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Charlotte's new zoning rules that guide growth take effect in June

The Unified Development Ordinance will help shape how developers can build in Charlotte over the next 20 years.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte’s new zoning rules take effect in June with the city’s Unified Development Ordinance. 

The UDO was approved by council last year as part of the city's 2040 Plan. City staff have spent several months preparing for the change. 

The new regulations for buildings, infrastructure, and the environment will act as guidelines for how the city will grow over the next 20 years. However, some neighbors worry developers will still get the upper hand.  

For example, Mallard Creek and the University area are attracting developers hoping to grow that part of Charlotte. 

“We understand the growth, we understand the need for density, but it's unchecked,” argued homeowner Reverend Jordan Boyd. 

There are 29 rezoning petitions being considered in the Mallard Creek area, including plans for thousands of apartments near Interstate 485. 

The massive plan for housing, commercial space, and a school is not consistent with the city's 2040 Plan for that area, but city planners are still recommending city council approve it.

Mallard Creek homeowners fear their asks for less density and more houses will be overshadowed. 

"Development, we know, is gonna come, OK? But we wanna have a say on what it is,” homeowner William Mitchell shared. 

Land right outside of Mitchell's neighborhood on Mallard Creek Road is zoned for single-family houses. A developer has submitted a rezoning petition to change to build 186 townhomes on the property despite pushback from neighbors. 

Neighbor Tim Burgess told WCNC Charlotte he worries more developments with higher-density housing will put stress on the area schools, roads, and emergency services.

When Charlotte’s UDO takes effect in June, houses, duplexes, and triplexes could be built on the land. Townhomes would not be allowed unless the land is rezoned.

Mitchell and Burgess worry petitions, like the townhome project, that go against the new rules will still be approved by city council. 

“It just seems like our voices aren’t being heard,” Burgess said. 

However, Councilwoman Dimple Ajmera argues the UDO will give people more say in development. 

"Neighborhoods can apply for neighborhood overlay protection to ensure that we preserve and protect the neighborhood's character, which we currently do not have that option,” Ajmera explained to WCNC Charlotte. 

When the UDO takes effect, rezoning petitions will still be considered on a case-by-case basis, meaning they could still be approved if they don’t align with the new rules based on what benefits they offer. 

A public hearing date for the townhome project has not been set. 

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