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The Daily Tar Heel

Chapel Hill Town Council addresses Ephesus/Fordham flooding

Council member Maria Palmer said this program would help with the energy efficiency and flooding in the area.

“I believe it’s a step in the right direction,” she said.

John Richardson, the town’s sustainability officer, proposed a pilot rebate program that would reward developers for better building design and higher resource performance in terms of energy and water consumption in the Ephesus/Fordham development.

The council approved the proposal unanimously.

Development projects’ eligibility for the rebate will be determined by several criteria, including how the project scores on a benchmark scale for energy use prior to construction.

Eligible projects can receive up to a 35 percent rebate on their construction permit fees, Richardson said.

Richardson also said if developers do not specifically opt out of the program, they will automatically be considered for the rebate.

The council also agreed to take the next step in developing additional uses for the Southern Village Park and Ride Lot as part of the Chapel Hill 2020 planning initiative.

Mary Jane Nirdlinger, executive director of planning and sustainability for the town, proposed bringing in a site planning consultant to develop a plan and identify possible scenarios before meeting with the Federal Transit Administration.

She also suggested that part of the council’s discussion should consider whether the council will buy out the Federal Transit Administration’s interest in the land.

Several council members expressed their interest in keeping their options open rather than limiting them to a narrow range of possible development strategies.

“I would like to see the potential of creativity here,” said Councilman George Cianciolo.

Nirdlinger said talking to the Federal Transit Administration with several scenarios in mind doesn’t mean they have to limit their options.

“The first part is really the envisioning process,” said Mayor Mark Kleinschimidt.

Further discussion on plans for the lot, as well as the development of the Obey Creek development, are scheduled for the Dec. 8 council meeting.

The council also voted unanimously to authorize the mayor to issue a memorandum of understanding with the Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness.

Issuing the memorandum will allow the town to continue to support the partnership’s programs.

“We need leaders, we need decision-makers, we need policy-makers,” said Jamie Rohe, homeless programs coordinator for the partnership.

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