It's been nearly two years since I was first elected by the amazing constituents of District 1, and the challenges we've faced since then have been immense. I've fought for more affordable housing, pushed for adaptive reuse projects to preserve our history while continuing development, championed green programs throughout the city, fought to have the Cross Charlotte Trail funded through our district, and stood up to protect women's reproductive rights. But I've also worked to get stop signs installed to protect pedestrians near Uptown, had petty fines for small businesses advertising on sandwich boards waived, and halted development projects that would've created more problems in our district's flood plains. We're moving the needle on the biggest issues, but I'm also working tirelessly to make sure the small things that matter to you get attention from your elected officials, too.
At the end of the day, I'm still just a neighbor. I've lived in Charlotte for more than a decade, and my wife, Lauren, and I make our home in Plaza Midwood. We share the same concerns and challenges, hopes and aspirations as you. That's why I want to keep fighting for you. The job isn't done, but we're making strides every day. I'm asking for your vote so I can keep pushing for the change we need to see every neighbor in District 1 and all of Charlotte prosper.
The people who work in our neighborhoods should also be able to afford to live there, to be a part of the communities they serve. Affordable, workforce housing should not be concentrated in a small handful of corners in the city’s East and West corridors, but should be equitably distributed around the city. Thoughtful distribution of workforce housing across our city is the long-term solution to re-integrating our public school system without the need for busing.
As part of city council, I helped pass a $50-million affordable housing bond that more than tripled Charlotte's previous funding, while also working to gain matching funds from private investment. I've championed programs to preserve naturally affordable housing, and I helped rewrite the framework for locational policy, ensuring workforce housing can be located close to transportation and employment opportunities. In the coming term, I hope to see another $50 million approved as part of the 2020 budget. As we look ahead, I hope to see a significant reduction in the city's need for more than 25,000 affordable housing units.
“Council Member Egleston is an experienced and well-informed advocate for affordable and workforce housing. He has supported efforts to preserve existing housing that is naturally affordable as well as build new mixed income communities in amenity rich neighborhoods that lack affordability as well as in neighborhoods that are losing affordability due to gentrification.” - Dionne Nelson, President & CEO, Laurel Street Developers
Our community’s future must include an array of transportation options. It has been proven over and again that a city cannot pave its way out of congestion. Toll lanes, be they on Interstate 77, Independence Blvd, or elsewhere, do not offer any relief to the majority of our community’s citizens and will, by design, do nothing to reduce traffic congestion. To remain competitive with other metropolitan areas, we must aggressively seek to improve pedestrian, bike, bus and rail options so folks have alternatives to driving.
On council, I've led the charge to have the Sixth Street Cycle Track completed, ensured the Cross Charlotte Trail would be funded to completion throughout District 1, saw the Blue Line extension opened to provide light rail transportation between Uptown and University, and advocated for needed safety improvements for pedestrians, including the street conversion projects on The Plaza and Parkwood Avenue.
"Larken is very supportive of the Stroll & Roll initiative to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety in our community. As part of The Plaza Street Conversion, Larken helped us push CDOT to include vertical elements along the bike lanes to improve safety and beautify the design. While this is a new concept in Charlotte, it is proven across the country to increase safety and encourage riders of all ages and abilities.” - Renee Bradley, Stroll & Roll Plaza Midwood
Preservation of historic landmarks and neighborhoods is an effective tool for maintaining the character of our community and stimulates private investment around it. Preservation and growth are not mutually exclusive, but leaders must find a healthy balance between the two, or we will soon be left with only metal plaques to tell our city’s story.
I fought hard for preservation as a member of the Historic Landmarks Commission, and I continue that fight on council. I've advocated for critical adaptive reuse projects, including Optimist Hall and the Van Landingham Estate. I fought to preserve the Excelsior Club after it was listed among the nation's most endangered historic properties. We've taken great strides in changing the conversation with developers, who now understand that the support of city leaders requires a genuine interest in preservation.
"I’ve been so impressed by Larken’s commitment to doing the work of a city council member thoughtfully — and by his commitment to issues like affordable housing and historic preservation. He’s a thought-leader, and I hope to be able to work with him for many years to come.” - Damon Hemmerdinger, Co-President, ATCO Properties
While Republicans work to dismantle environmental policy at the federal level, the work we're doing locally has never been more important. We must take swift action on climate change, and that starts in our own backyards. Finding ways to accommodate Charlotte's rapid growth while maintain smart, clean, efficient development is critical, and I'm convinced the opportunity to do so can make Charlotte a leader on the national stage.
I served as co-chair of Charlotte's environmental committee, represented the city in Washington D.C. at the Eco America Climate Conference, developed the Green Restaurant Program to recognize and reward business owners who meet strict environmental metrics and helped terminate development projects that would've created environmental nightmares for neighbors.
“Our neighborhood was facing a rezoning in the Briar Creek floodplain with wide-ranging negative implications from increased run-off and sediment into the creek, to likely future buy-outs with taxpayer dollars and excessive tree canopy loss. Councilman Egleston supported the neighborhood, and greater community, in our opposition to the proposed project which was ultimately withdrawn.” - Allen Nelson, President, Commonwealth-Morningside Neighborhood Association
In my two years on council, I've heard from so many neighbors about issues that impact their lives -- from the national stage to concerns of small business. I've battled to preserve women's reproductive rights in Charlotte.
I pushed the city to get rid of needless bureaucracy that has hampered Charlotte's music and arts scene. I answered calls from store owners in need of relief from city fines for sidewalk advertisements, neighbors concerned about speeding down their streets, home owners in need of help cutting the red tape of city government.
And in the most partisan era in recent memory, I've worked to reach all constituents, hosting a weekly podcast with my Republican colleague to discuss government matters, and restoring relationships with state and federal leaders, allowing for meaningful conversations and substantive change.
“Larken is a huge asset to Charlotte; he has consistently promoted the preservation of historic buildings and responsible, adaptive-reuse development. Whether it be our historic Optimist Hall, or several other of our adaptive-reuse projects in Charlotte, we have always found Larken to be very supportive of the repurposing of these buildings that, without prominent support from someone in his position, might otherwise be lost to history. — Jay Levell, White Point Partners