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Charlotte is Ending Exclusionary Zoning

Minneapolis, Minnesota became the first city in the United States to end exclusionary zoning with the passing of a comprehensive reform package in December 2019.

History of Exclusionary Zoning

Exclusionary zoning refers to land-use regulations that are used to prevent the construction of certain types of housing, limit the density of housing in certain neighborhoods, and traditionally have been used to prevent low-income and minority communities from holding residence in certain neighborhoods.


The Minneapolis 2040 plan abolished single-family zoning, which had been used to exclude the construction of multi-unit housing, in an effort to increase the availability of affordable housing options and to address historical discrimination in land-use policies. The plan even allows for the construction of fourplexes, also known as four-unit buildings, in any neighborhood that was previously zoned only for single-family homes.


Since the passing of the plan, the city has seen an increase in the construction of multi-unit housing, including duplexes and fourplexes. This has increased the availability of affordable housing options, particularly in neighborhoods that were previously off-limits to low-income residents. The city has also seen an increase in the number of housing units available to renters, which has helped to alleviate the housing affordability crisis.



Removing exclusionary zoning regulations has also led to an increase in racial and economic diversity in neighborhoods that were previously homogeneous. As more people of color and low-income residents have been able to access neighborhoods that were previously off-limits, the city has become more inclusive and equitable. This has led to an increase in community engagement, as residents of all backgrounds have come together to shape the future of their neighborhoods.


The Minneapolis 2040 plan has also had a positive impact on the environment. The construction of more housing units in urban areas has reduced the amount of land that needs to be developed for housing, which has helped to preserve green spaces and reduce carbon emissions.


To say that the plan has been successful in achieving its goal of ending exclusionary zoning and increasing the availability of affordable housing options is an understatement. And now, a city in North Carolina has been inspired to address the issue of exclusionary zoning as well.


Y’all Means All

Charlotte is now joining the fight to end exclusionary zoning. As stated in a tweet from Tesho Akindele, retired professional soccer player and Charlotte real estate developer, (@Tesho13) “As of June 1, 2023, Charlotte is ending exclusionary zoning.” In addition, the Queen City is also taking steps to reduce the number of parking requirements for new housing developments, which can make it more affordable to build in areas that were previously excluded from development.



One of the ways the City of Charlotte is working to achieve these goals is through the Affordable Housing Action Plan (AHAP). This plan includes a number of initiatives aimed at increasing the availability of affordable housing in Charlotte, such as the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which provides funding for the development of affordable housing projects, and the Inclusionary Zoning Policy, which requires developers to set aside a certain percentage of new housing developments for low-income residents.


The city is also working to address historical discrimination practices by implementing policies that ensure that low-income and minority communities have access to the same opportunities as wealthier communities. This includes the development of a Community Land Trust, which permits the purchase of land for affordable housing developments by nonprofit organizations. The city is also working to provide more opportunities for resident engagement in the zoning and land-use process.


While the foundation has been set to end exclusionary zoning, it will take some time for the benefits of these changes to come to fruition. Regardless, officials in Charlotte are committed to the cause and moving forward accordingly. The effort to create more affordable housing options and address historical discrimination in land-use policies are important steps toward ending exclusionary zoning and creating a community for all.


What do you think about Charlotte ending Exclusionary Zoning? Let us know in the comments below or share with a colleague in an upcoming CE class!

Resources

Akindele, Tesho. “On June 1, 2023, Charlotte Is Ending Exclusionary Zoning.the City Will Start Allowing Duplexes and Triplexes to Be Built, by Right, on Single Family Lots. It Will Be Interesting to See How Many People Take Advantage of the New Law and How Many New Housing Units Get Built.” Twitter, Twitter, 8 Jan. 2023, https://twitter.com/tesho13/status/1612229066609786883.

“Welcome to Minneapolis 2040.” Minneapolis 2040, https://minneapolis2040.com/.


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