Concerns about stormwater runoff and flooding in the Blue Hill District continue to be voiced as the area expands with new developments.
The Blue Hill District, formerly known as the Ephesus-Fordham District, covers around 180 acres of land between South Elliott Road, East Franklin Street, Fordham Boulevard and Ephesus Church Road.
The newly branded district endeavors to provide livability with dining and shopping amenities.
But Tom Henkel, founder of the Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town, and Julie McClintock, vice chair of the Chapel Hill Stormwater Management Utility Advisory Board, disagree with the area’s new philosophy.
A form-based code — a regulation streamlining development proposals to the town manager — was adopted in 2014 for the Blue Hill District to help incentivize developers to invest in the area.
The Chapel Hill Town Council does not vote on or review any projects in the district due to the regulation.
McClintock said the form-based code was originally adopted to “benefit the community,” but hasn’t lived up to its expectations. She said a group of citizens, including herself, went to the town council and proposed more than dozens of ideas to change aspects of the form-based code but none were approved.
“But the one message that got through was that we kept saying, ‘It’s a really low-lying area. There’s going to be some problems here,’” McClintock said. “And finally, people began to see that what we’re doing here is we’re establishing a lot of incentives to encourage economic growth in this area, but it’s at the bottom of a watershed.”
In an interview with The Daily Tar Heel on Aug. 29, Economic Development Officer Dwight Bassett said there is no resolution to the stormwater-related issues in the Blue Hill District, but that there are strong controls in place.