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Charlotte’s 2040 Plan: No, the Sky Isn’t Falling

There has been a bit of consternation among HOA boards around Charlotte the last few months before and after the City Council approved the controversial “2040 Plan” that will guide development in the city for the future. In particular, it is the provision that allows the city to rezone neighborhoods currently zoned for single-family residential to allow multi-family development – the stated purpose to allow for higher-density and more affordable housing.

I saw HOA presidents issue a “call to arms” for homeowners in their communities of single-family, detached homes to protest the plan (before it was approved), with dire predictions that their single-family communities will be forever impacted when developers can start buying homes, tearing them down and replacing them with townhomes, condos or apartments. The fear is that putting multi-family housing in the center of what has been strictly a single-family community will significantly alter the character of the community and depress property values.

I checked with three attorneys who are experienced practitioners in the area of real estate title issues and litigation. All three emphatically agreed that these fears are unfounded. The bottom line is that a change in local zoning codes will NOT “trump” properly recorded and otherwise enforceable restrictions in the chain of title for real property that limit its use to single-family purposes.

Despite a new zoning overlay that would allow multi-family development in a particular area, detached, single-family homes in a deed-restricted community would still be protected. That restriction would remain enforceable by the HOA or by other lot owners in the particular subdivision.

If a particular neighborhood is not subject to restrictive covenants that limit homes to single-family, then a rezoning of that neighborhood to multi-family would open that community up to multi-family development. But owners of homes in deed-restricted communities with a single-family limitation have nothing to worry about.

The sky isn’t falling.

Author: Mike Hunter
Articles have been Reprinted with permission from the charlotte observer and Mike Hunter.

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