Here is the link to the final draft of the 2020 Comprehensive Plan http://www.townofchapelhill.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=14205. This will be presented to Town Council on Monday, May 21st at 7 PM in Council Chambers. You can (and are encouraged to) submit comments on the plan via the 2020 Website http://www.egovlink.com/chapelhill/action.asp.
On Wed., November 16th a meeting was held by residents of the Franklin-Rosemary Historic District regarding recent conversion of a single-family home on North Street into a student-occupied duplex with eight units. Another property on the street has been bought by the same developer and is expected to be similarly converted. While student rentals throughout the central Chapel Hill community are common, there is a point at which a residential area becomes student dominated and loses its residential character. Examples of this are seen in the on-going battles in Northside and the Cameron-McCauley area as well as Davie Circle. While we all love having students around, too much of a good thing leads to neighborhood decline with excessive parking, poor maintenance, trash and loud parties. The meeting generated interest in neighborhoods working together to address this issue with the Town, both through improved enforcement of existing ordinances as well as seeking additional ways in which the character of these in-town neighborhoods can be preserved. Continue reading
Chapel Hill Town Council has initiated a comprehensive planning process called Chapel Hill 2020. The final product is a new Comprehensive Plan for the Town. The process is designed to engage not only as many of the Town’s citizens as possible, but also business owners and those who, while not Chapel Hill taxpayers, are part of the unincorporated town. The kick-off visioning meeting included over 300 participants. Participant input was sorted into six theme groups in which citizens are invited to participate to discuss the issues and outcomes residents desire in the plan. A meeting schedule is found here. The Town is encouraging citizen participation at any stage of the approximately six month process, in person at the theme group or report out meetings or on the Town’s Blog called 2020Buzz.
123 West Franklin (University Square) - http://123westfranklin.com/. Be sure to follow progress on University Square. There was a meeting on September 8th, 2011 that described progress on the redevelopment design as well as this article in the Chapel Hill News http://www.chapelhillnews.com/2011/09/11/66732/saying-all-the-right-things.html. This property is now owned by the University Foundation and so heavy UNC influence is anticipated. Continue reading
Charterwood a mixed-use development proposed for Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. and Weaver Dairy Rd. Extension. This 13+ acre site has been to Council several times in 2011. The developer is returning with yet another revision at the September 26th Council Meeting. Materials are on the Town’s website or contact me for more information on how you can participate. Issues raised include appropriateness of this development for a major town entrance, transportation impacts, proximity to the adjacent neighborhood and fire department burn buildings, destruction of 150+ year old trees and Booker Creek headwaters impacts. Please let us know your thoughts and join us at the Council meeting on September 26th.
The most important activity to hit town in 10 years is the creation of a new Comprehensive Plan for Chapel Hill, called Chapel Hill 2020. This plan will guide development activity in town for the next ten years. The process is designed to include as many citizens as are willing to participate and at any level of participation that they wish. The town reports 140 people have agreed to participate as Stakeholders – you could be one too. Continue reading
Jeanne Brown delivered this thoughtful petition before the Council broke for the summer. Food for thought.
June 27, 2011
Mayor Kleinschmidt and members of Town Council:
Good Evening: It is exciting to hear that the Initiating Committee report will be reviewed tonight – setting the stage for public discussion and formulation of Chapel Hill’s new Comprehensive Plan.
This year Council has faced many ad hoc development decisions. Based on recent comments by developers, council members and citizens, I believe that everyone agrees that the new Comprehensive Plan will provide an updated guiding document for council, developers and citizens.
But creating a new Comprehensive Plan is not all that is needed. As citizen groups watched Aydan Court and similar development decisions unfold, it has become clear that the Concept Plan and Development Application Review processes need to be improved and strengthened in order to avoid similar situations in the future.
To begin with, a publicly created and vetted Comprehensive Plan is only effective if it is used as the basis for guiding staff, council and developers from initial Concept Plan discussions through building of approved projects.
Council Woman Donna Bell expressed the concerns many of us share when she observed that the Aydan Court project had first been proposed as a project that “spanned the entire property” and then had been “whittled down” from there. Continue reading
At the end of a grueling six hour meeting, Council ran out of time and energy to hear the Aydan Court agenda items which were then continued to Wednesday, May 25th. If you’re not familiar with this important development, click here to learn more about the positions, from the developer and from citizens.
The Town is once more faced with the dilemma of acceding to a developer’s demands for rezoning and special use permits that are not consistent to existing zoning and the Comprehensive Plan. This area, like Charterwoods and Obey Creek, could be developed with consideration to the expressed wishes of the citizens through the Comprehensive Planning process, the environment, the natural habitat they provide and their prominent positions as gateways to Chapel Hill. We’re hopeful that the developers will either revise their proposals to be consistent with existing ordinances, zones and regulations or that final approvals for these proposed developments, Aydan Court, Charterwoods and Obey Creek, will be voted down or deferred until the Town has the opportunity to consider them with an engaged public as part of the newly launched Comprehensive Plan.
Increasingly we are seeing developers’ proposals that fail to consider important town ordinances; tree, steep slopes, RCD. Council is desirous of increasing the tax base and is caught between the press to develop and harvest taxes and being responsible to the citizens by enforcing the ordinances that are so important to them. Unfortunately, granting these many exceptions undermines the validity of the existing ordinances and Council’s credibility. Ultimately, following our ordinances consistently is a basic principal of our organization and we believe for the entire community.
Town Council will meet again at 6:30 on Thursday, April 7 at the Hargraves Community Center, 216 North Roberson St. to continue the discussion of the composition of the Comprehensive Plan Initiating Committee. If Council expects to constitute the Initiating Committee and have them define the Comprehensive Plan process prior to their summer adjournment, this will have to move very quickly. If you have an interest in Chapel Hill’s development for the next 10 years, you need to get on board now.