Commercial & Residential Development Process

Harrisburg's proximity to the City of Charlotte and access to major transportation corridors Interstate 485, Interstate 85 and Interstate 77, interest in commercial and residential development in Harrisburg is high. New development broadens the tax base to lessen tax burden on current residents and helps fund improved residential services. This growth, however, must be strategic and sustainable to align with Harrisburg's vision statement.

To increase transparency and citizen involvement, Town Council has initiated a development process designed to keep residents informed as new developments are proposed, reviewed, changed and, finally, approved or denied. A map of residential, commercial and infrastructure projects with summary descriptions is available on this website

Click here to review the Harrisburg Application Submittals Schedule for Residential and Commercial Projects that require Planning Board and Town Council approval as noted in the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO).

Step 1: Neighborhood Developer Meeting

When a developer approaches the Town to discuss a new commercial or residential development project, they are required to participate in a Neighborhood Developer Meeting. A presentation from the developer informs the public about project details and allows the public to provide input and feedback on the initial plans.

Meetings are open to the public and held on the third Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. (schedule subject to change because of holidays) in Town Hall, 4100 Main Street. At least five days prior to the meeting, the meeting agenda is published on the Town website with anticipated start times for each development project being discussed at the meeting and a brief description of each project. The meeting and agenda are promoted on the Town's Facebook page and Twitter feed. In addition, letters announcing the meeting are mailed to adjacent property owners within a 300-foot buffer of the proposed project.


The Planning and Zoning Department receives project submittal application and supporting documents the day before the meeting, and posts the documents on the website. The application and supporting documents are also sent to partner agencies, as applicable, for feedback. Partner agencies include: 

  • Cabarrus County Planning Department
  • Cabarrus County Schools
  • Cabarrus County Sheriff and Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
  • Cabarrus County Soil and Water Conservation
  • North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality
  • North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT)
  • Town Engineer
  • Town Fire Marshal
  • Water and Sewer Authority of Cabarrus County (WSACC)

Based on location and impact, documents may be sent to other agencies, including North Carolina Department of Transportation Rail Division and the City of Concord. Agencies are required to return feedback and comments within two weeks.

Meanwhile, the Planning and Zoning Department reviews the application and supporting documents for items such as compliance with the Unified Development Ordinance, lot layout, floodplain restrictions, road width, open space requirements, curb and gutter requirements and sidewalks. During this time, Town Council may meet with the developer one-on-one or in small groups to discuss the project's alignment with the Town's vision for growth.


Input from the Town and partner agencies is summarized and emailed to the developer. Application and supporting documents are revised based on this feedback and information gathered during the Neighborhood Developer Meeting.

Step 2: Planning & Zoning Advisory Board Meeting

The Planning and Zoning Department Advisory Board meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. in Town Hall. All meetings are open to the public. The Board makes recommendations to Town Council on rezoning cases, major subdivisions and text amendments to the Unified Development Ordinance. The Planning and Zoning Board does not make final decisions; they are an advisory board whose purpose is to make recommendations to the Town Council regarding land use decisions.

In preparation for this meeting, the developer and site designer submit the revised application and supporting documents to the Planning and Zoning Department. The agenda is published several days prior to meeting and promoted on social media; the revised documents are uploaded to the website.

At the Planning and Zoning Advisory Board meeting, the Board can take three actions related to the proposed project: recommend approval; recommend approval with changes (conditional changes, meaning the applicant agrees to address changes after Council approval); or recommend against approval.

Step 3: Town Council Meeting

The proposed project goes before Town Council at the monthly meeting on the second Monday of each month at 6 p.m. in Town Hall. The meeting agenda is published several days prior to the meeting and publicized on social media. In addition, a rezoning sign is posted on the property under consideration two weeks prior to the Town Council meeting. Town Council meetings are open to the public.

At the meeting, Town staff presents the project with a brief summary description and reports the recommendation from the Planning and Zoning Advisory Board. A public hearing is held, during which time the public is invited to speak for or against the proposed project. Town Council then votes on the proposed project. Council can approve the application, approve with conditional changes based on the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Advisory Board, defer the application while requesting more information on the project or deny the application.

If Council votes for deferral, the project generally is brought back to Council the following month with the requested additional information. Supporting documents are posted on the Town's website.

Department Approval of Development Projects

Certain project proposals are approved within the Planning and Zoning Department and are not subject to this process. These projects typically meet all land use and Unified Development Ordinance restrictions. Please contact the Planning and Zoning Department at 704-455-0738 for more information.