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With elections behind them, city councilmembers look to vote on controversial zoning law

On Flashpoint, councilmembers say there's still work to do on the city's Unified Development Ordinance.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Before a new city council is sworn in in September, Charlotte's current council has one remaining heavy lift on their agenda: a vote on the city's Unified Development Ordinance.

"We have some changes that we are working through," Dimple Ajmera, newly reelected city councilwoman at large, said.

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In Charlotte's recent municipal elections, republicans ran heavily against the UDO, a sweeping set of regulations designed to guide the city's future development.   

With the exception of district six councilman Tariq Bokhari, every republican in a contested race lost.  And Bokhari won by the slimmest of margins.

"I'm going to view that as the community's voices spoken here. And I'm gonna vote no, but move on," Bokhari said.

Still, the UDO is facing tweaks as council approaches a vote.

"As of right now, I have some changes that I'm working through with our staff. But certainly, I'm supportive of the UDO document," Ajmera said.

Ajmera indicated she wants changes to aspects of the green space provisions in the plan. She said council may pass the ordinance, while still needing to revisit the issue with the newly sworn-in council.

"There might be unintended consequences, which we might find out later. So we should be open-minded about making some of those changes later on," Ajmera said.

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The UDO has been years in the making and has split council members. The broader, vision plan called "Charlotte 2040" narrowly passed council last year. Six council members voted to approve it, and five voted against it.  The most controversial provision of the UDO would lift certain restrictions on single-family home zoning laws, meaning developers could buy up homes and build multi-use duplexes, triplexes or quadruplexes. 

A vote is scheduled for Aug. 22. 

"If this doesn't pass on the 22nd, this does not pass in its form with single-family zoning. So I'll be watching intently, obviously," Bokhari promised.


Flashpoint is a weekly in-depth look at politics in Charlotte, North Carolina, South Carolina, and beyond with host Ben Thompson. Listen to the podcast weekly.
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