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The Daily Tar Heel

Residents Oppose Opening Hunter Hill Road

The residents, representing the Northwood Subdivision, said using Hunter Hill Road, which runs through Northwood and the proposed subdivision, to connect the developments would increase traffic.

But some Chapel Hill town officials say the access road is needed to make sure emergency vehicles can enter the development.

Chapel Hill Town Manager Cal Horton stated in a memorandum to the Chapel Hill Town Council that the town "recommends a full-access vehicular connection from Hunter Hill Road."

Northwood resident Bob Dougherty, who spoke at the hearing, said having full vehicular access to the proposed development -- dubbed the Larkspur Cluster Subdivision -- will disrupt the recreational atmosphere of the neighborhood.

"Opening Hunter Hill Road for through traffic will have severe consequences for our entire neighborhood," Dougherty said.

"Many of our neighbors use the streets of our neighborhood for recreational purposes."

Also included in Horton's memorandum to the council was a recommendation by the Chapel Hill Planning Department, the Parks and Recreation Commission, Greenways Commission and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board to restrict access to include only pedestrians, bicycles and emergency vehicles.

Council member Bill Strom said he agreed with the various groups' recommendation for restricted access to Hunter Hill Road.

"The arguments for having a pedestrian-bicycle connection along Hunter Hill instead of a vehicular connection makes perfect sense to me," Strom said.

But many residents said they still are concerned that further development will interfere with Northwood's quiet setting.

"I, as well as my neighbors, are very concerned about the noise impact that will result from the use of Hunter Hill Road as one of the entrances to Larkspur," said Northwood resident Deb Smith.

Larkspur's developer said officials have tried to address the residents' fears in an amended proposal that meets town ordinance requirements.

"We have tried to be a good listener and a good neighbor with the people in Northwood, particularly those who have had concerns about what we are doing," said Carol Zinn, who represented the developer at the hearing.

Northwood resident Jay Smith said he and his neighbors plan to stay committed to their cause.

"If you tear down the last barrier separating us from the traffic and the commotion ... you'll sacrifice the safety and the seclusion that gives Northwood its special character and then hope to make it uniquely desirable."

The City Editor can be reached

at citydesk@unc.edu.

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