The Ephesus Church Road-Fordham Boulevard Small Area Plan was returned to public attention at the Chapel Hill Town Council meeting Wednesday, where council members and residents debated the proposal.
The meeting was a continuation of a business meeting from Monday, which proposed a change of zoning districts in the development. The changes were contested by both the council and the public.
The meeting tested many people’s patience. The Ephesus-Fordham plan has been marketed as a vibrant, walkable district that will feature residences, businesses and office space. The town has been working toward the redevelopment of the Ephesus-Fordham area since 2006, and it was made a focus of the Chapel Hill 2020 Comprehensive Plan.
Since its conception, it has faced opposition on the fronts of traffic, affordable housing and the cost of the program.
Council member Maria Palmer expressed disappointment with public reception to the plan. She said some members of the community had asked the Orange County Board of Commissioners not to give Chapel Hill money for the development.
“That’s very disappointing. The future of Chapel Hill depends on getting it right,” Palmer said
Chapel Hill Business Management Director Ken Pennoyer presented a budget based on consultant projections made from market values in 2011. This plan placed the cost of the project at $26.5 million, with the worst-case scenario for revenue at $26.4 million .
The plan that was expected put the town in deficit for the 20 years of the development of the area. The Town Council said it expected the worst-case scenario cost would be higher.