Charlotte offers first peek at new zoning, land development plan

Lauren Lindstrom, The Charlotte Observer

A draft of Charlotte’s long-awaited Unified Development Ordinance is now available to the public to offer feedback on the most substantial overhaul of the city’s zoning and land use policies in recent memory.

The 608-page UDO is a single zoning and land development ordinance rewriting and consolidating several existing, overlapping and sometimes conflicting codes for things like sidewalks, trees and floodplains. It will become the rules for what can be built where in Charlotte for years to come.

Deputy Planning Director Alyson Craig called Thursday’s draft release “an important and exciting update to the current ordinances that were written at different times over the last 30 years” that aims to “provide better predictability in the development process.”

City officials have said they want to make the language easier to understand for everyday Charlotteans and developers alike, with images to help visualize development jargon like building setbacks and articulation.

The UDO charts a path to implement the goals of the 2040 Comprehensive Plan, which calls for equitable growth and development for Charlotte over the next two decades. City Council members narrowly passed the 2040 plan with a 6-5 vote in June after months of fierce debate.

Like the 2040 plan, much of the discussion about the UDO is likely to center on efforts to build denser housing, like duplexes and triplexes, in areas previously zoned for only single-family homes.

For instance, the proposed UDO states that duplexes and triplexes (and quadraplexes if at least one unit is affordable for families earning up to 80% of the area median income) can be built in traditionally single-family neighborhoods.

Boosting affordable housing in the city was among several goals for the ordinance’s architects. The ordinance also has development bonuses for projects that voluntarily include affordable housing units.

While similar incentives for building affordable units exist in current code, there is a new bonus suggested if developers pay a fee toward an energy efficient home rehab program.

Read more at The Charlotte Observer.

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