For the latest City-related information and department impacts related to COVID-19, CLICK HERE.

2040 Comprehensive Plan


2040 Comprehensive Plan and Future Land Use Map (Adopted)

A Future Use Plan acts as a guide for zoning and planning and has a direct impact on how the city develops.


The City’s FY 2020 Strategic Plan “A Focus on the Future” and it’s Goals, Objectives and Targets for Action support a need and interest in planning for the City’s future growth through a Comprehensive Land Use Plan.
Goal III objectives and targets for action resulted in the Development Services staff taking on the task of creating a Comprehensive Land Use Plan with the first phase being the creation of the Future Land Use Map. The overall plan includes a Future Land Use Map, character area descriptions, goals and objectives and associated polices and implementation strategies. Council’s Targets for Action: Managing the City’s future growth through a comprehensive land use plan.

Also, in recent years the NC General Statutes were amended, placing more emphasis on comprehensive planning by requiring that rezonings and development approvals be based on and be consistent with an adopted Comprehensive Plan.

What is a Comprehensive Plan: A Comprehensive Plan is NOT law; rather the Plan overviews the City’s policies, goals, and plans. A Comprehensive Plan consolidates a vast amount of information into a single document that can be understood and used as a guide for making decisions for developing a sustainable, efficient and prosperous community. The plan can be expanded and amended with future study area information as needed.

What is a Future Land Use Map: A Future Land Use Map is a study of areas with consideration of what is existing, what is needed, and what the best uses of the areas are in the future. This land use map and the material that is folded into the document become one guide for making decisions that affect the growth of the City, ensuring development in an organized, efficient, and sustainable manner.

Session Law 2019-111 consolidated all land use regulatory laws in North Carolina. An entire section, Article 5, Planning, addresses the use of plans and comprehensive plans as being required to “be considered in review of proposed zoning amendments”(160D-5-1) and proposed zoning amendments have to be measured to the plans for consistency.

To begin the process of creating a Comprehensive Plan and Future Land Use Map staff recognized that a lot of work had already been completed over the years by the City’s Development Services and Community Development Departments, Cumberland County Planning Department, and hired consultants. These studies needed to be evaluated to determine what findings were still relevant.

In 2018, the City hired Benchmark Consultants to analyze 13 of the most relevant plans to include the 2010 Land Use Plan and the 2030 City/County Comprehensive Plan. Benchmark determined what recommendations within the studies had been completed and which information needed to be incorporated into the comprehensive document for further implementation and to be used to guide development in a manner to achieve the City’s desired goals.

After reviewing several proposals the City hired Stewart Consultants, who also utilized the services of a local engineering company, Crawford Design, to develop a Comprehensive Plan and Future Land Use Map. They were tasked to incorporate the information prepared by Benchmark, the City’s Strategic Plan, and sound planning practices to create a usable guide for making decisions to ensure that future development occurs in an organized, efficient, and sustainable manner.

Below is a timeline of the planning process that was included in the development of the Comprehensive Plan and Future Land Use Map to include public outreach, commission and council updates, and the Planning Commission Public Hearing with a Recommendation to Council for Approval of the Plan and Map.

 Review of Existing Plans - Benchmark Consultants  January 2018 
 Benchmark Final Report  July 2018
 Survey - City regarding Future Land Use Map Plan  March 2019
 Webpage Information & Marketing  March 2019
 Flyer Information  March 2019
 Stakeholder Meetings  March 2019
 Community Meetings  March & April 2019
 City Council Work Session  June 2019
 City Council Administrative Report  September 2019
 Reopened for Public Input  September 2019
 Open House  September 2019
 Planning Commission Update  September 2019
 Planning Commission Work Session (Special Meeting)  October 2019
 Planning Commission Public Hearing  October 2019
 City Council Administrative Reports  November & December 2019 and January 2020
 City Council Public Hearing (2020 TFA)  February 2020
 Presentation to City Council  May 11, 2020
 City Council Agenda Briefing  May 20, 2020
 City Council Public Hearing  May 26, 2020
 Adoption of Comprehensive Plan  May 26, 2020

Comprehensive Plans and Future Land Use Maps are the primary tools used to provide land use guidance to staff, government officials, and the public for decisions regarding long-term land use (rezonings, special use permits, development and redevelopment, etc.). These plans interpret the information received from public input and the use of best planning practices to establish the desired future land use of areas and the type and scale of development that should occur within those areas.

The five Sections of the Plan are summarized below:

Section 1: Visual Preference

The public was asked to provide input on their visual preferences for residential and commercial development. They were asked which type of development they preferred and what type of uses they wanted to preserve, change and create.

