Frequently Asked Questions 

Forward Elon is a project to update the Town's current Land Development Ordinance and create a new Land Management Ordinance that implements the Town's new future land use plan, and is an easier and more predictable document for guiding land development applications through the review process.  The following are answers to frequently asked questions about the project.  If you have a question that is not answered here, please contact the Town using the "Contact" tab above and send us your question. Thanks for being here!


What is a Land Management Ordinance (LMO)?

A Land Management Ordinance combines the Town’s zoning and subdivision regulations into one official document that regulates growth and development. It includes regulations that govern the location, size, and appearance of new development and redevelopment projects in Elon and its extra-territorial jurisdiction (land outside the Town limits but still subject to the Town's regulations). The LMO includes such provisions as zoning district regulations, development review procedures, and development standards like those covering parking, landscaping, building setbacks, size, and appearance. A link to the Town's current Land Development Ordinance can be found under the "Documents" tab of this website.

Why is the Town updating its development rules now?

The Town's Land Development Ordinance (the current rules governing growth and development) were adopted in 2004 (15 years ago). Since that time, the Town has adopted a new comprehensive future land use plan (Envision Elon 2040) that sets a new vision for growth and identifies new goals for future development. There have also been numerous changes in state planning laws and court rulings affecting planning. The new LMO is proposed to address the Town's new plans and the changes to state laws. It is also intended to make the development review process more predictable and to encourage preferred forms of development.

What is Envision Elon, and what are its goals?

Envision Elon 2040 is the Town's new comprehensive plan for future land uses adopted by the Board of Aldermen in February, 2019. The plan includes a shared vision for Elon's future growth and development, a new future land use map of the preferred locations for growth through 2040, a set of goals for future development, and the ways in which the plan's goals are expected to be met. Some fo the key plan recommendations include:

  • Expand ETJ to the north

  • Focus growth in the Town's core

  • Expand housing choices

  • Organize development around open space

  • Conserve areas to the north of the Town's core

  • Incorporate design standards

  • Protect small town character

A link to the Envision Elon document is available under the "documents" tab of this website.

What are the project goals for Forward Elon?

Forward Elon calls for the establishment of a new Land Management Ordinance that seeks to address the following goals:

  • Implementing the Envision Elon 2040 future land use plan;
  • Replacing the current Land Development Ordinance with a new, user-friendly Land Management Ordinance;
  • Ensuring the Town’s development regulations are consistent with all applicable State laws and court precedents;
  • Modernizing the zoning district standards and allowable land uses; and
  • Raising the bar for development quality throughout the Town’s planning area.

Will Forward Elon change the zoning for my property?

No. Not without the landowner's prior consent. Forward Elon is a project proposed to update the Town's development regulations. It will establish new zoning districts and may translate existing zoning districts to zoning districts with new names. It is also possible that some existing zoning districts will be consolidated together. However, these changes amount to a translation only - not a change in zoning district designation. The LMO will not result in any changes to zoning designations except translation from one district to a new comparable zoning district. Other than the possibility for translation from one current zoning district to another new or renamed zoning district, the LMO will not change the zoning for anyone's property. The Town may consider allowing certain landowners to request revisions to the zoning district designation(s) of one or more of their lots in accordance with recommendations included in Envision Elon as part of the project, but no landowner's zoning will be changed without their prior request.

What is the schedule for Forward Elon?

The project has five tasks, with an anticipated completion date in the fall or winter of 2020. Estimated timeframes associated with each of the five tasks are listed below: Task 1: Initiation - Estimated completion date: June, 2019 Task 2: Code Assessment - Estimated completion date: September, 2019 Task 3: Drafting - Estimated completion date: June, 2020 Task 4: Adoption - Estimated completion date: August, 2020 Task 5: Delivery - Estimated completion date: Fall to Winter 2020

Who is managing the project?

CodeWright Planners, LLC is the consulting firm retained by the Town to assist planning staff with Forward Elon. They will be working directly with the LMO Advisory Committee, the Planning Board, and the Board of Aldermen, as well as receiving input from all interested residents and stakeholders within the Town. CodeWright is small planning and zoning firm with offices in Durham, NC. The firm is currently working with numerous communities across the state to update and improve their planning and regulatory documents. More information on the firm can be found at

Where can I find out more information about the project?

The "Documents" tab on this webpage will be updated regularly to inlcude links to all draft documents and supporting information relevant to the project. Visit the "Contact" page of this website for announcements about meetings and other opportunities for public involvement throughout the project. If you have a question or a comment about the project, visit the "Contact" tab above to get in touch with the project team.