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Charlotte Area News

Charlotte OKs Rezoning Along Blue Line For Transit-Oriented Development

A Blue Line train pulls away from J.W. Clay Station on North Tryon Street near UNC Charlotte in this 2018 file photo.
David Boraks
A Blue Line train pulls away from J.W. Clay Station on North Tryon Street near UNC Charlotte in this 2018 file photo.

Charlotte City Council on Monday night approved rezoning nearly 1,800 acres along the LYNX Blue Line.

The decision designates the land to be used for transit-oriented development — dense, mixed-use development that’s walkable. In April, City Council approved new rules for developing land along transit line lines, partly as way to encourage the building of more affordable housing. 

Most of the apartments that have sprouted up along the Blue Line, which first opened in 2007, have not included affordable units. Councilman Braxton Winston said the decision Monday night is one way to correct past mistakes in future development. 

“It’s going to create the type of development around our transit lines like the Blue Line like the future of the Silver Line in ways that we want and really the way that the community deserves transit corridors to be developed," Winston said. "Those things did not happen when the first part of the Blue Line was made.”

Councilman Justin Harlow said the decision will also make that future development more predictable.

“So often we get community members coming down and telling us about what requests they might want in developments and things around height and architectural standards and design and setbacks," Harlow. "This gives very distinct [details] to those requests and I think that helps serve the community better so when petitioners and developers do come in you kind of have a sense of what already is coming.”

Under the regulations the city approved earlier this year, height limits are placed on new buildings along transit lines. But developers would be allowed to add floors above the limit if they include a certain amount of affordable units.

The roughly 19-mile Blue Line was completed in 2018 and runs from Interstate 485 to UNC Charlotte. Just last week, City Council approved a roughly $50 million design study for the planned Silver Line, which would go from Matthews to Gaston County, passing uptown and the airport.

Monday's vote was unanimous among City Council members who were present; several were absent.