Why we support Charlotte’s new guidelines for development near transit

Sustain Charlotte has been serving on the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) Advisory Committee since 2017, providing a voice for smart growth in the Charlotte community, and raising up solutions for how our community can continue to grow while staying sustainable.

Over the past year, we have been providing input on a total re-write of the city’s Transit-Oriented Development Ordinance, which are the rules for development that occurs in areas adjacent to our rapid transit stations.

We spoke at the Charlotte City Council meeting in support of the ordinance, and sent a letter to the Council prior to the meeting, asking them to approve them. Read the full letter below.

Crescent Communities Rendering

Photo: Crescent Communities

Dear Mayor Lyles and Members of the Charlotte City Council:

On behalf of Sustain Charlotte, I am writing in support of the Transit Oriented Development (TOD) ordinance text amendment. As an original member of the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) Advisory Committee, I have collaborated with my colleagues on the committee and with City staff for more than one year to shape our new TOD ordinance into a powerful tool that will go far to help implement the goals and policies the City has adopted for our transit station areas.

This new TOD ordinance will encourage the development of vibrant neighborhoods surrounding our transit stations that make transit use, walking, and cycling attractive and safe. TOD ordinance standards such as no minimum parking requirements and reasonable parking maximums are forward-thinking and typical of best practices currently being implemented by some of Charlotte’s peer cities around the country.

Sustain Charlotte is particularly pleased with how the new TOD ordinance will help improve public health, reduce water, air, and climate emissions, reduce household expenses, and increase the safety and accessibility of affordable transportation. Examples include reserving right-of-way for bike lanes and multi-use paths, increased open space requirements, more required long-term bicycle parking, guidelines for solar panels and wind turbines, and requirements for Traffic Impact Studies that will promote sustainable transportation as a mitigation tool.

We are also excited that the development bonus options in the new ordinance include incentives for providing new affordable housing units, as well as the opportunity to earn bonus points for other economic mobility, transportation improvement, and climate-friendly actions such as on-site renewable energy generation and energy-efficient buildings.

Sustain Charlotte believes these new standards will stimulate long-term economic vitality in the city’s existing and future transit corridors through better design, with more predictable results and with greater flexibility and transparency. Therefore, we urge you to approve the TOD text amendment to help steer Charlotte’s future growth and development in a more equitable, efficient, and responsible manner.

Thank you for your service and please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to discuss.




Shannon Binns

Executive Director

Sustain Charlotte


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