Consultant Recommends Comprehensive Changes to Charlotte’s Zoning Ordinance

Charlotte planners may be getting ready to undertake what could become a comprehensive revision to its Zoning Ordinance, following a nine-month assessment of the existing code by Denver-based consulting firm Clarion Partners.

In its assessment, the Clarion team says the current 830-page zoning ordinance “has become outdated and is not user-friendly.” Describing the feedback they received last fall from builders, developers, zoning attorneys and neighborhood representatives, they said, “many believe (the ordinance) is not well aligned with the City’s planning and development goals. adopted plans and policies, and modern best practices.”

Some of the other highlights of the report:

    The zoning code is inconsistent in many ways with the city’s Small Area Plans, and lacks many of the tools needed to bring about the community vision called for in the plans.The consultants praise the flexibility provided by the TOD, PED and MUDD districts, but says they’re not broadly enough utilized to make an impact citywide.The report encourages the City to consider adopting Residential Design Standards to protect the character of existing neighborhoods. It acknowledges that the legal authority for these standards is “unclear.”The mixed-use districts in the ordinance are inadequate to accommodate the broad range of uses and higher-intensity development envisioned by the area plans.The report criticizes the organization of the zoning ordinance, calling it “challenging to use.” It recommends Charlotte consider consolidating its zoning and development regulations (a Unified Development Ordinance) for greater clarity.

REBIC has been engaged in this effort since its launch last fall, and will continue to work with the City in the months ahead to revise the ordinance in a way that better protects property rights and promotes economic development. Look for a more detailed analysis of the consultant’s reports in the coming weeks.

Both reports, the Zoning Ordinance Assessment Report and Zoning Ordinance Approach Report, are now available for download HERE.


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