A total of 36 board action cases were reviewed in 2018, which was fewer than the previous two years. This was due primarily to a decrease in zoning map amendments, although the 22 cases reviewed were still more than in 2014 and 2015. This decrease in zoning map amendments can be attributed in part to the updated Development Ordinance that went into effect at the beginning of 2017. It allows a broader range of uses in many of the zoning districts, which means fewer map amendments are necessary. Special use permits and land use plan amendments stayed at relatively stable levels, while there was a slight decrease in the number of text amendments. Street abandonment cases have dropped over the past five years as a project to identify rights-of-way suitable for abandonment has largely concluded, although it is still being evaluated annually.
Of the 22 zoning map amendments reviewed by the Planning & Zoning Commission in 2018, one was ultimately withdrawn, but the other 21 were approved by City Council. The total acreage approved for rezoning was the lowest since 2015. In large part this was due to a drop in the amount of mixed use zoning approved, which was significantly higher in 2017 due to the adoption of a new Mixed Use Downtown zoning district in the vicinity of the future multi-purpose stadium in downtown. The largest category of rezoned acreage in 2018 was for residential development with the amount nearly identical to the previous year.
A good indicator of the amount of development occurring in the city is the number of final plats, site plans and group developments approved that resulted in new residential lots/units or additional building square footage. The table below shows the types of major projects approved over the past three years by land use category.
In 2018, the total number of approved land development projects was only slightly less than the previous year, as was the total number of new residential lots/units. However, there was a notable increase in the number of new attached single-family residential units, such as townhomes, compared to the number of single-family detached units. While the proportion of attached to detached single-family residential units was equal in 2016 (97 each) and only slightly higher in 2017 (102 vs. 75), there were three times as many attached single-family units approved in 2018 (151 vs. 49). There was also an increase in the square footage of non-residential development approved, as shown in the following chart. This is mostly due to the amount of institutional and industrial square footage, including an expansion of the River Landing retirement community, the new Qubein Arena and Conference Center on the campus of Hight Point University, and the Amada manufacturing and technical center campus in north High Point.