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Charlotte council struggles for consensus during 2040 comprehensive plan meeting

Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 10:57 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - There are more than 300 pages of planning, ideas and aspirations in Charlotte’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan. After two years of public input and feedback Charlotte City Council is in the homestretch but it’s anything but certain it will pass.

“Adopting the plan is the easy part!” Councilman Malcolm Graham said during a Monday night meeting

But so far it certainly looks difficult.

Monday night council was supposed to start taking straw votes on changes to the 2040 Comprehensive Plan but after getting through just one, they shifted course and councilmembers started listing what they would like to see changed. A couple hours later they came back and started making straw votes of what changes to make.

No changes voted on Monday night were official, but enough councilmembers voted to remove the policy that would allow duplex and triplexes on single family that it will be discussed at the next council meeting. If it receives six votes at the next meeting, a key, and maybe the most controversial, element of the 2040 plan would be removed.

Councilmembers Renee Johnson, Victoria Watlington, Matt Newton, Ed Driggs, Tariq Bokhari and Greg Phipps all voted to remove the single-family language, known as policy 2.1

Policy 2.1 would remove single-family only zoning from the City of Charlotte.
Policy 2.1 would remove single-family only zoning from the City of Charlotte.(WBTV)

Councilmembers also made straw votes on several dozen other issues. To look at what was advanced to the next meeting click here.

With one month until council plans on voting on it one thing matters most. Will it pass?

One group of councilmembers is asking to pump the brakes and push back a potential vote.

“I am for pumping the brakes or taking a step back,” Councilwoman Renee Johnson said.

“That means you don’t just pencil whip it and push it through,” Councilwoman Victoria Watlington said.

“I think it’s about taking as long as this council needs to reach a point where a majority of us are comfortable that works and serves our community,” Councilman Malcolm Graham said.

Another group is saying the time to vote is now.

“It is time to vote,” Graham said.

“The talk of delay is futile because I don’t think we’re trying to iron out things we’re going to end up on the same page about,” Councilman Larken Egleston said.

It’s too early to say what the outcome will be but Mayor Vi Lyles made an impassioned speech imploring enough councilmembers to come together to pass it.

“Delaying this serves nobody in this community because it makes people stop and think why would I come to Charlotte?” Lyles asked council.

“Is there six, seven or eight people who can actually come to an agreement? That’s your challenge,” Lyles said.

Council meets Monday May 17th to discuss the 2040 Comprehensive Plan again.

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