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The Daily Tar Heel

Town Council Finalizes Master Plan Response

Town Council Finalizes Master Plan Response

The statement, deferred since March 26 to allow for revisions based on resident comments, outlines the town's legal requirement to uphold regulation of any new development. New UNC growth has become increasingly debated with the UNC Board of Trustees' recent approval of the Master Plan, a 50-year blueprint for campus growth.

"We don't even have the authority to say we don't have the authority," said Town Council member Flicka Bateman.

Bateman said UNC couldn't be released from regulation because, under the law, the town is required to oversee anything that could affect residents.

Resident Elaine Barney, whose house lies in the path of potential Master Plan development and whose concerns were included in the revised response statement, said she thought UNC has ignored its moral and ethical responsibility to residents by proceeding with the Master Plan despite concerns from residents and town officials.

"The University also fails to provide a positive role model for its current and future generations of students and civic leaders," she said.

In addition to echoing resident concerns, council members requested more specific information about short-term building projects that could affect the environment or transportation.

The statement recognizes the University's need for growth but requests that UNC assume more fiscal responsibility for costs now assumed by the town, such as contributing to future clean-up efforts after basketball games.

The statement also requests University reimbursement for "all out-of-pocket costs of such basketball victory celebrations."

In additional to fiscal responsibility for event cleanup, Town Council members are requesting help with costs of transportation provided primarily for University students, as well as research and engineering to achieve effective storm water management for new development.

"Bottom line -- the town understands that the University must proceed with this plan, but any kind of adverse impacts of this plan on surrounding communities must be mitigated," said council member Edith Wiggins.

Mayor Rosemary Waldorf will deliver the statement to Moeser at upcoming town-gown committee meeting, a forum designed to ensure productive dialogue between University and town officials, April 18.

Council member Kevin Foy said the statement aims to make UNC more accountable. "The most important issue is whether the University is going to be responsible in its development pattern and abide by the regulatory authority of the town or whether it is going to seek to have that regulatory authority overturned."

The City Editor can be reached at citydesk@unc.edu.

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