Leading the group was Leo Gaev, a resident of the neighborhood. He said the community has really come together over the issue of development.
“We’re a small neighborhood, but we’ve got a lot of big issues,” Gaev said. “Most importantly is the one concerning student development.”
The main reason Lloyd-Broad is having student development problems, otherwise known as “studentification,” is that the housing code set in Chapel Hill prevents large groups of students from living together in one home. This code makes nearby Carrboro a prime spot for student development.
“What we’ve seen is that as Chapel Hill creates ordinances and gains some momentum around these issues, the developers pay attention,” Gaev said. “They’re starting to move westward into our neighborhood.”
Some of the concerns the residents have include size compatibility of homes, house regulations and parking. There are also concerns of affordability for the rest of the neighborhood as larger student homes are built.
“What you start to notice is that there’s been some of the homes torn down and some new student rentals built that are much larger than the existing houses,” Vaughan said.
Another main problem is the crowded street parking or students who park in no parking zones. Several residents expressed that if there were an emergency, a vehicle wouldn’t be able to drive down the streets of the neighborhood.
“They just park anywhere,” Clementine Self, a long-time resident, said. “A fire truck was trying to come down Starlight the other day and it couldn’t get through because there’s parking on both sides of the street.”
The neighborhood is pushing forward with these issues so it can protect the community values that have been around for decades.
“It’s a really quiet, fun neighborhood,” Vaughan said. “We hosted a block gathering, like a cookout, for the neighborhood and gave a one-day notice and we had over 60 people show up.”
The Board of Aldermen agreed with all of the issues brought forward by the residents and agreed to start the process to help. They were moved by the number of neighborhood residents who showed up to speak their opinions.
“If the whole neighborhood knows at the same time,” Self said. “We can rally together, and come out to say what we need to say.”