Growth Management Task Force

Public Hearing

The Town Board will hold a Public Hearing on April 3, 2023 on proposed changes to the Land Use Plan. The proposed changes stem from recommendations by the Growth Management Task Force and Planning Board. The meeting begins at 6:00 PM in Town Hall.

Growth Management Task Force (GMTF) Recommendation

The GMTF plan included a recommendation that the height in the Downtown District (formerly called Town Center) be 3 stories/45' on the street front and stepping back to 4 stories/60'. Read the GMTF recommended plan.

Planning Board Recommendation

On March 13, 2023 the Planning Board recommended approval of the proposed Land Use Plan with one modification: the height in the Downtown District will  follow form-based review utilizing the conditional zoning process focused on art, design, and compatibility. Read the Planning Board recommended plan.


  • In December 2021, the Town Board adopted a Growth Management Resolution that indicated the Town Board would most likely pause any decision regarding the residential development of more than ten units until the Town conducted a review and potential update of the Land Use Plan.
  • The resolution further noted that the Town should study building heights.
  • In January 2022, the Town Board appointed a Growth Management Task Force (GMTF) to study the Town Land Use Plan and make recommendations.
  • The Task Force met 14 times throughout 2022 to study and make recommendations regarding the Town’s future land use.
  • The primary goal was to address growth for a 5 to 7-year period until transportation infrastructure was upgraded and/or installed and to be citizen-driven.
  • View public comments from the January 19, 2023 public input session. Read additional comments received after the public meeting.

What is the Land Use Plan?

The Land Use Plan is the policy document that guides decisions related to land use patterns within Cornelius’ land planning jurisdiction. It is the Town’s goal to allow for flexibility to promote creativity through practices such as conservation subdivision planning and unique site design that preserves the character of the area and site.

What did citizens say?

A survey designed by SPARQ360 was developed and pushed out through multiple media channels. The majority of the respondents were:

What makes Cornelius a great place to live?

  • Small town feel
  • Lake Norman
  • Proximity to Charlotte
  • Parks
  • Community
  • Safe & Clean

What should the GMTF focus on to build a better future?

  • Infrastructure
  • Development
  • Residential Zoning
  • Traffic
  • Walkability
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Green Space

What land use accomplishments should Cornelius deliver in the next 5-7 Years?

  • Balanced Infrastructure
  • Avoid Over Development
  • Active Downtown & Town Centers
  • Walking & Cycling Improvements
  • Parks & Recreation Improvements
  • Traffic Reduction
  • Reduce Population Growth

GMTF Recommendations

The changes listed below are identified in this presentation.

(Remember, these are recommended changes to Land Use NOT zoning)

In General:

  • Remove density ranges from all categories. Replace with density maximums
  • Remove non-residential intensity characteristics from all categories. 
  • Height will be noted in stories and feet, where a maximum is noted. Floors will be considered at a maximum of 15 feet each.

Land Use Category Changes (view proposed changes on the DRAFT Land Use Map):

  • Rural Preservation (formerly labeled Rural Conservation) density at a maximum of 1 dwelling unit/5 acres
  • Low-Density Single Family density at a maximum of 2 dwelling units/acre
  • Medium Density Residential - no multi-family; no 2-family homes (duplex); remove townhome option; density at a maximum of 4 dwelling units/acre
  • Neighborhood Mixed-Use (formerly labeled Urban Mixed Use) maximum height of 2 stories/30' (currently 1-3 stories)
  • Corporate Mixed-Use (formerly labeled Corporate Office) up to 4 stories/60' adjacent to I-77 with 1st-floor commercial. Residential above 1st floor allowed up to 3 dwelling units/acre
  • Neighborhood Commercial 2 stories/30'; no drive-throughs, convenience stores, or residential (all of which are allowed today)
  • Civic/Institutional 3 stories/45'
  • Highway Commercial 3 stories/45', except hotels which may be considered at 6 stories/90' (currently all buildings are limited to 2 stories); no convenience stores; no auto sales (only in existing overlay) (expand auto overlay)
  • Waterfront Mixed-Use maximum height 4 stories/60' (current max = 6 stories); max density 5 dwelling units/acre (currently 3); require waterfront boardwalk with community access (new requirement); no ground floor residential (new requirement)
  • Catawba Mixed-Use (formerly labeled Village Center):
  • Change height to 2 stories and 30 feet currently a mix of standards as follows:
    • West Catawba minimum of 26’ in height with a maximum of 42’
    • Jetton Extension/Sefton minimum of 26’ in height with a maximum of 84’
    • Maintain a minimum of 26’ in height
  • Change density to allow a maximum of 4 du/acre, currently a mix of standards as follows:
    • West Catawba maximum 12 du/acre
    • Jetton Extension/Sefton no minimum or maximum
  • Downtown District (formerly labeled Town Center) maximum height 3 stories/45 on street front and stepping back to 4 stories/60' (currently allows 6 stories); non-residential on 1st floor - no 100% residential buildings to be considered; residential density to continue to be considered in a form base manner


With the above recommendations the projected build-out population changes accordingly. Check out the figures in the table below to compare the numbers from previous Land Use Plan changes.