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The Daily Tar Heel

Town to Look at Development

UNC's Development Plan, which specifies how construction will be managed, is under review by the Chapel Hill Planning Board.

Since the Chapel Hill Town Council's July 2 approval of a new zone for parts of campus, UNC has moved onto the Development Plan, which details more specifically than the Master Plan how construction will be managed.

The Development Plan covers the first eight years of the Master Plan's 50-year blueprint for campus growth.

Tonight, University officials will present the Chapel Hill Planning Board with answers to questions raised by town officials about the Development Plan.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the Chapel Hill Town Hall.

To move forward on the Development Plan, the town had to put the University in a new zoning district, called Office/Institutional-4.

Previously UNC was zoned as Office/Institutional-3 -- a designation that carried with it a 14 million square foot cap.

The Master Plan would have caused UNC to exceed the cap, making rezoning necessary to begin construction.

"There's a lot of details that people are still asking for, and there's a lot of questions that the planning board will have, and we hope to get those answered," said Bruce Runberg, associate vice chancellor for facility services.

Chapel Hill Mayor Rosemary Waldorf said the new zone will allow UNC to proceed with a significant part of its Master Plan.

"We rezoned ... quite a bit of University property," she said. "The floor area cap is gone.

"At the same time, I think the council was appreciative of the fact that the University was willing to make some compromises, particularly within the Mason Farm neighborhood."

The Development Plan brings several issues to the forefront, including housing, transportation and stormwater management.

Waldorf said it is important to address the issue of transportation for safety reasons both on the campus and in the town.

"We're going to have to focus on making provisions for safe pedestrian access and use all over campus because we are concerned about that too, even on the interior of the campus," she said.

"We don't want anybody to be hit by a car."

Town Manager Cal Horton said he expects the planning board will hear comments from residents as well as the University.

"The important thing is that the work receives the attention it requires, and I'm sure the planning board will take the time it needs to make sure it has the information it needs," Horton said.

Chancellor James Moeser, who sat on the town-gown committee, said the process has had a few bumps in the road so far and hopes town officials will give the Development Plan their stamp of approval.

"The nightmare scenario would be if they voted down the development plan," he said.

Runberg said after the hearing is completed, UNC must present the final draft to the town council.

Presently, that date is set for Sept. 19 and, should things move on schedule, the plan could be sealed by early October.

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"We hope to get final approval of the plan from them without any adverse stipulations."

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