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mazman34340

Charlotte's Zoning Code Update

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Glorious news!

Charlotte is about to start overhauling it's god awful zoning laws. The council will be briefed on the process August 24th.

Praise it!!!

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Last time the city tried to over-haul the code, I think it wore down the council. I remember they had to re-read the entire code (took about 6 hours).

This might help turn the tide against sprawl, late, but wholeheartedly welcomed.

We just gotta make sure no-one hijacks the process like sprawl developers or traffic engineers. Or else were doomed.

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Should we send Urban Planet lobbyists to every city council meeting with our zoning demands? LOL!

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Should we send Urban Planet lobbyists to every city council meeting with our zoning demands? LOL!

Yes, literally, yes, we should.

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Glorious news!

Charlotte is about to start overhauling it's god awful zoning laws. The council will be briefed on the process August 24th.

Is this due to a rousing speech made by a UPer or was such action already in process?

Should we send Urban Planet lobbyists to every city council meeting with our zoning demands? LOL!

You say that in jest, but I have wondered this myself.  Oftentimes, I feel that developers have a voice, out of state consultants have a voice, and protesters (i.e. Widen I-77 group) have a voice.  Rarely do I get the feeling that people like us-the highly informed and concerned citizens that care deeply about the well-being of the city itself-have a voice.  Maybe that's just because there are too few of us, but there are some seriously great ideas hatched in the UP forumsphere. 

Edited by cltbwimob
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Tell me where and when to go and I will be there.

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Tell me where and when to go and I will be there.

Any Monday, between 6:00pm and 7:00pm, depending on the week. All you have to do is sign up to be on the itinerary for your two minutes to speak. 

The reason citizens don't have as loud a voice is because they speak up less (unless it's the crazed citizens who don't want anything in their "back yard"). So we should become a little more active. Easier said than done, of course, since we have lives to live. But we should strive for it.

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Last time the city tried to over-haul the code, I think it wore down the council. I remember they had to re-read the entire code (took about 6 hours).

This might help turn the tide against sprawl, late, but wholeheartedly welcomed.

We just gotta make sure no-one hijacks the process like sprawl developers or traffic engineers. Or else were doomed.

I doubt it does anything to change sprawl, but maybe it'll at least make the sprawl more attractive.

Sprawl in Raleigh looks a lot better than sprawl in Charlotte. All the suburban shopping centers there look considerably better than the crap that is built here.

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I doubt it does anything to change sprawl, but maybe it'll at least make the sprawl more attractive.

Sprawl in Raleigh looks a lot better than sprawl in Charlotte. All the suburban shopping centers there look considerably better than the crap that is built here.

Just curious, what do you consider "crap?"  I haven't seen anything in the area that isn't as good as any other place overall. I live in the northern part of the county. I don't see much "crap" here. What am I missing?

Edited by caterpillar2

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Just curious, what do you consider "crap?"  I haven't seen anything in the area that isn't as good as any other place, have you?

I consider crap to be big parking lots with retail on the horizon of it. Good suburban stuff I consider to have a few smaller stores in the front towards the road and placed in the parking lots with sidewalks wrapping the buildings, street crossings from store to store, etc

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I consider crap to be big parking lots with retail on the horizon of it. Good suburban stuff I consider to have a few smaller stores in the front towards the road and placed in the parking lots with sidewalks wrapping the buildings, street crossings from store to store, etc

There's retail centers like that all over charlotte metro.

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I consider crap to be big parking lots with retail on the horizon of it. Good suburban stuff I consider to have a few smaller stores in the front towards the road and placed in the parking lots with sidewalks wrapping the buildings, street crossings from store to store, etc

I agree mostly. We have Berkdale Village and in Cornelius, all shops are next to streets.  The trend seems to be the Berkdale, i.e.  Antiquity, and the new village on exit #30 on I-77. The places with the large parking lots seem to be places with large grocery stores and/or Walmarts where the parking lots are needed to facilitate the shoppers.  I don't know if there is a way to eliminate the large parking lots except to build indoor parking like Southpark.  But, I haven't really seen much "crap" that has been built since the 60s'70s, especially up this way. Back then, who would have imagined that CLT would be one of the to 20 largest cities. It seems as if we are changing the face of the old shopping centers with places like Sedgefield, etc. 

Edited by caterpillar2

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I agree mostly. We have Berkdale Village and in Cornelius, all shops are next to streets.  The trend seems to be the Berkdale, i.e.  Antiquity, and the new village on exit #30 on I-77. The places with the large parking lots seem to be places with large grocery stores and/or Walmarts where the parking lots are needed to facilitate the shoppers.  I don't know if there is a way to eliminate the large parking lots except to build indoor parking like Southpark.  But, I haven't really seen much "crap" built up this way. Am I missing something?

North Charlotte towns are definitely way more like what you see in the Triangle, but that is because those towns generally have adopted the strictest zoning standards in this area.

