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Four Things to Know: State and Local Legislative Updates

Four Things to Know: State and Local Legislative Updates

Four Things to Know: State and Local Legislative Updates 

Prepared by Katie Loovis on Friday, January 20, 2022

The Chamber Government Affairs Committee and staff members monitor what's happening on the state and local legislative front. Here are four timely things Chamber members should know right now:  

1) New State Law Changes How Local Elected Officials Engage on Nonprofit Boards: The NC General Assembly has passed a law limiting the level of engagement local elected officials can have on nonprofit boards of directors as it relates to contracts and grant funding decisions. Specifically, the rule states: "no public official shall knowingly participate in making or administering a contract, including the award of money in the form of a grant, loan, or other appropriation, with any nonprofit with which that public official is associated. The public official shall record his or her recusal with the clerk to the board, and once recorded, the political subdivision of this State may enter into or administer the contract." (See Session Law 2021-191, Section 4.(a).)

2) 32 Chapel Hill Development Projects to Watch: On a quarterly basis, the Chapel Hill Planning Department provides an overview of all projects in the Council action pipeline. There are 32 active development projects underway (from concept plan to staff review and advisory boards, to council action, and final plan) including three concept plans (review the development presentation and watch the video discussion on 01/07/22, which starts at the 3:28-mark). One concept plan to note is the South Creek Mixed Use Project (formerly Obie Creek) at 15-501 South, which had a productive Concept Plan Review with Council during the 1/12/22 Council Meeting. Also, Merritt Properties - a Baltimore-based commercial real estate firm - announced a new Chapel Hill North Business Center Development Project (flex/light industrial project expected to deliver in 2023).   

3) Six New Businesses Coming to/Expanding in Downtown Chapel Hill: The Executive Director of the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, Matt Gladdek, issues a monthly report summarizing the state of play with our downtown. In the January 2022 report he highlighted several items including: a) Six new businesses are coming to or expanding in downtown (Still Life, Juiceshop, Epilogue expansion, Carolina Coffee Shop expansion, Raising Cane’s Chicken, and Le Macaron French Bakery) and there are three more business openings/expansions to be announced soon. b) The Rosemary Parking Deck is demolished and expected finish is November 2022, the Town Council is in conversation with the NCDOT about taking over Franklin Street. The local control would allow for more local business-friendly decisions related to through traffic design and integration of expanded sidewalks. Read the January 2022 Report

4) ICYMI, Study Shows Chapel Hill Needs to Increase Housing Production by 35% to Keep up with Projected Growth: Business Street Principal, Rod Stevens, delivered an exceptional report and presentation on the projected housing needs in Chapel Hill from 2020-2040 on 11/05/2021. The Business Street study found that there is little variety in the housing developed in Chapel Hill over the last 20 years, many needs are going unmet (including first-time buyers, families with young children, divorcees, empty nesters, seniors, and owner-occupied multi-family homes), and Chapel Hill housing production needs to increase 35% to match projected job and household growth. The choices before council have tremendous consequences, namely a) a no-growth scenario leads to Palo Alto-like homogeneity and pricing; b) a continued project-to-project approach leads to continued controversy, loss of place, and unmet needs; and c) a direct growth approach to create new and good neighborhoods will require superb comprehensive planning and strong community support. Watch the video of this excellent discussion on 11/05/2021 (starts at the 47:38-mark). 

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