During the next six months, town and University staffs will work together to prepare a draft of the new Office Institutional-4 Zoning District.
The OI-4 zone would allow for development that the University has proposed in its Master Plan, a blueprint for growth during the next 50 years.
"The old zoning doesn't work for what the University needs," said Mayor Rosemary Waldorf.
Waldorf, who proposed the timeline, said approval made UNC's Master Plan the council's top priority for the coming months.
She said the town budget and other items on the council's agenda might be delayed to accommodate the timeline.
"I believe that this University-related work is critically important and that deferral of work on other projects is a reasonable trade-off," she said in a memorandum to council members.
The OI-4 zone would replace the old OI-3 zone on the University's main campus and allow for 110 percent of the University's square footage request for construction during the next 10 years.
"Once that zone is adopted, then the University can put in a proposal for a general development plan for everything they want to build over the next 10 to 15 years," Waldorf said.
The University would present its development plan to the Town Council for approval at the end of the six-month timeline.