The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday March 28th

Council to Research Construction, Roads

Reacting to petitions requesting a moratorium on potential development in that area, the Chapel Hill Town Council decided to schedule a work session for next January.

The council reviewed three petitions Monday night, one from the Chapel Hill Transportation Board, another from the Community Design Commission and a third from town residents.

The residents' petition requested a moratorium on all development that does not meet zoning requirements in the area near U.S. 15-501 between Erwin and Sage roads.

But Town Manager Cal Horton said a moratorium is not necessary to address the issue. "We believe the purpose of the moratorium is to allow the addressing of a specific problem," Horton said. "But these problems can be addressed with other tools."

Horton added that a work session will provide an opportunity for the Town Council to review the development zone. "The purpose of the work session is to provide information about existing conditions in the community and projected implications of development plans," Horton said.

The residents' petition also cited specific concerns about the heavy concentration of traffic flow through Erwin Road and U.S. 15-501.

"We feel that the road conditions aren't able to keep up with the amount of construction in this area," said Ann Hill, a Chapel Hill resident who signed the petition.

Additional resident concerns associated with development that were cited in the petition include preservation of wetlands in the area and overcrowding in local schools.

"School overcrowding is the primary issue that got my attention," said Beth Leiro, a Chapel Hill resident and petitioner.

In addition to the moratorium request, the Transportation Board petition recommended that the council appoint a transportation task force to assess development's impact on traffic in key intersections.

"The Transportation Board sees all the development projects and their impact on traffic and the public transportation system," said Transportation Board Chairman Loren Hintz. "Some of the developments we were seeing in that area had outdated data."

There are five pending development projects planned for the northeast Chapel Hill area, which includes the corridor off U.S. 15-501.

A Marriott Residence Inn, a Notting Hill II multi-family development site and a Jefferson Commons site designated for retail/office space and multi-family residences are among the pending development projects.

Residents said they hope the work session will serve as an effective tool for evaluation and progress.

"(The Town Council) would need to look at what impact the new proposed places will have on traffic and look at what would be the best use of the land," Hill said.

"If we could all work together and figure out what's best for everyone, then I think (the work session) would be good."

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