Our UDO Draft Comments


These are the comments we submitted to city staff from both the first and second drafts.

Second Draft Comments:

(1) General Comment:

Article 2. Rules of Construction, Abbreviations, & Definitions


Comments - This definition is needed: "A pedestrian is anyone who travels on foot as well as those with disabilities who require assistive devices." (adapted from: https://www.cordiscosaile.com/faqs/who-is-considered-a-pedestrian/).



1. Part 8. General Development Zoning Standards - Art. 19. Off-Street Vehicle & Bicycle Parking - Table 19-1: Vehicle Parking Requirements. "Minimum Applies only when within 200' 400' of a Neighborhood 1 Place Type"

Comment: In Tier 3, where uses within 200' feet from the N1 types of neighborhoods required minimum parking, that distance has been increased to 400'. This increase from 200' to 400' near our transit stations has severe consequences and impedes building an environment inclusive for non-motorists. We request that this not apply within a ¼ mile of a rapid transit station, especially with restaurants/bar uses.  - POSTED TO PORTAL 6-29-22

2. Table 19-1: Vehicle Parking Requirements - Uses Dwelling – Multi-Family Also applies to the residential component of mixed-use development:

Comment: Again, in the neighborhoods that fall under Tier 3 parking requirements, the developer would have to provide at least one parking spot per dwelling unit. We think one parking spot per dwelling unit close to the TOD is excessive. We request that this rule not apply to any land uses within ¼ of a mile from the light rail stations.  - POSTED TO PORTAL 6-29-22

3. Table 19-1: Vehicle Parking Requirements - Waste Management Facility + Recycling Collection Center-

Comment: In Tier 3, increase the Maximum to 1/500 sqft from 1/250 sqft for both. POSTED TO PORTAL 6-29-22

4. Part I. Ordinance Introduction - part. 2. Rules of Construction, Abbreviations, & Definitions - Definition of Gross Floor Area. We think that the definition of Gross Floor Area should be expanded. It currently says “GFA does not include any areas used exclusively for the surface parking lots and/or parking structures, or for building or equipment access, such as stairs, elevator shafts, and maintenance crawlspace.”

Comment: We think the definition of GFA should also exclude ramps, common corridors and bathrooms. 

  1. Alternatively, we encourage the city staff to include the definition of Net Floor Area as defined by the Internation Code Council (ICC) and incorporate Net Floor Area in the determination of parking requirements (Table 19-1)
  2. Definition of  Net Floor Area (ICC definition): The actual occupied area, not including unoccupied accessory areas such as corridors, stairways, ramps, toilet rooms, mechanical rooms, and closets. - SUBMITTED TO THE PORTAL ON JUNE 30, 2022 (Article 2. Rules of Construction, Abbreviations, & Definitions 2.3 GENERAL DEFINITIONS)

(3) TREES:

1. 16.5 Affordable Housing Development Allowances. A.6 of the new draft the city staff added: “Where mitigation is required for removal of heritage trees, planting of twice the number of required mitigation trees shall be allowed in lieu of the mitigation fee per Article 20. The mitigation trees may also be counted towards perimeter tree plantings per Section 20.17.C when they meet all perimeter tree planting requirements”.

Comment: We think it would be important to specify that the tree replanting should take place in the same areas where the trees are removed so that the local community will experience the direct benefits of the replaced trees (ie, shade, mitigation of urban heat island effect).  POSTED TO PORTAL 6-29-22

2. 20.14 Heritage Trees - Part 2 B 2b. “Heritage trees that are sufficiently diseased, injured, dead, or are in danger of falling shall not be required to obtain a City-issued tree work permit or mitigate the tree loss prior to removal. Trees removed without a permit due to health or hazard shall be either certified by an ISA-certified arborist or adequately documented through picture, video or other documentation prior to removal. Heritage trees that are in declining health may be removed without a City-issued tree work permit only when certified by an ISA-Certified arborist prior to removal. For the purpose of this section, a “tree in declining health” shall mean a tree that can be expected to fall within a 1-3 year time period per an assessment by an ISA-Certified arborist” 

Comment: Trees removed without a permit due to health or hazard shall be either certified by an ISA-certified arborist "or" adequately documented through picture, video or other documentation prior to removal. The "or" in the preceding statement is concerning (bolded with quotations). Our concern is that without a permit or a way of tracking dying, diseased trees, it could be exploited as a loophole to take down trees that are not in such conditions. No one will take a tree down alone, so an arborist or tree service would be involved. We propose filing a post-permit with appropriate proof in these cases. This would allow for fast action and not endanger property or persons but would provide accountability.  POSTED TO PORTAL 6-29-22

(4) Affordable Housing Development Allowances:

16.4 Affordable Housing Development Allowances Section 3:  “A new street, in whole or in part, shall not be required, per Section 32.5, if that street or a portion of such street does not provide access to the affordable housing development, as determined by the SSI Administrator, and that street does not connect to an existing street on abutting property. In lieu of construction of the street or portion of such street, the right-of-way shall be dedicated for future construction of the street or portion of such street.”