Section 2: Future Land Use Map and Character Area Descriptions

The Future Land Use Map can be found in Section 2 (page 12). This section establishes 15 new Character Areas that instead of separating different uses tend to mix uses in appropriate areas.
The 15 Character Areas are established based on how these areas are identified and taking into consideration: location, existing land uses, suitability for future land uses, as well as the type of land uses that were proposed through public input and the type of land uses that would be encouraged within these locations.

The 15 Character Areas can be grouped as follows:

  • Commercial/Mixed Use Areas:
    • Downtown, Regional Centers
    • Neighborhood Mixed Uses
    • Community Center

    A mix of residential and commercial uses, redevelopment, and walkability are encouraged within these areas.
    Examples: Downtown, Cross Creek Mall and Cape Fear Medical Center areas, major corridor retail areas, Haymount and other small area communities. 

  • Commercial/Employment Areas:
    • Highway Commercial
    • Industrial/Employment

    High volume retail uses, regional employment centers, industrial parks, and business parks are encouraged within these areas.
    Examples: Major corridor intersections, highway interchanges, airport, and existing industrial areas and business parks. 

  • Employment Areas:
    • Office/Institutional

    A mix of residential and office uses, schools, and community employment centers are encouraged within these areas.
    Examples: Military Business Park, Veterans Affairs Hospital and Clinic areas

  • Residential Areas
    • Rural, Low Density Residential
    • Medium Density Residential
    • High Density Residential
    • Open Space Subdivisions
    • Parks and Open Space

    A mix of residential ranging from low to high density areas, cluster and conservation subdivisions to preserve/reserve open space areas are encouraged in these areas.
    Examples: Existing subdivisions and multi-family residential areas, as well as vacant or underutilized properties that are suitable for residential development and redevelopment.

  • Targeted Reinvestment Overlay Areas
    • Neighborhood Infill
    • Commercial Strip Redevelopment

    A mix of residential and commercial land uses, redevelopment, and walkability are encouraged within these areas.
    Examples: Areas in need of revitalization to include areas surrounding the downtown, vacant commercial and residential, mobile home parks. 

Section 3: Goals and Policy Recommendations

The Plan establishes six Future Land Use Goals with Polices to meet the Goals as summarized below:

Goal 1: Focus value & investment around infrastructure and strategic nodes
LU 1: Encourage growth in areas well served by infrastructure and urban services.
Goal 2: Promote compatible economic and commercial development in key identified areas.
LU 2: Encourage strategic economic development.
Goal 3: Encourage redevelopment of strip commercial areas.
LU 3: Encourage redevelopment along underutilized commercial strip corridors and reinvestments in distressed residential neighborhoods.
LU 4: Create well designed and walkable commercial and mixed use districts.
LU 5: Improve gateways.
Goal 4: Foster safe, stable and attractive neighborhoods.
LU 6: Encourage development standards that result in quality neighborhoods.
LU 7: Encourage a mix of housing types for all ages and incomes.
Goal 5: Preserve and enhance environmental features through open space protection.
LU 8: Require the reservation of open space and unique natural features in new developments.
LU 9: Plan for connected system of open space and greenways.
LU 10: Support land use, site design, and capital improvement initiatives that increase resiliency and reduce impacts from flooding and natural disasters.
Goal 6: Compliment and capitalize on the strategic importance of military installations and educational and medical institutions.
LU 11: Encourage a development pattern and community growth that respects the training and operational mission of the military, while also allowing for reasonable, appropriate uses on properties near Fort Bragg.
LU 12: Coordinate with Fort Bragg.
LU 13: Coordinate with local governments, non-profits and education and medical institutions on economic development initiatives and complimentary development in the vicinity of campuses.

Section 4: Implementation Recommendations

The Plan establishes five Strategies to accomplish the Goals with Polices as summarized below:

Strategy 1: Use the plan and map to guide policy decisions to promote sound development patterns.
Strategy 2: Build on the recommendations and the map with plan updates as needed.
Strategy 3: Remove barriers for reinvestment and redevelopment in target areas.
Strategy 4: Coordinate efforts among departments to create opportunities for reinvestment in distressed areas.
Strategy 5: Increase public engagement efforts in support of goals and action steps in the plan.

Section 5: Community Profile

The plan summarizes the demographics, housing, income, education & employment,
commuting, natural resources & environmental constraints, existing land use & supply
and provides a suitability analysis.

There are several maps for review. 

Free viewers are required for some of the attached documents.
They can be downloaded by clicking on the icons below.

Acrobat Reader Download Acrobat Reader Flash Player Download Flash Player Windows Media Player Download Windows Media Player Microsoft Silverlight Download Microsoft Silverlight Word Viewer Download Word Viewer Excel Viewer Download Excel Viewer PowerPoint Viewer Download PowerPoint Viewer