Corrective Re-zonings for University City on Hold

At the April 23 meeting of Charlotte City Council's Transportation and Planning Committee, Council Members voted unanimously to recommend that the full Council adopt the University City Area Plan (UCAP). The corrective re-zonings within 1/4 mile of University City light rail stations that 230 of you asked for by signing our online petition will likely not be voted on when Council votes on UCAP approval. Instead, the appropriateness of corrective re-zonings will be evaluated by the Transportation and Planning Committee separately following a report from Planning Department staff in four to six months.  Planning Department staff presented a summary of comments received in the past several weeks and at the April 13 public comment session (click here to read what we told Council on behalf of more than 200 residents). Staff revealed resident and landowner concerns about building heights, transition areas between stations and neighborhoods, providing active uses for ground-level buildings, and other topics.  At the conclusion of the presentation, Council Member David Howard asked the same question we had: "Why weren't corrective re-zonings included (as a topic in the presentation)?"  A rendering of the University City transit station areas. Continue reading

200+ Residents Sign Petition for a Walkable University City Area

At Monday evening's public comment period to Charlotte City Council on the University City Area Plan (UCAP), Sustain Charlotte announced that over 200 residents had signed our petition. The petition asks Council to approve the UCAP, but also add corrective rezoning to transit-oriented development (TOD) within 1/4 mile of Blue Line Extension (BLE) stations in University City.  We hand delivered our petition with 194 signatures to City Council, Mayor Clodfelter and the City Manager during the 7:00 meeting, but we were thrilled to see that the number of signatures exceeded 200 just before we addressed Council! For more background on the UCAP and our involvement in it, check out our recent blog post. 15 residents registered to speak on this issue.     Wil Russell addressed City Council to ask for transit-oriented development. Wil Russell, a resident of University City and board member of Sustain Charlotte, urged City Council to adopt the University City Area Plan, but require transit-oriented development. He said, "Transit-oriented development will provide more opportunities to live and work near a mode of transit, which encourages ridership and sparks more economic development." Russell acknowledged that building a more walkable University City will not be easy, but needs to be done to improve quality of life and fully leverage our investment in the Blue Line Extension. He said, "The challenge that this Council should accept is to fight. Fight for the University City area and fight for transit-oriented development. Be willing to accept mixed use development, pedestrian-friendly infrastucture, more efficient land use and fewer surface parking lots, as we've seen in South End." Russell urged Council to "fire up the engines of creativity to propel us to a vision of a safe, efficient, and vibrant land use plan." Watch his full testimony (begins at 50 minutes 01 seconds). You'll need to first scroll down and then click on the word 'video' for the April 13 meeting under 'Archived Meetings'. When the video window opens, grab the gray circle with your mouse/point and move it horizontally to 50 minutes 01 seconds. Continue reading

Support the University City Area Plan!

University City Station Area Plan Rendering Do you want walkable, transit-oriented development in University City?Transit-oriented development (TOD) creates vibrant, people-oriented places that are safe and convenient to bike, walk and ride transit.A key opportunity to ensure we fully leverage our $1.1 billion light-rail investment to extend the Blue Line from uptown to University City exists next Monday evening, April 13, at the Charlotte City Council meeting – and you can have a part. We encourage you to show your support by attending the City Council meeting on April 13th, and by signing our petition! Click here to read more about our petition and to sign online. “This is everyone’s chance to have real input on the plan as we move toward finalization and approval,” said District 4 Councilman Greg Phipps, who represents University City. Petition signatures, as well as comments offered next Monday or submitted via email and letters will help City Council decide whether to approve the revised plan. The council will likely vote on adoption by June. Continue reading

Air quality standards likely to become stricter soon

Air quality in our region has improved, but coming changes will likely put Mecklenburg County out of compliance with more stringent standards. At the April 2 Technical Coordinating Committee of the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization, Megan Green of Mecklenburg County Air Quality presented information about a proposal by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to lower the health-based National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone to a value between 65-70 parts per billion (ppb). The current standard, set in 2008, is 75 ppb. The new standard would be approved by October 1.  Yikes! Mecklenburg County has the highest ground-level ozone in the state. Source: http://daq.state.nc.us/planning/ozone/ Continue reading

