Post-it notes in every color of the rainbow littered equally colorful maps on the walls of a meeting room at University Place on Monday. Beginning at noon, a steady stream of Chapel Hill residents came in, grabbed a slice of pizza and a pen and marked up the maps with their hopes for the future of the town.
Chapel Hill hosted a total of three show-and-tell sessions June 10-11 to get community feedback about current land use for the town project Charting Our Future.
Charting Our Future plans to improve the Future Land Use Map of the Chapel Hill 2020 Comprehensive Plan and to rewrite the town’s Land Use Management Ordinance for use through 2049. Both the Future Land Use Map and the Land Use Management Ordinance dictate how the town can use land in the future for development.
Chapel Hill hired Kimley-Horn and Associates, a planning and design firm, to help with Charting Our Future.
“We’re revisiting the 2020 plan and seeing what things have changed since it was first initiated in 2012, and seeing how we can project out into the future,” said Robbie Roach, a landscape architect at Kimley-Horn.
Town staff reached out to community members for ideas about future land use starting in early May. About 30 people came to the first show-and-tell session June 10.
Alisa Duffey Rogers, the Land Use Management Ordinance Rewrite Project manager, said the town planned the show-and-tell sessions so that they would not just be held on weeknights, making them more accessible.
The town held similar community engagement events when developing the Chapel Hill 2020 Comprehensive Plan.
Following the show-and-tell sessions, the town will create two possible plans for each identified area of focus based on the community’s comments. The areas of focus include North and South MLK Jr. Boulevard, the North 15-501 corridor and downtown Chapel Hill.
Though comments differed depending on the area of focus, session participants expressed their desire for more mixed-use development, more housing and better walkability. Participants also emphasized the importance of maintaining the character of Chapel Hill when considering new development.
“I think we just want the community to be more livable, walkable and safe for biking to make it a nicer area,” Chapel Hill resident Kulwadee Yung said. “I think it’s important that the planning committee knows what the community wants.”
Duffey Rogers said the proposed plans will be available in the fall. She said the town will then gather more feedback through an online survey and hold formal information sessions before rewriting the Land Use Management Ordinance.