Land development

In Charlotte housing debate, let’s look at underlying factors

Ashton apartments in South End. Photo: David Walters For decades, the complex challenge of housing low-income Charlotteans has inspired studies, public debate, policy changes and other actions.This essay traces how the challenges—and responses to them—have changed, and what the future might bring. Commentary.

Our living patterns, not I-77 asphalt, hold key to solving congestion

I-485 at Providence Road. Photo: Nancy Pierce The political and community debate over Interstate 77 raises a larger question: whether we as a region can move beyond a “business as usual” approach in seeking solutions and instead embrace new concepts about how we live and how we choose to travel around our region. Commentary.

More N.C., S.C. cities eye downtowns for development potential

Downtown Kannapolis. West First St., Gem Theatre. Photo: Google Street View The efforts vary from city to city. Kannapolis, for instance, bought 50 acres of downtown property. Initiatives to revitalize downtowns across the Carolinas range from renovating aging buildings to building museums to trying to lure private hotel developers. 

How prevalent is multifamily throughout the Charlotte region?

Cureton development in Waxhaw, mix of condos and single family homes in a planned community Photo: Nancy Pierce The old planners’ joke is that Americans hate two things for their cities—urban sprawl and high density. PlanCharlotte examined where in this metro region multifamily is, and where it isn’t. Some communities, hoping to attract more Millennials, want more multifamily. Others’ long-range plans discourage multifamily development.

Concerned at pace of development, planning commission weighs in

View of Charlotte from CATS Bland Street Station in Southend. Photo: John Chesser You can add the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission to the local voices expressing concern about development moving rapidly as the city’s process to rewrite its aging zoning code moves far slower.

South End area with unique history wants new, unique zoning

Sign on Summit Avenue in South End highlights gold mine history. Photo: Mary Newsom A proposal working its way through the city zoning process could create something new for Charlotte: a special kind of zoning designed specifically for one neighborhood, in this instance a part of South End that's touting its gold-mining history.

Can Plaza Midwood save the places that matter? 4 tools that might help

Tommy's Pub on Central Avenue in Plaza Midwood. Photo: Google Maps A torrent of development in some older Charlotte neighborhoods is wiping out more and more of the small, older buildings. This creates a significant, if little-recognized, problem for an entrepreneurial economy. Why is this happening, and what can be done? Commentary

Losing a spot of urban magic that’s not likely to be replaced

Courtyard at the Common Market in South End. Photo: David Walters When the Common Market leaves its South End spot next year, it will mean the loss not only of the market, which can reopen elsewhere, but the loss of its courtyard—a small spot of urban magic of a sort almost impossible to find in the city any more. Commentary

Charlotte’s goal is to mix uses, but change is slow on the ground

Metropolitan mixed-use development just outside uptown Charlotte. Like many cities, Charlotte has a goal of encouraging mixed-use development, after decades of conventional zoning practices that separate uses. PlanCharlotte took a look at zoning throughout the city to see how single-use zoning compares with mixed-use zoning.

For better designed development, we’re going to need a better code

Central Avenue multifamily. Photo: David Walters Charlotte’s apartment boom plus development in popular areas like Plaza Midwood and NoDa are generating questions by residents about why new development looks the way it does and whether it could be better. Yes, it could be better, but that requires a different kind of zoning ordinance. Commentary