Solar Power and Bike Commuting Featured at April Mixer

Where can you meet like-minded people who care about sustainability, hear from businesses that support sustainability, and enjoy some great beer? At our Sustain Charlotte monthly mixers! Our members and followers gathered Tuesday evening at Heist Brewing to network and hear from two speakers. Attendees enjoyed stimulating conversation and meeting new friends.  Continue reading

City Environment Plan Incorporates Bold New Goals and Measures

Would you like to live in a city that diverts ALL of its waste from the landfill and has a neutral carbon footprint? Would you like your children or grandchildren to inherit a city where 100% of creeks are fishable and swimmable and the tree canopy is growing? This is the vision for Charlotte in 2050 that city staff and elected officials are working towards and refining. We're excited to see bold community indicators and tangible metrics in the draft plan! Charlotte City Council's Environment Committee is moving closer to adopting a FY16 Strategic Focus Area Plan for the environment. In response to councilmembers' requests for tangible indicators of progress, Assistant City Manager Hyong Yi presented a revised version of the plan. A draft of the plan is available in the April 6 meeting agenda. The plan includes different indicators and metrics for the city and for the community. City indicators can be achieved internal to the City's operations. Community indicators will require involvement and support from residents and businesses throughout Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.  Let's take a look at the draft City Indicators and Metrics: Continue reading

Creating an Environment Focus Area Plan with Tangible Key Indicators

FY16 Environment Focus Area Plan At today's Charlotte City Council Environment Committee meeting, Councilmembers Driggs, Autry, and Howard voiced enthusiastic support and appreciation for a revised version of the FY16 Environment Focus Area Plan presented by staff. Compared to previous versions, the revised plan contains more tangible indicators, each of which will contain target metrics to ensure that the City is on track to meet its environmental goals. Councilmember Driggs applauded the revised plan as "very businesslike" and said, "The more we can get tangible with measurable goals, [the more] we can look back on this and say whether we've achieved them or not." Continue reading

Charlotte Magazine Shares List of Charlotte's Best New Restaurants

We offer Platinum and Gold Sponsors of the Sustain Charlotte Awards + Earth Day Celebration the opportunity to post a relevant article to our website. Charlotte Magazine is a Gold Sponsor of the 2015 event and we're so grateful for their support! The article they'd like to share with you features many of the nine local farm-to-fork restaurants that are food sponsors of our awards event. If you like what you see here, be sure to buy your Early Bird tickets soon! Charlotte's Best New Restaurants: 2015 By Michael Graff, Leigh Ann Henion, Leah Hughes, Sarah Nowicki, Lisa Rab, Adam Rhew, & Courtney St. Onge WHILE CITIES LIKE Charleston and Atlanta still receive more recognition for having the South’s top restaurants, Charlotte’s food scene simmers. In the past year, the city’s tastes have expanded with French and Italian and German restaurants, along with plenty of new farm-to-fork options. The 13 restaurants on the pages that follow are helping to make Charlotte the most exciting food city in the region. Read the full Charlotte Magazine article here.  

Boingo Graphics & Clean Air Carolina Featured at Our March Mixer

How did a partnership between Sustain Charlotte and Charlotte-based printing company Boingo Graphics help to keep 30,000 picture frames out of the landfill? Boingo's Executive Vice President Linda Kirby ended her presentation to last night's mixer attendees by telling that story. Boingo's Executive VP, Linda Kirby, spoke to over 50 mixer attendees. Continue reading

Charlotte Area Leaders Discuss Transportation Plans and Funding

    It was a full agenda for the February 18 Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization (CRTPO) meeting! Here's what your Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) members from Mecklenburg, Iredell, and Union County discussed: I-485 South Lane Options Louis Mitchell from NCDOT gave a report on the I-485 lane situation. A future managed lane project that will cover 16.6 miles from I-77 to US-74 is scheduled to begin in spring 2016. With completion of the widening project arriving 23 months ahead of schedule, there are three options for use of the newly completed lane: First, keep the lane for use as a shoulder. Second, open it as a High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane. Third, open it as a general purpose lane. Under federal guidelines, a general purpose lane can not later be converted to a managed lane. This means that the second option preserves the ability to convert the HOV lane to a managed lane later, but the third option does not preserve that possibility. Continue reading