January 2020 Update
Housing Continues to be Top of Mind for Elected Officials
The Raleigh Regional Association of REALTORS® proudly helped sponsor the Triangle Community Coalition's Annual Meeting kicking off the 2020 calendar year in January. The TCC invited three prominent mayors from the region, including Mary-Ann Baldwin of Raleigh, Harold Weinbrecht of Cary, and Steve Schewel of Durham as their keynote panelists. As each begins their new term, they discussed the top priorities and plans for the year ahead for each of their municipalities. Without question, housing affordability, the availability of a more diverse housing stock, and density of growth took center stage throughout the region and RRAR is excited to help work with our great elected officials throughout the Triangle on these ideals!
Commuter Rail: Staying on Track
For those of us who thought rail was derailed following the sudden collapse of the Orange-Durham rail line last year, there does appear to be a light at the end of the tunnel. GoTriangle has been moving forward on a commuter rail line between Garner and Durham, taking 40 trips a day moving up to 10,000 people a day. This project would cost around $1.4 billion and $1.8 billion, the NC Railroad would need to be on board, and elected officials unsure after the failure of the last rail project plan. The good news is that the project revolves around rail lines already laid down, so costs would be significantly cheaper than if buying new land and laying new lines, which should also keep the project moving forward.
December 2019 Update
REALTORS® in the Community: Boards and Commissions
Local laws have to be approved by the town or city council, what a lot of people don’t know is that most of these laws are run through one or more advisory boards or commissions. They look at issues the town is facing, then craft recommendations for the council to act on. Every town has them, though they vary from place to place. They can cover everything from historic cemeteries (Raleigh), to growth and natural resources (everywhere), to Bee City certification (Apex). These boards and commissions are made up of non-elected citizens who have some expertise in the area they’re advising. They meet regularly, are supported by municipal staff, and lend their opinions to making their areas better. While they don’t have any enumerated power, many of these groups have tremendous influence over whether projects or ideas are enacted in their towns. Developers, special interest groups, and private citizens often have to get approval through these boards/commissions before a town council will take up an issue.
Sound like something you’d like to get involved in? Reach out to RRAR’s Director of Community Relations Melissa Kolodziej and let her know you’re interested. She work with you to find what might be a good fit, and see how you can get involved locally!
2020 Bond Forecast
There are two known bonds likely to appear on the 2020 ballot next year, and RRAR is keeping an eye on both. First, Raleigh Mayor Mary Ann Baldwin has announced she wants to run a “Quality of Life” bond; it will be a mix of dollars for affordable housing development and retention, funding for Phase 1 of Dorothea Dix Park and other parks/greenways, and likely some infrastructure improvement or expansion. Specifics haven’t been hammered out by the city yet, but we can expect it to be well over $100 million, if not closer to the $200-$400 million range.
The other bond, which is tentative, is the second planned Wake County School Construction Bond. A mirror of the same bond that was run two years ago, this one will be aimed at building new schools in areas previously underserved, or replacing and renovating older schools that are beyond repairs. The last bond was $548 million, it’s unknown at this time whether the second bond will be an equal or lesser value. Also unsure is whether the bond will happen at all or not: WCPSS enrollment numbers have been flatlined the last two years, and enrollment numbers for 2019 have not been released yet. There may be concerns that with no growth, taxpayers may have concerns about increasing property taxes to build facilities that aren’t as urgently needed as before. This can be viewed as a prime opportunity to catch up on needed improvements in advance of whenever the next student boom occurs.
November 2019 Update
Your Opinion Matters
As Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) planning gets underway in Raleigh and Cary, planners want to get your feedback on what types and how much development to allow around the transit lines. Also, how to best spread the benefits of that development broadly and equitably. To make that happen, they are seeking public input. Visit the online survey at https://publicinput.com/5603/ and share your ideas on what development should look like, and how we can capture value for all citizens.
