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Charlotte City Council passes Unified Development Ordinance with 6-4 vote

The UDO was developed in line with Charlotte's 2040 plan, which passed through the Charlotte city council in 2021.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A regulations ordinance with much debate in the community was approved on Monday during Charlotte's city council meeting. Council voted 6-4 to pass the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) with no amendments.

Some of the items mentioned in the UDO pertain to flood plain regulations, soil erosion control, post-construction stormwater, and obstructions, among others. However, possibly the most contested part of the UDO relates to a section about zoning laws

The UDO will lift certain restrictions on single-family home zoning laws, meaning developers could buy up homes and build multi-use duplexes, triplexes or quadruplexes. 

Some Charlotte residents spoke out against the ordinance at a public forum on the topic in July, saying they were worried these changes could lead to gentrification and higher housing costs. 

Council member Ed Driggs echoed these concerns before the vote. 

"What are we doing about our top priority, which is to protect or expand the stock of affordable housing?" Driggs asked.

He added that he is already seeing petitions for multi-unit buildings, but they come with a steeper price tag. Therefore, he argued that higher density housing -- like duplexes -- doesn’t equal affordability.

Others in favor of the UDO have said they believe it could help curb the housing shortage.

“When you replace one home with three or four homes you get more housing, when you get more housing you can supply more demand, when you better match supply with demand you get more price stability,” council member Braxton Winston argued Monday night.

The UDO was developed in line with Charlotte's 2040 plan, which passed through the Charlotte city council in 2021. Charlotte's 2040 plan makes note of the exponential growth the city is set to see in the next two decades.

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Another topic of the UDO concerning some residents is the regulations aimed at protecting Charlotte's tree canopy. The UDO calls on requirements for developers to include a certain percentage of greenery when they construct properties. While the plan is designed to help trees, some are worried it's not enough.

The growth plan goes into effect June 1, 2023. Several members tempered their vote of approval by saying the plan is a working document, meaning city council can make changes as needed before the UDO is solidified.  

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To read the full UDO, visit here.

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