Carolina North: UNC's New Campus

Why is this new campus development important to our community?

In short, Carolina North represents the single largest development in the history of Chapel Hill and will bring major impacts to northern Chapel Hill as we know it. Thanks to much discussion with UNC over the years, the plan for the 50-year build out on the Horace Williams tract just north of MLK Boulevard and Estes Drive Extension will develop a fairly compact footprint of about 250 acres on the approximately 1000 acre tract. The size of the development will ultimately be equivalent to the size of the Downtown campus, and add some thousands of square feet.  Thousands of additional people will commute and work there.

What is the latest on Carolina North?

When the Chapel Hill Town Council approved the Carolina North
Development Agreement last year, one of the the stipulations in the
report was that the University prepare a report each year on the
previous year’s activities.  The first annual report is available at
the Town website at:

UNC reports that the economic downturn has stalled any major development at Carolina North to date, but we see several issues that need to be tracked. When economic conditions improve, Carolina North will start to take shape according to the terms of the Development Agreement.

  • Some progress has been made on planning for a proposed route to connect Carolina North and the UNC main campus with a pedestrian/bicycle path. A summary is included in the annual report. Neighbors for Responsible Growth (NRG), the Campus to Campus Bicycle Connector advocacy group and other interested citizens are now working with the Town to explore options for funding.
  • As mandated by a resolution passed by the Town Council along with the Development Agreement, the Town Manager has developed a plan for public notice and participation for the first phase of the Carolina North development. More information.
  • UNC must obtain an Army Corps of Engineers 50 year permit to prepare for Carolina North development. The University will host a public meeting to explain the permitting process required by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before development at Carolina North on November 16th.

What is the Carolina North Development Agreement?

The Carolina North Development Agreement was signed in June 2009.  It is a contract between UNC and the Town of Chapel Hill which includes specific limitations and detailed conditions of approval that protect the Town’s interests, while also offering certainty to the University regarding what type of development can occur.  For a summary of how key neighborhood issues are handled in the Carolina North Development Agreement, download NRG’s Report to Residents: Key Points in the Carolina North Development Agreement.

What has NRG been doing to ensure Carolina North will be an asset to our community?

  • NRG sponsored a community discussion on Carolina North on 6/04/07
  • NRG held a Public Forum on Carolina North Traffic Impacts on 5/03/09
  • NRG conducted a Community Survey and focus groups on the impacts of projected Carolina North traffic on neighborhoods in April 2009
  • NRG worked with bicycle advocates to seek Town and UNC comittment to an off road campus to campus bicycle connector
  • On 5/11/09 NRG submitted a report, Transportation Planning and Carolina North: Recommendations of Citizens in Northern Chapel Hill and Carrboro (PDF), to the Chapel Hill Town Council.  The report was based on our public meeting, focus groups and surveys.  Many of these recommendations were adopted by UNC and the Town in the final development agreement.
  • NRG presented these reports to the Joint Town Council – Board of Trustee working group, May – June 2009
  • NRG met with Town Council members to encourage them to include wording in the final agreement that would protect neighborhoods
  • Final Agreement signed in June 2009
  • NRG is working with the Town Council and staff to ensure that the Council adopts a Public Participation plan that will ensure public input on major decisions in Carolina North
  • NRG is the parent group of the Campus to Campus Bicycle Connector Group which is working actively to see that this important connection is built

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