The Charlotte Planning Department is undergoing a comprehensive reorganization, in an effort to streamline the development approval process and reduce the number of conflicts that arise between final rezoning and site plan review.
The initiative is moving forward even as Charlotte’s Unified Development Ordinance takes a step back, to allow staff to begin work on a Comprehensive Plan to guide the City’s growth over the next two decades.
The reorganization will move key functions from Engineering to the Planning Department, including Development Plan Review, Subdivision Compliance, Urban Forestry and Site Inspections, where they will merge with Zoning Administration to create a comprehensive entitlement services operation under the direction of the Deputy Planning Director, Alyson Craig (see org chart above). The Long Range Planning, Transportation Planning and Urban Design divisions will remain as the last three pieces of the new Planning Department.
The goal of the realignment, says Craig, is to reduce the number of conflicts that occur between the time a conditional rezoning is approved by City Council and the time a land development permit is issued. These conflicts frequently involve tree save requirements, street and sidewalk standards, and general site design issues. By consolidating most of the regulatory functions under one department, conflicts can be more easily identified and resolved on the front end of a project.
The City is also working to create a ‘one-stop’ development center on the ground floor of the Government Center, where engineers and developers can meet with representatives of multiple city departments in a single location — from CDOT and Planning to Water and Urban Forestry. The renovation work is expected to be completed in early 2019.
REBIC has long advocated for a more consolidated development plan review process, and applauds City Manager Marcus Jones and Planning Director Taiwo Jaiyeoba for their leadership on this important initiative.