City Staff Releases First draft of Charlotte UDO
The Charlotte Planning, Design & Development Department (PDD) released the first draft of the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) Thursday, setting the stage for a presentation by PDD Director Taiwo Jaeyoba at Monday night’s Charlotte City Council meeting.
The UDO aims to update and combine into one document the regulations that steer growth and development in Charlotte, using the recently approved Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan as the foundation for doing so. It will guide what gets built and where in the coming decades.
The Charlotte UDO will include all ordinance requirements related to zoning, streets, sidewalks, infrastructure, trees, drainage/stormwater, subdivisions, floodplain, soil erosion and sedimentation control. The most controversial aspect of the document, judging by the conversations that arose from the creation of the comprehensive plan, involves allowing duplexes, triplexes and sometimes quadplexes to be built in neighborhoods currently zoned exclusively for single-family residences.
The UDO also directs the city in advancing community priorities, including affordable housing, public open space, the environment, and support for small businesses and businesses owned by minorities and women.
“I’m proud of the several years of work the Ordinance Advisory Committee (OAC) has contributed to the first draft of Charlotte’s Unified Development Ordinance,” OAC Chair Tony Lathrop said. “We’ve had a high level of committee engagement in a very inclusive and transparent process that has involved neighborhood leaders, developers, designers and community leaders. I’m thrilled to see the result and thank all involved for their hard work.”
At more than 600 pages, the Charlotte UDO draft can be a lot to take in, but the city does offer a highlight summary to help direct readers, and includes graphics and other ways to keep readers engaged and in the know. The community is invited to review the draft UDO and provide feedback on the proposed regulations at upcoming engagement sessions or comment online. The feedback phase runs through Jan. 14, 2022, after which the document will be reviewed and edited based on community feedback.
New Parkwood Avenue Bike Lanes Open
City officials and mobility/sustainability advocates celebrated the opening of new, separated bike lanes along Parkwood Avenue on Friday afternoon. The 0.8-mile bike lanes aim to improve safety and mobility between the Belmont, Villa Heights and Optimist Park neighborhoods.
The project is implements a dedicated space for cyclists by doing away with an existing travel lane on both sides of the road.
“As a city that values freedom of movement and the importance of providing a multitude of mobility options, this is another fantastic step forward,” said Mayor Pro Tem Julie Eiselt, who was on hand for Friday’s ribbon-cutting. “The Parkwood Avenue separated bike lanes will give our city more options to move around, exercise and spend quality family time in a safe, controlled area.”
Advocates have been lobbying for improved pedestrian infrastructure along Parkwood Avenue since Al Gorman was struck and killed while riding a bike on the road in 2015.
“This segment of Parkwood has been transformed from a dangerous road for moving cars to a complete street that will be safer for all users: pedestrians, cyclists, bus riders and drivers,” said Sustain Charlotte Founder and Executive Director Shannon Binns. “We are thrilled that the city has responded to the community’s plea for safety as we know it will result in a dramatic reduction, if not elimination, of lost lives and serious injuries on this road. We will continue to partner with residents and the city to bring safer streets like this to all neighborhoods.”
Volunteers Help Rebuild Homes in Lakeview
Local organizers joined with staff and volunteers from the national nonprofit Rebuilding Together, Lowe’s, Wells Fargo and Evolve to rebuild 25 homes for neighbors in Charlotte’s historic Lakeview neighborhood this week. Hundreds of volunteers braved the rain to make free critical home repairs during the two-day Building a Healthy Neighborhood initiative on Thursday and Friday.
Repairs included new roofs, updated plumbing, flooring installation, kitchen upgrades, window replacements, a wheelchair ramp and other accessibility modifications. Volunteers also spruced up the community garden, installing a fence and preparing the garden beds for fall.
Since its founding in 2010, Rebuilding Together of Greater Charlotte has worked with more than 5,000 volunteers to repair over 200 homes.
“Through Building a Healthy Neighborhood, we are working to fill the urgent need for healthy homes and communities throughout the country,” said Caroline Blakely, president and CEO of Rebuilding Together. “Partnering with Lowe’s, Wells Fargo and Evolve has allowed us to reach even more neighbors in Charlotte who should be given the opportunity to live in safe and healthy environments, a need made all the more critical given the ongoing pandemic.”
North Carolina Reaches Vaccination Milestone
Gov. Roy Cooper announced a milestone in fighting COVID-19 this week, as the percentage of adults in North Carolina who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine surpassed 70%. Locally, 60% of Mecklenburg County residents have received at least one dose, though the inclusion of children in that number makes the percentage lower than the milestone announced by Cooper on Thursday.
As metrics in Mecklenburg County continue to fall, city staff announced Friday that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center will reopen to the public for municipal government meetings later this month. According to a release from the city, beginning Monday, Oct. 18, the public can attend meetings of Charlotte City Council, the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners, the CMS Board of Education and quasi-judicial board meetings in-person. Beginning Monday, Nov. 1, the building will re-open to the public during regular business hours and when the aforementioned bodies meet.
According to the latest data released by Mecklenburg County Public Health on Friday, there were 1,858 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed among Mecklenburg County residents over the past week, and 25 deaths resulting from the coronavirus, surpassing 1,200 deaths total throughout the pandemic. According to more in-depth data for cases that occurred through Wednesday, there had been an average of 288 confirmed COVID-19 cases per day over the past week, a decreasing trend compared to previous weeks. On average, 288 people were hospitalized due to COVID-19 on any given day, and there was a 8.8% test-positivity rate among county residents, both decreasing trends.
Three Women Among Local Murder Victims
Four people were murdered in Charlotte since last Friday, including three women. Shortly after 3:15 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 1, police responded to a shooting call in an apartment complex on Waterford Glen Loop in south Charlotte and found 29-year-old Jatangela Hudson dead of a gunshot wound. No arrests have been made in the case.
About two hours later on the same afternoon, police responded to a shooting call on Clydesdale Terrace in the Enderly Park neighborhood of west Charlotte and found 35-year-old Markelia Young dead of a gunshot wound. No arrests have yet been made in the case.
Shortly before 1 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 4, officers responded to an assist medic call for service on Vinton Street in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood of north Charlotte and found 56-year-old Diane Sanders dead from apparent trauma. The next day, police arrested and charged a 49-year-old man with Sanders’ murder as well as breaking and entering.
At around 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 5, police responded to a damage to property call on Farmington Ridge Parkway in northeast Charlotte, where they found 19-year-old Myers Park High School graduate Eric Deese II dead of a gunshot wound just down the street from the original call. On Friday, police arrested a 19-year-old man and charged him with murder. A 17-year-old juvenile was also arrested and charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon in connection with Deese’s murder.