Charlotte, NC

Queen City Roundup 1/19: New 2040 Plan map, CMS students back in school, banks cut fees, council's expenses

Collin Cunningham

By Collin Cunningham

(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) Happy hump day, Charlotteans! It is Wednesday, Jan. 19, and today is draft day. No, not NFL draft day — that won't occur until April 29 in Nevada.

Rather, Charlotte released the latest version of the map governing its Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan on Tuesday. Today's Roundup tells how the map will influence the plan and how readers can get involved in the draft process.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools students returned to classrooms today following a two-hour delay stemming from dangerous roads in the wake of Sunday's snowstorm. The Charlotte-based Truist Financial joined a growing list of banks that are reducing customer fees for overdrafts and bounced checks. And we detail Charlotte City Council's expenditures in 2020 and 2021.

1. Charlotte releases new 2040 Plan Policy Map draft, extends public comment period on proposed ordinances
Each gray circle on the latest draft of the policy map corresponds to a project contained in the Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan(Courtesy of the City of Charlotte)

What happened: The Queen City released the second draft of its Charlotte Future 2040 Policy Map on Tuesday, including several changes from the first version of the map released in October of 2021.

Outgoing City Planning Director Taiwo Jaiyeoba called the draft a "reflection of what we have heard to data from the community," adding that "we hope the public will review this document and provide additional comments."

What else: Before debuting the map, Charlotte City Council announced it would extend the public comment period for the city's Unified Development Ordinance draft to March. The comment period for the 608-page document was initially supposed to end on Monday, but Council decided on Jan. 11 to push it back to March 18 to give residents more time to sift through the rules.

Readers can sound off on the UDO here and register to attend a Jan. 27 Q&A session on this page. It includes policy changes designed to help protect Charlotte's diminishing tree canopy. Council is expected to adopt the ordinances in July.

Why it matters: In tandem, the policy map and UDO form the framework for the Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan, which Council voted to adopt in June of 2021. The group is expected to review and vote on the chart in February.

2. CMS students return to class following extended weekend, 2-hour delay; other local schools shift to remote

What happened: With many Metrolina roads still icy and dangerous following Sunday's snowstorm, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools sent students back to class Wednesday as other local districts chose to substitute snow days for remote learning.

CMS students had a two-hour delay this morning, extending their weekend a bit after the district had Monday off due to MLK day and canceled class due to the weather on Tuesday. The Charlotte Observer reports that the district saw 2,212 new cases of COVID-19 in students and 606 staff infections between Jan. 10 and 16. Read more about CMS staff absences due to the coronavirus Below the Fold.

The following school districts shifted learning to a virtual capacity to account for continuing weather conditions:

  • Burke County Public Schools
  • Caldwell County Schools
  • Gaston County Schools
  • Lincoln County Schools
  • Watauga County Schools

Districts in Cabarrus, Catawba and Iredell-Statesville, meanwhile, canceled Wednesday classes outright.

3. Truist joins BofA, Wells Fargo in cutting overdraft fees

Truist Financial customers will soon have the option to sign up for a new type of checking account that reduces overdraft fees. Launching this summer, the Charlotte Business Journal reports Truist One Banking comes with a $100 buffer on negative balances and a maximum credit-line deposit of $750.

The decision follows on the heels of Bank of America, another Charlotte-headquartered company that will reduce the $35 fee it charges customers who attempt to withdraw an excessive amount of money from their account to $10 starting in May. The multinational bank announced the reduction of the fee as well as an end to fees it charges customers for bounced checks last week, per WCNC.

And Reuters reported last week that Wells Fargo will be nixing the overdraft and check-bouncing fees that it charges customers prior to March 30. Read more about recent news concerning the local impact of Truist and Wells Fargo Below the Fold.

4. Charlotte City Council spent nearly $20,000 between 2020 and 2021

Charlotte City Council, which has primarily been meeting online since the onset of the pandemic, spent $19,187 during 2020 and 2021. Apparently, convening virtually saves money, as that number is a 66% decrease from the $56,825 Council spent in fiscal year 2018. It's also a fraction of the council's yearly salary of $32,638.

Mayor Vi Lyles makes $39,646 annually, and submitted the largest expense reports out of all Council members over the past few years, asking for $5,000 to attend the 2019 Presidents Cup in Australia and $3,000 to pay French companies during the Hornets' rendezvous in Paris in 2020.

Council's latest meeting: When the group met most recently on Tuesday, they motioned to approve petitions proposing two new buildings that could supplement Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in Charlotte's southern region. The proposal now moves to the group's zoning committee, which will review plans for the high school suggested for the Ballantyne neighborhood and a nearby elementary on Ardrey Kell Road, per WBTV.

Below the Fold

CMS students, continued: While 606 CMS employees tested positive last week, a total of 688 district staff members were required to quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19. The Observer reports that the school system's substitutes were able to fill 438 of those slots, and replacement bus drivers were able to cover the routes left by 131 driver absences. And more than 100 of the district's permanent cafeteria workers called off, putting additional strain on CMS' internal operations.

Truist, continued: The Charlotte Observer reports the Truist One service launches as the bank finishes rebranding from a 2019 merger that consolidated Atlanta-based bank holding company SunTrust Banks and the Branch Banking and Trust Company. As those efforts solidify, the Committee for Better Banks released a report accusing Tuist of opening fewer banks in neighborhoods associated with diverse populations and lower incomes.

"There’s been a lot of attention to where banks close branches but little to where they open branches,” said Nick Winer, one of the worker advocacy group's organizing directors.

And, in other news concerning Wells Fargo, the bank announced on Tuesday that Charlotte-based financier Derek Flowers would be changing positions, shifting from the company's head of strategic execution and operations to its chief risk operator.

In a press release, Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf said Flowers is the "ideal candidate" to replace Mandy Norton, who told the company she would be stepping down from the risk role in early January.

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I cover the city of Charlotte, North Carolina for NewsBreak's Creator Program. Check back often for daily headline roundups to learn what's happening in the Queen City!

Charlotte, NC

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