The Town Council decided to wait for more information regarding an adequate public school facilities ordinance amendment.
The council instead voted to refer the matter to the town staff and lawyer for further comment and revision.
If passed, the ordinance would consider the availability of space in the public schools when deciding on whether to allow development of new residential property.
"I cannot just cross my fingers and say that I hope that this works," Council Member Pat Evans said.
One of the key features of the amendment is the provision that anyone looking to create new residential development would now have to provide a certificate of adequacy of public school facilities prior to coming before the council.
Under the new ordinance, no new residential developments could be built unless there were places in the local schools to educate the children that might occupy those homes.
Only applicants for subdivisions, site plans approvals and special-use permits who propose residential development would be required to have a certificate.
While town discussions about an adequate public facilities ordinance began in 1989 when the council received a memorandum summarizing community discussion about the issue, the passage of more than a decade has not ameliorated all conflicts.
Some council members said they are concerned the ordinance prioritized schools over available housing in Chapel Hill.