Land preservation

Charlotte suburbs grow faster as developers seek cheap land

Development has been sprawling. Places that were once rural now seem urban. Take Fort Mill, S.C., whose population, according to the American Community Survey, has nearly doubled since 2010. Many small towns have grown into bustling suburbs as developers search for large tracts of land to build residential communities. As the population grows, low-cost land and high volume are necessary to meet the regions demand for single family housing.

Charlotte is growing - literally - as the city annexes more land

Annexations have added areas like Steele Creek to Charlotte city limits over the past decades, as the city limits expanded dramatically. Photo: Nancy Pierce. You’ve probably heard a few catchy statistics about Charlotte’s explosive growth: For example, the city’s population grew by 47 people a day from 2010 to 2018.  But did you know that over the same period, the city also grew by almost 1.5 square miles a year?

Can a community land trust stop gentrification in west Charlotte? This group thinks so.

Rickey Hall,  a lifelong west Charlotte resident who co-founded the West Charlotte Community Land Trust, and executive director Charis Blackmon in front of the first lot the group purchased, on Tuckaseegee Road. With a full-time executive director and a $200,000 grant, a three-year-old west Charlotte nonprofit is accelerating its efforts to stave off displacement with a housing strategy that’s unprecedented in this fast-developing city.

Should Charlotte do more to preserve its history?

Camp North End, a former Ford factory, distribution center and missile factory north of uptown Charlotte that's being redeveloped for adapative reuse projects. Photo: Nancy Pierce. There’s been a lot of talk lately in Charlotte about the value of older buildings and what we should do to save them, spurred by the Excelsior Club’s possible sale and demolition. For a fast-growing city with leaders who have long been spurred on by the promise of more development and an ever-bigger, ever-shinier skyline, it can be hard to preserve the past. Charlotte has a reputation for tearing down its past to make way for the future, with casualties that include notable buildings such as the Masonic Temple, Independence Tower and Hotel Charlotte (imploded as part of a David Copperfield television special).

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.