How Does Charlotte Plan?


It may not always seem like it (we’re looking at you, Independence Boulevard), but Charlotte has a plan that’s designed to guide its development. And Charlotte’s development guides transit decisions, such as where to put bus stops and where sidewalks should go. Actually, Charlotte has a whole hot mess of plans, some grander than others. Here’s how it works:

  1. Way back in 1985, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission adopted what’s called the 2005 Generalized Land Use Plan. Sexy, we know. That plan organized the county in seven districts. And, wouldn’t you know it, that led to more plans.
  2. Between 1986 and 1992, each of those seven districts got its own plan. These plans were not binding. But they recommended uses for the land (residential, commercial, density, park, etc.), right down to specific parcels. They are intended to help guide elected officials when property comes up for rezoning votes. And, once in a while, those officials actually pay attention to the plans.
  3. But wait! There’s more! The city has also adopted more than thirty-five area plans. These are even more specific than the district plans. For example, there is a plan just for East Boulevard. The recent reconfiguration of Dilworth’s main street to become more pedestrian friendly is a part of that plan.
  4. At this point, if you haven’t turned the page looking for party pictures or a restaurant review, you might be saying to yourself, “But it’s 2011. Isn’t that 2005 plan a bit, um, old?” To that, we say, “Yes!” The city adopted a 2015 Plan, which was an update of the 2005 plan. It addressed how Charlotte had evolved, such as our much denser Center City, with new land-use suggestions.
  5. You might be wondering if your home or business is covered by one of these plans. Yes. Every piece of property in the city is covered. Most plans are online at (search “plans”). If a plan is not online, it is available for purchase as a hard copy by calling 704-336-2205.
“It’s clear that the majority of ozone pollution in this region comes from individual transportation. If we’re ever going to make any progress we have to take the cars off the road. The only way to do that is to grow smarter.” June Blotnick, Executive Director, Clean Air


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