Every New Year, people take stock, reflect, and set goals for the future. The City of Charlotte does the same thing. The tools they are using to do that are called the 2040 plan which covers the entire city, and the separate Center City 2040 Vision Plan which only covers Uptown. There are some parts of each plan that are really great, so here are some of the things from each plan that we are excited about.
The 2040 plan was approved narrowly by the City Council in mid-2021. There are many facets to the new plan, including a comprehensive plan, an implementation strategy, and action items for policies, projects, and programs. The ultimate goal of the plan is to help shape the growth of the city and to provide equity for all residents. There are plans and maps and instructions in the document, but there is room for revisions and change if a part of the plan is found not to work the way it was anticipated.
One of the most contested issues in the 2040 plan was the removal of the single-family only zoning designation. This means that within a single family neighborhood, infill development can occur to add multi-family such as duplexes, triplexes, and quadplexes. These types of properties already exist in many neighborhoods mixed in with single-family homes, but it would allow this city-wide.
Ten minute neighborhoods are outlined in the plan. It is the goal that every neighborhood would be within a ten minute walk, bike ride, or transit trip from fresh food, healthcare, and greenspace.
The plan also outlines many different options for getting more affordable housing into the city. There are already many regulations in place, but this should help to change some restrictive state laws to allow more money to help developers make affordable housing a reality for more Charlotteans.
The Center City 2040 Vision Plan on the other hand is a wish list for the city. It includes many different items including a future medical school and innovation district in Uptown. It also includes an urban mixed-use development around Bank of America Stadium. It also includes plans for much more green space in the city center.
One long running wishlist item to get more greenspace that has been thrown around for over 20 years, is to put a park on top of I-277. That greenspace option may be a pipedream, but closer to reality is Charlotte’s version of Central Park in New York City. The park is getting close to a reality, but still needs approval of the railroad companies who own the lines that go through the proposed site. Named Queen’s Park, the park would bring some much needed greenspace, gathering spaces, recreation area, and venues for concerts.
In addition, the vision plan looks at issues of equity, transportation, and making the center city more bike and pedestrian friendly. This will continue to make Charlotte a premier destination for visiting, working, and living. The next step is for the vision plan to be presented to the City Council and Mecklenburg County Commissioners to review and possibly amend the plan. It will be interesting to see how many of these possibilities become realities.