Charlotte's 2040 Plan Passes — Barely: The Week In Review From WFAE
This week started off with a moment that had been building for months: a vote on the Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan.
The plan is a document that outlines, among other things, how Charlotte can increase its housing supply and create a more walkable city. The leadup to the vote wasn’t exactly smooth.
A proposal to ax single-family-only zoning, especially, was a source of contention leading up to the vote. Proponents say allowing more types of housing will help make Charlotte more affordable and equitable; opponents worry it would drive housing costs up and accelerate gentrification in some areas.
But on Monday, the 2040 plan passed — just barely — in a 6-5 vote from the City Council.
Here’s what Democratic Council member Julie Eiselt had to say:
“Our city is changing and growing rapidly. No matter what we do or don’t do, we will continue to change, and we need more housing for all types in all parts of town for all people.”
Speaking of City Council…
Residents who are happy — or unhappy — with their council member’s performance may have to wait longer than usual to share those sentiments at the ballot box. At least some of Charlotte’s municipal elections will be pushed to 2022 because of delays in U.S. Census Bureau data needed to redraw districts. A bill postponing district-specific elections is set to become law without Gov. Roy Cooper’s signature, but the legislation left open a path for Charlotte and other cities to hold non-district elections on time.
That means residents could have an opportunity to weigh in on the mayor and four at-large Charlotte City Council members this fall while voting on the remaining seven district-specific seats in 2022. Or City Council could decide to hold them all at the same time next year, extending all members’ terms for a few months.
In some other major stories our reporters followed this week:
- Attendance at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ summer school program started off low. District officials estimated that 65,000 of 140,000 students fell so far behind over the last school year that they needed summer learning. But fewer than 21,000 of those students signed up for the six-week program — and not even 13,000 attended at least one day during the first week.
- A Charlotte teacher says police — searching for someone else with a similar name — surrounded as she sat in her car and then handcuffed her. Jasmine Horne is calling for the officers involved to be held accountable. Horne, who is Black, said there were more than a dozen officers involved, that she feared for her life, and that one of the officers pointed a gun at her. She says one of her students saw the whole thing. “To be that young and that being impressed on your mind at such a young age — how are our officers going to resolve that in the community?” Horne asked. The department says an internal investigation is ongoing.
- The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department spent about $60,000 to hire a consultant to train its 1,800 officers in a customer service program. The DiJulius Group has worked with companies like Starbucks and Lexus but never a police department. Company President John DiJulius said CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings “wanted someone with a totally fresh perspective that would come in with the private sector and see how that could work in policing.”
- North Carolina held the first of three drawings offering a $1 million prize to a lucky resident who got a COVID-19 vaccine in the state. The winner hasn’t been announced yet. But even if it isn’t you, there are still three more drawings. Each drawing has a second winner — a vaccinated teenager who will get a $125,000 scholarship.
ICYMI: MORE LOCAL NEWS
Tenant advocates are welcoming the CDC's one-month extension of a federal moratorium on evictions backed by the Biden administration that was set to expire next week on June 30. But they warn the move only postpones an inevitable wave of evictions.
North Carolina hospitals are facing a “severe” shortage of blood as part of a nationwide decrease in supply, according to the American Red Cross.
If you're thinking about having your dog groomed for summer, you might have to wait a little longer than usual for an appointment. Also in this week's BizWorthy: A brewery ditches beer, and we have an update on a lawsuit against Myers Park Country Club.
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin opposed his party's sweeping voting rights bill, but he listed election changes he would support. WFAE reached out to North Carolina Democrats running for Senate and asked specifically about Manchin's idea on voter IDs.
Immigration law is complex, and there is a short supply of lawyers in North Carolina who are specifically certified in it. Immigrants seeking help have a wide range of choices, and in some cases, they turn to people who don’t even work in the legal field.
Ridership on Charlotte Area Transit System trains and buses increased by 21% in April 2021 compared to April 2020. But ridership is still down 60% compared to pre-pandemic levels. It's unclear how a work-from-home landscape will impact ridership in the long run.
From a botched Juneteenth event to a nationwide debate over our real history, our country continues to argue about how much race matters. WFAE’s Tommy Tomlinson, in his On My Mind commentary, says it starts with a willingness to learn.
BEST OF CHARLOTTE TALKS
The conflict over the appointment of journalist Nikole-Hannah Jones — and a decision to deny her a tenured position — at UNC Chapel Hill has highlighted the politicization of university boards.
Chris Dickey, a recent East Mecklenburg High School graduate, fell in love with wrestling at an early age. His father, Weylin, loved coaching him. Dickey has had to navigate life on and off the mat without his father, though, after Weylin died in December 2020 from COVID-19. In the latest installment of Still Here, Dickey tells WFAE's Sarah Delia he sees his father's qualities appear in him in big and small ways.
This week on SouthBound, we talk to Cate Doty, a UNC graduate who has a new book called “Mergers and Acquisitions” about her years writing about weddings for The New York Times – while she was falling in love herself.