Saturday 'Drive-In' Will Introduce City's New Vision For The Future
Charlotte city officials will unveil the draft of a new long-range development plan Saturday at a drive-in event that includes a screening of the movie "Back to the Future." They're trying to have a bit of fun with a serious topic — how the city should grow and right the wrongs of the past.
The 2040 Comprehensive Plan is a long-term vision for how the city expects — and wants — to grow. Charlotte has not updated its comprehensive plan since 1975 and city planning director Taiwo Jaiyeoba says Charlotte is the largest city in the country without such a plan. He said the city's population could add 300,000 people by 2040, so a guiding document is essential.
"It allows our council to have consistency in policies, both for residents and developers and businesses," he said. "And it also allows them to make decisions in a consistent manner when it comes to rezoning or approving major projects."
This plan not only looks at where housing and commercial development might go, it also calls for ensuring all racial and income groups get the advantages of growth. Future planning decisions would be measured by access to essential services, housing, jobs and by environmental justice.
Jaiyeoba said the plan is based on a list of underlying principles, "equity being one of them; sustainability being another. Upward mobility, quality of life, transportation, how we grow, how we flow, how we move, how we live."
The new vision was developed in dozens of meetings with residents, developers and other stakeholders. The city even developed a "Growing Better Places" game that let residents join in the planning.
The comprehensive plan will work side-by-side with other plans, he said, and a new "Unified Development Ordinance" — the city rules that will carry out the vision. The new ordinance is still in the works.
The city council is scheduled to vote on the 2040 plan next April. Jaiyeoba and his staff will seek feedback on the vision until then, starting this weekend.
Planning documents aren't typically on the best-seller list. The executive summary on this one is 24 pages of text, charts and photos. So Jaiyeoba and his staff will introduce the plan to the public at a "COVID-19 safe" drive-in event at the Park Expo off Independence Boulevard on Saturday from 2-9 p.m.
Four sessions are planned, with the movie screening after the last one. More information is at 2040drivein.eventbrite.com.