Charlotte Transportation and Planning Committee looks at draft transit oriented development districts

Charlotte City Council’s Transportation and Planning Committee resumed their usual schedule of monthly meetings on Monday, August 27th.  The committee received updates on the Comprehensive Plan and the Transit Oriented Development Districts.

Planning Director Taiwo Jaiyeoba introduced Garet Johnson, Planning Department, as the project manager for the Comprehensive Plan.

Comprehensive Plan presentation

Click here to see Johnson’s full Comprehensive Plan presentation!  

The Comprehensive Plan will connect, revise, and update the numerous existing area plans to create a streamlined vision for the City’s future growth.  In July, Jaiyeoba proposed a change in direction for the guiding document, including an aspirational vision, a more robust timeframe, and significant increase in public participation.

Over the past few weeks, the City has narrowed the search for consultants to lead this work.  Council will vote to approve a contract for the front runner on September 10th.

The consultant will be responsible for the three phases of work needed to complete the Comprehensive Plan on time: defining the scope of work, crafting a public engagement plan, and writing the technical draft for Council approval by April 2021.

Comprehensive Plan Schedule

This work will take years to complete.  The timeline for the Comprehensive Plan stretches 24 months into the future with a budget of $300,000 per year over Fiscal Years 2019, 2020, and 2021.

Mayor Pro Tem Julie Eiselt asked if this was enough money to create a world-class plan.  Johnson replied that the total $900,000 will cover the technical blueprint, but the added public engagement will most likely require additional funding sources.

Public engagement is a critical component of the timeline.  The goal is not simply to invite a lot of people to Comprehensive Plan meetings, but to practice intentionality and break down the barriers of participation to engage a diverse audience over different mediums.

The Uptown protected bike lane demonstration project was even mentioned as an example of  unique engagement to help the community re-imagine public space!

Next Steps for the Comprehensive Plan  

Monica Holmes, Planning Department, also presented updates on the latest Transit Oriented Development (TOD) draft.  Once adopted, the TOD ordinances will guide development around existing and future transit stops for the city.

Click here to see the full TOD presentation!

The TOD will serve as a model for the Unified Development Ordinance as it defines a clear set of rules for development around transit lines.  The goal is to build on a foundation provided by previously adopted City policy, emphasize form by updating design standards, improve function with more zoning predictability and less process, and provide flexibility for alternatives around existing and future transit lines.

Eiselt asked if the new TOD District rules will prevent “crappy buildings” along transit lines.  Holmes responded that the TOD’s goal is to raise the baseline standards for construction, not necessarily manage the architectural style.  Guidelines are set for building height and positioning instead of individual facades.

Once adopted through a text amendment process, the proposed policy would regulate the one-mile radius circling transit stations. Each stop and its surrounding neighborhood area has different types of TOD zoning based on its proximity and land use type. There are different levels of intensity of development based on the surroundings.

TOD presentation

The draft also gives incentives for affordable housing, transportation alternatives, and open space proposals.

Check out the proposed timeline below!

TOD proposed timeline

Do you have a comment or question about TOD?  You can submit public input and get in touch with the City staff working on the Unified Development Ordinance and TOD districts through this website.

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