Charlotte’s Transit Oriented Development (TOD) zoning district and the related overlay districts were created to encourage a compact and high intensity mix of residential, office, retail, institutional, and civic uses in areas with high potential for enhanced transit and pedestrian activity. To achieve the high-density mixed districts, minimum densities and floor area ratios (FAR) increase in areas closest to transit stations. In addition, development standards, such as minimum building setbacks, are implemented to encourage pedestrian friendly sidewalks. To further enhance pedestrian appeal, FAR bonuses are awarded for plazas, arcades, courtyards, gardens, and similar amenities, and all service entrances utility structures, loading docks, dumpsters, recycling containers, and parking areas are required to be screened with approved shrubbery. Urban open spaces are required for all new buildings with a gross floor area greater than 50,000 square feet. Canopies and awnings are encouraged, sidewalks and trees must be installed according to an approved streetscape plan, and all signs and banners must conform to specific requirements. To avoid long expanses of “blank walls,” first floor office and retail buildings are required to include transparent windows and doors or sufficient decoration. Connectivity and circulation standards require TOD districts to be integrated with surrounding communities and require an internal circulation system that is lit at night and facilitates a variety of travel modes. Parking provisions detail the minimum and maximum number of spaces for each use, but to encourage creative solutions, maximums may be exceeded if developments include underground parking, shared parking agreements, or rear parking that is not visible from the public right of way. Also, FAR bonuses are also given to structured parking facilities that devote at least 75% of street level frontage to retail, office, or civic uses. To offer flexibility throughout the process, the planning director has the authority to alter any development and urban design standard by five percent.