Gov Brd Meeting

Notice and Hearing Requirements for Economic Development Appropriations

As discussed in a prior post, Session Law 2015-277 requires North Carolina local governments [more…]
Grading site

Local Government Economic Development Powers “Clarified”

On October 20, 2015, the Governor signed Session Law (S.L.) 2015-277, placing into effect [more…]
Kinston, NC

Development Finance Initiative: Rebuilding North Carolina one town at a time – Southern City

This article was originally published in the November/December edition of Southern City, as “Rebuilding [more…]
Aerial downtown

How a North Carolina Local Government Can Operate a Land Bank for Redevelopment

If America’s cities and towns are to realize their greatest potential as attractive and [more…]

The Community and Economic Development program at the School of Government provides public officials with training, research, and assistance that support local efforts to create jobs and wealth, expand the tax base, and maintain vibrant communities. We deploy the resources of the University to support the development goals of communities in North Carolina.

Recent Blog Posts |

  • What @sog_ced is reading on the web: September 2016

    CED_Icon_for_TwitterThe following are articles and reports on the web that the Community and Economic Development Program at the UNC School of Government shared through social media over the past month. Follow us on twitter or facebook to receive regular updates.

    Items of interest related to CED in North Carolina:

    North Carolina Commerce Secretary op-ed on the strength of the state economy and the role of Department of Commerce programs:

    WNCT touts local Greenville brewery and the growth of the craft brewing industry in eastern North Carolina:

    Other CED items:

    Harvard researchers find that although immigrants represent 15% of the U.S. population, they become entrepreneurs at a much higher rate (25%): ‪ 

    Can a new initiative turn the formerly incarcerated into entrepreneurs (and reduce recidivism)? ‪ 

    Brookings Institute finds that economic development metrics for incentives, such as job creation and capital investment, are “deeply flawed”:

    Brief explanation of Texas fair housing case that applies new SCOTUS standard for disparate impact (plaintiffs lost): ‪ 

    Will Congress extend the EB-5 foreign investment economic development program before it expires at end of month? ‪ 

    Shelterforce post on the Community Reinvestmnt Act describes new Q&A published by regulators and possible reforms: ‪  Read more »

  • EPA Resources on Smart Growth Economic Development

    Many small towns and rural areas had an economy that was built on a single economic sector (for example, logging, mining, or manufacturing) that has changed significantly by technology and/or market forces, leaving residents without jobs and governments without a healthy tax base.  Some communities respond with an economic revitalization strategy that seeks to attract major employers to replace lost jobs.  Another approach is “Smart Growth” economic development, which builds upon existing assets, takes incremental actions to strengthen communities, and builds long-term value to attract a range of investments.

    This past year, the U.S. EPA released Framework for Creating a Smart Growth Economic Development Strategy: A Tool for Small Cities and Towns.  This tool is intended for small to medium sized cities and towns that have stagnant population growth, struggling economies, and areas of divestment.  It is the latest in a slew of resources available from EPA on Smart Growth, including other tools, publications, technical assistance, and case studies. Read more »

  • Predicting Gentrification in the Era of Big Data

    pic_7Gentrification occurs when properties in lower-income neighborhoods are bought and renovated that subsequently raises property values but displaces low-income families. Displacement is potentially of even higher magnitude when development and construction of new housing does not meet the demand from an increase in population. In this narrative, gentrification can create additional social and economic inequities due to further displacement of a low-income population from their employment centers as well as reducing economic diversity in an area. The challenge with meeting the needs of a population that might end up being displaced is determining which populations are likely to become displaced. Once that population is determined, local governments could take measures to reduce the negative impacts of a population being displaced and potentially reduce the number of people being displaced. The key is predicting where gentrification may occur next. This blog post will identify several methods that are made possible due to the advent of Big Data. Read more »

  • Conveyance of Local Government Property for Affordable Housing

    img2A developer of affordable housing for low and moderate income persons has approached the City and County about an affordable housing project near the City’s downtown. The developer’s plan is to acquire and assemble two adjacent parcels—one owned by the City and one owned by the County—and then develop 20 units of affordable housing on that site.  There’s a catch: The developer has asked the City and County to provide the two parcels as a gift to the project. Local governments are generally not permitted to make gifts to private individuals or entities, so the developer’s request is immediately problematic. Can the local governments convey their property to the project in order to encourage the development of affordable housing? This post explains North Carolina law pertaining to the developer’s request. Read more »

  • EB-5 Visa Program Helps Fund NC Charter Schools

    Dillard School-CCPThe CED blog has written previously about the EB-5 program, which as a reminder allows foreign national to obtain a green card for themselves and their families in exchange for an investment in the United States of either $1 million, or $500,000 in an area that is designated as particularly high need (for more information, read here).  These visas are an interesting pathway for high net worth foreign nationals to fast track their approval for residence in the United States, and were designed to encourage meaningful investment in the country.  However, given the complications associated with finding an investment, and the increasing popularity of the program, since its inception a number of specialty firms have risen to present EB-5 compliant investments to applicants.

    In the CED blog’s previous discussion of the program we highlighted the construction of a hotel and marina in Wilmington, NC, which was led by USAInvestCo, a Wilmington based developer whose principals have engaged in projects around the country, and which focuses on providing EB-5 investment opportunities.  This post will highlight a similar firm, Education Fund of America, which provides investors with the opportunity to allocate capital to Charter schools, including at least four in North Carolina according to their websiteRead more »

  • Asset Building and the Shrinking Middle Class

    The shrinking middle class is a continuing theme in the political discourse this election season. This comes as no surprise because what it means to be middle class is at the heart of the American Dream.  As the White House Task Force on the Middle Class led by Vice President Biden noted, being middle class is less to do with income and more about aspirations.  Middle class families aspire to home ownership, a car, college education for their children, health and retirement security, and occasional family vacations.

    The challenge is that income stagnation has made it harder for families to keep up with the spiraling costs of health care, college tuition, and housing. Read more »

  • Equity and Economic Development: What’s the Connection?

    There is a renewed interest among many public officials in figuring out how to address intractable economic inequities that continue to exist in the U.S.   In response, the UNC School of Government’s Public Executive Leadership Academy (PELA) now includes a session on equitable growth and development, which I co-teach along with my faculty colleague Tyler Mulligan. The traditional economic development profession is also beginning to pay closer attention to the “wicked problems” of economic disparity and income inequality.  The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) recently formed a committee to help identify promising strategies to promote equitable prosperity and has been addressing equity concerns in workshop sessions as part of its annual conference the last couple years.  IEDC plans to release a major report on the topic in the coming months.  What’s the latest thinking about economic inequality and equity issues?  What are the implications for economic development policy, strategy, and practice? Read more »

  • What @sog_ced is reading on the web: August 2016

    CED_Icon_for_TwitterThe following are articles and reports on the web that the Community and Economic Development Program at the UNC School of Government shared through social media over the past month. Follow us on twitter or facebook to receive regular updates.

    Items of interest related to CED in North Carolina:

    Incentive grant recaptured by Surry County – business was unable to prove jobs were created as promised. ‪ 

    Brent Lane at the Kenan Institute advises on economic development opportunities for Lower Currituck, including ecotourism and local foods: ‪ 

    NC Main Street Program describes impact of its downtown strategies and community development programs in Western North Carolina:

    Triangle co-working spaces are specializing: manufacturing, tech, and working parents:

    Controlled access highway to connect eastern North Carolina metro areas seen as an economic development priority. ‪ 

    Local governments can provide public-owned infrastructure (not incentives) for CSX terminal after location announcement:  Read more »

  • Library Living? Integrating a library into a mixed-use development

    libraryWould you ever want to live and shop on top of or next to your library that is part of a mixed-use development? Cities looking to catalyze on a library’s energy and flow of people could consider the development of a library as a component in a mixed-use project, which is development that integrates multiple components such as residential, office, and civic uses. Including a library in a mixed-use development could ease the public burden on the high construction and maintenance costs of building and operating a library while also attracting new tenants or residents. Cities across the US are contemplating or have executed on this model including Milwaukee, Marion, Portland, and New York.

    Read more »

  • Financing Energy Efficiency for Municipal Electric Utility Customers in North Carolina

    Energy efficiency finance programs can help electricity customers to save money on their electric bills, have more efficient homes and offices to live and work in, reduce greenhouse gas emissions from energy production, and promote workforce development, job creation, and economic growth in local communities which may be very much in need of these benefits.

    In the Old North State, electricity customers are generally served by one of three kinds of utilities: Investor-owned utilities (IOU’s), co-operative utilities (co-ops), and municipal electrical utilities (munis). As part of the its energy and sustainability financing programs, the Environmental Finance Center at the UNC School of Government is now working on the Rural Community Energy and Economic Capacity Building Program, funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI), to research and develop ways to help electricity customers in three small towns in northeastern North Carolina to have greater access to energy efficiency (EE) financing alternatives. Two of these three towns have their own municipal electric utilities.

    This brings us to the key questions of this blog post: What are utilities already doing in North Carolina to promote and finance EE for their customers? What other alternatives exist? And why does this matter in the first place?

    Read more »

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