 

You just don't have huge parking lots and enormous signs on the street front in the Triangle like you have in Charlotte. I'll admit I haven't been everywhere in the Raleigh area, but I haven't seen any roads that look like 74, North Tryon, or South Boulevard in Raleigh.

 

Huge parking lots aren't going away for suburban strip malls, but they can be made to look better with good design and landscaping. It's still auto-driven sprawl, but at least it looks somewhat tasteful.

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Obviously you haven't driven out U.S. 1 North, or U.S. 401/70 South..  

Edited by Bikeguy

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nNorth Charlotte towns are definitely way more like what you see in the Triangle, but that is because those towns generally have adopted the strictest zoning standards in this area.

 

You just don't have huge parking lots and enormous signs on the street front in the Triangle like you have in Charlotte. I'll admit I haven't been everywhere in the Raleigh area, but I haven't seen any roads that look like 74, North Tryon, or South Boulevard in Raleigh.

 

Huge parking lots aren't going away for suburban strip malls, but they can be made to look better with good design and landscaping. It's still auto-driven sprawl, but at least it looks somewhat tasteful.

the streets you mentioned developed when just about every city in the south was thinking auto centric but the area around Prosperity Church is starting to develop in the new urban style centers

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There's just a lot of land in these cities, guys. There's just, so, so, so very much land. It boggles the mind how much land there is in these metros.

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So on a serious note, how many of us would it take to push the city into changing their zoning codes? (I know this is getting off topic. Should we start a new thread?)

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Grave news...

I heard from sources (er... more of a gut feeling), than an army of old guard developers, NIMBY's, and traffic engineers are conspiring to hijack the process to maintain the status quo and continue destructive sprawl development throughout the city and county.

I propose a glorious coalition of NGO's, internet communities (you guys), and friendly neighborhood associations. Let us roll over... er handle the opposition.

Lets start up a thread.

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Is this due to a rousing speech made by a UPer or was such action already in process?

You say that in jest, but I have wondered this myself.  Oftentimes, I feel that developers have a voice, out of state consultants have a voice, and protesters (i.e. Widen I-77 group) have a voice.  Rarely do I get the feeling that people like us-the highly informed and concerned citizens that care deeply about the well-being of the city itself-have a voice.  Maybe that's just because there are too few of us, but there are some seriously great ideas hatched in the UP forumsphere. 

The zoning code update has been in the works for over a year, and should will be opportunities for public input along the way. It's a 4-6 year project, so don't expect too much up front.

Just curious, what do you consider "crap?"  I haven't seen anything in the area that isn't as good as any other place overall. I live in the northern part of the county. I don't see much "crap" here. What am I missing?

Raleigh gets better urban development than us, largely due to their Urban Design Center in combination with a solid UDO. Case in point:

This is a well-designed urban residential project in Raleigh: https://goo.gl/maps/3qSfH 

THIS is a well-designed* urban residential project in Charlotte: https://goo.gl/maps/D3cSO  (* according to developers)

Suburbia is a huge part of Charlotte, and there isn't a whole lot that can be done to change it. Sure the buildings can be put in better locations and better organized, but the central concept is still separation of land uses. What Charlotte's zoning code lacks is a good way to make good development projects easier to accomplish - especially in urban areas.

I thought we had a thread for the zoning discussion. I'll look into it...

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Looks like it will be a "hybrid" code, or still a confusing mix of use-based districts and form-based overlays.

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Kenny Smith (district 6) might be important in this process. He's a broker so he can understand the malarkey developers have to deal with and it will be very helpful to have him on my side. He will be most likely pro de-regulation.

I'm hoping to go into development and in the coming years I am not looking forward to hanging out with the planning department and having them say no to every little project I want to try. So yes, I am very much biased and very much de-regulation.

As much as people say developers are evil, powerful guys that want to build terrible things, outdated zoning laws contribute greatly to horrible projects. The current zoning laws also make infill extremely difficult so that's a powerful incentive for developers to sprawl so they don't have to tangle with the planning department as much.

The more I talk to the developers and architects, the more horror stories I listen to. I should share some here sometime.

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Kenny Smith (district 6) might be important in this process. He's a broker so he can understand the malarkey developers have to deal with and it will be very helpful to have him on my side. He will be most likely pro de-regulation.

The more I talk to the developers and architects, the more horror stories I listen to. I should share some here sometime.

You're absolutely right. Have you spoken with anyone who has seen successes with Form-Based Code first hand? I attended at group lecture marketed to CLT developers last year about this topic, discussing the benefits of FBC. The tendency in cities with fully-realized FBC zoning reform is that it is easier on developers to do what they want, easier for neighborhoods to benefit from better design, and easier on the government to not waste money on over-regulation.

Thoughts?

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Developers aren't all bad (most of them are pretty good, or at least mean well) - but the bad ones really ruin it for everyone else. FBC helps level the playing field and makes the approval process for good development easier and quicker. It's not additional regulation, it's changing the structure of the existing regulations to make it more user friendly. IMO, this is something developers should be in favor of. 

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Except the City's Planning Dept already caved and said it won't be a full-fledged form-based code.

Edited by southslider

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