Master Plans

The Planning and Code Enforcement Division is responsible for developing and managing the City’s adopted short-term and long-range growth plans, policies, and ordinances. The division is primarily responsible for implementing the City’s Mission 2030 Long Range Plan through land use and development tools such as Zoning, Watershed Protection, Flood Damage Prevention, and Subdivision and Nuisance Ordinances.

The Downtown Master Plan was developed in the late 1990s. Although Morganton had been the hub of economic development in Burke County for many years, community leaders felt the downtown area had the potential to be a more vital and vibrant center for community life. 

To explore that potential, the Morganton City Council appointed the Downtown Advisory Committee in the spring of 1996 and engaged the services of a consulting firm to lead a visioning process for Downtown Morganton. Over a period of 18 months, some 350 community members were involved in research, discussion, and planning aimed at developing a strategic plan for the downtown's future - The Master Plan.


More than a year of public input led to the development of the new Downtown Masterplan, which was approved in 2018. The new masterplan lays out an ambitious vision of connectivity, growth and development for the downtown area. This masterplan solidifies Morganton's place as the hub of economic development in Burke County, and as the vital and vibrant center of community life.

dd-hunting-creek-watershed-143x100px1Hunting 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.

dd-Mission2030-Marketing-Brochure-20130909-2Morganton'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 Mission 2030 Plan sets the framework and is the basis for the City's zoning ordinance, and development regulations. The Plan will serve as the basis for amendments to the Zoning Ordinance, development regulations and permitting process to implement the Plan. The Mission 2030 Plan was developed in 2008 and approved by the Morganton City Council in 2009.

The Plan lays out a vision for economic success that will influence future growth of Morganton.

dd morganton cultural district master planThe purpose of the Cultural District Master Plan was to create a living document that would help City staff and developers create a unique identity that reflects the community’s particular position in the art world, ultimately garnering national attention as a center for the arts and culture. The Cultural District would also service as a catalyst to reinvigorate investment in that part of downtown Morganton.

wayfinding signThe City of Morganton Wayfinding Sign System is one of the City's many programs designed promote tourism and attract newcomers to our community. Morganton’s Wayfinding program greets visitors with attractive and informative community signs placed in strategic locations along the City's major roadways. The signs lead visitors to local destinations, attractions and landmarks. The signage also reduces driver confusion, improves public safety, promotes local education and markets Morganton’s brand as “Nature’s Playground”.

Installation began in 2013, and the fourth phase will be completed in January 2017.

Photos at i flickr 24x24

dd 2015 recreation master planThe 2015 Comprehensive Recreation Master Plan was prepared in 1997. The plan assessed the current and future park recreation needs for the City during the next 18 years. The goal was to provide a long-range plan that addressed the needs of all citizens in the community.

The vision for the future of Morganton’s Parks and Recreation facilities was developed in tandem with a new Master Plan for the city’s downtown. The two plans are similar in their emphasis on connectivity and the desire to link parks to downtown. Both the Parks and Recreation and Downtown Master Plans were developed with a tremendous amount of public input over the course of more than 12 months. 

City Contact


This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Staff Directory

305 E. Union St. Ste A100
Morganton, NC 28655 i Google Maps 16x16

morganton logo color 200px