about any of these text changes, please contact:
Justin Rametta, Current Planning Manager | 919-996-2665
The Raleigh Street Design Manual serves as a design guide for the City's streets, sidewalks, and pedestrian facilities. We are working to update this manual and would like to get feedback from residents.
A draft of the manual is currently available for public review until January 14, 2019. You can download a copy of the draft here.
Please submit your comments to RSDMcomments@raleighnc.gov.
Specific questions about the manual?
The 2045 Plan
Advance Apex is one process that will result in two plans - a long-range transportation plan and an updated future land use map with supporting addendum to the Town's adopted Comprehensive Plan, Peak Plan 2030.
Advance Apex: The 2045 Transportation Plan and Advance Apex: The 2045 Land Use Map Update will be presented at two upcoming public hearings. The Planning Board will make a recommendation regarding potential adoption to the Town Council. The Town Council will make a decision regarding adoption.
Plan documents and maps are available at: https://www.apexnc.org/1193/Advance-Apex. Comments can be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Changes may be made up to and through the public hearings. Any substantive changes will be presented during the public hearings.
The public is invited to speak at either or both hearings. Town Council agendas and guidance for making comments during public hearings are available at: http://www.apexnc.org/838/Agendas-Minutes.
PLANNING BOARD PUBLIC HEARING:
DATE: Monday, January 14, 2019
TIME: 4:30 pm
PLACE: 2nd Floor, Apex Town Hall (73 Hunter Street)
TOWN COUNCIL PUBLIC HEARING:
DATE: Tuesday, February 5, 2019
TIME: 7:00 pm
PLACE: 2nd Floor, Apex Town Hall (73 Hunter Street)
It has just come to our attention that Wake Forest has mailed violation letters to many members citing prohibited signs per the Town's Ordinance. We are in the process of investigating this issue, but cursory information leads us to believe that the Town had been lenient in their allowances of signs and now are suddenly taking a "letter of the law" approach to enforcement of the rules on the books.
Our greatest frustration is the method by which this has taken place. We try very hard to build relationships with municipalities and encourage them to reach out to us when problems arise. It could have been better handled had we been informed that the ordinance enforcement was going to change and given a 30 day grace period to communicate such information to our membership and comply. This would have prevented the adversarial approach of sending out violation letters with date certain compliance or else fines of $500/day.
Please be aware that the Town is now strictly enforcing their sign ordinance which can be found here. See below for an example of the violation letters being sent.
All General Contractors are now required to include their NC General Contractor License Number on everything. The new regulation, 21 NCAC 12.0501, states: “license numbers shall be included on all contracts, advertisements and licensee websites.”
Our state association (NCHBA) is currently working to get clarification on the term "advertisements", but in the meantime, all general contractors are advised to put their GC License Number on:
The new regulation is part of a larger re-write of the NC GC Licensing Board Regulations in Title 21, Chapter 12 of the NC Administrative Code.
The massive down zoning (to 1 unit/2 acres) being considered by Knightdale for nearly 44% of the land it has planning jurisdiction over is well on its way to approval. After holding the public hearing open for 3 weeks, Council sent the item to the Land Use Review Board (LURB). The LURB met on 11/13 and with hardly more than a blink unanimously approved the proposed zoning map amendments that would effectuate the massive down zoning.
Even after many meetings with elected official, staff and stakeholders, speaking at all three public hearings and communicating with the LURB, the opinion on this item among the elected officials is seemingly not to be swayed. The item is scheduled to come back to the Council at their 11/19/18 meeting at 7pm where it is expected to pass.