Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) Update 2020


**Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) Module 2 Virtual Open House - May 11th @ 6 PM and & 7:30 PM (Identical Presentation at each session), Register using the links below**                                              

Click Here to access DRAFT UDO http://online.encodeplus.com/regs/harrisburg-nc/doc-viewer.aspx#secid-3457


The Town of Harrisburg is updating its Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). The Town adopted its first zoning ordinance in 1985, followed by adoption of the current Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) in 2008. Significant changes in the Town’s population, land development pattern and economy, along with State legislative and land use changes since that time, have highlighted the need for a comprehensive rewrite of the current UDO.

In 2018, the Harrisburg Town Council adopted the Harrisburg Area Land Use Plan (HALUP), developed in partnership with Cabarrus County. This plan provides the vision and framework for future development of the Town through 2040. The primary objective of the UDO update is to align it with the recently adopted HALUP to implement the vision established, through regulations that will guide land development within the Town’s corporate limits and Extra Terrestrial Jurisdiction (ETJ). 

Project Schedule

The Harrisburg Town Council approved the contract with with Kendig, Keast Collaborative (KKC) to assist the Town in updating its UDO at their March 9, 2020 meeting. Below is graphic representation of key timeline. The project is expected to complete in July of 2021.  

Timeline Graphic

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is a Unified Development Ordinance (UDO)? The Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) consolidates multiple ordinances into a single source to manage land development in the community. The approach merges subdivision regulations into the zoning ordinance. Additionally, the UDO approach integrates ordinances relating to environmental resource protection, sign controls, and other aspects of development, like parking, landscaping, the layout of streets and blocks, lighting, and building design.

2. How will the UDO Update benefit the community? The new UDO will provide multiple benefits to the Town, including:

  • Simplifying the development process as much as possible, using plain terms, employing graphics and tables, and creating flexibility and certainty for applicants and neighbors;
  • Promoting greater consistency in the regulations’ application through removing repetitive and inconsistent language and standards;
  • Allowing more flexibility and creativity for property owners to foster a more lasting, valued, and affordable community without imposing excessive regulatory barriers; and
  • Addressing the design elements which enhance and protect the community character that gives Harrisburg its small-town charm.

3. Why is the Town updating the UDO? The purpose of this project is to update the UDO as part of a continued effort, after the adoption of the Harrisburg Area Land Use Plan (HALUP), to enhance the livability and appeal of Harrisburg for its residents, businesses, and visitors. The Town recognizes that many parts of the current UDO do not reflect best practices or current policy directions. In addition, the Town desires to produce a more user-friendly, interactive ordinance readily accessible for all users. Finally, the update will also align the UDO with new federal and North Carolina state law requirements. 

4. How does the UDO relate to the Harrisburg Area Land Use Plan (HALUP)? The Harrisburg Area Land Use Plan (HALUP) provides the vision and framework for future development of the Town through 2040. A key step in implementing the HALUP is to draft and adopt an updated UDO so the policies of the Plan become a reality as Harrisburg develops. The principle objective of the UDO update is to align the regulations with the vision for development within the Town’s corporate limits and Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ).

5. Will the public be involved? The UDO update process will engage key stakeholders and the general public throughout the process. The Town’s Planning and Economic Development Department staff will provide the overall oversight and guidance for preparation of the UDO update, including the engagement of a Steering Committee who will serve to facilitate the process. The public will have various ways to participate and provide input as the UDO is drafted, either online or in person once COVID-19 is of less concern. The project team invites the community to stay informed by visiting this webpage to see upcoming chances to engage with the UDO team and to provide input.

6. How long will it take to update? After public engagement, drafting and refining the UDO update, and presenting the draft to the public and Town officials for feedback, the process to consider adoption of the UDO is expected to be in July 2021.  The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing and make a formal recommendation to the Town Council, who will public hearings and take final action on adopting the UDO.

This website will be maintained and updated throughout the project. For individuals who desire to be kept up-to-date on meetings and major announcements, please contact the Planning and Economic Development Department at 704-455-0738 to request that you be added to the project email list.


For more information, contact Planning & Economic Development Director Sushil Nepal at [email protected] or 704-455-0738.