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The Daily Tar Heel

Council Approves Timeline to Draft UNC Zoning Plan

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.

Waldorf said details of the development plan, similar to the Master Plan, will be decided during University and town collaboration during the coming months.

Waldorf said the development plan might include such things as approximate building location, parking and stormwater impact.

If the council approves the development plan, the town staff could approve University requests for permission to build individual buildings within 15 days of the request to begin construction.

"Basically, this is about how the University can get all its bond projects built on time and at the same time the council make sure the development is not harmful to the community," Waldorf said.

N.C. voters passed a $3.1 billion higher education capital improvements bond referendum in November -- nearly $500 million of which will be used for renovation and construction at UNC.

Waldorf said present planning would make development easy for the University and would facilitate its need for expedience in development.

Council member Lee Pavao said he thinks the timeline is a symbol of the council's goodwill toward the University.

But council member Joyce Brown, the lone dissenter to the proposal, said she thought the schedule was restrictive and should be approached more cautiously.

The University and town staffs are scheduled to complete the OI-4 zone draft by May 31. Submission of the University Development Plan is set for July 3.

The City Editor can be reached


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