04. Glossary of Terms
Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)
A structure contained within or separate from the main structure on a single-family or two-family lot that contains separate living quarters, including cooking, sleeping, and bathroom facilities. An ADU can be a separate structure, or attached as in a garage apartment or garden apartment which includes a separate entrance. An ADU may be occupied by extended members of a family (such as a grandparent) or by persons unrelated to the owners or occupants of the main structure on the lot. ADUs can be a relatively inexpensive way to add dwelling units in existing neighborhoods without changing its character.
The use of existing structures, often historic buildings, for new uses. For example, an early twentieth century bank building in the classical style may be renovated and used as a restaurant, or an old office building may be transformed into a hotel. The reuse of a building is often cheaper and generally more environmentally beneficial than tearing down and building a new building and can have significant aesthetic benefits.
A portion of the streetscape, typically between the sidewalk and the street, that includes amenities such as street furniture, signage and wayfinding, landscaping, and street trees. The surface of amenity zone may be paving, grass, or landscaping.
Business Support Programs
Programs that provide financial, educational, and informational resources to businesses located within the City of Charlotte. These programs are provided by the City, Mecklenburg County, the State of North Carolina, the US Federal Government, and non-profit entities. The City provides a variety of programs and funding that support micro, small, new, and expanding businesses within the City. These programs include business expansion/creation grants, access to financing/capital resources, business management education, and workforce connections and training.
Capital Investment Plan (CIP)
The City’s long-range investment plan that funds the highest priority capital investments required to maintain the growth and economic vitality of the growing community. The CIP invests in projects that generate the most benefit and impact to the entire community through: creating jobs and growing the tax base; leveraging public and private investments; enhancing public safety; enhancing transportation choices and mobility; ensuring housing diversity; and providing integrated neighborhood improvements. The CIP encompasses investments in roads, neighborhoods, housing diversity, stormwater projects, transit, water and sewer projects, the airport, and government facilities.
A style of residential development where homes are grouped together on a development site, typically on smaller lots than allowed in typical single-family development, but with no change in maximum number of units. The clustering results in a larger amount of common undeveloped space that is usually retained as open space and used for recreational purposes.
Community Benefits Agreement (CBA)
A project-specific agreement between a developer and a broad community coalition that details the project’s contributions to the community and ensures community support for the project. Addressing a range of community issues, properly structured CBAs are legally binding and directly enforceable by the signatories. In some cases, the community benefits terms from a CBA may be incorporated into an agreement between the local government and the developer, such as a development agreement or lease. That arrangement gives the local government the power to enforce the community benefits terms.
A group of homes, generally one or two stories that are clustered and arranged around a common open space. See also Pocket Neighborhood.
Equitable Growth Framework
Comprehensive Plan Framework for measuring access, environmental justice and equity to help identify areas where residents and businesses may not have access to daily needs, choices for housing, a diversity of employment, or safe and healthy environments.
The use of an equity lens in the application of Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) policies to ensure that individuals at all income levels can participate in the benefits of living near high-performance transit. Key benefits to lower-income households are a reduction in transportation costs and an increase in access to jobs and essential goods and services. E-TOD policies also are designed to minimize potential displacement of lower-income persons who live near major transit investments.
Family Sustaining Wage
A family sustaining wage is a wage provided by a job and sufficient to cover the costs of food, shelter, transportation, health care, and other basic necessities depending on the circumstances (i.e. the number of people in the household, presence of children/dependents, number of working adults).of a household. A family sustaining wage can be achieved through wages alone, but more often is dependent on the employer paid benefits and/or public subsidies available to a household that cover the cost of basic needs.
A geographic area that supplies a population center with food. Within this Plan, Charlotte’s foodshed refers more specifically to areas within the City of Charlotte and its Sphere of Influence that produce or have the potential to produce food.
Green Stormwater Infrastructure
The use of measures that allow stormwater to be stored on site and slowly infiltrated into the ground, transpirated by plants, or evaporated into the atmosphere, instead of immediately being transported through pipes, drains, and water treatment systems to water bodies or manufactured flood containment systems. Green stormwater infrastructure includes elements such as rain barrels, rain gardens, bioswales, floodplain restoration, permeable pavement, planting strips, tree lawns, and green roofs.
High Performance Transit
A subset of a transit network that combines a variety of physical, operating and system elements and characteristics to provide a high level of service to transit patrons. These elements and characteristics often include a combination of speed, frequency, operating hours, vehicle design, onboard vehicle amenities, station design, and station amenities. The most typical transit modes in a high performance transit network include commuter rail, light rail transit (LRT), bus rapid transit (BRT), and streetcar, but traditional bus and other types of shuttles can also be a part of the high performance transit system based on enhanced operating characteristics.
In the U.S., the National Fire Protection Association defines a high-rise as being higher than 75 feet (23 meters), or about 7 stories. Sometimes used to describe buildings greater than eight stories in height.
A district, site, building, structure or object significant in American history, architecture, engineering, archeology or culture at the national, state, or local level.
