Declaration to City Council:

"We support the recommendations of the University City Area Plan, which encourages a form of development that creates vibrant, people-oriented places and makes biking, walking, and riding the light rail safe, convenient and inviting. Furthermore, we believe that aligning zoning with the plan is critical to ensure the plan is implemented and its goals are realized. Therefore, we urge you to rezone (using corrective rezonings) all properties within 1/4 mile of the University City Blvd, McCullough, and JW Clay Blvd LYNX Blue Line Stations to transit-oriented development (TOD) designations."

Background Information:

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Department staff will soon be presenting an updated University City Area Plan (UCAP) to the Charlotte City Council, and recommending its approval. The vote to approve the plan will be soon, though the date has not been determined. A public hearing on the plan will be held during City Council's meeting this coming Monday, April 13. Area plans are documents prepared by the City-County Planning staff that analyze the existing characteristics, trends, problems and opportunities of specific areas of the city and county.

The proposed plan envisions the creation of vibrant, pedestrian-oriented transit stations at the three stops within University City (and a fourth on UNC Charlotte campus). It is important that the city creates and executes strategies that will allow the University City transit corridor / N. Tryon to develop as the urban center for this area, and realize this vision. Currently, the UCAP identifies the properties surrounding the transit stations as "core areas". However, these properties are only recommended for transit-oriented development (TOD); they are not currently zoned for TOD. A transit-oriented development (TOD) is a mixed-use residential and commercial area designed to maximize access to public transport, and often incorporates features to encourage transit ridership.  Therefore, we are asking that City Council adopts the UCAP but also rezones all of the properties within 1/4 mile of the transit stations to TOD using a tool called "corrective rezonings". 

Doing so will ensure that the future development that takes place in the areas nearest the transit stations will be compatible with the Blue Line Extension (light rail) and fulfill the UCAP's vision for this part of University City.  

Transit-oriented development near the transit stations would also ensure that the UCAP enhances the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of University City.  

The social benefits of mixed-use, transit-oriented development include:

  • Creation of safe, convenient, and inviting destinations that can be accessed by walking and biking. 

  • Improved public health as a result of increased physical activity by walking and biking.  

  • Increased physical connectivity that creates a stronger sense of place and community among residents through being able to live, work, and play in closer proximity to one another. 

The economic benefits of transit-oriented development include:  

  • More opportunities for people to live and work in close proximity to public transit, resulting in lower transportation costs (currently the second largest household expense in Mecklenburg County).  

  • Increased access to transit, which means better access to jobs, especially for those who cannot afford the costs of owning their own car.  

  • Increased return on investment of public transportation projects by not only encouraging more ridership, but also by catalyzing economic development, which generates far more tax revenue per acre for the city than low-density, auto-oriented development.  

The environmental benefits of transit-oriented development include: 

 • More efficient land use and therefore more open/green space. Space that would have been used for surface lots under non-TOD zoning can instead be used to preserve open spaces for the enjoyment of all residents and protection of the species that live there.

 • Fewer parking lots, which means less impervious (paved) surface. This in turn reduces the amount of polluted stormwater runoff going into our already polluted creeks. 

 • More walking and biking, which means decreased vehicle use and a reduction in tailpipe emissions, which improves air quality.  

Help realize this vision of sustainability for University City by voicing your support for the UCAP and asking that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Department and City Council take the actions necessary to make this plan a reality!

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