City Council Approves New TOD Ordinance

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The Charlotte City Council last Monday night unanimously approved a new Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Ordinance, which sets standards for commercial and residential development in the city’s light rail corridor.

REBIC and our members worked closely with City planning staff on the ordinance over the past 18 months, and we are generally pleased with the final product. Many of our suggestions — from changes in maximum parking ratios to additional development incentives — were included in the final draft adopted by Council last week. Our only remaining significant concern remains the 130′ building height limitation, which can only be exceeded through the use of a bonus point system that encourages affordable housing investments, energy efficient construction, or the contribution of offsite infrastructure.

While we support each of these policy goals, we believe City Council should do everything possible to encourage density in our transit corridors, and not restrict itself from considering economic development opportunities that would otherwise be limited by the building height caps in each TOD district.

weomNGEsSxyUY0KxYl9G3g_thumb_1f2aThe 80-plus page TOD ordinance, with its extensive architectural design standards, takes effect on June 30th, with all existing TOD districts converting to the medium-density TOD-CC district on that date. Until then, property previously zoned as conventional TOD-R, TOD-M, or TOD-E that is translated to the TOD-CC district may elect to develop or redevelop under the original standards only if a zoning site plan has been submitted and accepted for zoning review by the City of Charlotte

Some of the other changes REBIC worked to secure in the revised TOD draft include:

  • Additional Bonus Menu Options: More incentives for the inclusion of affordable housing units, including a horizontal density bonus through open space reductions and building length, and the addition of several environmental items.
  • Open Space Changes: Calculations regarding open space are revised and include an easier calculation of the amount required and revised standards to when public open space is required.
  • Flexibility on Street Grade Requirements: Will allow more flexibility for ground-level retail entrances on sloped grades.
  • Public Realm Standards: Provides clarification on language regarding streetscape and future back of curb measurements, based on varying street types and a planned citywide street map.
  • Revised Townhome Language: Clarifies that townhomes are not subject to the ordinance’s aesthetic requirements, reduces open space requirement.

You can find extensive background on the TOD ordinance, including previous drafts, at the City website: www.charlotteudo.org.

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