Planning and Development

The Planning and Development 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. Planning and Development 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 permits, zoning permits and inspections. Contact the local office via telephone at (980) 314-3234.

**NEW** The Planning and Development Department is now offering opportunities for pre-development consultations with the Town Board of Commissioners. Please see this flyer for more details.

**Please note that minimal fee increases take effect as of July 1, 2015. See the Document Checklist and Fee Schedule on the Forms page for updated costs**


The Town is currently conducting a study of a segment of the municipal boundaries: both sides of East John Street between I-485 and the Mecklenburg -Union County line and extending northeast to the CSX railroad tracks. There are limited streets and public utilities within this area, and many of the individual land parcels have little to no development on them. The study began in late 2015 and will continue through the first half of 2016, resulting in a series of future development policies and action steps. These guidelines can then be used by property owners, developers, and others to determine when and how properties will develop. This final report will become an Appendix in the Matthews Land Use Plan.

As information is collected and draft statements are written, they will be posted here for any interested parties to review. Please send comments or questions to

Study Area Map

E John SAP handout

PP Presentation

Summary of December 1 meeting stations

Summary of online survey


We want to hear from you! For the past 6 months, the Town and consultants have drafted a Streetscape Improvement Plan for Downtown Matthews. These guidelines will help implement the recommendations in the Downtown Plan, such as improvements to sidewalks, pedestrian crossings and other public use areas. This set of recommended actions also shows how adopted policies and zoning requirements work together, and examples of "best practices" in building and site design.   

Please send your comments or questions to Senior Planner Jay Camp at The Town will hold a Public Hearing on the proposed plan on Monday, November 9, 7:00 PM at Matthews Town Hall. 

Third Draft (02-01-2016)

Second Draft (11-20-2015)

First Draft (10-22-2015)


The Composite Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan was adopted by the Matthews Board of Commissioners on May 11, 2015. This Plan lists desired improvements for safe bicycling and walking throughout the Town limits, including:

  • Neighborhood signed routes on low-traffic subdivision streets
  • Marked bike lanes or wide shoulders on the outside edges of collector streets
  • Multi-use pathways for bicyclists and pedestrians
  • Greenways beside creeks for bicyclists and pedestrians
  • Sidewalks or "dirtways" may also provide connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists

These facilities will primarily be located within the public rights-of-way or on public land or public easements for use by the general public, and will be constructed by public funds or by developers as they improve adjacent land parcels. These proposed improvements will expand the system of sidewalks and related facilities the Town has already built.

Approved Plan (5-11-2015)


The County-owned regional park facility now under construction along Independence Boulevard and I-485 - the Sportsplex - and adjacent privately owned land, mostly vacant, has been discussed for years as the future location of a mixed use, urban-scale new neighborhood with a focus on family entertainment opportunities. A Small Area Plan was drafted to explain the vision and opportunities for this new neighborhood, and once adopted, became an Appendix in the Matthews Land Use Plan. The Unified Development Ordinance, or UDO, has a new zoning district, ENT, which has been created specifically for this unique location. A set of policy statements has also been prepared to assist in clarifying how the vision will be implemented.

Approved Small Area Plan (12-8-2014)

Approved Policy Statement (2-23-2015) 

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) the composite Policy Statement for a complete picture of the vision and standards to be applied to the new neighborhood.


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) 708-1229. 

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.