Charlotte’s four-year-old Post-Construction Controls Ordinance could undergo a minor facelift in the next few weeks – and the changes would be good news for developers. In response to a growing number of variance requests, the city’s storm water staff has proposed expanding a mitigation fee option for redevelopment sites citywide on a two-year trial basis. If adopted, this means any redevelopment project over one acre in size could elect to pay a $90,000-per-acre mitigation fee in lieu of installing expensive water quality controls on site. The option is currently only available for those projects built in transit corridors or areas designated as “distressed business districts.” While the proposed mitigation fee is high, it is often significantly lower than the full cost of on-site PCCO compliance, particularly for small, infill projects.
The proposal has been predictably lambasted by the environmental lobby, which claims it will lead to further degradation of urban streams by allowing developers greater leeway to “pay to pollute.” But REBIC supports the proposal as an important step toward encouraging increased redevelopment of in-town sites and the subsequent revitalization of neighborhoods. We also support an accompanying proposal to remove the natural area requirement from the PCCO, as it would consolidate all tree preservation requirements under the city’s Tree Ordinance.
The City Council’s Environment Committee debated the changes during their meeting last month, after hearing testimony from REBIC, the Storm Water Advisory Commission, the Tree Commission, and local tree advocate Rick Roti. The committee will take up the issue again at its next meeting on September 26, and is expected to take a vote at that time before forwarding the issue back to the full Council. REBIC is strongly encouraging all our members to make their voice heard on this important issue, and we’re doing everything we can to make it easy for you to do so. Just CLICK HERE for more information on how to help.