|Tall new buildings surround Romare Bearden Park in uptown Charlotte. Photo: Nancy Pierce|
It's not a tool beloved by people who make money from building tall buildings. By limiting the heights of buildings, the city is, at heart, limiting the profitability of any development on that dirt. Note that overall, Raleigh wants to encourage tall buildings downtown, and density. But with a cluster of 19 old, iconic buildings along its main downtown street, Raleigh wants to add a level of protection.
Most of the buildings that will get the height limits are on the National Register of Historic Places and Raleigh historic landmarks. Under state and federal law, neither of those designations can prevent a building from demolition.
Charlotte also has height restrictions in some of its zoning categories, especially the transit-oriented and mixed-use development districts. But those height limits are so tall that they don't, effectively, deter demolitions of older buildings, and there is an "optional" zoning that lets the city OK pretty much anything if the developer can make a good case for it.) Of course, the single-use-only districts have de facto height limits as well. (My graduate student, Jacob Schmidt, recently analyzed the proportion of mixed-use vs .single-use zoning inside Charlotte city limits. More than 90 percent of the land area is zoned for single-uses.)
But if you own a property in uptown Charlotte zoned UMUD (uptown mixed use district) you can build as tall a building as the FAA will allow. That's right -- the only limits on height are based on whether airplanes might run into the towers. The