Land Use Designations

The City of North Charleston has a variety of land uses, but despite robust development activity, the largest land use category by existing acreage is Agriculture/Forestry. Of the 19,174 acres identified as agriculture/forestry land use, over 50% are in two major tracts annexed into the City on the west side of the Ashley River and slated for future development. Although there is still a growing demand for multi-family units, the second largest existing land use in terms of land area is multi-family apartments, likely because the majority of these units are located within low-rise buildings.

The City seeks to accommodate growth and all types of land uses in a manner that enhances the quality of life for all residents. The City strives to continue building upon its fabric of diverse yet complementary land uses that already exist. Using land use decisions to guide development within defined parameters will enable interconnected development patterns to flourish. These patterns can protect, expand and connect green infrastructure so that clearly defined corridors for both development and green space emerge.

The Future Land Use Map therefore is a framework for many of the goals and policies in this plan. It is a guide for land use decisions and informs where public investments will be needed. Public input on where certain types and intensities should be located for development on the Future Land Use Map was accepted at the public open houses and via comments through the plan website.

Each future land use designation on the City’s Future Land Use Map prioritizes infill and redevelopment of land to promote greater sustainability and connectivity in all areas of the City. Varied housing types and lot sizes within neighborhoods, mixed-uses along corridors and conserved open spaces will better serve the City’s population and businesses with affordable housing and commercial spaces, greater connectivity and quality of life.

Land use designations included on the Future Land Use Map are established to allow for a broad mix of uses. Each designation establishes parameters for prioritizing land uses and development patterns within the identified land use area. A number of different zoning districts may be applied within each designated land use area to achieve these development objectives. The appropriateness of any zoning district within the land use area is contingent upon the context or the parcels surrounding a proposed development and the interrelated conditions that benefit from their close proximity.

Suburban Residential (SR)

The Suburban Residential designation is applied to areas where the City intends to sustain lower-density neighborhoods. The principal use of land within these designated areas is low-density, Single-family residential development with large yards and open space. Multifamily development and commercial uses in proximity to designated Mixed-Use Corridor future land use areas are compatible within the SR designated areas as well. Appropriate land uses include: Single-family residential detached housing, manufactured homes, open space, civic and recreation facilities, and mixed-uses depending on the surrounding uses.

Traditional Neighborhood (TN)

The Traditional Neighborhood designation is applied to areas of the City to provide for and/or sustain higher-density neighborhoods with smaller lots and a mix of housing types. Principal use of land in this designation is mixed residential typical of urban neighborhoods, including Single-family residential development on smaller lots, attached residential structures such as duplexes and townhomes, and small-scale multi-family development. Where opportunities for infill and redevelopment exist, new communities should strive to include walkable neighborhood units within the development, in addition to appropriately-scaled commercial uses. More intensive commercial and multi-family uses are appropriate in close proximity to Mixed-Use Corridors. Appropriate uses include Single-family residential detached housing, manufactured homes, Single-family attached, multi-family residential structures, neighborhood-oriented commercial and/or mixed use structures, civic and recreation facilities. The appropriateness of these uses on an individual site is contingent upon the context of its location and surrounding land uses.

Mixed-Use (MU)

The Mixed-Use designation is established to sustain a mixture of commercial and residential land uses located within close proximity to one another. Uses may be combined within a parcel and/or stacked within a structure. New development in the Mixed-Use areas should be designed to be compact, incorporating a system of open space including interconnected trails or sidewalks that provide access to parks, recreation, and open space areas as well as commercial services. Appropriate uses include office, retail, multi-family, and light industry (manufacturing and assembly).

Mixed-Use Corridor (MUC)

The Mixed-Use Corridor designation is to provide for commercial, retail, office and higher density housing adjacent to principal transportation corridors throughout the City. These areas are intended to promote development of mixed-uses that will enhance access to a wider range of services for nearby neighborhoods. Appropriate uses include office, retail, multi-family and light industry (manufacturing and assembly).

Development within the MU and MUC designations may be intensified within areas identified around transit centers. Intensified development in these areas is referred to as Transit-Oriented Development (TOD).

Employment Center (EC)

The Employment Center designation is for large-scale office and industrial uses developed for a major employer or cluster of employers with a mix of supporting or ancillary uses, such as restaurants, hotels and limited service retail. Employment Center areas create a commerce-focused environment and generally benefit from proximity to one another, with ease of access to supportive services and residential areas to relieve congestion. Appropriate land uses include office, light industry (manufacturing and assembly), ancillary retail/services for employees, commercial services, accommodations and public/institutional uses. Multi-family uses may also be compatible depending on the surrounding land uses and when sufficiently set back from industrial uses. Within the Employment Center designation, heavier industrial uses are also appropriate where in close proximity to freight and rail corridors, provided there is adequate separation from residential uses.