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mazman34340's Achievements


Whistle-Stop (3/14)



  1. What makes this all complicated is the very likely housing bubble crash that has begun. It's rather odd but I would say there is a shortage and bubble at the same time. Bubbles don't form in vacuums after-all, some kind-of shortage needs to kick off higher prices. When the market becomes heated for too long though, bubble psychology begins. More institutional money gets involved. The FED driving interest rates to near zero and big banks dumping cash into every nook and cranny in real estate was the primary cause of the second housing bubble. So, were all gonna have to wait 3-4 years to see how much of these absurd prices are due to bubble hysteria or the real shortage of walkable urbanism. We need to see how far prices bottom out. A big complicating factor is recent surveys suggesting there's a fair amount of people who had been anticipating this (including institutional money), so they might put in enough money to soften the landing. Best case scenario, the demand for horrible overpriced oversized homes gets wiped off the face the Earth.
  2. I love trees too but I'm gonna go ahead and assume that sucker is in the middle of the lot I'm trying to build in. I try to buy the smallest lot possible so every square foot is critical. That tree is dead. Since land is so expensive, I'm going to try to maximize square footage to overcome their costs (which is why a land price correction would be welcome). If the tree is on the corner or edge of a lot I have to make a hard choice to try to save it. During the entire construction process, tree needs to be marked off and bundled. Yet if an excavator or something smacks the tree, it could easily get killed and all that effort is wasted. Limbs need to be cut down as well for multi-story projects. It's context. In an urban environment with small lots, I don't give a rat's ass about a tree. Street trees are a different animal but the regulations make me wary. I love street trees but how much space will the arborist require and space for the canopy? That can kill missing middle but I would welcome a street tree requirement. I've seen in NY, NY 30' trees with like 10' sidewalks. They don't need outrageous amounts of space. If mister arborist requires 30' of open space on the ground, I could get screwed. Also. Kill parking minimums. Full stop kill em'.
  3. The 12' height limit has been raised to 20'. Still a few feet too short but one of the poison pills for missing middle has been removed. I'd watch out though if another poison pill was added like parking minimums creeped back up for example. EDIT: Still looking at parking minimums. The geniuses at the planning department struck down 12 insane pages of parking micromanagement though was that consolidated to higher parking minimums? Gotta check.
  4. Here's several poison pills in the zoning code that will likely kill triplex projects in Neighborhood 1 Zones. Most townhouses at this point will require two to three stories of height to work with and of course there are a fair number of ranch neighborhoods that have primarily one story homes. Combine this with rear-setbacks and front set-backs and developers will be squeezed for square footage. Notice how this requirement is not present for other single family homes like McMansions. Class warfare in zoning code. The Neighborhood Character Overlay will be a disaster...
  5. I'm out of real estate. I'm an EMT now. The whole industry is too toxic and not good for me. At this point, it's like 75% insane possibly bubble market and 25% garbage regulations. So I could go back in if the market shifts but probably not Charlotte. My dark fear is if the market corrects, it would be the perfect time to start building missing middle. That's exactly what is needed to start letting the market recover and build housing of a decent density and price points that are more affordable. Charlotte slammed the door shut on the possibility. Even if the market severely corrects, I would at a minimum start building four-plexes. It's way past the point to build duplexes in many neighborhoods.
  6. What the heck was the point of the UDO then. Will it take another four years for upzonings? I moved out of Charlotte and am not sure if I will ever build a fourplex in a historic streetcar neighborhood. I can deal with neighborhood opposition to an extent and respect their concerns. I absolutely despise the city council and government and have no tolerance to go through months of planning to build missing middle. Meanwhile... the record breaking price of a home in the neighborhood Belmont is 1.5 million smackeroonies. 8,000 dollar mortgage. Allowed by right.
  7. The UDO is still in the balance and Taiwo's departure is not helping. I can't say much negative about him and actually had good vibes the couple times I talked to him. To leave though at this time... when we might be nearing 'the final year' is absurd.
  8. This is a winning argument... wish you could be on the city council. My support was always tepid for the UDO/2040 Plan but I would vote yes if I could. The bitterness is how this was all timed. It was off by five years. It's way too late for neighborhoods like Belmont which are now permanently unaffordable. Even a correction of like 25% wouldn't really do that much now (and that would cause it's own sort-of problems). It's like for things to really get improving, we'd need a combination of a zoning overhaul and correction. Not like an 08' apocalypse correction but wipe out the rampant speculation. Zoning would allow for missing middle types to start to be built and the correction would give the next generation of developers some slack. I think the entire land development industry needs an overhaul and it will come in time. It's almost faith. It's just gonna be a very long painful road.
