On Monday night, Town Council will vote whether to rezone six heavily wooded acres next to the Waterfowl Impoundment area on Upper Little Creek which is located along N.C. 54. The decision to approve the proposed Aydan Court luxury condominiums is a complex one which raises many pertinent issues for future growth in Chapel Hill. Here are twelve key questions for the Council to consider:
1. Is there a public purpose served to change the Town’s Comprehensive Plan land use map to build 90 more condos.
2. Should the Town approve a project that requires significant exemptions including violations of steep slopes, tree canopy, building height and parking ordinances?
3. Does it appear that the developer has explored alternative plans that would adhere to the ordinances and allow reasonable use of private property? Have out-of-the-box solutions been considered?
4. If denied, the developer threatens to build 17 single-family homes. Would this be economically feasible? Would Town and state ordinances regarding stream setbacks and erosion control be met and all 17 homes sites be approved?
5. Have I (Council member) walked the property and seen the 25 – 90 % slopes?
6. With a projected 70% disturbance of a site composed of unstable, undesirable soils, what will the impact be to downstream water users? Is the Town prepared to pay steep fines for failing to comply with the Clean Water Act?
7. When a flood occurs and the slopes of the impoundment are paved, where will the marooned mammals go?
8. Does this project embody the “special character” expected for the gateway to Chapel Hill?
9. Will this development provide the transit-friendly living which is touted as a benefit to the town?
10. What precedents would approval of this project set for neighboring UNC properties and for other environmentally sensitive properties?
11. Is this project consistent with the Chapel Hill Development Ordinance, as stated below?
“The site of a planned development shall be suitable for development in the manner proposed without hazards to persons or property, on or off the tract, and shall be free from the probability of flooding, excessive erosion, subsidence or slipping of the soil, or other dangers. Condition of soil, ground water level, drainage, and topography shall all be appropriate to both the kind and pattern of use intended.”
12. Is it appropriate to approve this rezoning as the town begins the new, participatory Comprehensive Planning process?
Final Question. The developer’s website states: “Your satisfaction is our greatest asset.” Are you satisfied that this project is the right one for this environmentally sensitive gateway to Chapel Hill? Will you feel proud to pose for a picture, lifting a shovel at the ground-breaking?