Planning and Development

The Planning Department handles inquiries on existing zoning, potential new development, regulations for signs, neighborhood nuisance property, whether a storage building can be added to a lot, how to divide and sell land and many other issues. The Planning Department prepares background data on proposed zoning changes, looks at site plans to see that buildings and parking lots are properly placed and landscape plantings are adequate, follows up on complaints about possible Town code violations and writes information on land usage concerns for the public and elected officials.    

The Mecklenburg County Land Use and Environmental Services Agency handles building and permanent sign permits, zoning permits and inspections. Contact the local office via telephone at (704) 432-2520.

COMPOSITE BICYCLE AND PEDESTRIAN PLAN The Town of Matthews prepared and adopted a Comprehensive Bicycle Plan in 2006. In 2014, a Comprehensive Transportation Plan which focused on motorized and non-motorized forms of transportation, was adopted. This latest draft now combines the bicycle and pedestrian elements together to most effectively direct further efforts to implement public improvements that will incorporate ways for individuals and families to safely walk or bicycle around our community. This draft document will be reviewed by Town departments, various citizen advisory boards, and the public before the Town Board of Commissioners takes any final action on it. The anticipated schedule is: 

* Town staff from different departments will provide comments on the initial draft by February 16, 2015

 * three Town advisory committees will hear a presentation on February 24, 2015 

* the draft document will be posted to the Town website under the Planning & Development Department page on February 18, 2015

 * the draft will be discussed at a public hearing during the Board of Commissioners meeting on April 13, 2015
 * Matthews Transportation Advisory Committee and Matthews Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Advisory Committee may choose to review and send their recommendations on the revised draft during the month of April 
* Matthews Planning Board will review the document, as it may be revised following the hearing, on April 28, 2015
 * the final revised version of the Plan may go before the Board of Commissioners on May 11, 2015


As changes may be suggested during this review process, this draft may be revised.  Anyone interested in this draft is invited to submit their comments to


Family Entertainment District input session was held on Thursday, September 25th at 7:00 pm at Town Hall.

Summary of Comments from Public Input Session Thursday September 25, 2014 Family Entertainment District Small Area Plan Draft After a brief presentation on the purpose and effects of the general concept plan, or small area plan, for the Mecklenburg County Sportsplex and adjacent land, much of which is vacant, participants in the input session were invited to stop at three tables and offer their opinions and concerns. The presentation may be viewed here. Comments and suggestions have been summarized below.

Specific Requests to Include/Not Include in New Neighborhood Attendees were asked to identify their property/business, if they wished, and then offer ideas for anything they would specifically like to see included or specifically not want within the new neighborhood. 

* Concern for good connections between existing development and new building sites within the neighborhood. 

* Interest in seeing street connectivity to adjacent Crestdale neighborhood. 

* Allow landscape buffering between existing and new development. Architectural Preferences The photos and graphics used at this table were primarily depicting mixed use developments across the country that have been built within the previous two decades. They were chosen to display various architectural features and materials, and to illustrate how buildings relate to their urban surroundings.

+ Building façade details that encouraged people to come near and to linger - Hardscape (pavements, ledges, etc.) that did not incorporate live vegetation

+ Streetscapes with outdoor dining by the curb line, allowing pedestrians to walk between buildings with interesting shop windows and designated space for dining tables and chairs – activity on both sides engaging multiple senses of vision, hearing, and smelling

+ Public use open space with green lawn area and formal walking pathways intersecting it, along with places to sit and “people watch” 

+ Decorative water fountains that included movement and color - Streetscapes that showed multi-story buildings and pavement that all appeared fairly monotone – did not have much color variation or dimensional relief 

+ Streetscapes that showed multi-story buildings with obvious changes in building façade surfaces, such as balcony extensions, different upper story window shapes from one building to the next, color variations of exteriors one building to the next and/or within a single building façade, awnings, color contrasts on buildings and at street level - Building façades that spanned a substantial length of a block so that the colors and architectural details did not create visual and sensory changes as pedestrians walked beside them 

+ Bridges over creeks where landscaping was maintained in a naturalized form 

+ Building façades were used to “enclose” a public green open space, in essence creating an outdoor “room” - Views of large surface parking lots 

+ Contemporary, but not too modern, architecture was well accepted as long as the building façades were not too austere and plain, but had some visually interesting detail Street/Public Area Furnishing Preferences The photos and graphics used at this table were selected to offer examples of typical items found in the public realm – along sidewalks, at front entrances to buildings, and in public use areas like plazas, outdoor dining patios, and small parks. They were chosen to offer a variety of potential styles that could be incorporated into the new neighborhood. 