Any structure that is:
1. Listed individually in the National Register of Historic Places (a listing maintained by the Department of Interior) or preliminarily determined by the Secretary of the Interior as meeting the requirements for individual listing on the National Register;
2. Certified or preliminarily determined by the Secretary of the Interior as contributing to the historical significance of a registered historic district or a district preliminarily determined by the Secretary to qualify as a registered historic district;
3. Individually listed on a state inventory of historic places in accordance with state historic preservation programs that have been approved by the Secretary of the Interior; or
4. Individually listed on a local inventory of historic places in communities with historic preservation programs that have been certified either by the Secretary of the Interior or by an approved state program as determined by the Secretary of the Interior.
A homeless assistance approach that prioritizes providing permanent housing to people experiencing homelessness, thus ending their homelessness and serving as a platform from which they can pursue personal goals and improve their quality of life. This approach is guided by the belief that people need basic necessities like food and a place to live before attending to anything less critical, such as getting a job, budgeting properly, or attending to substance use issues. Additionally, Housing First is based on the theory that client choice is valuable in housing selection and supportive service participation, and that exercising that choice is likely to make a client more successful in remaining housed and improving their life.
Low Rise Buildings
Tends to describe buildings that are one to two stories in height, but can refer to up to five story buildings depending on context.
A range of small, lightweight vehicles operating at speeds typically below 15 mph and driven by users personally. Micromobility devices include bicycles, e-bikes, electric scooters, and electric skateboards. Micromobility options are often shared and stored in the public realm.
Mid Rise Buildings
Tends to describe buildings that are five to eight stories in height, but can be used to describe three and four story buildings as well, depending on context.
Middle Density (or Missing Middle)
Development that is built at moderate density, including formats such as two-family housing (duplexes), three-family housing (triplexes), four-family housing (fourplexes), two-or-three story apartment buildings (often with street-level retail on the ground floor), and smaller-scale retail and office development that supports walkable neighborhoods. Middle-density development can be less costly to serve with infrastructure such as water and sewer than lower-density single-family development and often is compatible within and on the fringes of lower-density development such as single-family (detached) homes. The increased population density supports the City’s goal to create walkable neighborhoods that provide housing in a variety of formats, size, and prices and support neighborhood-level retail and smaller parks. Middle-density development fills the gap between subdivisions that are largely single-family detached homes, and large multi-story apartment buildings, large retail complexes, or office parks.
Missing Middle Housing
The residential component of middle density neighborhoods. Missing middle housing includes a range of housing types that are missing in most neighborhoods constructed in the last 70 years because they were prohibited by many zoning ordinances and disfavored by the housing development and financing market. Types of housing that qualify as the missing middle include two-family housing (duplexes), three-family housing (triplexes), four-family-housing (fourplexes), townhouses, cottage homes, smaller two- and three-story apartment buildings, and live-work buildings. This type of housing often supports a variety of different sizes and price points. Individual missing-middle housing projects can be appropriate infill development in existing neighborhoods. They can gently increase density in existing neighborhoods served by utilities without impairing neighborhood identity or charm.
A defined center for clustered transportation options and amenities, including walking, biking, transit, and micromobility. Mobility hubs are often where transportation routes come together and they provide an integrated set of services, facilities, and supporting technologies. The location of mobility hubs will be defined through the Strategic Mobility Plan and Envision my Ride studies, conducted by the City of Charlotte.
A change in the percentage of people using a particular way of getting around (walking, biking, taking transit, driving alone, carpooling, etc.) to another way of getting around. Mode shift tends to result when a new option becomes available or more attractive, or when another comparative advantage is created or promoted (less cost, less time, more usable time, etc.).
Refers to various modes of transportation (walking, bicycling, bus transit, rail transit, e-scooters and micromobility devices, shared mobility services, personal automobile, etc.) and emphasizes the importance of providing transportation choices beyond single-occupant vehicles.
Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing (NOAH)
Market-rate housing that is relatively affordable in a housing market without the need for dedicated housing subsidies. Naturally occurring affordable housing (NOAH) is generally found in older building stock with fewer amenities. NOAH is often at risk for purchase and redevelopment into renovated or teardown and new construction with additional amenities and a higher price, which leads to displacement of lower-income residents who cannot afford substitute housing in the same neighborhood. Efforts to preserve NOAH can include purchase of older rental apartments by nonprofits or public-private partnerships.
Neighborhood Character Overlay District
A neighborhood character overlay district (NCOD) is a zoning tool used to preserve, revitalize, protect, and enhance significant areas within a community beyond what is specified in the standard code. The conservation overlay regulations are applied in addition to standard zoning regulations and take precedence.
Place-Based Economic Development Organizations
Typically a quasi-governmental or non-profit entity that is tasked with the management of employment districts and areas. These organizations provide economic development services focused on the districts they cover typically focused on maintaining and enhancing the quality of the business environment in the district. The organizations allow the private property and business owners (and even residents) to collectively invest in the curation and management of their community. They also create a partnership with the public sector to guide infrastructure investment, policy creation, and management of urban services. Services and roles these organizations often perform for their area of focus include: business attraction and support, business community outreach and advocacy, enhanced public safety, addressing cleanliness and maintenance of public spaces, management of public financing and capital investments mechanisms, advocacy for policy and infrastructure planning, public space management and activation, promotions and events, and transportation demand management.