Want to learn more about BRT and how it will boost equality through the region? Visit the project website at raleighnc.gov and discover all the resources available.
October 2019 Update
Live anywhere other than Raleigh or Cary? Early voting is underway across Wake County, You can do your civic duty early by voting now. Here is where you can go to vote - Voter Locations You can vote at any early voting location, making it even easier for you to cast your vote!
Don't know who to vote for? Visit our Realtor Champions page to see who Raleigh Regional Association of REALTORS® is supporting, and what views are important to the candidates.
Municipal elections always have low turnout, every person who votes has their voice amplified across town. Get out and vote with your REALTOR® hat on!
City of Raleigh and Town of Cary Elections
The City of Raleigh and Town of Cary municipal elections are in, and their impact are going to be felt for quite a while to come. In Cary, most every incumbent kept their seats, except for Ken George who was unseated by political newcomer Ya Liu. More transformative for the town, both their parks/greenways bond and their transportation bonds passed. Together they’ll pump about $225 million into the town. If you want to know more about them, you can find information here.
In Raleigh it was out with the old and in with the new, as five new council members will be seated in early December. Of the incumbents, only Nicole Stewart, Corey Branch, and David Cox will be returning; new to the council are Jonathan Melton, Patrick Buffkin, Saige Martin, David Knight.
For Mayor, former council member Mary Ann Baldwin avoided a runoff against Charles Francis, who ran unsuccessfully for the same seat two years ago.
REALTORS® had a large part to play in this years’ elections. RRAR financially contributed to ten candidates with RPAC dollars, winning nine of the races. Additionally, RPAC was the 6th largest contributor in Raleigh’s municipal races, demonstrating the importance REALTORS® place on good governance.
RRAR is the 6th largest contributor to the City of Raleigh candidates in 2019
According to our calculations, RRAR was the 6th largest contributor to City of Raleigh candidates in 2019 (so far). With a total contribution to date of $21,000, RPAC was the largest Political Action Committee involved in the Raleigh election, with the NC Home Builders coming in second at $16,000 in contributions, and the Triangle Apartment Association giving $15,000 in contributions.
Who out-gave RPAC? Some big names you’ll probably recognize. Current Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane, local developer John Kane, and pollster Dean Debnam all gave significant amounts of money to candidates.
RRAR giving at such significant levels does a couple things. First, it elevates how much respect the REALTORS® get in the political and government arena. If RRAR has that much to spend, it means we pull more weight than other interest groups. Secondly individual members giving that much to their PAC demonstrates how dedicated REALTORS® are to their local governments. That level of personal involvement means that REALTORS® understand how important this is, and are taken more seriously as a result.
Congratulations to all the investors in RPAC for making such a bold statement to the community, YOU are what makes RRAR such a leader in our area!
September 2019 Update
Sign ordinances, what you need to know
Everywhere you go you see them...the mattress sale, going out of business, and of course campaign signs. What prevents these advertisements from taking over every square inch of our roads? In many areas, municipal employees will remove these signs that do not conform to local ordinances. But what if one of your "for sale" or "open house" signs is taken?
Though REALTOR®signs are part of your professional business and don't liter intersections, many municipalities have begun to enforce stricter rules on these yard signs. For example; many municipalities regulate how large a "for sale" sign can be, when you can place "open house" signs, or even how many directional signs you can place for an open house. If you do not comply with these rules, you may find that your sign has been removed by the town and you must pay a fine in order to retrieve it. Your time is valuable and chasing down your yard sign is a hassle. The good news is there is a way to prevent this from happening to you.
RRAR has put together an easy to use resource where you can find information on the regulations where you are listing a property. Click here, and scroll down to "Local Sign Ordinance Links," where you can find detailed information on what is or is not allowed in local communities. If you need more assistance or can't find what you are looking for contact RRAR's Government Affairs Team, they will be happy to assist you.
