But Master Plan Director Jonathan Howes said demolition of UNC's family housing community currently is not being considered as an option. "It is important to note that an approval of the Master Plan does not constitute a decision to demolish these units," he said.
Dan Coleman, a member of the Orange-Chatham chapter of the Sierra Club, opened the conference by reading a prepared statement, in which he defended the current status of the student family housing community off of Manning Drive. Coleman said the Sierra Club's concern for Odum Village originated out of the 13 principles for UNC planning, which the club presented to the environmental consultant for the Master Plan last month.
One potential location for a new family housing community would be the Horace Williams tract of land off Airport Road. If this location is chosen, it will conflict with the Sierra Club's principles, which include promoting walkable, affordable living communities and reducing automobile dependency. Coleman wants officials to consider the environmental effects of eliminating Odum Village before decisions are made about its fate.
"The University, we were assured, is committed to the principles of sustainability in its long-range planning," he said. "Yet somehow, these not attractive and very useful buildings that make up Odum Village are heading for the scrap heap. We are here today to ask: Where is the principle of sustainability in that decision?"
Questions about the long-term function of Odum Village were specifically addressed by Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Dean Bresciani in a March 11 letter to the Chapel Hill Herald. "While Odum's notable years of service have been possible through consistent and careful upkeep by UNC, the dated size and design of its apartments don't meet contemporary family needs," Bresciani wrote. "Additionally, although renovations continue, the facility's age means that costs now exceed what purposefully modest rental rates support."
But Coleman said, "It doesn't make sense to tear down this very usable and efficient community."
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