+ Visuals that displayed pedestrian activity – people walking, sitting, dining, waiting to cross a street intersection, etc. – were well received + Positive comments received regarding decorative street name signs 

+ Rooftop and balcony or upper story outdoor public use areas, especially for dining, that can be seen from the street level public spaces + Colorful public art + Public art objects that people can touch or climb on, or are interactive in some fashion 

+ Open green spaces in general were well-received + Misting stations – places where water mist is emitted onto people walking or biking to the specific location + Interactive water features + Combination of both passive (strolling, sitting) and active (climbing, touching, etc.) features within a public use open space area 

+ Benches with back support 

+ Benches similar to those in uptown Charlotte with horizontal slats creating a seat and back rest area, with or without armrests - Seating areas created by hardscape which change elevation – ledges of large planter beds, backless seating made of concrete or stone beside pavement of same materials 

+ Low level pedestrian lighting within decorative bollards 

+ Street lighting fixtures designed as a lantern or having a thematic consistent design throughout the neighborhood 

+ Pedestrian bridges that incorporate soft pedestrian lighting at night, emitting from under handrails or other decorative feature, when adequate to instill a sense of personal safety 

+ Pedestrian bridges that do not have design features extending too high, generally not higher than 3 to 4 feet – enough for safety but not to obstruct views or to feel enclosed 

+ Unique bike racks that allowed stored bicycles to have front wheels raised up off the ground to reduce the ground space they take up 

+ Bus stop structures that incorporated technology - Bus stop structures that blocked good visibility in and out



After adoption of the Small Area Plan, Matthews Board of Commissioners continued providing direction on how to implement the vision for this new neighborhood by drafting a composite Policy Statement.  This was done with the involvement of area property owners and other interested citizens giving their suggestions on a variety of topics.  The final draft policy statement was adopted by Matthews Board of Commissioners on February 23, 2015, and can be viewed here.

Anyone desiring to propose new construction in the Family Entertainment District can now refer to: 1) the ENT zoning district provisions within the UDO; 2) the Small Area Plan in the Matthews Land Use Plan;  and 3) this composite Policy Statement for a complete picture of the vision and standards to be applied to the new neighborhood.

Monroe Road Small Area Plan

The Town of Matthews has created a Small Area Plan for the Monroe Road corridor (Matthews Township Parkway west to the town limits).  For more information please click on the following Approved June 2014

Click here for a map of the study area. If you have questions about the project, please call Mary Jo Gollnitz, Planner II (704) 847-4411. 

Unified Development Ordinance

The purpose of creating the Unified Development Ordinance was to update the Zoning Ordinance consistent with Matthews’ "Our Town, Our Vision", the Matthews Land Use Plan, and other community development policies and then fold in all of the other land development regulations into one comprehensive document. The Town's Planning & Development Department staff regularly reviewed draft sections with a specially-appointed UDO stakeholder committee, the Planning Board, and the Town Board of Commissioners to obtain their perspectives on regulation and code administration issues and opportunities. A series of public workshops were held early in the process to expose interested residents to different ideas about land development and to gauge community acceptance for change. The UDO was adopted by the Matthews Board of Commissioners on December 9, 2013, and went into effect as of April 1, 2014.

Chapter 1: General Provisions [155.101-155.103] 

Chapter 2: Decision-making, Administration and Enforcement [155.201-155.214] 

Chapter 3: Non-conformities [155.301-155.309] 

Chapter 4: Application Requirements and Review Procedures [155.401-155.405.11] 

Chapter 5: Use Districts [155.501-155.506.50] 

Chapter 6: General Development Standards (all sections) [155.601-155.609.10]

If you have questions about the UDO please email us.