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The Daily Tar Heel

Chapel Hill residents evaluate plan for The Edge

The Edge, which would sit on 55 acres of property, would provide housing, retail space and offices.

The supporters of the development said the developer, Northwood Ravin, is credible and has been involved in multiple other projects in Chapel Hill.

Including retail stores in this new development area is important to its success, said John McAdams, founder of the John R. McAdams Company. But nothing is set in stone at the moment, and Northwood Ravin will have to do some work to get businesses to build new store locations.

“A significant amount of retail already exists in the greater Chapel Hill area, and the opportunities to land retail tenants is a lot lower here,” McAdams said. “The visibility is not usually what retailers want.”

John Felton, director of design for Cline Design Associates, provided details about what the space will look like and what types of materials will be used in construction.

“We have a requirement for a recreational area,” he said. “The guts of the project will be made up of great streets and public spaces.”

Council member Maria Palmer said she was concerned about pedestrians and bikers having to cross such a busy intersection.

Bob Reinheimer, a resident of the Northwood neighborhood since 1983, said he was excited about the development at first but has started to second-guess it.

“I would be very happy to have better retail options nearby,” he said. “But pedestrians and bicycles wouldn’t have much help getting across the streets or traveling in this area.”

Neal Bench, the chairman of the Chapel Hill Planning Commission, said the commission supports the development but wants the developer to increase the amount of green space being included. He said they would also like to see some form of traffic calming measures created.

Residents of other affordable housing areas in the community warned members of the council about the poor management in their neighborhoods and said they do not want The Edge to follow the same path.

“People are cashing checks at our expense, but they aren’t fairly earning them,” said Brandi Hunter, a resident of the Landings apartment homes. “I honestly feel as if our own management looks down on us because we are affordable housing.”

Other residents of affordable housing apartments listed more concerns, such as dilapidated infrastructure, issues with mold and overall poor housing structure.

On the contrary, residents who are currently living in housing associated with Northwood Ravin said how positive their experience has been with the company and the decisions it has made.

“This is a process that is going to take several months before any final decisions are made,” said council member Lee Storrow.

The council voted to continue the hearing on Dec. 3.

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