Changes to the PED Overlay, first suggested by REBIC last year, were unanimously approved by Charlotte City Council on July 16, along with a separate ordinance that placed a large portion of the Midtown and Morehead commercial areas, under the overlay zoning.
One of the approved PED amendments addresses language requiring commercial property owners to make costly streetscape investments when a change of use required more than five additional parking spaces. This affected owners who needed to replace one retail tenant (a bookstore, for instance) with another that required more parking under the PED standards, such as a restaurant. Under the new language, the streetscape improvements will be required ONLY when the change of use requires the property owner to expand or reconfigure their site to accommodate the additional parking, NOT when the additional spaces are already available.
The second amendment dealt with a requirement for “active uses” along at least 50 percent of the street frontage of a structured parking deck, or any new building that includes a parking structure at street level. REBIC argued that this requirement would only lead to the construction of more vacant retail and commercial space in locations where it isn’t needed, just to comply with aesthetic streetscape standards. Again, the City agreed to begin addressing this concern by enforcing the “active use” requirement only along a minor or major thoroughfare, and allowing architecturally compliant facades on local streets. While this doesn’t entirely eliminate this burdensome requirement, it at least lessens its impact.