City council adopts policy to end exclusionary single-family zoning in new comprehensive plan (Press release)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Charlotte, NC (June 29, 2021) – At the Charlotte City Council meeting on June 21 in a 6-5 vote, Council approved the Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan Policy. By doing so, Charlotte became the first city in the South and one of the largest cities in the nation to take such a decisive step towards ending exclusionary single-family zoning.

Sustain Charlotte, a local nonprofit organization that advocates for smart growth, has played a key role in educating the public about the plan’s benefits and advocating for an ambitious plan that accurately reflects the public’s current and future needs. Sustain Charlotte helped to convene and coordinate a coalition to support the plan, the Neighbors For More Neighbors Charlotte Coalition. Together, the coalition and Sustain Charlotte advocated tirelessly for this plan and defended its goals and policy recommendations for over three months against a well-funded campaign by those benefiting from the status quo to criticize and spread misinformation about the plan.

One of the most controversial yet critical policy changes that the plan recommends is to allow duplex and triplex homes in all zoning districts on residential lots that only currently allow single-family homes. The adoption of the plan policy will be followed by a mapping of place types and the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) that will define districts in which this policy will legally apply.

Mayor Pro Tem and Chair of City Council’s Transportation, Planning, and Environment Committee Julie Eiselt said, “Our city is changing and growing rapidly. No matter what we do or don’t do, we will continue to change. And we need more housing of all types in all parts of town for all people.”

Charlotte’s Assistant City Manager/Director of Planning, Design & Development Taiwo Jaiyeoba emphasizes the importance of housing choice for a vibrant city: “Jane Jacobs said “The point of cities is multiplicity of choice.” Cities should offer choices: where to live, where to hang out, how to move around, where to work. When these choices are inequitable, unavailable and/or unaffordable, cities lose. Our Charlotte Future 2040 comprehensive plan has adopted policies that accomplish these. At the core of the Plan is how we realize an equitable and sustainable city for all.”

The Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan includes 10 goals and hundreds of recommendations that support equitable and sustainable growth. The goals include:

Goal 1: 10-Minute Neighborhoods

Goal 2: Neighborhood Diversity & Inclusion

Goal 3: Housing Access for All

Goal 4: Transit- and Trail-Oriented Development

Goal 5: Safe and Equitable Mobility

Goal 6: Healthy, Safe, and Active Communities

Goal 7: Integrated Natural and Built Environments

Goal 8: Diverse and Resilient Economic Opportunity

Goal 9: Retain Our Identity and Charm

Goal 10: Fiscally Responsible

Key sustainability and equity benefits of the plan include:

Housing affordability and neighborhood diversity: Legalizing the construction of houses for two or three families will provide more supply of homes, more diversity of housing types, and a broader range of housing prices.

Environmental sustainability and a healthy climate: The more spread out and car-dependent a city is, the more air, water, and climate pollution is generated due to the fact that sprawl locks residents into reliance on cars to meet their daily needs. This plan has a number of goals, policies and programs to encourage more compact development that allows zero and low air, water, and climate pollution travel including walking, biking, and transit.

A vibrant economy and access to opportunities: Transit- and trail-oriented development maximizes efficient use of land near major transportation investments so that more residents can live and work within walking or biking distance of daily amenities. The plan includes a goal for all Charlotte households to have access to essential amenities, goods, and services within a comfortable, tree-shaded 10-minute walk, bike, or transit trip by 2040.

City Council’s approval of this plan indicates that the City is serious about centering the principles of equity and sustainability in the overarching direction and vision for growth throughout Charlotte for decades to come.

Sustain Charlotte Founder and Executive Director said, “This is Charlotte’s first comprehensive plan since 1975. It provides us the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of the past and ensure that our growth furthers prosperity for all and enhances our long term livability and quality of life rather than compromising it for short term gains.”

About Sustain Charlotte

Sustain Charlotte is a community-based nonprofit organization dedicated to educating, engaging and uniting citizens to solve Charlotte’s sustainability challenges. We inspire choices that lead to a healthy, equitable and vibrant community for generations to come. Learn more at


Shannon Binns