Charlotte is growing rapidly. That means there is a lot of good stuff happening here. If we want to keep it that way then it’s critical to pay attention to HOW the city continues to grow. The planning body of the Charlotte City government is making changes to the rules regarding what you can build and where to curb the growing problem of a lack of housing. The City Council has passed a giant plan called the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) which will go into effect June first. Ultimately this ordinance will be a defining moment in the direction and spirit in which our beloved city shapes and grows. 

We at 5 Points Realty live and work in the neighborhoods that will feel the most change, and we think it is important to give a brief overview of the UDO. We invite you to read and educate yourselves on this issue. If you are a homeowner in Charlotte you will want to have a working knowledge of this ordinance and how it may affect you. 

What is the Unified Development Ordinance? 

The UDO was developed to help implement Charlotte’s 2040 plan. It simplifies the complicated and disparate regulations and standards in our zoning laws in order to guide growth in Charlotte. It combines eight development rules into one. Some of Charlotte’s original zoning rules were difficult to navigate or not in line with the community’s vision for growth. Some of the rules were written decades ago. The UDO is designed to be easier to follow, with more graphics and illustrations, so even casual users can understand.

What’s the goal?

By 2040, the goal is to have every neighborhood be a 10-minute neighborhood. That means essential goods and services, including grocery stores, pharmacies, health care clinics, banks, schools, and parks would be less than a 10-minute walk, bike ride or transit trip away. It also calls for more diversity in housing options, which could mean integrating multi-family housing within traditional, single-family neighborhoods. Among the factors driving this plan were: parking, tree preservation, transportation, drainage, affordable housing, public open space, the environment, and small, minority, and women-owned businesses. We applaud the factors and understand how these contribute to thriving neighborhoods.

How will it impact zoning?

In the shadow of uptown, neighborhoods like Elizabeth are a bit on edge, with development chipping away at the fine edges of historic family homes. One of the most contested parts of the UDO relates to the section about zoning laws regarding single-family home neighborhoods. 

The UDO encourages more dense development. Some zoning restrictions will be lifted, which means developers could build duplexes, triplexes or quadruplexes in neighborhoods where it was forbidden. But covenants and neighborhood association rules would still be applied and followed, according to WCNC. That’s one of the more controversial and frankly confusing parts of the plan.

So, how will the UDO impact your neighborhood? You can look at this map to see previous zoning and the new classifications. You’ll notice a lot of yellow on that map; the yellow-shaded areas are N1 residential neighborhoods. New rules allow for single-family, duplex and triplex homes on all lots. Orange-shaded areas are N2 residential development areas and can include higher-density dwellings. There are many community planning workshops being held all over the city to help people understand how the changes will impact them personally and also to give people the opportunity to give feedback. To see the list of workshops, click here.

We will be watching and continuing to educate ourselves on the effects of the UDO. We encourage our communities to do the same. Again, the UDO goes into effect June 2023. City leaders have called it a living document, meaning it could change, so stand by and stay tuned to this blog. We’ll share the developments with you as we know them. 

You can learn more about the UDO here.