Land preservation

Charlotte is backing off its goal of 50 percent tree canopy by 2050

Eight years ago, Charlotte set a goal for itself: 50 percent tree canopy coverage across the city by 2050. But because of rapid development and an aging tree population, the city likely won’t reach that goal, officials said last week. Instead, they’re refocusing on smaller, neighborhood-level targets and other “fifty-themed” tree promotion efforts.

Mecklenburg parks’ big budget boost isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

At first glance, the proposed fiscal 2020 budget for Mecklenburg Park and Recreation looks like a slam dunk. With the clarity of a slow-mo replay, however, stripped of its glitter and pizzazz, the budget looks a lot more like a mediocre layup.

Charlotte looks ahead two decades to plan growth

What will Charlotte look like in 2040? Charlotte is like a teenager in a growth spurt, with development transforming chunks of the city and new buildings popping up on what feels like every corner in some neighborhoods. Can an ambitious new comprehensive plan guide its growth over the next two decades? 

Rare, unspoiled Piedmont prairie wins protection

The Suther Prairie in Cabarrus County, blooming with atamasco lilies and Indian paintbrush. Photo courtesy Three Rivers Land Trust A special spot of ancient prairie, never worked or plowed, has been preserved.

Should Mecklenburg farms get more protection? Here’s how that could happen.

 Suzanne Crawford sits at her food stand at the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market. As local foods from local farms grow more popular, some in Mecklenburg explore whether to push for a voluntary agricultural district to help local farmers. Only 12 N.C. counties lack one.

UNCC researchers launch long-term study at Gaston preserve

Looking up a tall pine surrounded by bigleaf magnolias at Redlair. Photo: Nancy Pierce As the Charlotte region urbanizes, scientists from UNC Charlotte describe how they’ll use a Gaston County site as a long-term observatory to monitor natural systems.

An ’80s tale: How rural preservation didn’t happen

Pond in west Mecklenburg, owned by Sue Friday. Photo: Mary Newsom Decisions made decades ago ensured that almost all of Mecklenburg County would be open to development. 

Funds can help save farmland from development

Almond Farm in Stanly County. Photo: Crystal Cockman Agriculture and agribusiness are a big part of the North Carolina economy, and several programs and funds are available to assist farmers in protecting farmland.

Lake Norman's strange political geography

Swimmers enjoy Lake Norman State Park's beach. Photo: Nancy Pierce When Lake Norman flooded parts of four counties in 1963 a 660-acre area of Mecklenburg County was cut off from the rest of the county. It was accessible only by boat or a 12-mile trip through Iredell County. This became a source of conflict between Iredell and Mecklenburg counties for decades before the two counties reached a solution in 1997.

Talk of the Towns: Iredell County

A subdivision off N.C. 150 in southern Iredell County. Photo: Nancy Pierce This installment of our series of planner interviews heads to Iredell County, where Matthew Todd describes efforts of industrial recruitment, rural farmland preservation and the challenges of planning in a diverse county that includes suburban Charlotte to the south and rural foothills to the north.