The Daily Tar Heel

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Sunday December 5th

Town officials discuss plans for new housing development off Homestead Road

Plans are in the works for a new housing development in Chapel Hill. The plans are in the early stages but will include either town homes or apartments for senior residents.

The Chapel Hill Town Council was presented with a concept plan for housing with two options for a new development at a public hearing on March 13. 

The new development, Wood Townhomes, would be located off Homestead Road and adjacent to the Courtyards of Homestead Road.

The first concept plan included approximately 102 town homes, while the alternative plan involves 180 apartment units for age-restricted residents.

The current concept plan aims to meet Chapel Hill's inclusionary zoning ordinance. Under this ordinance, 15 percent of the development will be affordable housing.

Kay Pearlstein, senior planner for the town of Chapel Hill, said she likes the plan but cannot support it yet because it is only in its early stages. 

“Because it is just at a conceptual level and we don’t know what the final applications are going to be — we would be concerned about ordinance requirements, which we don’t know how they are going to lay out their project yet,” Pearlstein said.

Pearlstein said the plan could take 12 to 18 months to approve.

“I think the applicant will continue to pursue this idea and keep refining it as it goes on, and so once it goes through staff review, and advisory board review and council review, I think they will have a project that is acceptable,” she said.

Pearlstein said she thinks either housing option would be good for the community.

“I think both of those housing types have a place in our town,” Pearlstein said.

During the public hearing, town residents expressed concerns about traffic on Homestead Road and storm water drainage from these new developments.

Chapel Hill Town Council member Nancy Oates said she couldn’t fully support the plan until it's fully developed. 

“We have to hear all the information as it develops, but I had a very favorable impression when I saw how responsive the developers had been, and I really appreciate that they intend to meet the town’s inclusionary zoning ordinance, which is 15 percent affordable housing,” Oates said.

Oates thinks the plan for senior housing could be effective.

“I think that there is a real market for that in Chapel Hill, and it’s not being met right now,” Oates said.

Chapel Hill Town Council member Maria Palmer also thinks that the age-restrictive housing would be a good step for the community. 

“I would prefer to see housing for senior citizens, because it is next door to the senior center. It is in walkable distance, and I think it would be an asset to the community,” Palmer said during the meeting.

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