The Carrboro Board of Aldermen reviewed a draft ordinance, master plan and schedule of a potential new development at their meeting last week.
The draft master plan includes commercial space, a restaurant and both single and multi-family homes. The proposed project is located on the east corner of Old N.C. 86 and Eubanks Road and will be the first multi-use property to ask for rezoning as a Site Specific Flexible Zoning District.
A designated Site Specific FLX District provides developers the flexibility to explore alternative possibilities for the land, allowing them to build according to current market demands while still following planning procedures. Developers receive more public input throughout the process rather than gathering feedback after planning is complete.
“This is a new type of district that the board approved after much discussion and input from our advisory boards and community,” Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle said in an email. "It allows a developer, after rezoning to a FLX District, to move forward with more certainty about their project.”
Although the project began in earnest recently, it has been in the planning stages for years.
Parker Louis, LLC, the current owner of the property, worked with Durham Area Designers Inc. to create plans in both 2007 and 2011. The developers hope to include many of the elements that the designers suggested, including commerce for nearby residents and parents of children at Morris Grove Elementary, a variety of housing types and a continuation of the open feel of the area.
In 2011, Parker Louis participated in a meeting with the Town of Carrboro to consider development options for their 26.2-acre lot. The meeting inspired the town to consider a new zoning district that would better accommodate the rapid growth and demand for new housing and businesses in Carrboro.
The town wrote an amendment to establish the FLX district in 2016 that detailed a number of requirements for these types of properties. To be rezoned as a FLX district, the developers must follow through with a number of reviews, revisions and public hearings.
The current draft includes four subdistrict-use areas: two residential, one mixed-use and one commercial.
Currently, Parker Louis envisions 12 acres of property for small, single-family cottages with open space throughout. About 6.7 acres of the property would be reserved for three-story family homes with the potential for an office or church space. Another six acres could potentially serve as a place for senior living or a daycare, with additional commercial and office space as well.
The cornerstone of the property may become a “general store” style restaurant with outdoor space. The structure could include features such as a large outdoor area, an old-fashioned porch, an area for live music and a coffee spot. It would serve as a gathering spot for runners, bikers and drivers alike.
The developers hope to give the property a “rural feel” with green space throughout. Board of Aldermen members also encouraged the developers to include affordable housing and to work closely with town experts, such as Chapel Hill Transit, to create efficient amenities on the property.
Any members of the public that have input on the project will have several opportunities as the project moves through the official rezoning process.
“The Site Specific FLX District will detail much of how a project will look, and will go through an extensive review process from the public before being brought to the Board of Aldermen for a vote,” said Lavelle. “The draft master plan presented to us at our board meeting on Tuesday night encompassed many of the features our Board would be looking for in a project in this district.”
The next meeting for the project is the joint advisory board review this Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
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