Major Charlotte proposals met with minimal public comment

CHARLOTTE — Where people live, how they get around and who represents them are all potentially at stake this year as the Charlotte City Council enters 2021.

Leaders hoping to gauge the public’s opinion on three hot topics didn’t face much dissent.

The Charlotte City Council held its first meeting of 2021 with a scheduled public comment on the Charlotte Moves Taskforce recommendation to build a transformational mobility network with a penny sales tax increase. The plan, which would require voter and North Carolina General Assembly approval, calls for expansion of the light rail to Ballantyne, Belmont and Matthews.

[LINK: Charlotte task force recommends sales tax increase for transit expansion]

“A transformational mobility network will provide clear benefits for every citizen,” said Sam Spencer, chair of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission Chair. “One cent makes sense in this case.”

Of the eight people addressing the council, seven were in favor of it. Spencer said that all the new housing projects and developments being approved by the council each year are adding too much carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

“It is not only unstainable, it is the sort of science denying irrational behavior you would expect from a mask-less bachelor party in South End,” he said.

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The second public hearing of the night concerned the Citizen Advisory Committee’s recommendations for the Charlotte City Council to increase pay to align with the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners. It would eliminate one at-large seat and create a new district seat, which would implement nonpartisan elections and to ask voters to approve four-year staggered terms.

The recommendation for nonpartisan elections had the most dissent.

“It is much healthier for voters to have the opportunity to select the candidates to represent them through a primary election,” said Jane Whitley, chair of the Mecklenburg County Democratic Party.

“Voters are the ones that should be electing candidates. The only way we can do that is to have a party system election,” Charlotte resident Constance Green-Johnson said.

The final public forum of the evening involved changing the names of 10 streets with Confederate ties.

[Charlotte City Council to consider changes to 10 street names]

From Stonewall Street in uptown to Jefferson Davis Street in Druid Hills, the Charlotte City Council is considering renaming numerous Confederate streets throughout the city. In a city that’s constantly changing, leaders could decide whether some of the past needs to be prominently displayed in the future.

It’s a topic that is normally met with a lot of strong opinions, but only two people addressed the council about it.

All three topics will head to committee. The Charlotte City Council will discuss their future during the council retreat next week.