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Charlotte City Council passes new rules on development

CHARLOTTE — The Charlotte City Council voted 6-4 to pass the Unified Development Ordinance. It will go into effect on June 1, 2023.

The city spent months drafting the UDO as part of the city’s 2040 comprehensive plan.

The sweeping policy change is a massive overwrite of Charlotte’s development rules and will impact generations to come. In an interview after the passage of the ordinance, Mayor Vi Lyles said it is a long time coming.

“It’s been over 40 years since we’ve had a comprehensive growth plan,” Lyles said. “I’m really proud of the council’s actions on this.”

The changes are controversial, which was reflected in a rare 6-4 vote that led to passage.

The most controversial part of the UDO deals with single-family zoning. The city will allow duplexes and triplexes to be built on all lots that aren’t bound by covenants or homeowner association rules.

Some councilmembers worry this will lead to gentrification while others say it will help fight the city’s housing crisis.

“When you replace one home with three or four homes, you get more housing,” Councilmember at-large Braxton Winston. “When you get more housing, you can supply more demand. When you better match supply with demand, you get more price stability.”

“Under this policy, property values and property taxes will inevitably increase in neighborhoods,” said Councilmember Matt Newton, District 5. “It is not a matter that gentrification will accelerate, but a matter of how much it accelerates.”

When it comes to those new duplexes, the city is allowing their sides to be a maximum of 20 feet tall. This will allow two stories to be built.

Another major change that will impact homeowners deals with trees.

A $500 permit will be required to chop down healthy heritage trees.

The fee can be reduced by $250 for each new tree planted in its place.

Councilmember at-large Dimple Ajmera says this will go a long way in preserving the city’s aging yet beloved canopy.

“No other city of our size has the tree canopy that we enjoy today,” she said. “I want to do everything in our power to preserve our tree canopy so I can tell my daughter when she is old enough, that this council took action to preserve and protect our rich tree canopy.”

Transit Center Renovations

The council approved a $2.9 million plan, 8-2, to design renovations for the transit center.

In June, the City Council approved a $275 million plan that would move buses underground, have a state-of-the-art practice facility for the Charlotte Hornets and would include upgrades to the Spectrum Center.

The money will come from the tourism fund, which is made up of rental car and hotel taxes.

(WATCH BELOW: After delays, city council votes in favor of development at Grier Heights shopping center)