Development

Charlotte is growing...a lot faster than some people thought

AllianceBernstein, the New York investment firm, had considered Charlotte for its new headquarters, which would have added over 1,000 jobs over four years here that paid an average salary of $105,000 a year, according to emails obtained by the Observer.
AllianceBernstein, the New York investment firm, had considered Charlotte for its new headquarters, which would have added over 1,000 jobs over four years here that paid an average salary of $105,000 a year, according to emails obtained by the Observer. Observer Archive Photo

You may have heard this oft-quoted stat: "44 people a day move to Charlotte."

It's the number that's trotted out to explain why the city is building so many apartments, why rent and home prices seem to be shooting to the stratosphere and why traffic seems to worsen every year.

But on Monday, Charlotte's planning director told City Council that number isn't quite right. In fact, it's significantly higher.

"I asked staff to take a look at that for me," said Taiwo Jaiyeoba, during the monthly zoning meeting. "It's actually closer to 60 residents, compared to 44 a couple years ago."

Jaiyeoba didn't detail his methodology. The latest population estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau for Charlotte only goes up to 2016, but the county estimates for 2017 roughly square with Jaiyeoba's figure. Mecklenburg County's population increased by 19,600 residents, hitting almost 1.08 million. That's an average of about 54 new residents a day.

Read Next

All of that rapid change can lead to a sense that growth is out of control, at least among some local leaders. On Monday, they were worried that plans to regulate that growth and shape the city's future are lagging behind the droves of people coming to Charlotte every year.

"This is one I'm struggling with," said city council member Julie Eiselt. "We don't have a plan. ... I'm completely frustrated that we don't know what we want our city to look like."

The Unified Development Ordinance project, a plan to rewrite all of the zoning codes and regulations governing development, is expected to be complete in 2020, after years of planning and preparation. Jaiyeoba said he hops that a new vision for Charlotte will clear up confusion in the fast-growing city.

"I think the issue is the outdated policy plans and visions we have, not just for the areas, but comprehensively for the city," said Jaiyeoba.

Council member LaWana Mayfield, discussing a plan for a 299-foot office tower in the Midtown area, said she worries about how the wave of growth will impact existing neighborhoods.

"Charlotte doesn't all need to look like uptown," Mayfield said. "Atlanta's a beautiful place to visit, but there's a reason people are moving to Charlotte - 60 plus people a day."

Portillo: 704-358-5041
  Comments