New year celebrations in North Carolina amid the COVID-19

Source: Anadolu Agency / Getty

It is an exciting time to live in Charlotte, North Carolina. But if you’re wanting to find a new development in the city of single-family homes, you may want to look elsewhere.

A sweeping round of radical zoning changes over the past five years is driving expansion, and is one of the key factors for future growth of the city. The Charlotte City Council has approved initiatives with the assistance of the Department of Planning, Design & Development as components of the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) development process. The groups took Charlotte’s old zoning and land use ordinances and transformed them into one unified ordinance.

The reason for this was for urban development with an emphasis on more businesses, shopping plazas, and mass transit rail lines. What it took away from was the construction of affordable housing communities in the Queen’s City.

These new industrial sites are not the best use of the land, and putting them up in place of residential-type projects will hurt Charlotte in the long run. The cost of living has been steadily treading upward in city for years. And without a plan for new affordable housing, families will be put in a vicious cycle of apartment dwelling at a much higher price point than a traditional mortgage on a house.

The Charlotte City Council needs to have a residential zoning plans for hard working middle-class family as part of addressing economic growth. We can’t keep sustaining progress without affordable housing in safe neighborhoods. If all that is being built are multi-family units and industrial developments, we’re putting ourselves in a situation for a short-term gain with long-term consequences.