BREAKING: City recommends 2040 Plan changes

New language on duplexes/triplexes, addition of preamble on Charlotte's growth planning document; New schedule for adoption calls for June 21 vote

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City manager outlines 2040 Plan compromises following resident and council objections

(Photo courtesy of The 5 and 2 Project)

by Tony Mecia

The city’s planning department has revised key sections of the proposed 2040 Comprehensive Plan, according to a memo obtained by The Ledger — a move designed to address recent objections to the growth plan.

In a 19-page memo to the mayor and City Council dated Thursday, City Manager Marcus Jones outlines a number of changes to policies that were proposed in the 320-page plan, which was released in October. The City Council is scheduled to vote on the plan June 21.

It was mostly noncontroversial until March, when some residents, developers and council members started lodging objections to several provisions.

Among the changes:

  • Preamble: Adding a one-page preamble to the plan that makes clear that some provisions opposed by developers, such as impact fees and affordable housing requirements, are “identified as long-term and requiring further conversations and coordination with formal and informal entities outside the City organization.” Addressing concerns of some residents and neighborhood groups, it says the plan’s “goals, objectives and supporting policies are intended to be achieved citywide and not on every single lot.”

  • Duplexes/triplexes: Revised language in a section on allowing duplexes and triplexes in single-family neighborhoods. The new wording suggests that duplexes and triplexes be allowed in all “place types” instead of on all lots, which means that those structures could be built in each neighborhood but not necessarily anywhere. It’s subject to future planning and discussions with neighborhoods. This was the most controversial provision in the original plan. Here’s the new language:

  • Displacement: Creation of an “Anti-Displacement Stakeholder Group” for 12 months, designed to study and recommend strategies “for protecting residents of moderate to high vulnerability of displacement.” Some neighborhood leaders had worried that the plan would encourage development in fragile areas.

  • Neighborhood agreements: Altering language on Community Benefit Agreements (CBAs), which, as The Ledger wrote this morning, are agreements between developers and neighborhoods that outline features of a construction project. The new language clarifies that the city will develop guidelines to create incentives — regulatory or financial — to encourage appropriate development and neighborhood input. Some neighborhoods support the idea of more involvement in development plans, but developers tend to oppose CBAs.

  • Streamlining: Narrowing the plan that the City Council will vote on. Planning staff says the revised plan document will be “streamlined” and that the council will vote to approve only the section on “plan policy” and not implementation strategies.

[Read the full memo with the proposed changes here]

The memo from the city manager also outlines a new timetable for adopting the plan.

  • Monday: Comprehensive Plan discussion at special City Council meeting, 4-6 p.m.

  • May 19: Second draft of Comprehensive Plan released; two-week public review and comment

  • May 20: Planning Committee meeting to review plan

  • May 24: City Council update on plan

  • June 7: Release of final draft; City Council strategy session

  • June 15: Planning Committee considers plan

  • June 21: City Council vote

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Executive editorTony MeciaManaging editorCristina BollingContributing editor: Tim Whitmire