About Us
Community & Capital Planning
Historic Districts
Maps & Tools
Print this PageSite Feedback
Developing an Area Plan

Research and data gathering
At the start of the planning process, staff prepares background information, which may include:

  • Tentative boundaries for the study area
  • Preliminary issues
  • Schedule
  • The area history
  • Maps and charts

The "Kick Off" public meeting
A public meeting is held early in the planning process to gather input from citizens on the issues confronting the area and the vision for the future. Notification of the public meeting is mailed to all property owners within the study area, area neighborhood organizations, elected/appointed officials and other stakeholders about 30 days prior to the public meeting.


The stakeholder group
Usually, a stakeholder group is formed as part of the area planning process. Stakeholders represent a variety of interests in the study area and often include people living in the area, as well as representatives from neighborhood associations, businesses, institutions and the development community.

The primary role of the stakeholder group is to assist staff in identifying issues and opportunities and developing a vision, goals, objectives and plan recommendations.


Development of the plan
Once staff and the stakeholder group have an understanding of the issues confronting the study area, they begin to develop the plan. Area plans are usually published in two volumes - the concept plan and the implementation plan. While every plan is different, the following elements are addressed in nearly all area plans.

Concept Plan

  • Vision, Goals and Objectives
    A vision is an image of what the area should be like in the future. Goals and objectives clarify how the vision will be achieved.

  • Policy Framework
    The policy framework describes the area plan's relationship to other plans and policies and defines where the area plan's recommendations replace existing plans and policies.
  • Existing Conditions
    The existing conditions chapter identifies characteristics of the area and analyzes trends. Existing conditions typically include land use, zoning, the transportation network, geography, natural resources, population, employment, housing stock and infrastructure.

  • Recommendations
    Recommendations address identified issues and help guide the community toward achieving its vision. Land use and transportation recommendations are usually the most extensive part of the plan. They are typically developed concurrently to provide an integrated approach to land use and transportation.

Land Use
Staff and stakeholders analyze existing land use, currently adopted land use and zoning on a parcel-by-parcel basis. Inconsistencies among these data sets are identified and surrounding conditions are assessed to help determine the appropriate future land use for a site to help achieve the vision for the future.   

Staff and stakeholders review the existing and planned transportation network, including streets, sidewalks, bicycle facilities and transit facilities. They also identify key issues. In particular, they consider what improvements are needed to support the future land use vision and to ensure the long-term viability of the area. Recommendations are made to address identified issues and maintain/enhance community mobility.


Implementation plan

The implementation plan is primarily a staff document that typically identifies the priorities, preliminary costs and responsible agency for implementing concept plan recommendations. It is not adopted by City Council. Rather, actions identified in the implementation plan require further Council approval and are brought before them on a case-by-case basis.  


Public meeting to present concept and implementation plans
A public meeting is held just prior to the review and adoption process to share and receive public input on the draft plan findings and recommendations. Notice of the public meeting is sent to all property owners, area neighborhood organizations, elected/ appointed officials and other stakeholders approximately two weeks prior to the meeting.


  ​ ​

For more information regarding Area Planning contact:
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Department
600 East Fourth Street (8th Floor)
Charlotte, North Carolina 28202
Phone: (704)-336-2205
Fax Number: (704)-336-5123