Students who live in Northside and Pine Knolls will face increased restrictions on parking if a plan that targets those communities passes unchanged.
On Jan. 9, the Chapel Hill Town Council will vote on the Northside and Pine Knolls Community Plan, which — among other measures — would restrict single-family, two-family and three-family homes to four cars.
The plan would follow a six-month moratorium on development that began in June and ends Jan. 31, 2012.
The moratorium was passed after residents expressed concern about an increase in student renters.
Rae Buckley, senior planner for the town’s planning department, said it gave the town time to come up with solutions to address strained resident and student relations.
She said the town council has received complaints from Northside and Pine Knolls residents about students living in rental properties, mainly regarding noise, garbage, occupancy and parking.
Buckley said some landlords worry the parking rule would discourage students from renting properties in these communities.
Carolyn Baucom, who owns properties in Northside, said the town should address renter-related problems in all neighborhoods, not just Northside and Pine Knolls.
She said the town should instead enforce previously enacted ordinances, such as the limit of parking space to 40 percent of a house’s front yard.
“If these ordinances had been enforced since they were on the books, we wouldn’t be sitting here talking about this,” Baucom said.
She said the new rule won’t solve the problem in the long run.
“I don’t know where they think the cars are going to go because they are not going to disappear,” she said.
Although many students oppose the town’s proposed parking restrictions, senior Mundo Obando, who lives on McDade Street, said the parking restriction won’t affect him because he rides his bike everywhere.
“I live a good enough distance away from school and the shopping district in Carrboro that I don’t feel inconvenienced by the distance,” he said.
Regardless, Alexander Stephens, associate director of the Jackson Center, an organization that works to preserve historical areas in Chapel Hill, said addressing parking and other concerns will prevent student rentals from dominating the neighborhood and help preserve its character.
“Private investment has a drastic impact on the character of a neighborhood,” said Stephens. “The plan is an effort to address that impact and ensure that there is some balance in the future.”
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