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City council votes 6-5 to approve Charlotte 2040 comprehensive plan

Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 6:19 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The Charlotte City Council has voted 6-5 to approve the Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan.

After the vote, Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles said everyone has to take responsibility to move the city forward, regardless of who won or lost the vote. Mayor Lyles says everyone should bring their A game to the table.

“I am grateful to the Mayor and City Council for supporting the thousands of people in our community who contributed to the plan,” said Taiwo Jaiyeoba, Assistant City Manager and Planning Department Director. “Now we are on to the next steps in the process and I look forward to continuing to work with the community and to ensure an equitable city for all who call Charlotte home.”

The issue that divided council was policy 2.1, which would allow duplexes and triplexes in areas where currently only single family homes are allowed.

“This outcome has already been determined and it wasn’t determined by this council,” District 3 Councilwoman Victoria Watlington said.

Watlington was one of the five frustrated with the process and made a motion to exclude policy 2.1 until the city completed a land use and economic feasibility study.

“We’re simply asking for a delay to get more data on this,” District 4 Councilwoman Renee Johnson said.

But that motion failed as the slim majority of councilmembers said the plan as written needed to be adopted. Staff said it could take as long as six months before a study like that was ready to be prduced.

“It’s not a perfect plan but it moves us forward,” District 2 Councilman Malcolm Graham said.

After the vote Planning Director Taiwo Jaiyeoba addressed some of the talking points including this one from Republican Tariq Bokhari.

“Unfortunately Charlotte is going to become all the bad parts of living in Atlanta,” Bokhari said.

“The beauty of it is that we are unique and we can frame our own city. We don’t have to think about Atlanta or Detroit and it’s unfortunate that those two cities that were referenced majority-minority in those cities,” Jaiyeoba said.

WBTV also asked Jaiyeoba about the next part of the process, the place mapping then the Unified Development Ordinance. If the 2040 plan is the aspirational goals, the UDO are the rules that enforce it. Jaiyeoba was quick to point out that no draft UDO exists yet.

“There’s no draft UDO anywhere, we’re just going to be sharing that information with council toward the end of the summer,” Jaiyeoba said.

Next Steps

  • The final adopted Charlotte 2040 Comprehensive Plan will be released to the public within the next 30 days.
  • City staff will engage with the community in mapping the land use policies within the plan and create a Policy Map.
  • The Policy Map will be voted on by Council to provide guidance on land use and public investment decisions and the zoning districts within the new Unified Development Ordinance (UDO).

The Planning Committee of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission reviewed and unanimously approved the final recommended version of the plan last Tuesday night.

“The 2040 plan addresses critical issues from housing affordability and economic mobility to environmental sustainability and transportation,” said Sam Spencer, chair of the Planning Commission. “The final draft reflects years of hard work by city staff, the Planning Commission, the Charlotte City Council and community leaders and residents from every corner of Charlotte.”

The plan includes an implementation strategy and discusses next steps for community area mapping, both of which officials say are “critical components” to implementing the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO).

Officials say the UDO will be the primary tool to implement the 2040 Comprehensive Plan policies through development regulations. It will combine multiple development ordinances, including the Zoning Ordinance, into one set of regulations.

“These regulations will help shape future development so that it results in the type of complete communities and places defined by the Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan goals and policies,” the website reads. “The UDO is also instrumental in implementing other City policies that will nest under the Comprehensive Plan’s overarching guidance such as Charlotte Moves, the Urban Street Design Guidelines, the Strategic Energy Action Plan, the Urban Forestry Master Plan, and the Tree Canopy Action Plan.”

To view or learn more about the Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan, visit cltfuture2040.com.

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