Did you know early voting has started in North Carolina
If you live in Raleigh or Cary early voting began September 18th running through October 4th, with election day on October 8th. If you live outside these two cities early voting runs October 16th through November 1st, with election day on November 5th.
Want to find out if you’re registered to vote, or where to vote? Click here and follow the on screen instructions to find out! Not registered to vote in your municipality? You’ve missed the deadline to mail or email a registration form, but you can register and vote at the same time at any early voting location.
Want to know who to vote for? Be on the lookout for an official communication from RRAR with candidate responses to our online questionnaire, and the slate of supported candidates across Wake and Harnett County. You can also, reach out to RRAR’s government affairs team who would be more than happy to let you know who the Association supported in your area!
Taking an Active Role in Government
Did you know that RRAR supports candidates running for office? As the real estate industry is so directly impacted by our government, RRAR and its members take an active role in ensuring the best candidates for office represent our communities.
Candidates who choose to engage with us begin by filling out an online questionnaire to inform RRAR about their campaign and policy positions. These questionnaires are sent to RRAR members to inform their vote, and help our committees determine who to support for office. After the online survey is completed, RRAR members conduct in-person interviews with candidates. This is done to get a full understanding on which candidates are running and what their campaign platforms revolve around. Each interviewee has a numerical ranking on the questions they are asked, along with general traits like strength of their campaign and interview. These help us objectively compare candidates running against each other.
After in-person interviews, association staff compile the data from the interview scorecards, and present that information (along with staff recommendations) to several RRAR committees for discussion and recommendations to the RRAR Board of Directors. At the end, the Board votes on a slate of candidates they think best represent our industry and the needs of our clients. Our Board will also determine how much Political Action Committee (PAC) funding they want to support candidates with.
RRAR takes candidate support quite seriously and takes a deliberate approach to ensure that as much data is collected and many voices are heard prior to final decisions being made. Our work on the backend assures that we are selecting candidates who are qualified and fully represent RRAR's mission.
Did You Know? The NC Affordable Housing Conference
If you haven’t heard yet, the NC Affordable Housing Conference is just a few weeks away. Held in the Raleigh Convention Center, this two-day event is an excellent opportunity to hear from industry experts about the hard work that goes on across our state to ensure that everyone has a place to call home. A lot of the breakout sessions are fairly technical (the latest changes in Low Income Housing Tax Credits anyone?), but many cover breaking innovations in housing such as examining long term health outcome predictions based on housing types. Raleigh Regional Association of REALTORS® sends staff and committee leadership to attend, if you’d like to learn more about the conference feel free to reach out to RRAR Government Affairs team.
July 2019 Update
Brace Yourselves: Elections Are Coming
The 2019 campaign season is officially underway! July 5th began the campaign filing period where candidates have to file official paperwork declaring their run for office. The deadline is July 19th, so we can expect not only candidates who already announced their campaigns, but some unexpected candidates as well. As an example: Raleigh already has six people running for mayor, and there’s plenty of time left for people to make a surprise announcement.
What does this mean for our association? While RRAR does not endorse candidates for office, we do support candidates with funds raised through our REALTOR® Political Action Committee (RPAC). Who we support and how much depends on the candidates’ responses to an online survey, an in-person interview with members of our Government Affairs and RPAC Committees, and alignment with RRAR’s policy positions. RRAR staff are already extending interview invitations to candidates who have filed, and will be working through the campaign filing period to ensure candidates know we’re watching their races closely.
As a reminder, local elections happen on different dates depending on where you live. Raleigh, Cary, Dunn, and Erwin hold their elections on October 8, everyone else in Wake and Harnett Counties have their elections on November 5th. To make things more complicated for you: If an October election does not produce a decisive winner, you may have to vote again in November in a runoff election.
There’s a lot going on with campaigns, if you’ve got questions, concerns, or recommendations, reach out to RRAR’s Government Affairs Staff and let us know what’s on your mind!