Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have questions about the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) and what it means to you? Below are answers to some of our most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). However, we understand this list may not answer your specific question. For those questions not addressed here, please fill out the comment form at the bottom of this page and we’ll send you an answer directly to your inbox!


Why is the Unified Development Ordinance important and what is the project about?

The Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) is a city-wide effort to update the regulations that guide growth and development in Charlotte.

The UDO will be the primary tool to implement Charlotte’s plans and policies through development regulations. It will combine eight development ordinances, including the Zoning Ordinance, into one set of regulations. Many different departments composed these development ordinances over the last three decades, so it’s important to update them all at the same time. This consolidation makes rules more uniform and consistent which ensures our city priorities are balanced in development.

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, and floodplain regulations) into one comprehensive document.

What is zoning?

Local governments use zoning as a regulatory tool for several purposes. First, zoning controls the physical development of land and the way land may be used by specifying land uses. In addition, it is a tool for shaping the size and location of buildings. In addition, zoning regulations implement local land development polices expressed in adopted plans. For example, the Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan will serve as the adopted policy for the UDO.

Which land development ordinances are in the UDO?

The Charlotte UDO will include the Zoning Ordinance, Subdivision Ordinance, Tree Ordinance, Street and Sidewalk Regulations, Floodplain Regulations, Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Ordinance, Driveway/Access Standards and Post Construction Stormwater Ordinance.

Will the UDO update or modify all of these land development ordinances?

As stated in FAQ # 4, Charlotte’s UDO combines eight land development ordinances into one. However, not all of the ordinances included in the UDO, such as the Zoning Ordinance, will be comprehensively updated. Others may be slightly modified for consistency with the rest of the UDO.

Why update the Zoning Ordinance?

Today’s zoning regulations don’t always result in the desired forms of development or reflect best practices. Therefore, the current Zoning Ordinance needs an update to adequately implement the community’s vision and needs.

How will the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) address Affordable Housing?

Our vision and guiding principles support affordable housing by encouraging a range of housing choices. In short, this includes housing that meet the needs of people with different incomes, ages, physical abilities and lifestyle preferences. Research has shown that supporting a greater mix of housing types is key to providing more opportunities for affordable housing.

In addition, staff is exploring several supplemental methods to achieve greater affordability including incentives, removing regulatory barriers, and providing increased density housing opportunities.

How is the Charlotte community involved?

There are several phases of this project that will involve important community conversations. Firstly, the Ordinance Advisory Committee (OAC), a team of approximately 30 community members, provide initial feedback as we draft UDO text. All the OAC meeting recordings are shared on the UDO YouTube channel here.

In addition, as we move into Spring of 2021 and begin to share drafts of the UDO with the community, your feedback and comments will be crucial to building support for and understanding of the UDO. To better understand the project timeline and when to expect to see a public draft for public comment, please visit our project timeline page for more information.

If these FAQs haven’t answered your question yet – send us your question directly by filling out a form here.