When is Fast Too Fast?

When the city of Charlotte, NC ignored their faxes and phone calls, 17 neighborhood opponents of a shopping center project took Charlotte and the developer to court.

To everyone’s surprise, they won. Even more stunning, at least 50 projects, from multimillion-dollar shopping center expansions to apartment buildings, are on hold in one of the fastest growing cities in America.

Superior Court Judge Ben Tennille issued the ruling this week, ordering the city to change how it makes about 80% of its zoning decisions.

The judge said Charlotte’s fast track zoning process, under which approvals are made without a hearing, is illegal. He said projects must be given a trial-like hearing with City Council members serving as judges.

Paul Nowell