Placemaking inspires people to collectively re-imagine and reinvent public spaces as the heart of every community. Strengthening the connection between people and the places they share, placemaking refers to a collaborative process by which we can shape our public realm in order to maximize shared value. More than just promoting better urban design, placemaking facilitates creative patterns of use, paying particular attention to the physical, cultural, and social identities that define a place and support its ongoing evolution.
A set of residences that are clustered around a shared open space such as a courtyard, greenway, or park. A pocket neighborhood can include single-family residences, both detached and attached (townhomes), and smaller apartment buildings. A Cottage Cluster is a type of pocket neighborhood.
Resilient Innovation District (RID)
City-wide approach to implement different technologies and pilot projects to enhance the City’s resilience and ability to respond to unexpected shocks and stresses. RIDs are proposed in the City’s Strategic Energy Action Plan (SEAP) as innovation districts where novel concepts in buildings, transportation, and energy generation will be tested to develop low-carbon, resilient business models.
The purpose of RIDs and the demonstration projects are to experiment with programs to support the City’s economy and improve the City’s ability to respond to events such as flooding and economic crises. Implementation of RIDs should address the variety of contexts found in the City and identify appropriate tools based on the areas context and Place Type.
Off-road infrastructure, typically paved, that is designed as part of a transportation network serving persons walking or using micromobility devices such as bikes, e-bikes, wheelchairs, and scooters. A shared-use path may run adjacent to but separated from a street, or operate in a completely separate right-of-way. Shared-use paths serve users who are traveling for recreational, employment, or other purposes. The Little Sugar Creek Greenway and the Rail Trail are examples of shared-use paths.
Small Footprint Housing Unit
A housing unit that is a single-family dwelling that has less than 1,200 square feet of living area, or a single unit in a multi-unit building (duplex, triplex, fourplex, or multifamily building) that has less than 550 square feet of living area.
Traffic Impact Study (TIS)
A study that assesses the adequacy of the existing or future transportation infrastructure to accommodate additional trips generated by a proposed development, redevelopment or land rezoning. These studies vary in their range of detail and complexity depending on the type, size and location of the development. They are important tools in assisting public agencies in making land use and planning decisions.
Transportation Demand Management (TDM)
The flip side of infrastructure, which focuses on understanding how people make their transportation decisions and helping people use the infrastructure in place for transit, ridesharing, walking, biking, and telework. It is cost-effective in guiding the design of transportation and physical infrastructure so that alternatives to driving are naturally encouraged and systems are better balanced.
Transit-Oriented Development (TOD)
A pattern of higher-density residential, commercial, office, and civic uses with an urban design and high-quality support for walking, bicycling, transit use and other forms of non-vehicular transportation, developed near high-performance transit stations. Transit-oriented development (TOD) is often encouraged using special development regulations around transit stations which require a higher-quality public realm, limited parking, and connections to adjoining neighborhoods. The City’s zoning ordinance was amended in 2019 to include new Transit Oriented Development Districts that are applied to land around stations along the CATS Lynx Blue Line.
Transit Supportive Development
An alternative name for Transit-Oriented Development (see above) that places an emphasis on linking adjacent land uses and activities to a transit station or station area.
Tree Conservation Fund
The Tree Conservation Fund supports the program management needs of the City’s innovative and award-wining Tree Canopy Preservation Program (TCPP). TCPP’s core objectives are to acquire, protect, and manage land for the long-term perpetual conservation of tree canopy within the City of Charlotte. Tree save payment-in-lieu fees, collected during the City’s land development permitting process, are deposited into the fund to support core TCPP objectives per the Charlotte Tree Ordinance.
A community in which the residents lack resources or the infrastructure (either public or private) is undeveloped, leading to disparities in the ability to access health care, jobs, recreation, social services, housing, transportation services, food, retail, or other elements of daily life.
Value capture is a type of public financing tool that recovers some or all of the financial value that public infrastructure generates for private landowners in order to offset the costs of the investment itself. The ability to recuperate some of the cost of an investment allows the City to generate additional value and benefits for communities in the future.
Voluntary Agricultural District (VDA)
A program established in North Carolina by the 1985 General Assembly. The program encourages the preservation and protection of farmland and allows landowners to publicly recognize their farms. A VDA establishes an Agricultural Advisory Board in the county where a VDA is created. The program also allows for Enhanced Voluntary Agricultural Districts to protect farms from development for 10 years. Currently, 90 counties in North Carolina have county ordinances for Voluntary Agricultural Districts. 10,441 farms are enrolled in the program that includes 855,976 acres of farms and forests.
A neighborhood whose existing population is at a higher risk for displacement based on the neighborhood-level factors identified in the Equitable Growth Framework (EQF) methodology. Measures that the EQF methodology identified as contributors to the risk of displacement include a high poverty rate, low educational attainment, higher proportion of non-white residents, and high concentration of residents aged 65 years or older.