Annexation: The process by which an incorporated municipality can, upon meeting certain requirements as outlined in the North Carolina General Statutes, expand its corporate limits by resolution to include an area that is urbanized or developing. Approval of this type of annexation is not required by an areas' residents. Voluntary annexation, however, may be requested by persons in unincorporated areas and requires the agreement of area residents. (Click here to learn more)
Area plan: A planning document that focuses on a specific geographic area and addresses that area's individual character, its existing facilities, and its future needs. Special emphasis is placed on community involvement in public meetings, study groups, and individual input in the development of area plans. Area plans include district, small area, and special project plans. (Click here to learn more)
Capital Investment Program (CIP): A document produced annually by both the City and County governments which lists all public improvements to be funded over the next five years. (Click here to learn more)
Capital Needs Assessment (CNA): A document produced bi-annually for both the City and County governments which lists all public improvements requested by departments for the next ten years. The Needs Assessment is used as a guide in CIP development. (Click here to learn more)
Center City: The area of Charlotte consisting of the Central Business district inside the I-277 freeway loop along with the immediate commercial and neighborhood districts outside the freeway. Center City is the geographical terminus of the major radial roadway system. It is the economic hub for the region. In addition, it includes the "skyline image" which provides the identity for the overall city. The Urban Design Plan adopted in January, 1990 by the Charlotte City Council and Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners provides guidelines for Uptown development. (Click here to learn more)
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission: A joint City-County agency for unified planning. Comprised of 14 members, the Planning Commission represents a cross-section of interests, experience, and expertise. Seven members are appointed by each governing body, the City Council and the County Commission. Each member is eligible for a maximum of two consecutive three-year terms. The Commission has a staff of technical planners and support personnel. (Click here to learn more)
City Within A City (CWAC): A program that comprehensively deals with economic development and quality of life issues in Charlotte's older urban neighborhoods and business areas. The geographic focus is a 60 square mile area ringing the Uptown and encompassing 73 neighborhoods.
Corridor Planning Program: This program focuses on revitalizing deteriorated business corridors. Planning services provided include streetscape design, land use analysis, economic development planning and plan implementation activities.
Design guidelines: A set of performance objectives devised to clarify and establish predictability in development standards.
Density: The average number of families, persons, or housing units per unit of land. Density usually is expressed "per acre."
Enterprise Community Program: A program aimed at creating community based job training and business development centers in three geographic areas comprised of 32 neighborhoods. These neighborhoods share common problems of poverty, unemployment, inadequate housing and infrastructure, and crime and drugs.
Flood plain: Land immediately adjacent to creeks, streams, or rivers that may be periodically flooded by heavy rain.
Floodway regulations/ordinances: Ordinances enacted by the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County that establish development and use regulations for certain flood hazard areas. These regulations help to minimize the extent of floods by preventing obstructions that impede water flow and increase flood damage.
Generalized Land Plan: A document prepared by the Planning Department which was adopted jointly by the City Council and the County Commission on November 25, 1985. The plan serves as a guide for many public decisions, especially land use changes and preparations of capital improvement programs, and the enactment of zoning and related growth management legislation for all geographic parts of the community within the jurisdiction of the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. (Click here to learn more)
Infrastructure: The basic facilities, equipment, services, and installations needed for the growth and functioning of a community such as roads, water and sewer systems, sidewalks, and transportation and communication systems.
Land use: A planning term that refers to the way land is used to provide locations for homes, businesses and institutions. Zoning regulations control land use within Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.
Mecklenburg-Union Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO): An appointed board required by federal law which serves as a forum for transportation planning in all of Mecklenburg County and Western Union County. Members include elected officials from Charlotte, Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, Indian Trail, Matthews, Mecklenburg County, Mint Hill, Pineville, Stallings, Union County, Weddington, and the North Carolina Board of Transportation. (Click here to learn more)
Metropolitan Planning: This program provides an overall approach to linking land development, economic development, transportation and neighborhood development policies in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
Neighborhood Action Plans: Five year strategic plans that will principally focus on addressing priority service delivery and development needs in targeted neighborhoods within the boundaries of City-Within-A-City.
Neighborhood Organization List: The Planning Department maintains a list of over 400 neighborhood contacts which is used to notify the public about meetings and development proposals and as a resource for forming study groups and task forces. (Click here to learn more)
Ordinance: A municipal regulation or law set forth by a governmental authority. The City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County have several types of ordinances which regulate land use including zoning, floodways, subdivision, and rezoning.
Planning: A process by which public and private decision-makers identify issues and problems and work toward their resolution. Planning provides for short- as well as long-term goals for the benefit of the community.
Planning district: A geographic region for which planning is conducted. Mecklenburg County is divided into seven geographic planning districts.
Regional Planning: Intergovernmental planning and coordination with adjacent cities and counties primarily focused on the major regional corridors.
Rezoning: An amendment to, or a change in, the zoning ordinance that changes the use allowed on a piece of property. (Click here to learn more)
Sign Regulations: Sign regulations are intended to ensure that signs are designed, constructed, installed, and maintained so that public safety and traffic safety are not compromised. Also, to encourage standards that enhance the aesthetic appearance of the community while allowing for adequate and effective communication or identification.
Site Plan: A scale drawing that accurately shows proposed structures and uses for a land parcel and adheres to the zoning regulations with respect to the development proposal. The Planning staff reviews site plans for multi-family and single family developments to assure conformance to zoning and subdivision ordinances.
Subdivision: An area divided into building lots. The Subdivision Ordinance regulates the conversion of raw land into lots and establishes requirements for streets, utilities, site design, storm drainage, and plan review. (Click here to learn more)
Transportation Improvement Program (TIP): An annual review of present and future transportation projects for Mecklenburg County. The programs include planning, construction, and maintenance of the entire transportation system. (Click here to learn more)
2035 Long Range Transportation Plan: An adopted plan which provides elected officials with a guide on which to base all forms of future transportation investment decisions. (Click here to learn more)
"Uptown": Geographically the area within the I-277 "loop". This area is also a Municipal Service District with a special tax to finance certain projects. The Charlotte Uptown Development Corporation (CUDC) which was established by City Council is funded by this tax. CUDC's mission is to encourage and assist in revitalization, stimulate and promote capital investment and encourage and assist in community development, urban development, planning and historic preservation uptown. Transportation issues are addressed through a subsidiary organization, the Uptown Transportation Council.
Urban Design: A discipline that applies architectural and environmental principles to the development of a city to make it more functional, livable, and aesthetically pleasing. (Click here to learn more)
Urban Economic Development Policy: A document which addresses our local economic future and serves as a framework for clarifying the public sector role in economic development, identifying the community's unique business opportunities and providing a strategic action plan to guide public sector investments and program initiatives.
Watershed Area: The area within Mecklenburg County which contributes surface drainage into the Catawba River and its tributaries. The Watershed Protection Area regulations ensure protection of the public water supplies.
Zoning: A designation that specifies how a piece of property can be used within a city or county zoning district. Zoning districts are created to attract certain types of development, for example, single family homes, institutions such as schools and hospitals, offices, neighborhood business, and general industry.
Zoning Administrator: An employee of the City of Charlotte charged with the administration and enforcement of the zoning regulations for the City of Charlotte and the Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction of the City of Charlotte. (Click here to learn more)
Zoning Board of Adjustment: An appointed board which assist in the interpretation of the Zoning Ordinance and which hears and decides appeals from zoning requirements. (Click here to learn more)
Zoning Variance: A device which grants someone relief from certain provisions of the zoning ordinance. (Click here to learn more)