Charlotte planers are evaluating potential modifications to the rezoning process that are intended to streamline the procedures for project review, shorten the time between application and approval, and improve collaboration between developers, staff, and members of the community.
In a presentation this week to the City’s Development Services Technical Advisory Committee (DSTAC), Assistant Planning Director Laura Harmon outlined some of the key goals of the proposal:
Providing clear, early staff feedback on zoning submittals;
Changing the timing of the Community Meeting / Open House Forum, so it allows for better feedback on plans;
Giving Council more detailed information on traffic and other project impacts;
Creating ‘geographic teams’ to focus on cases in different areas of the City;
Ensuring zoning issues are more ‘fully vetted’ before a case comes before Council; and,
Revising the process to focus more on land use issues, and less on site design or development issues.
Changes are also being considered to the rezoning schedule, which City Council is likely to review in early November. These changes would include the creation of an Expedited Review process for projects that have met predetermined thresholds for regulatory compliance and community input, and for which all substantive site plan or transportation issues have been addressed.
The zoning process changes under consideration are the first step in a planned, multi-year evaluation and rewrite of the City’s Zoning Ordinance, which could begin in early 2016. Harmon said this effort will kick off with a comprehensive visioning process in which City Council and staff will determine what type of ordinance would best suit Charlotte’s long-term planning objectives.
REBIC is encouraging members of City Council, Planning Commission and planning staff to collectively formulate a clear vision for the rezoning process, and identify specific problems to be addressed, before beginning a lengthy and expensive rewrite of the zoning code. We will continue to meet with elected officials and senior staff in the coming weeks to help craft a rezoning process that will help stimulate economic development, protect property rights, and enhance Charlotte’s quality of life.