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Legislative Affairs

BASE Governmental Affairs Directors act as advocates for the development industry and closely monitor activity at the state, regional and local level from the North Carolina General Assembly to city and county meetings - anything that affects the growth and development industry.

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Development Industry

Credibility, Leadership, Expertise..... BASE has a single mission to promote public policies which encourage economic growth, job creation and a healthy real estate, homebuilding, land use and development industry.

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"Unbelievable! BASE was there for us at the beginning, middle, and end providing us with key information and foresight…It's great to see there are organizations like BASE out there that are willing to go the extra mile to satisfy their members." - Jon Vincent, JTV Business & Management Consultant

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 "Well worth the money! I’ve been working in this industry well over 20 years, and this is the lowest cost, highest value work I have ever seen. I always knew the regulatory pressures that our industry faced, but at least now I know that there is an organization fighting and winning on our behalf." - Kevin Hine, Duplin Land Development, LLC, Exec. VP/GM River Landing

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“BASE has been one of the best business decisions I have made!  There is no other organization like BASE that covers such a broad area of issues that affect both residential and commercial interests.” - Steve Niemeyer, CEO Wrightsville Builders

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BASE Hosting Wetlands Seminar; Register Now PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 04 June 2014 12:37

Map courtesy of Southern Environmental Group
 
On June 25th from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. at the New Hanover County Executive Development Center, the Business Alliance for a Sound Economy (BASE) will present a panel discussion:

 

How Will EPA/USACE Wetland Rule Changes Impact Your Investments?

PANELISTS
Jim Spangler                        Matt Hanchey
Spangler Environmental         Hunton & Williams

The EPA and USACE's joint proposal to the Waters of the United States rule will have a large impact on the future of your investments.  BASE has set out to provide our membership and other interested parties an opportunity to hear scenarios that development professionals will face when the rule is enacted.

 

Panelists will discuss the new changes to the definition of Waters of the United States and how this will expand the EPA/USACE's jurisdiction. Learn firsthand what environmental professionals see as the impact of this change. Learn what steps need to be taken to combat the proposal in the coming months. Learn what potential measures state regulators will take in implementing the proposed rule here in North Carolina. What measures need to be taken to protect your investments from losing value as a result of the rule?

 

Panel Discussion: 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Q&A: 11:30 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.

 

Ideal for landowners, residential and commercial developers, builders, commercial realtors, engineers, attorneys, bankers and others.

 

Seats are $15 

RSVP to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or call 910-799-2611

  

For more information on the proposed rule, click here http://www2.epa.gov/uswaters/definition-waters-united-states-under-clean-water-act

 

The American Farm Bureau has created an informative site which explains the impacts on agriculture and land owners. http://ditchtherule.fb.org/

Additionally, in May, Congressmen McIntyre and Jones joined 229 of their Congressional colleagues in sending a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Army Secretary John McHugh, requesting that the rule be returned to the two agencies. For the full letter click here http://jones.house.gov/sites/jones.house.gov/files/5.2.14%20Letter%20on%20EPA%20Rule.pd

 
Sunset Beach Approves UDO Changes PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 08:10

At their meeting on Monday evening, the town of Sunset Beach had a public hearing and approved a number of UDO changes.

 

Of the UDO proposals approved, BASE believes two stand out as being particularly challenging to future investment. Prior to Town Council taking action, BASE expressed concern with both Item 7 (Minimum landscaping requirements) and Items 22-34 (30% impervious cap) BASE believes both will become impediments to future tax base growth in the town. Instead of clearly delineating requirements, these proposals will cause confusion and require significant staff time to implement.

 

In the case of the landscaping requirements (item 7), a cumbersome equation and points system are required to determine landscaping for single family residential homes. The entire system is arbitrary. What is the difference between a medium shrub and a large shrub? How many lots on the island have existing trees (worth 10 points)? Staff will be placed in the business of overseeing individual shrub placement to ensure the point system is met. Also, note that the provisions apply to existing structures that undergo repairs/renovations greater than 50 % of value. That means existing houses on the island, if impacted by a hurricane, would have to build back AND meet the landscaping criteria.

