The next City Council workshop is tomorrow at 4pm at CityWorks. You can find the agenda and link to the livestream here: https://buff.ly/3jNFKAn
The workshop will be a joint meeting between City Council, the Planning Board, NCDOT, Kimley Horn (the city’s consultant for traffic impact analysis studies), and members from our legislative delegation to discuss our traffic impact analysis (TIA) ordinance. The way our ordinance currently works, only developments that generate a certain level of new traffic are required to implement mitigation measures through the TIA process. So, if a development is small enough that it does not create enough new traffic, it does not need to go through the full TIA process. However, there is some concern that this could lead to a “death by a thousand cuts” situation, where in a series of smaller development projects, no one project generates significant traffic, but collectively they create the kind of traffic degradation you would normally see from one large project. So, we want to ensure that our planning process accounts for that and think through some ways of addressing that problem.
In addition, recently, in other parts of the state, there have been some lawsuits filed by developers against municipalities challenging the cities’ authority to require traffic mitigation measures as part of the development process. The success of these lawsuits would make it impossible for Belmont to continue using our TIA process as we have and severely handcuff our ability to manage growth in a responsible and sustainable way. So, we are proactively involving our representatives in Raleigh to ensure that they are aware of the success that we have had with our TIA process and understand how important it is to protect this very important tool. We want to be prepared in case these lawsuits are successful against the other municipalities.
It should be a very interesting workshop! If you have any questions, let me know!