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The Daily Tar Heel

Committee Offers Master Plan Ideas

At Friday's forum, committee member Jack Evans gave a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation showing conceptual maps and artists' renderings of the projected mixed-use development on UNC's Horace Williams property off Airport Road.

In this most recent plan, which the committee developed with Ayers Saint Gross, a Baltimore architectural firm, projected development was trimmed from 550 to 295 acres.

"The plan that we're thinking of right now does not in any way exhaust the available land," Evans said. "It is rather going to use it quite sparingly."

Resident Mary Whitton, of 811 Kenmore Road, said she was not concerned about potential runoff going into Eastwood Lake because this plan takes environmental issues into account. "If the concerned people of Chapel Hill are interested in the Eastwood runoff issue, I don't have to worry about it," Whitton said.

The original plan that firm Johnson, Johnson and Roy designed for the advisory committee in 1998 would have developed 56 percent of the 979 acres available. Evans said that while the total proposed building space was still a little more than 8 million square feet, Ayers Saint Gross was able to reduce the figure to 30 percent by concentrating all new construction into one area and building up and not out.

"We're not going to sprawl as much," Evans said after the presentation. "We're going to build vertically."

But because the concentration of businesses and residential space will remain the same, the projected increase in traffic will remain around 45,000 trips per day, he said.

The 2000 proposal does address the traffic issue by making the development pedestrian-friendly, building retail space into the development and placing housing for University employees near their workplaces. There are also plans for a bus line to Cameron Avenue.

"'Smart growth,' I think, is a very apt description of what we're trying to accomplish with this development," said Vice Chancellor Nancy Suttenfield, co-convener of the 30-member committee.

Evans emphasized that the development is still in the early planning stage. At this point the committee has not addressed funding for the potential development or preparing the property.

"Basically we don't have a financial plan for this," he said.

But some UNC officials said the Horace Williams tract issues will come second to those posed by the Master Plan.

University counsel and co-convener Susan Ehringhaus said the on-campus development in the Master Plan, UNC's blueprint for growth for the next 50 years, will be the priority for funding and resources. "This will is definitely not a competitor to the main campus development," Ehringhaus said.

Jonathan Howes, director of the Master Plan, said Friday's forum was part of a series of meetings to get community and government feedback on the development plan.

"All of these (meetings) are designed to elicit community reaction and, more importantly, ideas," Howes said.

The committee plans to present its plan to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Board of Education on Wednesday morning. "We're assuming that just as this development has to go forward, other schools will have to be built," Evans said.

The committee will also hold another open meeting at 11 a.m. Friday in 105 Berryhill Hall.

The City Editor can be reached at

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