 

In the case of the impervious coverage limits (items 22-34), implementing a 30% cap across the board is a tremendous disincentive for future investment. While “a solution approved by the Inspections Department” has been offered as a method to exceed the 30% cap, no specifics are provided. Thus, Inspections staff is now in the stormwater permitting business. What happens when a professional engineer seals a plan but staff does not approve? How will that situation be rectified? Essentially, this provision will require an engineered stormwater solution for any and all future development in Sunset Beach, including individual homes.

 

The 30% cap on impervious coverage will apply to lots in the majority of town zoning districts: Mainland Business 1, Mainland Business 2, Beach Residential 1, Beach Residential 2, Beach Business 1, Manufactured Home 1, Manufactured Home 2, and Recreational-Institutional 1. The proposed 30% cap will also apply to commercial zoned areas of the town and recreational-institutional uses like churches and government buildings. For a 4,500 square foot lot at the beach (BR2), the maximum footprint would now be 1,350 square feet. Interestingly, the changes proposed would also potentially impact existing residences in the town. For example, if a hurricane damaged an existing home in the BR2 zoning area “to an extent exceeding fifty percent (50%) of its reproducible value,” it could only be built back under the new square footage guidelines.

 

It should be noted that the town currently has a 30% cap on three zoning districts: Mainland Residential 1, Mainland Residential 2 and Mainland Multifamily Residential. The difference is that these lot sizes range from 10,000-40,000 square feet—not the 4,500 for beach lots. And not putting a significant obstacle in front of future commercial development in the town.

 

BASE believes both item 7 and items 22-34 are impediments to future investment in Sunset Beach. In light of current discussions about the town’s budget, BASE believes it is important to continue to build the town’s tax base. Without continued investment in the town, current citizens will be more heavily relied upon to fund operations, maintenance and improvements in Sunset Beach.

 
North Topsail Beach: Special Use Permits for "Larger Houses" PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 02 June 2014 13:56

On Wednesday, May 13, a Public Hearing of the North Topsail Beach Board of Aldermen was held to receive citizens’ comments on enacting a moratorium on building homes with more than six bedrooms. THANK YOU TO THE CITIZENS, BUSINESS OWNERS, BUILDERS AND REALTORS THAT TURNED OUT IN FORCE.

 

Nonetheless, the Board of Aldermen voted to move forward on doing “something” on larger homes and the issue was advertised for a public hearing on June 5, 2014 at 6:30 PM. This accelerated timeline put the Town’s Planning Board in the precarious position of having to consider a staff proposal on Special Use Permits for homes “exceeding 6 bedrooms and 5,000 heated square feet.”

 

The Planning Board did a very thorough job in debating the issue at hand and making an alternate proposal to “require a Special Use Permit for Single Family exceeding 8 bedrooms and 5,000 heated Sq Feet or Duplex exceeding 10 bedrooms and 5,000 heated Sq Feet”

 

The Planning Board proposed alternate criteria increased the threshold to 8 bedrooms (from 6) and amended setbacks, height and impervious coverage limits (example below). The planning Board made similar amendments for Duplexes.

 

Sec, 4.03.21 Single family greater than 8 bedrooms and 5,000 heated sq. ft.

(A) General Requirements

(1) Side setbacks are 10’ required for zoning district.

(2) Height is limited to 48 feet.

(3) Maximum impervious surface is limited to 30% outside the ORW

(4) Parking Plan

(a) To include 1 space per bedroom up to 10 and 2 spaces per bedroom over 10.

(5) Engineered Stormwater plan for all impervious surface.

(6) The proposed development is harmonious and compatible with surrounding area.

 

The Planning Board and Board of Aldermen had a productive work session last week to discuss the issue and potential solutions. Planning Board member Paul Dorazio did an excellent job of illustrating why the initial staff proposal was flawed due to a number of existing factors.

 

BASE feels that the Planning Board’s alternative language is a much better option than staff’s initial proposal. That said, creating additional criteria for larger houses still does not address the alleged existing problems (parking, trash, etc.) which initiated this discussion in the first place.

 

Since Oak Island has been used as an example of why North Topsail needed to have a moratorium to amend the ordinances to address the issue of larger homes, the following story is interesting. Essentially, in their haste to get out from their illegal moratorium and amend their ordinances, Oak Island actually created “thousands” on non-conforming uses, impacting the ability of existing homeowners to build back in the event of a hurricane or fire.

ncbase.org/files/V_ E_ UDO Amend 4_1 and Use Specific Standards SF Dup.pdf

 
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