(By Justin Vick - The Charlotte Weekly)
The city is considering changes that would create safer conditions for pedestrians. The Charlotte City Council is scheduled to vote on revisions to sidewalk construction standards Nov. 27. The changes create more triggers for the construction of sidewalks and planting strips along thoroughfares.
Joe Padilla, executive director for the Real Estate and Building Industry Coalition, told the council during the Nov. 13 public hearing that no one is questioning the need for sidewalks, but he wanted them to understand potential tradeoffs.
Tearing up and replacing substandard sidewalks represents additional costs in grading and clearing that will be passed on to tenants or buyers of new buildings or multifamily housing, he said.
Padilla said additional regulations not only add to costs, but also could hurt city initiatives such as providing more affordable housing and preserving 50 percent of the tree canopy. He suggests adding exemptions for affordable housing developers that encounter site constraints.
Kate Cavazza, bicycle program manager for Sustain Charlotte, said the amendments would close loopholes allowing developers to sidestep having to build sidewalks for new or phased developments.