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 |

  • Policy, Sports, and Economic Impact

    With the 2017 NBA All-Star Weekend now behind us, it seems relevant to reflect on the impact state policy can have on economic and real estate development in cities and towns. NBA All-Star Weekend, an event held annually to highlight the skills and abilities of the best and most exciting players in the league, brings in an average of $117.2 million dollars of economic impact over the course of three days.

    As a result of the in-pouring of money the event brings, hosting it is highly sought after; competition between cities is fierce, with many footing the bill for major arena and infrastructure improvements to entice the committee’s selection. The 2015 selection for the 2017 location was no different. After agreeing to $40 million worth of improvements to their arena ($33.5 million of public investment) Charlotte, NC was selected. If Charlotte could achieve the average economic impact of the event, the investment into the arena would deliver a 293% return on investment. Read more »

  • What is the “special character” of the historic district?

    After a city or county establishes a historic district or historic landmark, the local historic preservation commission is authorized to prevent certain changes that “would be incongruous with the special character of the landmark or district.”  But, what is the special character? And what is incongruous with it?  This blog reviews applicable laws and cases to outline the procedural requirements for establishing the special character (through formal report, ordinance description, and design guidelines) and subsequently determining whether a particular change is incongruous (through a quasi-judicial evidentiary hearing). Read more »

  • Community Resilience Has Many Faces…Part 2

    The research project on community and regional 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, providing data and information that can spark realistic conversations about a community’s future.  This blog looks at some of the main elements that determine resilience and vulnerability in North Carolina’s counties. Previous blogs, Strengthening Resilience in North Carolina’s Communities and Community Resilience Has Many Faces…Part 1 referred to a set of measurements that have been developed for resilience and vulnerability for every county in the United States. These look at four dimensions: economic, social, infrastructure, and environmental. This blog looks at the infrastructure and environmental dimensions, and sets out to answer the questions: what do these mean and how can they be measured? How do the four measures come together to describe community resilience? Read more »

  • A Little Slice of Heaven: A Primer on Air Rights in Development

    Common law holds that once person owns a piece of land “it is theirs all the way to Heaven.” In a modern development environment, however, the transfer of air rights—fee simple title to a three dimensional space located at a precisely defined location—between owners is becoming increasingly common. Today we will take a brief look into the uses of air rights in development and how they are transferred.

    While air rights in New York and Chicago have made headlines for years, air rights also play an important role in economic development in North Carolina. In particular, as communities of all sizes see value in creating a mix of uses in their downtown environments developers have sought to maximize value and lower risk through increasingly complex vertical ownership structures. Read more »

  • What @sog_ced is reading online: February 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:

    Why hasn’t North Carolina’s “largest, shovel-ready industrial site” landed a major company yet? ‪ 

    Over 377,000 North Carolina renter households experienced severe cost burdens and other housing-related issues in 2013, says report.

    School of Government faculty member Tyler Mulligan proposes a framework for judicial scrutiny of government subsidies for private development in the Harvard Law & Policy Review: ‪ 

    Other CED items:

    Thought manufacturing job losses were bad? Harvard Business School asks: could future service sector job losses be worse?

    Federal Reserve Bank post examines how where you live impacts the availability and accessibility of good paying jobs that don’t require bachelor’s degree:

    Research finds large corporate landlords more likely to evict tenants than small landlords in Atlanta:

    Report asks: Are there enough building code inspectors to keep development safe and on pace?

    Op-ed explains the technical reasons why cellular technology (like 4G and next generation 5G) can’t reach rural areas without fiber backbone. ‪  Read more »

  • What’s Old is New Again: Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

    adusThe granny cottage, in-law suite, or guest apartment, among its various names, might seem like a quaint relic of the past. But proponents are touting the Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) as the new frontier of housing development in an era of rising demand for diverse housing stock.

    Ranging in size, but averaging roughly 550 square feet, ADUs are large enough to be self-contained (equipped with bathroom, kitchen, etc.), but small enough to remain subordinate to the main house.  An ADU can be attached to the main dwelling with a separate exterior entrance or detached on a residential lot that is separate from the main dwelling—but either way smaller than the main unit; by  definition, an “accessory” to the home. (The Accessory Dwellings website includes a breadth of information on designs, costs and local permitting.)  Read more »

  • The State of Technology in North Carolina

    techThe North Carolina Technology Association (NCTA) recently published the 2017 State of the Technology Industry Report providing interested stakeholders an in-depth review of North Carolina’s technology industry. The following blog post will provide a snapshot of the report that is available for download on NCTA’s site here.

    The tech sector has been remarkably robust of late and has been a boon for the North Carolina economy. Not only was the average salary per tech worker $110,000 in 2015, it was almost twice the average salary for all industries in NC. The tech industry is estimated to make up approximately 20 percent of North Carolina’s economy in terms of employees, earnings, and sales. Another staggering figure to wrap your mind around is for every job created in the technology industry, another two jobs are supported across all industries are supported in NC, at least according to the North Carolina Technology Association (NCTA). The short- and long-term trends for North Carolina highlight the tremendous opportunity and growth that North Carolina has in store if the trends continue. Read more »

  • Solar Power Heating Up in Commercial Real Estate

    solarThe cost of installing solar panels has been in steady decline since 2010, and the residential market for solar panel installations on home roofs is experiencing rapid growth. With growing demand and several policy incentives for solar installations, incorporating solar power into real estate development projects can be an attractive option for investors. Read more »

  • Local Governments and Non-Profits: Building Community Through Partnership

    Photo by Crissy Pascual, Argus-Courier (Oct. 20, 2016)

    NBC News recently aired a short feel-good story during its Nightly News broadcast about a code enforcement officer working for the City of Petaluma, California. Joe Garcia had received multiple complaints about a dilapidated home surrounded by overgrown weeds. Clearly the home was out of compliance, and so the natural course of action would be a warning and fine. But that’s not what happened. What happened instead is an example not only of decency and caring, but of the power within communities to build community and improve quality of life through partnerships. In this case, Joe learned about the homeowner, WWII vet Albert Pericou. He found out that Mr. Pericou lacked the resources and physical ability to keep up with his property. Joe realized that something could be done about it. He knew about a non-profit organization called Rebuilding Together and made a connection between Mr. Pericou and the organization. Before long, community volunteers, including Joe Garcia, with the help of a $10,000 donation by Home Depot, were giving Mr. Pericou’s home and yard a makeover.

    Read more »

  • One City, Two Public Markets: Case Studies of Success and Failure in Portland, Maine

    640px-pike-place-marketPublic Markets are often used as a tool in downtown revitalization. They are attractive uses for vacant building with large footprints and bring high value and high-demand local food options to consumers, drive foot traffic, and catalyze new development. In the last 20 years, Portland, Maine, has seen two models of Public Markets try to bring the energy and options of Public Markets. The Portland Public Market set an innovative model of philanthropic foundation leadership, but failed to find success in its large-format, appearance-first space. In contrast, the Portland Public Market House is a successful model that brought vendor ownership and management and location choice to overcome building layout and financing challenges. Read more »

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