A total of 34 board action cases that went before the Planning & Zoning Commission for review were approved in 2019. This was the lowest total in the past five years, but only two cases fewer than the previous year. There was a slight increase in the number of zoning map amendments, from 22 cases in 2018 to 23 cases in 2018, although there has been a general decrease in zoning map amendments over the past couple of years. This 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 text amendments stayed at relatively stable levels, while there was a small decrease in the number of land use plan 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.
The total acreage approved for rezoning increased in 2019 with the amount of residential, non-residential and institutional acreage all going up. The only drop was in the amount of mixed use zoning approved, which was a small component in 2018 after being significantly higher in 2017 due to the adoption of a new Mixed Use Downtown zoning district in the vicinity of the downtown multi-purpose stadium. Non-residential zones were the largest category in 2019 but only by about nine acres over residential ones, which had made up the largest share three of the past four years.
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 2019, the total number of approved land development projects was lower than the previous two years. However, the number of new residential lots and units approved, including detached single-family homes, attached single-family townhomes, and multi-family apartments more than doubled from the previous year, and the overall total of 506 residential lots/units was the highest number approved since 2013. On the other hand, there was a significant decrease in the square footage of non-residential development approved, as shown in the following chart. This is mostly due to the greater than normal amount of institutional and industrial square footage approved in 2018, which included an expansion of the River Landing retirement community, the new Qubein Arena and Conference Center on the campus of High Point University, and the Amada manufacturing and technical center campus in north High Point. Viewed in relation to the past five years, the overall amount of non-residential square footage approved in 2019 was in line with what is typically seen.