  9. I really am the doomer here aren't I? So. We gots the plan approved. So did Austin, Texas for CodeNEXT when they wanted to over-haul everything. BBBUUUuuutttt.... when they started to actually change the zoning code law and language, that's when it started to fall apart. Delay after delay, stakeholders coming in the last minute. The NIMBY's spread panic that it will allow apartments all over the place (when it didn't really upzone much). The mayor of Austin finally did a 'grand bargain' that was fatal to the whole process. It stalled and died out. I'm happy to see I've been wrong so far and the plan passed but the UDO approval work is gonna be twice as hard. Signs of failure are when the city council start stripping out things like the elimination of single family zoning or the on-street parking requirement changes. The republican city council are saying sprawl and single family zoning is just 'what people want' despite it also being a massive violation of property rights. The democratic no votes are claiming the upzoning will make gentrification worse despite single family zoning guaranteeing McMansions. Ah, the stakes are high aren't they?
  10. I'll admit, I like the longer term bicycle storage requirements and I'm sure there's an illustration and explainer for that somewhere in the document. Like I'm sick of pulling up at RiteAID and there's 20+ open parking spaces but the lazy ass property manager couldn't be bothered to put in a single bicycle rack. Here's the funny thing though... how many of those car parking spaces were required by the planning department?
  11. It starts with defining place types by it's existing use. So like the old R-5 zoning would be called N-6 or something like that. Then it will upzoned for the 'future' place types so it might go up to N2. Not using the exact language of the UDO but that's the gist of it. Yep Ran, its confusing and I'm wondering if it's confusing by design. Separately, I'm not really vibin' with the city being so micromanagement obsessed with defining parking minimums for bicycles. I cycle and would really like more bike racks but not in this manner. You don't need to have 20+ uses defined. The planners could never get the right parking minimums usually being completely over-kill. There's no way they can guess bicycle parking correctly.
  12. Alright, I'll take another look at the zoning code but if it's as you say it is... why the hell would I build a fourplex. If I build a triplex, I can hypothetically build it by right. As soon as I put in that fourth unit, it has to be affordable. I'm not aware of any NGO or organization that can readily help give grants for a single affordable housing unit (I'm serious though if you know any, tell me.) Otherwise, I would have to apply some-where like the The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program. Let me tell you, it's just paperwork... and more paperwork. I'm not getting paid by the hour to wait weeks on end while filing out paperwork and I doubt still I would get access to those credits. I know of small scale developers who tried it and after a few years give up because it's just a pain in the ass. Charlotte underfunds housing, it won't have the grant money. So I'm stuck looking around. Or I build the triplex. Don't mean to sound grumpy, not at you... mostly the city council.
  13. NO. They were created decades ago to limit density for the sake of limiting density. The department does not need 'leverage'. It needs to be able to give grants, small or large to promote better development. For missing middle housing, all the city has is sticks to beat developers with. To use pseudoscientific zoning code as another stick to get concessions is terrible policy. I'm pulling out of a project where I was pressured to provide affordable housing. City and neighborhood never offered any grants or it was expected to be done entirely on the developer's side. Three blocks away, they have approved hundred+ unit apartments on one side and a year or two later in the opposite direction. As far as I can tell, they provided zero affordable units. I refuse to do business like this where the city deal makes with large developers and small operators are dumped with so many restrictions.
  14. Won't take very long to figure out what is public or private. If a resident tries to use the Target Deck or CPCC deck for parking, it's going to towed very very quickly after word gets out. I'm interested if larger private entities would be willing to rent out parking space on their empty lots or parking garages that are usually empty. For example churches. Get a contract and have it credited towards parking minimums. I don't expect it to be used massively but should be an option on the table.
  15. One of the biggest problems is when the planning department is combining land use obsessed Euclidian Zoning with architecturally obsessed Form Based Code and trying to keep the two in harmony together. Good luck with that. As zoning gets increasingly intense with density, Euclidian needs to get thrown out the window. Wait a minute... wait a second... do my eyes deceive me? Is this... RATIONAL GOVERNMENT POLICY. I didn't think they were capable of this. Look at this. Holy crap. It makes missing middle almost legal to build.
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