Charlie Umstead said he loves the location of his Northside apartment, but strict parking restrictions could make it harder for the UNC junior to live in the area next year.
“If I wasn’t able to have my car I wouldn’t live here,” Umstead said.
At a Monday night meeting, the Chapel Hill Town Council approved three resolutions as part of the Northside and Pine Knolls Community Plan to amend ordinances and preserve the neighborhoods.
In addition to tightened building regulations, a maximum of four vehicles will be legally allowed to park on a lot at any time.
Duplexes and triplexes will be allowed up to six vehicles, and all residences can receive up to five additional street parking permits per lease.
The amendments are part of a response to address residential complaints about student renters in Northside, a historically low-income neighborhood that spans from west of North Columbia Street to Sunset Drive.
While all other amendments on the ordinance begin Feb. 1, the parking regulations will not go into effect until Sept. 1.
Town Manager Roger Stancil said the September deadline will allow landlords with leases tied to the school year to make the transition to the new restrictions.
Umstead said he didn’t think the new ordinance would ultimately hurt landlords who rent out houses in Northside and Pine Knolls communities.
“Even though some people may pass on renting in Northside, there’s still going to be students coming in,” he said.
Mark Patmore, owner of Mercia Rental Properties and a resident of Northside, said he thinks the ordinance might attract students who currently live far from campus but drive to Northside and park there each day.
“They’re actually going to increase the demand of property downtown,” Patmore said. “The bottom line is that if you want to get over as late as possible without taking the bus … the only way to do that is to live downtown.”
Several permanent residents spoke in support of the plan at the meeting.
Hudson Vaughan, an associate director at The Jackson Center, said the new regulations are necessary to maintain Northside’s character and appearance.
“We cannot underestimate the importance of the people who value the fabric of a community, more than the profit they can make off of a home,” Vaughan said.
And while the majority of meeting speakers supported the change, not all residents are pleased with the amended ordinance.
Patmore said he knows a number of properties that will be negatively affected by the ordinance.
“I have duplexes where they have eight cars, they’re going to be in violation,” Patmore said. “I myself, in my own personal house will be in violation of it, because I have more than four vehicles.”
To enforce the new regulations the town proposed increasing proactive enforcement efforts and focusing on off-campus student rental education, but did not outline the exact cost for enforcing the new regulations.
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