Axios guide to all the Charlotte plans

Axios guide to all the Charlotte plans
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If you’ve tried to engage with local issues this year, you might find yourself asking, “What’s with all of these plans?”

We get it: It’s hard to keep up. Even elected officials can’t seem to keep them straight from time to time. So here’s a quick guide.

Why it matters: Charlotte is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation, but it’s among the worst in economic mobility. In laying out plans for the future, city leaders are trying to figure out how to navigate growing pains like traffic while improving all types of mobility, from the bus system to greenways. Officials here say equity and inclusion are guiding these plans.

2040 Comprehensive Plan: A big set of ideas that aim to outline the city’s future growth, from how much park space Charlotte has to what neighborhoods look like. The Comprehensive Plan is “aspirational,” Mayor Lyles told city council Monday night. “It doesn’t become a hard document until we decide how we’re going to regulate it and how the processes work,” she added.

  • City planners have been working on this for more than two years. It’s the first of its kind for Charlotte since 1975. [Go deeper]
  • This is the plan that outlines a number of bold concepts, including 10-minute neighborhoods and eliminating single-family-only zoning.
  • Where it stands: There was a public hearing last night. But the vote to adopt it, previously scheduled for April, has been pushed back several months.

Zoom out: The 2040 Comprehensive Plan is the big-picture umbrella guide that has a number of more specific plans that’ll complement it. Some of the big ones include:


Unified Development Ordinance: An overhaul of the city’s zoning policies that will spell out the specific development regulations moving forward. Making the proposals in the 2040 Comprehensive Plan binding requires a separate vote, on the UDO.

  • Where it stands: The draft of the UDO comes out this spring. Adoption is expected in the fall, per CBJ.

Center City 2040 Vision Plan: Intended to shape growth in Uptown and nearby neighborhoods. Center City Partners CEO Michael Smith calls the vision plan a city-building blueprint that is “a model for how we like to see other area plans come out of the Comprehensive Plan.” The Vision Plan calls out specific proposals for the roughly 2-mile radius from Trade & Tryon intersection, including: putting a cap over 277, building a Second Ward high school and transforming the Norfolk Southern rail yard into a massive park.

  • Where it stands: Public meetings will take place in May. Adoption is expected this summer.

The Tree Canopy Action Plan: Outlines ways to restore and enhance the city’s tree canopy. It creates policy and guidance for developing tree regulations in the UDO, per the city.

  • Where it stands: This informs and works in tandem with the 2040 Comprehensive Plan.

The Transformational Mobility Plan: This is a big one. A task force led by former mayor Harvey Gantt spent nearly a year examining our transportation needs and put forth a proposal to spend $8 billion to $12 billion. It would add light rail, commuter rail, roads, bike lanes. It would involve raising the sales tax, though, and that would require a referendum.

  • Where it stands: City staff is developing a funding strategy. But the fall 2021 elections are likely to be postponed because of a delay in the Census numbers, so this might not play out until next year. [Go deeper ]

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