The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday January 19th

UNC Responds to Town's Growth Stipulations

In the Master Plan, a 50-year blueprint for internal campus growth, the University indicates that a four-lane road and a 60-foot transit corridor eventually will be built on the southern perimeter of campus.

But in the Development Plan, an eight-year summary of how campus growth will affect the town, there is no mention of an access road or a transit corridor.

The discrepancy was brought to the forefront when the issue took center stage at Tuesday's Chapel Hill Planning Board meeting.

At the meeting, the board recommended that the Chapel Hill Town Council -- not the board itself -- determine if the discrepancy should be clarified.

The town now has to decide before Oct. 3 whether it will require UNC to clarify how the University will manage traffic under the Development Plan without creating an access road.

But University officials announced Wednesday that they would not wait to see whether the Town Council would require the clarification.

University officials said they did not originally include plans for a four-lane road in the Development Plan because they do not yet own some of the property where the road would eventually go.

"We clearly intend to build (the road)," said Jonathan Howes, special assistant to the chancellor. "We didn't include it (in the Development Plan) because there's property that we haven't acquired yet, but we're actively interested in those properties."

The properties Howes refers to are three houses in the area where the access road later would be added.

Howes said the road could be built within the next eight years if the University can acquire the land it needs.

Town Council member Pat Evans said that despite any tension, both sides were striving to meet the early October deadline. "There are times when more and more information is requested as a delaying tactic, but I don't think that's happening here," she said.

Chancellor James Moeser addressed the plan in Wednesday's State of the University address, saying the town is imposing unfair regulations on UNC.

"We have learned recently of additional stipulations that go beyond mutually agreed upon guidelines and standards that described the University's responsibilities for mitigating the impact of growth," Moeser said.

"These stipulations appear to shift costs disproportionately to the University, its students and ultimately the state."

A public hearing is set for Sept. 19 to give residents a chance to air concerns.

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

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