Comment: Wording that covers bike/pedestrian and greenway connections would be helpful if they exist or are planned. Right-of-way dedication would also work. POSTED TO PORTAL 6-29-22


First Draft Comments:

(1) Article 4: Section 5 - Sub. Section B - Voluntary Mixed-Income Resident Development

Comment: Allowing the voluntary Mixed-income to be permitted in N1-E, N1-F, and N2 districts.

Adding additional benefits for providing affordable housing (1) reducing required parking minimums in Tier 1 and 2, (2) giving a reduction of Minimum Rear Setback, (3) giving the ability to reduce the minimum lot area/width including the mixed-use components. All three bonus recommendations can apply to the denser districts N1-C to N1-F and N2.


(2) Article 4: Section 4 - Open Space Requirements Sub. Section B - Nonresidential and Mixed-Use On-Site Open Space

Comment: Giving the ability to convey open space land to Mecklenburg County in exchange for additional building height (w/ some increased side setback if needed) or reduced parking minimums. It could apply to N1-C and higher.


(3) Article 4: Section 4.5 - Sub. Section A - Conservation Residential Development Part B - Common Open Space under item ii:

  1. Common open space may be conveyed as follows:

        (A) To Mecklenburg County in support of the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department, if accepted by the County.

Comment: This needs to be tiered or incentivized with the development bonus similar to the voluntary mixed-income bonus, this will be the best way to increase small urban parks. The county is willing to and recognizes the need for more land. This option could be applied in districts N1-D TO N1-F.


(4) Article 4: Section 3 - Dimensional and Design Standards - Part D Building Height:

N1-F Building Height should be higher than 40 feet (increasing it to 48ft+) and increased sidewall height without taking the average of adjacent building sidewalls. This will allow more flexibility for quads.

Part C Building Siting:

Comment: Allowing more flexibility for N1-F with Min. Front/Rear Setback. Allowing 10 ft for Front and 20 ft for Rear.


(5) - Article 13.3 Dimensional and Design Standards - Part B Building Height -

Table A: Minimum Building Height

Comment: Bringing this topic up given conversations during the ACRC centering around height minimum flexibility.


(6) Article 14: Special Purpose and Overlay Zoning Districts

Overall Suggestion:

We propose adding an overlay district to areas of medium to high housing precarity risk utilizing UC Berkeley's Housing Precarity Risk model and applying it within the Charlotte city limits and all of the unincorporated locales within Charlotte's "sphere of influence." Any development built within this overlay district would "trigger" a community benefits table. Developers would be required to choose whether or not to meet the point system of the community benefits table or go through an exception (EX) rezoning process.


(7) Article 14: Special Purpose and Overlay Zoning Districts - Section 3 - RIO Residential Infill Overlay

Comment: This overlay is just a larger version of the NCO. We believe most overlays propose, except maybe the CCO are protective of existing neighborhoods. The EX does not apply to N1, so could the RIO transform into a Yes In My Backyard (YIMBY) overlay for creative, innovative, denser residential areas. Allowing more flexibility with lot size, setbacks, heights/sidewalls, parking, and open space. Allowing more attached units with flexibility on primary pedestrian entries. 


(8) Article 5 Section 3 Dimensional and Design Standards Part D Building Height


       Building Heights for N2-B should be increased to at least 52 feet to provide a better ground floor experience by having a higher ceiling height. 

       Building Heights for N2-B with Mixed-Use should have additional height with a bonus of up to 60 feet. Multiple bonus requirements could be required.


(9) Article 15: Use Regulations - Section 2 - Global Use Martrix - Table 15.1 Use Martrix


There should be more by-right/prescribed conditions for TOD districts.


      Dwelling – Quadraplex allowed in TOD-TR

      Dwelling - Accessory Unit (ADU) allowed in TOD-TR


Removing or Limiting the use of Parking Lot (Principal Use) in TOD-NC

(10) Article 16: General Development Regulations - 16.2 Exterior Lighting

The following exterior lighting requirements apply to lighting for nonresidential uses on

private property. These lighting regulations do not apply to lighting in the right-of-way or

the illumination of signs.

Comments: This needs to be expanded to at least Multifamily uses in all districts.


