Development & Design Services
The focus of the Department of Development & Design Services is to manage and encourage growth to maintain quality of life for Morganton's residents. All new residential, commercial and industrial development is reviewed within the Department to assure consistency in Morganton's managed growth plan and assure proper infrastructure services are available. The department is keenly focused on new economic development strategies to sustain the City into the future.
The Department is primarily responsible for: planning, building inspections, zoning enforcement, CDBG Administration, Urban Design, infrastructure inspections, and code enforcement. The Department is also responsible for developing new ordinances, transportation planning, annexations, urban redevelopment services, housing renovation, special projects such as the Catawba River Greenway and the Catawba Meadows Baseball Complex.
Department staff work with the many Morganton Boards and Commissions such as the Planning Commission, Board of Adjustment, Historic Preservation Commission, Community Appearance Commission and Redevelopment Commission. The Department works very closely with other Departments to coordinate new and existing development.
The Department has recently worked with the North Carolina Department of Transportation to eventually bring passenger rail service back to the western part of the state. Morganton is a planned stop on a line that will link Asheville to Raleigh via Salisbury. The city has just completed an historic renovation of its depot which will be reused for passenger rail service. The renovated depot has also stimulated redevelopment in the surrounding area.
Morganton's Mission 2030 Plan combines economic development planning with land use planning to sustain Morganton's competitive advantage in a global market place. The Plan recognizes that an efficient, strong, diverse and resilient economy is essential to achieving Morganton's overall development objectives.
The Plan lays out a vision for economic success that will influence future growth of our community.
Economic development strategies include:
- Grow Morganton's manufacturing and industrial base by supporting existing industries and attracting new industries to the area.
- Encourage diversification of Morganton's economic base by encouraging growth of existing small businesses and emerging businesses.
- Strengthen Morganton's reputation as a preferred location for business and their workforce. Focus on assets that will attract businesses in the technical, medical and research sectors.
- Grow Morganton and Burke County's tourism industry through investments in destination activities and programs, marketing, and supporting hospitality and tourism businesses.
- Strengthen Downtown Morganton as a destination for dining and entertainment. Diversify the downtown's retail base to include unique retail stores and galleries.
The City of Morganton operates a Board of Adjustment (BOA) as one of the State of North Carolina requirements for having a zoning ordinance to regulate uses. With zoning ordinances having only limited flexibility, the BOA is in place to provide flexibility to the ordinance while maintaining the intent of the requirements. The BOA acts in a quasi-judicial role, much like a judge in a court, to evaluate and interpret questions which come about concerning the zoning ordinance.
Have a question about Development, Streets, Codes, Zoning or the Greenway? Check our Frequently asked Questions section here.
Flood map information for the City of Morganton is available online. Visit the Document Center to review the City's Flood Prevention Ordinance and Flood Map.
The City of Morganton offers grant/loan programs for the purposes of economic development and to stimulate economic activity.
- Development Incentive Grant
- Commercial Street Participation
- Residential Street Participation
The Morganton Historic Preservation Commission serves the public both as a steward for historic properties and as a facilitator to people fortunate enough to own such properties.
The Planning and Zoning Commission serves as an advisory board to the Morganton City Council. The Commission only makes recommendations on certain planning and zoning issues affecting the City. Members of the City of Morganton Planning and Zoning Commission serve 3-year terms.
As with most communities, Morganton has tried to adopt responsible and reasonable development regulatory practices. These practices enable our community to efficiently grow in a way that benefits all.
Mission 2030 Plan
Hunting Creek, located in eastern Morganton and Burke County, has been included on the “Impaired” waters listing for the State of North Carolina. Based on this listing, this study has been completed during the past two years (through a grant received by a local non-profit) to study in detail the issues associated with this impairment designation.
Lee Anderson • Director
Development & Design
The Development and Design Department is located on the second floor of City Hall.