The Tortoise, the Hare, and Demolition in Historic Districts

A few blocks from downtown in the town’s historic district sit two houses built [more…]

Conveyance of Local Government Property for Affordable Housing

A developer of affordable housing for low and moderate income persons has approached the [more…]

Notice and Hearing Requirements for Economic Development Appropriations

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

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…]

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 |

  • Raleigh’s Moore Square Redevelopment

    When you think of highest and best use for real estate, public parks are often overlooked.  Even if a park is functioning as intended, it still might have potential to serve the community in a greater capacity while adding benefit to the surrounding area. If the purpose of a park is to offer a recreational area for the community around it, then the community must be engaged in its design.  The City of Raleigh’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department is doing just that with Moore Square.

    Moore Square was founded in the same year as Raleigh in 1792 when Senator and surveyor William Christmas laid out 400 acres of city fabric.  Moore Square is one of 3 remaining planned parcels that has survived the test of time, making it a historical and integral part of Raleigh.  However, the park is showing its age having been the same since around 1964.  Materials and furnishing are worn and many expressed concerns with safety, partially due to poor visibility and lack of lighting.  Read more »

  • 5 ways to make your building healthier: Fitwel, Part 2 of 2

    A recent CED blog post introduced Fitwel – a new certification system focused on occupant health and wellness in buildings – and began to explore what a ‘healthy’ building looks like. This post continues the discussion, highlighting five examples of features that the Fitwel system recognizes. The purpose of this post is to give readers a better sense of:

    1. what Fitwel certification looks like in practice; and
    2. what specific things owners and tenants can do to make their office buildings healthier places to work.

    Read more »

  • Community Resilience: Some Practical Questions

    The research project on community resilience at the School of Government aims to help communities think differently about how they prepare for disasters and how they can become more resilient. This is the fourth blog in a series that looks at what enhancing resilience means for North Carolina’s communities. Previous blogs have discussed the importance of resilience thinking and ways of measuring resilience and vulnerability. However, resilience planning raises a number of practical questions. Read more »

  • What @sog_ced is reading online: May 2017

    The 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:

    Charlotte Business Journal asks local economic developers about the link between trade policy and international investment interest:

    18 North Carolina counties quadrupled service jobs from 1990-2015 and most are rural, small town or suburban, according to the UNC Center for Urban & Regional Studies’ profile of the state’s hospitality and leisure-sector jobs:

    Comprehensive story about Haywood County, North Carolina’s economic development history and future: 

    A national report considers the connection between transportation infrastructure and economic development, finding that investments are needed in North Carolina:

    The federal government provides less than 1% of hurricane recovery assistance funds requested by North Carolina:

    New Census data shows that, in Eastern North Carolina, population is stabilizing in some areas that were declining: Read more »

  • The Value of Greenways

    In an increasingly digital world, the economic fortunes of a community can be dependent on a quality of life it provides to residents. Investments in greenway systems — trails lined with trees, vegetation, or other natural features — are a way that some local governments choose to enhance quality of life by providing recreational opportunities and leveraging underutilized amenities. Greenways often following a natural feature such as a river or disused railroad bed.

    Boston’s Emerald Necklace, constructed in the 1880’s is usually recognized as the first major U.S. greenway, and connects 1,100 acres of parks through seven miles of trail. More recent examples include New York City’s High Line or Atlanta’s BeltLine. Many North Carolina communities, large and small, have made public investments in greenways. Kinston, for example, recently completed the first phase of its downtown Arts Riverwalk and Durham has over 30 miles of greenways and trails within its City limits. As communities build or expand greenways, they should understand and consider the value of these trails can bring. Read more »

  • Renewables: Beyond Traditional Small Scale Applications

    When people think about renewable energy for their homes and businesses, the first option that comes to mind is building a traditional solar panel array. Whether on their roof or on the ground, these systems provide clean solar energy and are eligible for different incentive programs. Nevertheless, that is not the only option available. In an industry that has seen rapid innovation and an overall drop in prices, companies have been quick in exploiting more ways in which to create value. This post, the first in a 2-part series, will explore new innovations in solar canopies, roofs, and even shingles. Read more »

  • A Closer Look at Multifamily Construction Types

    A recent blog post examined the benefits of wood-framed construction. However, in the few months that have lapsed between that article and this post, The Metropolitan, a 241-unit apartment building under development in Raleigh inexplicably caught fire and subsequently burned to the ground, causing severe damage to several adjacent buildings in the process. Due to the hard work and heroism of The Raleigh Fire Department, thankfully no loss of life occurred. However, the fact that this was the largest fire in the City of Raleigh for nearly a century has North Carolina residents wondering if wood-framed construction is really safe. So today, the CED blog will try to answer this question by examining different construction materials and the tradeoffs associated with each. Read more »

  • Fighting Blight with Property Tax Bills

    How can a city more effectively fight blight—vacant, abandoned, and dilapidated housing? The city of High Point tried to find some answers last year with help from the Center for Community Progress and the UNC School of Government.

    My economic development expert-colleague Tyler Mulligan and I were honored to play a part in this extensive effort that included a variety of city departments, Guilford County officials, and neighborhood organizations. Tyler focused on how best to navigate housing code enforcement law. My focus was on how best to use property tax collection remedies to recoup housing code enforcement costs.  You can read the full report produced by the Center for Community Progress here; today’s blog summarizes the relevant property tax collection issues.

    My best advice to High Point and other cities combating blight was simple: use your property tax bills! Read more »

  • Boosting LIHTC: Difficult Development Areas & Qualified Census Tracts

    The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program was designed to encourage the private development of affordable rental housing in the United States. (If you are new to LIHTC, check out the CED blog’s primer on low-income housing tax credits before proceeding.)   But even with the dollar-for-dollar reduction in tax liability, affordable rental development is constrained in some areas by high costs or concentrations of low-income households.

    To incentivize private developers into these “hard-to-serve” areas, the U.S. Congress mandates that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) designate special zones that can receive higher credit allocations.  Projects situated in a Difficult Development Area or Qualified Census Tract qualify for a 30% boost in the LIHTC eligible basis, a significant increase in equity for a project. The eligible basis includes development costs that are subject to depreciation such as new construction, rehabilitation, and building acquisition and excludes costs such as land acquisition. Read more »

  • New Resource on the Role of Local Elected Officials in Economic Development

    The National League of Cities (NLC) recently released a guide to help local elected leaders better understand economic development and their role in the process.  Produced in partnership with the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), What You Should Know 2.0: Elected Leaders and Economic Development, updates an earlier guide that is titled The Role of Local Elected Officials in Economic Development: 10 Things You Should KnowRead more »

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