Part B. Lighting Design

Item 1. All lighting shall be of full cut-off or semi-cut-off luminaire design. Remove Semi

Cut-Off Luminaire design

Item 4. Change wording to this: All exterior lighting, including non-single family dwellings

shall be located, screened, or shielded in a manner as not to cause glare or impair the

the vision of anyone using the public right-of-way, including but not limited to transit users,

motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians.

(11) 16.3 Development Bonus Part B. Bonus Actions: Subsection 2 Open Space Reduction/Height Bonus in

relationship to Table 16-1 under Transportation Improvements:


Allowing for open space reduction or height bonus if all or a majority of a mobility hub is

built (higher amount of points) or setting aside land for future mobility hubs on primary

frontages (lower amount of points).


UC District has unlimited height by right, what bonus item(s) beyond open space

reduction can be added? UC is not currently included in Article 16.3, missing out on an

opportunity to add key “last-mile” infrastructure like mobility hubs, or transit right-of-way,

and LEED construction.


(12) Article 19: Section 2 Part F - Spaces Exempt from Parking Maximums

The exception to Maximums in Item 2 for EVSE-Installed parking spaces may need a cap not to be abused.


(13) Article 19: Section 2 - Table 19-1 Vehicle Parking Requirements - Parking Calculations Minimums and Maximums. Ideally, we would want all minimums removed and replaced with maximums using the currently drafted minimums.


  • Consider changing how the UDO Calculates the number of spaces using something other than GFA; we suggest using Net Internal Area (NIA): Net internal area is the usable area available to occupants of the building. It's calculated by taking the gross internal area and subtracting floor areas being used by: lobbies/storage/service areas, machinery rooms on the roof, stairs/escalators/elevators/risers, building columns, and bathroom areas. A simple alternative is to change the definition of GFA in 2.3 General Definitions to include more items suggested above.



  • Changing parking requirements for Tier 3: - Submitted in First Round of Comments


Tier 3: More aggressive parking maximums in or near rapid transit stations. The number should be less than 1 per unit and not per bedroom while being more aggressive at the ¼ mile distance from rapid transit. The number of parking spaces can increase at the ½ mile distance of a rapid transit station. Example .7/unit within 1/4 mile and .9/unit within 1/2 mile Multi-family and 1/500sf GFA or 1/300sf NIA


  • We also suggest that N-2B district be moved into Tier 2.
  • Maximums in Tier 2 - Do not apply to parking structures. This needs to be removed; not having parking structures included here would be a big miss.

(14) Article 19: Section 3 - Required Electric Vehicle Charging Stations as written with the addition of the 0-9 spaces segment of off-street parking, zero types of EV charging stations are called for in the current draft. We believe EVs are the future; and we will need at least 1 EV-Ready space in the 0-9 segment or at the very least 1 EV-Capable. The EV requirement should apply to all sizes of parking spaces, including parking lots with only 0-9 and 10-25 parking spaces. A clear statement of office use is needed to Part C's requirement of EV charging stations.




This line should be removed: “In no case are more than 30 short-term bicycle parking spaces required to be provided.”


Section 2-4: Long Term Bicycle Parking definition:

Bicycle Spaces, Long-Term. Bicycle parking spaces where bicycles will be stored for longer periods of time within a safe and weatherproof storage area.


Add to the definition… ”safe, secure, and weatherproof storage area.”

Table 19.3 Bicycle Parking Requirements in relation to Public Park at 2 per Acre



Urban parks can tend to be smaller but more heavily used with more people biking to them. Example 1st Ward Park is a 2-3 acre park and would have 4 to 6 required bicycle spaces.


(16) Article 32. Network, Cross-Access, & Driveway Regulations 


Suggestion: Make it easier to use the existing alleyway right-of-way to provide cross-access.


(17) General Comment -  Related to Article 14. Special Purpose & Overlay Zoning Districts


Suggestion to add this type of overlay to Article 14. Special Purpose & Overlay Zoning Districts (PBD - Parking Benefit District). It could be used in areas with Tier 3 parking requirements near N1 districts to alleviate the conflict areas that represent the concerns of some of the draft comments posted thus far.


Parking Benefit Districts (PBD) - are defined geographic areas, typically in downtown areas or along commercial corridors, in which a majority of the revenue is generated from on-street parking facilities (Parking meters, parking permits, or even off-street public parking decks) within the district are returned to the district to finance neighborhood improvements. 

One KEY part is that funds collected in each district must NOT go into a general fund or be diverted to any other organization. When done right, PBDs build community support b/c funds go back into their neighborhoods, it keeps parking inline b/c parking is never really free, and begins to manage parking for the public good.


Articles on PBD: