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The Daily Tar Heel

Alderman Request Say in Master Plan

A town-gown committee, which includes Chapel Hill Town Council members and officials representing the University, is considering how UNC could implement expansion only in Chapel Hill. The Master Plan is a blueprint for University growth, extended over a 50-year period.

The University plans to develop on the Horace Williams tract, where some of the land is owned by Carrboro. Alderman Diana McDuffee said development on it might result in cutting down trees around Bolin Creek, bumping directly into Carrboro's jurisdiction.

"I think (the University) needs to give feedback to the stakeholders, and Carrboro is one of those stakeholders" McDuffee said. "Just talking to Chapel Hill won't cover all the bases."

Aldermen also said they were concerned that the growth generated by the Master Plan would inevitably affect Carrboro.

"(The University) is the engine that drives the whole area," said Alderman Allen Spalt. "When it moves, it affects everyone."

He noted if the University does not plan for enough student housing, an influx of students would eventually eliminate affordable housing in Carrboro and push out families.

Some aldermen also said changes the plan would make in transportation would also come under the town's jurisdiction, legally compelling the University to obtain permission from Carrboro.

These factors have prompted the aldermen to let Mayor Mike Nelson write letters to the University and Chapel Hill Mayor Rosemary Waldorf requesting that it be included in the town-gown committee.

But members of the committee said this is merely an informal, advisory group established personally by Waldorf and Chancellor Moeser without the official approval of the Town Council.

"It doesn't have the authority to implement anything," said Kevin Foy, a member of the Chapel Hill Town Council and the committee. "We'll be talking in general of the plan and its effects on the town."

Susan Ehringhaus, a committee member representing the University, said that although the Master Plan affects Carrboro, the issues currently under discussion are unique to Chapel Hill.

"The issues we need to address to Carrboro, we'll discuss with Carrboro," she said. "It doesn't mean we won't be dealing with Carrboro on any issues."

The City Editor can be reached

at citydesk@unc.edu.

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