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The Daily Tar Heel

Campus Airs Concerns About Plan

The forum, sponsored by the Faculty Council, Employee Forum and student government, detailed proposed campus expansion and its impact on the community during the next eight to 10 years.

While some residents and town officials were pleased with UNC's presentation, others felt officials were not prepared to answer all questions.

"I don't think they answered a lot of questions," said Alice Teich, a junior environmental studies major. "They didn't have the right statistics at their fingertips."

The forum focused on UNC's plans for housing expansion and renovation in addition to explaining how the University will absorb increased traffic from additional construction -- a strategy outlined in the University's Development Plan.

The Development Plan is part of the University's Master Plan, a 50-year blueprint for campus growth. The Development Plan, if passed by the Chapel Hill Town Council on Oct. 3, will add 5.9 million square feet to the campus' existing 14 million square feet of building space.

Diana McDuffee, a member of the Carrboro Board of Aldermen, attended the forum and said she was pleased that University officials addressed the pressure students moving off-campus has placed on the community.

"Carrboro is already one of the most densely populated towns in North Carolina," McDuffee said. "This is because there are many apartment complexes with students living in them."

The Development Plan calls for four new residence halls already under construction along Manning Drive, construction of new student family housing and renovation of Odum Village, UNC's student family housing.

Sue Kitchen, vice chancellor for student affairs, said renovation of Odum Village is necessary to house undergraduates while South Campus' high-rise residence halls are updated to meet fire safety standards.

"If they don't renovate high rises they'll be closed and we'll lose 900-plus students into the community," Kitchen said.

Teich said she still has concerns about Odum Village but that the forum helped her understand why the renovations were necessary. "I recognize that the University needs to grow, but they are doing it very hastily," she said.

While the Development Plan calls for the construction of student family housing on the southern perimeter of campus, some residents voiced concerns at the forum about how the University plans to absorb the increased traffic resulting from the expansion.

Richard Wolfenden, a resident of Mason Farm Road, which runs along the southern border of campus, said he is looking forward to working with UNC officials to find ways to divert increased traffic.

Residents have consistently voiced concern that UNC officials might try to include a four-lane access road, slated for construction within the next 50 years, as part of a way to manage traffic during upcoming development.

"I am mainly concerned about the access road," Wolfenden said. "There is an amazing amount of development proposed for a narrow area."

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