Sustain Charlotte is a community-based nonprofit organization dedicated to educating, engaging and uniting citizens to solve Charlotte’s sustainability challenges. We inspire choices that lead to a healthier and more vibrant community for generations to come.  LEARN MORE

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    City Council Discusses Zoning Update

    The City of Charlotte is about to embark upon an extensive review and update to its Zoning Ordinance and Policy. At today's (August 10) Transportation and Planning Committee meeting, Planning Department staff talked about the upcoming process and gave committee members a chance to discuss their concerns and ideas. 

    One of the key recommendations for the update process is to strengthen the linkage between vision plans and implementation tools in order to build the type of people-oriented places that will be desirable to current and future residents. The process will include significant external stakeholder engagement. A public engagement strategy will be part of the consultant's scope of work.


    The Centers, Corridors and Wedges Growth Framework guides Charlotte's growth & development.

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    Mixer attendees learn how a small business is committed to sustainability

    Have you ever wondered how a local business can be more sustainable? Sustain Charlotte's Silver Partner Pasta & Provisions, Charlotte's family-owned Italian grocery and fresh pasta maker, is a great example of how a small business can do many seemingly small things that add up to make a difference.

    During our August Green Drinks Charlotte + Sustain Charlotte Monthly Mixer, Tommy George, owner of Pasta & Provisions, inspired the audience by sharing the many ways in which his business is contributing to a more sustainable Charlotte community.


    Tommy George discussed Pasta & Provisions' commitment to sustainability.

    Tommy George and his wife, Debbie, opened Pasta & Provisions in 1992 in its current Myers Park location in Charlotte. From the very beginning, Tommy George had sustainability on his mind. First things first, he told mixer attendees, he was determined to get a recycling bin on the property. While it was bit of a challenge to get the property owner to give up a parking space, Tommy was eventually successful in his request.

    Over 20 years later, the George's business has embraced sustainability in various ways:

    Before you even enter the store, a sticker on the door that says "please remember to BYOB" reminds customers to bring in their reusable bag. Pasta & Provisions distributed 500 reusable shopping bags.

    Employees also reflect the business's dedication to sustainability by asking "do you need a bag?" at check-out. 

    Tommy told mixer attendees about the creative way that he has encouraged sustainability around one of his top-selling items -- olive oil. Pasta & Provisions has 7 olive oils on tap! If that isn't cool enough, Tommy also encourages customers to re-use olive oil jars by allowing them to bring back their old jar for a re-fill. And, Tommy shared, if you forget your jar, no problem, you can grab a coffee cup from your car and fill that up with your favorite olive oil instead! 

    And it doesn't stop there. Customers can also get a discount by bringing in their own containers to fill with pasta sauce. 

    Pasta & Provisions has also committed to purchasing food packaging that is both sustainable and meets the needs of his business.

    These are all examples of the creative ways in which a business owner can incorporate the mindset of sustainability into their business culture and practice. We're so grateful for the generous support of Pasta & Provisions and all of our partners. To learn how Sustain Charlotte can partner with your organization, visit our partnership page


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    Grier Heights youth uncover hidden costs of transportation choices

    When we educate residents about the impact of our area's sprawling land use patterns and transportation habits, we usually share the statistic that the average Mecklenburg County household spends 26 percent of their income on transportation costs, much more than the national average of 19 percent (learn more in our 2014 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Sustainability Report Card). 

    But for teens who have never been behind the wheel, that's a very abstract idea. Last Friday, we created and facilitated a game to bring this statistic to life.


    Teens in Grier Heights mapped areas they'd like to access by bike, walking, or transit.

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    West Charlotte youth create art for neighborhood traffic calming signs

    "Slow Down. Children Playing in Neighborhood."

    "Stop. Kids Crossing."

    "We Don't Like Speeders"

    Those were just a few of the messages written by youth during last week's workshop at Arbor Glen Outreach Center in West Charlotte. Over the past year that Sustain Charlotte has worked with residents in the Reid Park neighborhood, we learned that their top sustainability concern is a lack of safe and connective pedestrian and bicycle transportation infrastructure for residents. This includes crosswalks, sidewalks, speed bumps, and bike lanes.


    Traffic calming yard signs made by West Charlotte youth at recent sustainability workshop.

    Youth from Reid Park and the surrounding neighborhoods gathered at the Arbor Glen Outreach Center last Friday evening to do something about this problem.

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    Innovative Environmental Sustainability Projects Coming to Charlotte

    At the June 10 Environment Committee meeting of Charlotte City Council, Rob Phocas from Neighborhood & Business Services explained a variety of innovative environmental programs that the City is planning for both its own operations and the entire community. The committee's approved Environment Focus Area Plan includes "very aggressive and aspirational goals", according to Mr. Phocas. He showed the diagram below to illustrate how the five environmental initiatives (water, waste, air, energy, and Smart City) will each be supported by goals, metrics, a baseline, mid-term goals, and long-term goals. 


    The Environment Focus Area Plan sets goals for both City operations and the entire community. 

    The Energy Secure Cities Coalition (ESCC) is a project to move city fleets toward electric and hybrid technology in order to reduce fuel dependence and protect the environment. The ESCC is looking for 10 pilot cities to transition their municipal fleet. Council Member David Howard asked if this effort would include all city vehicles. Mr. Phocas replied that this program would cover light duty vehicles, and there are other programs in place to reduce emissions from heavy equipment and CATS vehicles. 

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