In recent years, GCAA has achieved major successes in the following areas:
Solid Waste: The GCAA has fought aggressively to have the residential nature of apartment properties recognized in the political approach to garbage collection and disposal costs. Countering claims that apartments should be treated like retail and office properties equates to having apartment-generated garbage collection be paid for via local property tax – and not via contracts with haulers for additional fees. In addition, the GCAA has been instrumental in getting separate fees for landfill usage proportionalized so that apartments pay a fair share based on average solid waste tonnage that comes out of apartments. The net annual savings to the Charlotte apartment industry as a result of GCAA direct action is approximately $100 per unit, or well over $8 million, collectively.
Water Rates: The GCAA was instrumental in revising an onerous water rate formula which resulted in multi-family rental housing consumers now paying the same rate per gallon as single-family consumers. The annual savings of $5 per unit equates to over $400,000 across the GCAA membership. GCAA was an active voice for apartment owners on the 2010 Local Utility Water/Sewer Rate Structure Stakeholders Committee, pointing out unique multifamily rental housing interests in water affordability, conservation, and landscape usage. The end result (effective July 1, 2011) was a rate reduction from $1.45 to $.98 per CCF for most apartment units.
Land Use Planning: The Association has been active with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission and local elected officials in devising reasonable rules in the siting of new multi-housing product, including land use plans, zoning ordinances, subdivision regulations, tree and buffer requirements, circulation rules, and many others. The GCAA is an advocate for the many benefits of the compact nature of apartment development on public services, including water, sewer, transportation, police, fire, and medical. With development costs for an average apartment community being in excess of $20 million, the GCAA’s actions make a big difference.
Public Health: Following a highly-publicized fatality in a multi-housing dwelling with an attached garage, the GCAA became involved with the Mecklenburg County Health Department and County Commissioners on crafting a carbon monoxide detector ordinance.
Public Safety: In 2008-2009, GCAA’s diligent, 18-month efforts and collaboration with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department resulted in Charlotte City Council passing a much less onerous Rental Property Ordinance than had originally been proposed.
Building Standards: The GCAA has been a constant voice for streamlining rules and procedures in the local permitting and approval process – calling for more concurrent and less sequential inspections and successfully promoting the efficiency of building inspections over individual unit inspections. In addition, our state-level activity with building codes, particularly with fire sprinklers and accessibility rules, has saved the industry millions of dollars in construction costs.
Fire Rules: In the difficult area of apartment fire safety, the GCAA has been engaged with local officials regarding reasonable rules for grilling safety, landscape materials, alarms, and management practices. Our efforts in 2009 resulted in new apartment properties no longer being required to perform “off-site monitoring” of fire sprinkler systems, which will save each property approximately $30,000 in capital costs and $20,000 in annual operating costs.
Storm Water Fees: The GCAA has been instrumental in the development of impervious-surface storm water fees that recognize the detention basins employed at many apartment properties and the role they play in limiting off-site runoff.
Sign Regulations: GCAA has been at the forefront of regulations affecting signage at apartment communities.
Housing Code Enforcement/Section 8 Rules: The GCAA has been on the front line of advocacy for common-sense local minimum housing code enforcement and housing provider-friendly rules in the implementation of the HUD Rent Subsidy Program.
Water Submetering: In conjunction with the AANC, GCAA has played a key role in passing legislation which affords apartment owners the opportunity to encourage water conservation among residents by submetering water usage at the unit level. In 2009, additional “Hot Water Capture/Cold Water Allocation” legislation extended submetering opportunities to operators of properties built prior to 1989.