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The Daily Tar Heel

Winmore Tract Project Awaits Town Approval

On Thursday, the BOT voted to sell its 62-acre Horace Williams satellite tract to Winmore Land Management, LLC, for use as part of a mixed-use development in Carrboro. Once the developers figure out how the land will be used, certain parts will be sold back to UNC.

The development would provide 50 to 60 houses for Carrboro, UNC and UNC Hospitals employees at about $175,000 -- a sharp contrast to the $237,355 that the average home cost in 2001, according to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce's Web site.

In addition to the housing, Winmore developers anticipate building 96 affordable apartment units on the acreage the group owns on a parcel of land adjacent to the Horace Williams satellite tract. In January, developer Phil Szostak predicted rental rates would be about $500 a month.

With the BOT's approval, developers are awaiting a green light from the Carrboro Board of Aldermen to start construction on Winmore. "We've spent the last 18 months planning it, and we've gotten very good reviews so far for everything we've done with the project," Szostak said.

Winmore developers would like to see a few changes made to Carrboro's existing land-use ordinance to facilitate development. The group approached the aldermen March 19 with a proposal to make 15 changes to village mixed-use and office/assembly regulations. One change could stretch the amount of retail space to 25 percent of the development's gross square footage.

The aldermen referred the proposal to staff and plan to hold a public hearing on use of the Winmore property May 7.

But Alderman John Herrera said he expects the board will approve the project should it coincide with the town's affordable housing goals. "There is a deficit of (affordable) housing in Orange County. ... I think we need to work very closely with the University administration to make sure the development happens appropriately and is well-synchronized to the development of the community."

Szostak said his group has submitted drawings for phase one of Winmore to Carrboro for approval. "I'm hoping this time next year we'll be able to get it under construction if everything goes well."

So far, the School's Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance could be the project's only obvious snag outside of the land-use ordinance. The SAPHO ordinance requires school development be paced to coincide with residential construction. "So in that case, it could put a hold on development until new schools are constructed," Szostak said.

Herrera said although the aldermen will have to examine zoning and ordinance requirements, he's optimistic.

"It sounds like a good fit."

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

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