Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some Frequently Asked Questions about the Charlotte Place Types and Unified Development Ordinance. We will continue to update the FAQs based upon comments and questions received through the website comment form and ongoing public engagements.

What is the Charlotte Place Type & Unified Development Ordinance project about and why is it important?
Place Types and the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) is a city-wide effort aimed at updating the policies and regulations that guide growth and development in Charlotte.

  • PoliciesPlace Types are a classification of land that provides guidance for how future development should look and function. They describe types and intensities of land use as well as important characteristics such as scale, site design, and accessibility.
  • Regulations: The UDO will be the primary tool to implement Place Types and Charlotte’s other plans and policies through development regulations. It will combine multiple development ordinances, including the Zoning Ordinance, into one set of regulations.

By updating policies and regulations together, Place Types and the UDO will be linked to one another, making it much easier to implement the City’s policies and plans and create great places.

What are Place Types?
Place Types are a classification of land that provides guidance for how future development should look and function. They describe types and intensities of land use as well as important characteristics such as scale, site design, and accessibility.

What is a Unified Development Ordinance (UDO)?
A Unified Development Ordinance is a regulatory tool that combines zoning regulations, along with other desired land development regulations (such as subdivision, tree, floodplain, and erosion control regulations) into one comprehensive document.

What is zoning?
Zoning is a regulatory tool used by local governments to control the physical development of land and the types of land uses that may be put on individual properties; it is a primary regulatory tool for  governing building and development. The purpose of zoning regulations is to implement local land development polices expressed in adopted plans and protect the health, safety, and welfare of the larger community.

Zoning regulations are typically found in a Zoning Ordinance. The ordinance defines a number of zoning districts that are used within a community.  The official Zoning Map identifies the zoning district for each property.   When a zoning ordinance is combined with other development-related ordinances (ex. subdivision, tree, and stormwater), this document is typically called a Unified Development Ordinance (UDO).

Which land development ordinances will be included in the UDO?
The Charlotte UDO will combine the Zoning Ordinance, Subdivision Ordinance, Tree Ordinance, Street and Sidewalk Regulations, Floodplain Regulations, Erosion Control Ordinance, and Post Construction Stormwater Ordinance into a single ordinance.

Will all the land development ordinances included in the UDO be updated or modified?
Seven land development ordinances will be combined into one single ordinance to create the Charlotte UDO (see FAQ No. 3 for more details). Some, but not all, of the ordinances included in the UDO, such as the Zoning Ordinance, will be comprehensively updated and other ordinances may be slightly modified to be consistent with development regulations included in other sections of the UDO.

Why update the Zoning Ordinance?
The current Zoning Ordinance does not adequately implement the community’s vision because existing zoning district regulations don’t always result in the desired forms of development or reflect today’s best practices.

How will Place Types impact adopted area plans?
Place Types will replace some of the City’s adopted area plans (plans typically adopted prior to 2006) and will work in tandem with others (plans typically adopted after 2010). Area plans adopted prior to 2006 tend to focus on land use recommendations and do not include guidance for the intensity of land use or characteristics such as scale, site design, and accessibility.  Many of the area plans adopted after 2010 do include sufficient land use, design and accessibility guidance and, therefore, will likely be maintained.

What is a future land use map? How will Place Types impact the adopted future land use map?
A future land use map identifies the desired type of future development for property throughout a city. Charlotte’s current future land use map includes traditional land use classifications such as retail, residential, and office. The Charlotte Place Type map will replace the adopted future land use map and include the new Place Type classifications such as Neighborhood 1, Neighborhood Node, and Regional Activity Center.  In doing so, similar land use areas are further distinguished by characteristics such as scale, site design, and accessibility.

How will Place Types and the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) address Affordable Housing?
Our vision and guiding principles support affordable housing by encouraging a range of housing choices, including those that meet the needs of people with different incomes, ages, physical abilities and lifestyle preferences.  From a policy perspective, our research has shown that supporting a greater mix of housing types is key to providing more opportunities for affordable housing.

Therefore the Neighborhood Place Types propose to encourage a greater mix of housing in our neighborhoods by allowing duplexes midblock and relaxing the standards for allowing tri and quadraplexes on corner lots.  The Activity Center Place Types promote the inclusion of a mix of urban uses, including multi-family housing, in a walkable environment.

Additionally, in developing the UDO, staff is exploring a number of ways to support affordable housing including providing incentives, removing regulatory barriers, and providing additional moderate and high density housing opportunities.

How can I get involved?
There are a number of opportunities to get involved in Charlotte Place Types and UDO. Be sure to sign up for updates and visit the Get Involved webpage for opportunities to take a survey, learn about upcoming events, or see what the community’s been saying about the project.