Chapel Hill Town Council
After months of intense debate and deliberation, the Chapel Hill Town Council passed a proposal Monday night which they hope will encourage development on Ephesus Church Road and Fordham Boulevard.
The council voted to bring form-based zoning code to the area, which is expected to make development easier.
Members of the council said they believe this new code will bring more retail, affordable housing and better transportation within the community.
The plan will also address some of the stormwater management concerns that come with the area’s development.
“The nature of this area is different,” Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt said. “I think we’re getting extraordinary benefits if we go forward with this.”
The proposal and the attempt to further develop Ephesus-Fordham led to a mass of input from citizens.
Over twenty people addressed the council during the deciding meeting, many of whom urged the council to take more time before voting on the form-based zoning code.
Councilman Matt Czajkowski was the lone dissenting opinion on the code’s adoption.
“Let’s understand that we will potentially lose retail instead of gain retail,” Czajkowski said.
“If we approve the form-based code for these retailers, we could end up with the exact opposite of what we said we wanted to achieve. That’s horrifying to me.”
When it came time to vote, councilmen Jim Ward and Ed Harrison also voted no on applying the code to Ephesus-Fordham.
On Tuesday, while the Orange County Board of Commissioners discussed health insurance and recycling plans, the community came out to hear about plans for the Southern Branch Library.
The library, which is planned to be located at 120 Brewer Lane, was a point of interest for many attendees at the meeting.
After hearing the commissioners’ discussion on the library, many attendees left.
Representatives from the Orange County Public Library as well as the Freelon Group — the company in charge of the future library’s architecture — spoke with the board about the goals of the new library.
Kathryn Taylor, a senior associate at Freelon, said the firm had gathered input from people of all age groups about what they wanted in a library.
The consensus was a welcoming and unique community library, where people could go not only to read but also meet and just pass time.
Taylor said the group wanted to focus on making the library a meeting place with a variety of services and spaces.
Chris Garris , an associate principal at Freelon, said the plan was to make sure the building could stand up to many years of changing interests.
“Many libraries built with these flexible spaces have the ability to move as the demographic changes. We’re not tied down by the current design,” Garris said.
The library is expected to be verified by April 2016 and to open in October 2017.
Contact the desk editor at