Rodrigo Parra giggled as he ran around the gravel lot with his friends, releasing energy after a long day of class. His school, Frank Porter Graham Elementary, just reopened after several snow days. The 11-year-old looked, acted and played like any other fifth grade student. The next day, however, he did what most elementary students don’t have to; he fought for his home.
“I had my first steps here, and I don’t want to move,” Parra said through tears while standing on a podium facing the Chapel Hill Town Council. “I had all my memories here. My parents are scared. We don’t have nowhere to move.”
Developers presented a concept plan to the Chapel Hill Town Council Jan. 24 for the construction of a luxury apartment complex on land where the Lakeview Mobile Home Park currently resides.
The sale of the Lakeview property threatens the residents of 33 mobile homes and 2 duplexes. If the town approves the development in later months, Lakeview residents will face relocation.
Ninfa Parra, the mother of Rodrigo Parra, said she doesn’t know where her family will go if they cannot live in Lakeview.
“We were very excited when we moved in,” Parra said through a translator. “The transportation takes me to meetings at schools and the kids’ doctors appointments because I don’t have a license to drive. Everything is close for my needs.”
The town contacted Lakeview residents about the potential sale of the land via letter in early December. The letter encouraged residents to come to council meetings on Dec. 18, 2017 and Jan. 24, 2018 to view the developer’s presentations and give comments.
Over 20 community members signed up to speak at the Jan. 24 meeting, including Lakeview parents, children and representatives from the Orange County NAACP.
Hanover Company, a private real estate company located in Houston, Texas, presented the concept plan for a mixed-use development with office and retail space as well as rental housing which will be called Hanover Chapel Hill. The development plan includes 400,000 square feet for 303 apartments, 18 townhouses and 5,000 square feet of retail space.