City leaders remain split on issues as debate over Charlotte’s 2040 plan continue

Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 10:40 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - As Charlotte looks at its potential growth over the next two decades, city leaders are hoping to compromise with each other to move forward after weeks of debates.

During Tuesday’s city council meeting, leaders debated the last draft of the 2040 plan, which was released last Thursday. The plan is designed to guide how the city develops.

“If we’re going to go with the idea that someone who is voting at this point no to go to yes, I don’t know if that can happen, but we have to try,” said Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles.

The 2040 Comprehensive Plan has been met with a lot of push-back, including a fiery city council meeting last Monday. At the meeting, city leaders voted to make changes to the plan, including the policy that would allow duplexes and triplexes in areas currently zoned for single-family housing.

For some, they are concerned about what this could mean for their neighborhoods.

“Our concern with that is you have doubled the density in which you thought you were going to be expecting and we’re not seeing the infrastructure planned for that density,” said Vernetta Mitchell.

Mitchell has lived in Charlotte’s Far East community for 16 years.

She has seen the city change. Mitchell is also hoping the proposal for more housing types doesn’t over-price those out who live there.

“If we can have some feedback with developers and the city to make sure the diversity of housing prices are still obtainable with new development then it’s a win-win for everybody,” she said.

In Thursday’s updated draft, there were revisions based on Monday’s decision by city council. In a narrow 6-5 vote, the city is moving with allowing multi-family units in all place types currently for single-family homes. There were also strategies discussed to mitigate the chance of displacement and gentrification.

But even city leaders admit there is still a chance it could happen.

“The number of tools in the plan can actually protect vulnerable communities from gentrification or as I would say involuntary displacement,” said planning director Taiwo Jaiyeoba.

The plan also says proposed zoning would not change existing codes, covenants and restrictions associated with homeowners’ associations.

“If we could prevent gentrification, we would, it’s happening so quickly right now. I don’t think it’s introducing gentrification; it is introducing a way to get housing in our community that has been hard to build,” added Mayor Pro Tem Julie Eiselt.

Public comment about the plan will go through June 3. City council will make their vote on June 21.

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