Planning Division

Comprehensive Plan Document

Comprehensive Plan

Comprehensive Plan Policy Bridge

Comprehensive Bridge

Unified Development Ordinance


Duties of the Planning Division 

The duties of The Planning Division include administering the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO, addressing, permitting, subdivision and plan review, and providing support to the Historic Preservation CommissionBoard of AdjustmentPlanning Board, and Board of Commissioners.)

NC 16 Widening Public Info Meeting March 14th

Current News

2016 Unified Development Ordinance Rewrite
Waxhaw is updating its Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). The intent is that the UDO clearly communicate the community's expectations for development as expressed in the Comprehensive Plan and the various neighborhood plans the Town has adopted in recent years. Click here to view the UDO Rewrite webpage for further information.

Unified Development Ordinance


"Basics — A Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) is a local policy instrument that combines traditional zoning and subdivision regulations, along with other desired city regulations, such as design guidelines, sign regulations, and floodplain and stormwater management, into one document.  By combining all of these regulations in a single document, a UDO is intended to streamline and coordinate the development process of permits and approvals for development projects by removing inconsistencies and eliminating outdated policies.  The required permits, processes, and regulations for the development process are outlined in one place, making it easier for developers, the public, and public entities to understand the requirements.  Along with the compiling of regulations and policies, UDOs use clear, consistent language and definitions, with many illustrations and tables, often in attractive, easy-to-read formats to further help stakeholders understand the regulations.

Historical and Legal Implications — UDOs became popular in the 1980s, in large part due to Michael B. Brough's publication "A Unified Model Ordinance." Since that time they have become more widely endorsed and more frequently adopted across the country.  UDOs have not had any major legal challenges to date.  In fact, proponents maintain that UDOs actually lead to fewer legal challenges since they tend to reduce number of inconsistencies in municipal regulations.

Discussion — UDOs can be beneficial for communities looking for a more comprehensive approach to land use regulation and economic development.  A UDO is a helpful tool in accommodating neo-traditional and mixed-use development and providing a thorough and comprehensive approach to meeting goals such as environmental protection, transit, and mixed-housing types.  They are perhaps most useful for cities experiencing rapid growth, where the streamlining of varied or complex development or enhanced control over economic development is desired.  On account of the consolidated and streamlined requirements, UDOs afford stakeholders in the development process more predictability with respect to the standards for development and permit approval, and can allow a reduction in process costs because of the increased efficiency.  Creation of a UDO, however, can be a slow and expensive process.  In order for UDOs to be effective, they must be backed up with carefully drafted standards and regulations, and often require broad policy determinations to be made.  The process of gathering input, preparing, drafting, and adopting the final document requires a great deal of cooperation among stakeholders, time and money.  Smaller, poorer, communities therefore might find the cost of UDOs to be prohibitive.  On the other hand, larger cities, where the rate and diversity of development is greater, might require more sophisticated ordinances and a more complex growth management package than a UDO can provide."

-American Planning Association (APA) Website at (

​Related Web Links

American Planning Association (APA)
Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization (CRTPO)
Union County Planning & Zoning 
Union County Public Works
Union County Health Services
NC State Historic Preservation Office

Centralina Council of Governors
Urban Land Institute-Charlotte
Union County Water and Sewer Master Plan Resources