The new development code is performance-based, with stringent urban design requirements. All new developments must be built on a fine-grained network of low-speed pedestrian-oriented public streets that are configured into blocks and connected into adjacent properties. The result, over time, will be an interconnected street system that is safe and accessible to pedestrians and cyclists, as well as automobiles. However, having met the requirements for streets and other public spaces, the developer finds immense flexibility to meet market demands for housing type, housing density, and mixed uses. For example, the predominant in-town residential zoning district is not regulated by housing density or by minimum lot size. Density in this district is irrelevant.
As a matter of right, apartments or other forms of attached housing may constitute up to 30% of the housing units in a major subdivision. Apartments and attached homes are permitted by-right on individual infill lots. Each single family home, attached or detached, is allowed one accessory dwelling, unrestricted as to occupancy. At urban intersections and along major streets, commercial uses with second floor apartments are permitted by-right. If developers take advantage of the ordinance's flexibility, housing should become more accessible to a broad spectrum people of various incomes and ages.
Small-scale commercial uses providing opportunities for shopping and employment will be located within easy walking distance of homes. This development form also reduces the likelihood that new housing will be formed into pockets of economic homogeneity. The most touted new development project in Huntersville includes a variety of housing types and small commercial buildings, and makes seamless street connections into an existing low to moderate-income minority neighborhood.