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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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Wednesday, 16 April 2014 13:14
On Wednesday, April 16, a Special Meeting of the Oak Island Town Council was held to discuss the following: 
Public Hearing to receive citizens’ comments on proposed ordinance amendments to establish three classes of Vacation Rental as a use and all the associated restrictions and regulations,
Public Hearing to receive citizens’ comments on proposed ordinance amendments to cap residences at 5,000 square feet and seven bedrooms with one parking space required for each bedroom
Public Hearing to receive citizens’ comments on extending the moratorium on building of homes with more than six bedrooms.
The public hearings generated significant public comment, but BASE was the lone speaker in opposition to these items. All three items, as proposed, would have a significant impact on future investment in the Town. The Vacation Rental Ordinance, which staff admits “plows new ground in North Carolina,” would likely be a model for similar regulations in other beach towns. North Topsail, Holden Beach and Wrightsville Beach were specifically mentioned.
After three hours of discussion, Town Council voted to:
-TAKE NO ACTION on the Vacation Rental ordinance as proposed
-DEFER ACTION on the residential cap
When the Town initially proposed the moratorium, BASE spoke at that time to remind the town of  SL2011-286, which “prohibits Cities from enacting moratoria except for the purpose of developing and adopting new or amended plans or ordinances as to residential uses”
You’ll note that the moratorium language as proposed by the Town is in direct conflict with that law: 
WHEREAS, the Oak Island Town Council seeks to extend a moratorium on development of homes with more than six bedrooms so as to provide sufficient time for the development of regulations which protect the health, safety and welfare of the community;
In extending the moratorium on April 16, the Town changed course slightly, saying the moratorium is to update the ordinances to deal with “impact of large homes on the sewer system.” BASE would argue that this is clearly still in violation of SL2011-286. Oak Island’s contention is that the moratorium deals with the “intensity of residential use and not the nature of residential use” and it is not in violation of SL2011-286.
Nonetheless, you’d think that a Town and citizens on the hook for a $140 million sewer system would want to encourage new customers to add on to the system to offset increases on existing residents. The next step is a sewer update meeting on May 13. 
In the meantime, BASE remains interested in challenging the illegal moratorium. If you know anyone that plans to pull a building permit for a 7 bedroom house in Oak Island, please let us know ASAP.
To Address Building Height, Swansboro Considers Conditional Zoning PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 15 April 2014 13:51
From the Jacksonville Daily News:

SWANSBORO — A new zoning tool could get the final approval of Swansboro commissioners during tonight’s meeting.

Commissioners have been discussing the use of conditional zoning districts and will consider changes to the town’s Unified Development Ordinance that would put the new zoning into effect.

Conditional zoning does not replace existing zoning but is an overlay that can be applied to designated areas. With the CZD areas, town commissioners would have the flexibility of negotiating with a property over a request that deviates from what is allowed under the established zoning.

Conditions, within reason, can be set that address the interests of the developer as well as the surrounding area. The conditions are specific to individual parcels and not to an entire district.

The idea of conditional zoning arose out of building height discussions. The establishment of CZD zones could allow for some structures taller than the current 35-foot limit without changing the height regulations. (emphasis ours)


Want To Be Confused? Try To Explain Coastal Building Height PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 11 April 2014 09:46
With the discussion about flood insurance and properly protecting houses from flood perils, talk inevitably turns to raising buildings. This certainly seems to be the logical method of 1) reducing flood risk and 2)enabling homeowner savings by reducing flood insurance premiums. HOWEVER, in some jurisdictions, these proactive efforts may be frustrated by legislatively mandated caps on building height. Many of our beach towns have 35’ height limits for residential uses. If you keep a cap on height and increase elevation without acommodation, the building envelope gets increasingly smaller and the roof gets more flat. Is that what we want? 
Both Sunset Beach and Holden Beach are contemplating changing their definition of building height to accommodate flood savings. As illustrated below, defining "building height" is infinitely more complicated than you would imagine. For example...
Sunset Beach
Height, Building/Structure: As applied to a building, means the vertical distance from finished ground level to the highest part of the building or any structure attached to the building excluding chimneys, flag poles, antennas, church spires, and necessary mechanical devices.
Holden Beach
The vertical distance measured from ground level to the highest point of the structure
A measuring point per the following:
(1) FEMA flood area "AE": measuring point is minus 10 ft. from the base flood elevation.
(2) FEMA flood area "VE": measuring point is minus 8 ft. from the base flood elevation.
(3) FEMA flood area "AE" and "VE": where the minus 10 ft. and minus 8 ft. respectively from the base flood elevation is below undisturbed soil: measuring point is the lowest original soil under the structure after the undisturbed soil has been balanced.
(4) FEMA flood area "X": measuring point to be the lowest original soil under the structure after the undisturbed soil has been balanced.
Ocean Isle 
The maximum height of structures for other than utility purposes shall be measured such as to allow for the construction of two floors, limited to 31 feet measured from the bottom of the lowest horizontal structural member to the highest point of the structure.
North Topsail
No building may be constructed in North Topsail Beach with a height exceeding forty-five (45) feet as measured from the lowest adjacent grade of the property as established by a recent (sixty days (60)) elevation certificate to the peak of the roof.
Wrightsville Beach
Principal Building Height: No building shall exceed 40 feet in height. Church spires, antennas, chimneys, and similar accessories to buildings are exempt from this limitation provided that building height shall be defined below:

The vertical distance measured from a point in the center line of the street (whether public or private) adjoining the front of the lot on which a structure is to be built or improved that is an equal distance from the side lines extended to the center line of the adjoining street to the highest point of the coping of a flat roof, to the ridge line of a mansard roof, to the ridge of a gable, hip or gambrel roof, or to the highest point of a roof deck or hand rail. Elevator penthouses and necessary mechanical service equipment are
exempt from this height limitation provided they are properly screened. Also exempt are chimneys, solar panels, and church steeples. For corner lots adjoining two streets or for those lots that do not adjoin a street, the adjoining street for the purposes of this definition shall be the street which is the address of the lot. Features which increase the height of the street at its center above its average grade, such as speed bumps, shall be omitted in determining building height
Oak Island
Building,height of, means the vertical distance from the average finished grade at the four corners of the structure four corners to the highest point of the structure.
After reading all these definitions and methods of defining building height, BASE has determined that a more streamlined approach is needed. We are contemplating options on how to simplify what should be fairly straightforward. Have a suggestion? Give us a call at 799-2611.
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