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City Council Speech


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I decided to address the city council within one month or so about the city's zoning laws. It's discussed quite a bit but cutting or shortening the code doesn't seem to be part of the dialogue, even though it might be easier than overhauling it. Iv'e heard form based code was coming (TOD is only hybrid form-based) but I can't find any new information so as far as I can tell that is dead in the water.

I want to talk about killing off parts of the code because of how it makes small scale development and the creation of local businesses that much harder. Minimal square footage prevents the construction of small shops like say The Thirsty Beaver (1400 sq ft). Creating those spaces will almost always require rezoning and multiple requests for amendments from staff. Iv'e heard complaints that the zoning board easily bends to developer's requests but to me that means the rules shouldn't be there in the first place.

A free code would allow certain developers to build absolutely ridiculous things but also give developers the freedom to build quality urban spaces that this city so desperately needs. I'm talking about spaces like Noda and Plaza-Midwood. Because of the lack of those neighborhoods, not built upon since the 1950's, they are being gentrified very quickly. High demand, low supply. Displaced residents don't have the option to move to another neighborhood like that or anywhere close. Farther out in the city, it's just pure sprawl.

Meanwhile, the code makes building new places like that essentially illegal.

I blame the code for causing many of these problems and I think parts of it need to straight up die.

It's the city's legacy of poor urban planning and it needs to change.

My blood is starting to boil talking about this so I'm hoping my little speech won't become a rant.

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Good, thank you for doing that. I always wish I could make time to just bring issues like this up at city council meetings but it's difficult to live life, a career, and be fully civic-ly active. 

The problem in Charlotte is lack of citizen-driven support for things. The council will bow to the people who push them, and our citizenry is, by and large, more apathetic/ambivalent than other big cities. So they end up leaning toward larger interest groups by default.

I love the sh!t out of this city, that's why my blood boils about these things, too. The more consistently they hear people's voices, the better. 

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I've spoken with planning staff who want form based code but feel as though it's a decade or two off. They are trying to make do with the TOD they have.


This is probably one of those things they would love people to bring up more. But this kind of stuff is dry and lame to some people.

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