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 |

  • Making the Case for Affordable Housing: Using BLS Statistics to ask Hard Questions About Salaries vs. Local Housing Costs

    Last year, nursing assistants in Goldsboro earned $11.83 an hour (median wage) for a mean annual salary of $24,610.  Is this a sufficient wage to sustain a person who wants to live and work there?

    Affordable housing for different demographic groups in North Carolina communities has been discussed in several prior blogs, including ones about affordable housing for teachers, seniors and those living in rural areas.  A different perspective is available with the use of easily-accessible, wonderfully-detailed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Read more »

  • Healthy Corner Store Initiatives

    There are a variety of policy tools being deployed to deal with so-called food deserts—neighborhoods that lack full-service grocery stores and have higher incidence of diet-related diseases like obesity and diabetes. From offering financial incentives to encourage the construction of new grocery stores to promoting and incentivizing visits to local farmers’ markets, these policies attempt to make it easier for residents, particularly in low-income neighborhoods, to access fresh produce and other nutrient-dense food.

    The North Carolina General Assembly is currently considering one such policy, aimed at increasing people’s access to fresh, healthy foods. House Bill 387, The Corner Store Initiative, was introduced to the House in March 2017, and is currently in committee. There is also a similar bill in the Senate, Senate Bill 498, The Healthy Food Small Retailer Program. H.B. 387 is designed to assist small food retail outlets—stores that are 5,000 square feet and smaller—in their capacity to offer fresh foods to customers living in food desert neighborhoods. As this blog has previously covered, this is not the state’s first consideration of policy measures to improve food access across the state, but it is one of the most current. Read more »

  • May a City Mow an Overgrown Lot without a Court Order?

    The Town of Manicure has been working hard to revitalize the historic neighborhood adjacent to downtown. As part of the effort to improve conditions in this and other neighborhoods, the town has been more vigilant in enforcing its overgrown lot ordinance, which prohibits property owners from allowing grass and weeds to grow above 18 inches in height. Whenever the town’s inspection department verifies that grass and weeds on property located within the corporate limits are more than 18 inches high, the owner receives a citation informing her that, if she doesn’t bring the lot into compliance within 15 calendar days, town employees will mow the lot and bill the owner for the cost of corrective action.  The town routinely follows through on such warnings without first obtaining a court order authorizing the action taken.

    May the town mow a noncompliant lot without first obtaining an order of abatement from the appropriate court? Read more »

  • What @sog_ced is reading online: March 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:

    Overview of workforce development programs in Cape Fear region of North Carolina and how these training programs are helping workers adapt to the new economy: 

    Forbes examines how an “employee ownership” approach can address succession at small firms as the silver tsunami hits North Carolina: 

    Report on how life sciences companies and their supply chains impact the North Carolina economy. 

    Local business leaders in Fayetteville, North Carolina assemble human capital and set a vision for the city’s long term growth and economic development goals: 

    Currituck County, North Carolina residents debate whether a solar farm ban is needed to preserve agricultural land:

    A small North Carolina town has voted to dissolve its charter after a measure to raise property taxes failed. Others to follow?  Read more »

  • Community Development through EPA’s Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program

    Many of the local governments we assist at the Environmental Finance Center struggle to raise enough money to support their environmental services. Often, we work with these communities to improve the finance and management of their systems through better rate setting, cost controls, and long-term planning. But another solution for struggling communities is to increase and strengthen their customer base through community and economic development.

    EPA has a number of programs and resources aimed to revitalize communities through “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. In previous posts, we looked at aspects of EPA’s Smart Growth initiative including their new Framework tool for Small Cities and Towns as well as Smart Growth efforts here in North Carolina. This post examines another aspect of the Smart Growth initiative: the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program.

    Read more »

  • How a Mezzanine Loan Can Reduce Equity Requirements, Boost Returns, and Attract Investment to a Redevelopment Project

    The Parker Building is a two-story, 8,000-SF brick building in downtown Milliganton, NC. The building is subdivided into two small retail tenant spaces, but for the most part it is an empty shell. Despite having been mostly vacant for the last several decades, the building is in good shape.  A recent roof repair and functional heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning have kept the building from falling into disrepair. Read more »

  • Periodic Inspections, Permits, and Registration of Residential Rental Property: Changes in 2017

    Local governments establish residential rental property inspection, permit, and registration (IPR) programs to ensure that residential rental properties within their jurisdictions are maintained in a safe and decent condition. In recent years, the General Assembly has sought to protect code-compliant landlords from what legislators perceived as overly zealous IPR programs. The most recent legislation in this area, Session Law 2016-122, became effective on January 1, 2017, and is explained in Community and Economic Development bulletin #9. This blog post offers some highlights from the new law. CED Bulletin #9 should be consulted for more detail. Read more »

  • What is the “Greenest” Building? Making a Case for Building Reuse and Historic Preservation

    Mother Earth Brewing in Kinston, NC: Gold LEED certified & Historic Preservation

    Carl Elefante, AIA, LEED AP, a prominent proponent of sustainable historic preservation, states, “The greenest building is the one that has already been built.”  Elefante’s declaration revolutionized the commonly-accepted theory that newer is better, both for society and for the environment. Elefante meant to dissuade public and private sectors from new construction and development, and to revalue existing and irreplaceable building stock. The preservation of historic structures has proven to be an effective tool towards economic, environmental, and social sustainability. However, the green movement, as it exists currently, stresses new construction rather than the preservation of existing resources, leading to implied preferences towards the touted sustainability of “green design.”  Read more »

  • 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 »

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