You'd be surprised at how many people have torches & pitchforks in their garage:
Charlotte City Council members on Monday hit the brakes on the city’s ambitious 2040 Comprehensive Plan over its call to eliminate single-family-only zoning.
The city has been holding public meetings about the plan for months. But as the deadline approaches to approve it, some council members are hearing concerns from residents who are worried about the changes.
Of course they're hearing concerns from residents, because anything you try to do will result in concerns from residents. Hell, I tried to change the route of our fledgling public transportation system so it would run through a densely-populated middle-class area (because people had complained there weren't any convenient stops), but I was told, '"We don't want those types of people coming through here." That being said, both sides of this issue have valid concerns:
Across the city is Five Points near Johnson C. Smith University. It’s a historically African American area that’s rapidly gentrifying. J’Tanya Adams says developers have been allowed to build more townhomes and duplexes and triplexes through rezonings. Has that made the area more affordable?
“Oh no. Oh no, no, no,” Adams said. “They are selling for $500,000, $600,000 per side.”
Adams said she likes the flexibility that the 2040 plan would give property owners, especially the ability to build so-called backyard accessory dwelling units, which are small homes for parents or grandparents. But she said that removing single-family zoning will accelerate the redevelopment of the area, and will likely push prices higher.
“As far as getting rid of single-family and allowing anyone to build anything anywhere, I think that’s a challenge,” she said. “That needs guardrails.”
One of the biggest problems we have with rezoning is a legacy of previous planning (or not planning). Two or three decades ago, when populations were much smaller, single-family housing was the rule, and RS15-20 (15,000-20,000 sq ft lots) were common, especially in suburbs. As a general rule, towns/cities simply did not designate any areas for multi-family housing, unless and until a developer wanted to build some specific apartments or condos. And it's always a fight to get them built, in one way or another.
There are no easy answers to this. Property rights is a hella complex issue, with no "formula" that will fit every situation. But before you do something as drastic as getting rid of single-family zoning, you need to look at those guardrails like J'Tanya mentioned above.