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Groups Want More Neighborhood Input On Charlotte's 2040 Plan

A group wants the Charlotte City Council to make some changes to its 2040 Comprehensive Plan.
Brittani Burns
A group wants the Charlotte City Council to make some changes to its 2040 Comprehensive Plan.

A new coalition of neighborhood and community groups is calling on the Charlotte City Council to delay consideration of its 2040 Comprehensive Plan, saying the planning process has left out people who will be most affected by changes in how the city develops.

The Community Benefits Coalition includes about 30 groups in Charlotte's "crescent" of low-income and minority neighborhoods from the west side to the east side. Founding members include the West Boulevard Neighborhood Coalition, North End Community Coalition, the Housing Justice Coalition, as well as residents.

Charlotte's draft 2040ComprehensivePlan is a vision for how the city will develop in the coming decades, and includes controversial new ideas, including allowing multi-unit dwellings in neighborhoods currently zoned for single-family homes only.

The new coalition worries that such changes will lead to further disruption and displacement for people of color. Ismaail Qaiyim is a founder and a member of Charlotte's Housing Justice Coalition.

"We think that the conversation around the 2040 plan really hasn't addressed the actual kind of question of equity and development, particularly for communities that haven't seen the benefits of development but are facing at the brunt of displacement," he said.

Besides delaying the public hearing, the group wants the city to create what it calls an "anti-displacement stakeholder committee" to expand input on proposed changes. They also want more transparency from the committee that's rewriting city ordinances.

And they want the city to require what's known as "community benefit agreements" — contracts with developers designed to ensure that neighborhoods benefits from new development.

The City Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the 2040 plan on March 22.

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David Boraks previously covered climate change and the environment for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.