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Chapel Hill Town Council talks housing, zoning and transit expansion

Chapel Hill Town Hall pictured on Saturday, March 6th, 2021.

During the Chapel Hill Town Council on Wednesday, the council members and the public discussed issues regarding housing, connectivity and transit expansion.

What’s new? 

  • Land Use Management Ordinance Text Amendments were discussed for the majority of the meeting, with both the Town Council and community members expressing their views on the changes.
    • The amendments being proposed are to make changes to Articles 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 and Appendix A regarding housing choices for a complete community.
    • During public comment, discussions were made both in opposition and support of the changes, with points such as preserving historical neighborhoods, the cost of living, dealing with the housing crisis and how students living off-campus impact neighborhoods being argued.
    • “While we as a community are looking for ways to increase our middle-, more inclusive housing and more affordable housing, this is one option to consider,” Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger said. “ We do not yet have enough information to implement this change. We’ll need to learn more.”
    • Council member Paris Miller-Foushee said she encourages the community to stay notified about what is happening in Town.
    • “We do our best, our staff does its best to try to keep you informed and a part of this process,” she said. “No one is trying to rush this through and take you outside of the process.”
  • The legislative hearing for the Conditional Zoning Application for 2217 Homestead Road was opened, leading to discussion and public comment.
    • The transportation planning commission recommended to the Town Council that they “support a one-way vehicular connection from Kipling Lane into the 2217 Homestead development" since it is needed to bring courtyards to fire code compliance.
    • A presentation given during public comments outlined that those living in the area are part of a vulnerable community and increasing car connections will put them at risk. They said connectivity is not built through cars, but instead through pedestrian and cycling travel.
    • “I think if staff can come back and talk to us more about what the benefits of connectivity are, I think that would be very helpful,” Council member Amy Ryan said.
  • The Chapel Hill Town Council appointed both Jamauria Burris and Valencia Thompson to the Housing Advisory Board. 
  • Planning Manager Corey Liles presented a concept plan review for the expansion of Chapel Hill Transit and Public Facilities on Millhouse Road. 
    • The recommendation is for the Chapel Hill Town Council to adopt a resolution so that comments can be given to the applicant on the R-11 development.
    • The plan is to expand the facility in phases, starting with the transit bus yard, followed by the transit operation and maintenance center, the transit access road and, lastly, the Town public services facilities.
    • Ryan mentioned that fire and police stations are needed in addition to transit.
    • “I think that’s just a hard conversation we’re going to have to have as a council and how we prioritize all that stuff because we do have a lot of these capital needs for our folks who are important to the town,” Ryan said. 

What decisions were made? 

  • The Town Council unanimously voted to pass a resolution to urge the North Carolina General Assembly to pass legislation to expand Medicaid.
  • The Town Council voted unanimously on a resolution in support of the ICAN Cities Appeal for the UN Treaty on the prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
  • The Town Council unanimously voted to approve the consent agenda. 
  • The Town Council unanimously voted to adopt R-11.

What’s next? 

  • The Chapel Hill Town Council voted unanimously to continue the legislative hearing for the Land Use Management Text Amendment on February 22.
  • The Chapel Hill Town Council voted unanimously to continue the legislative hearing to consider a Conditional Zoning Application for Aspen Chapel Hill to March 8.
  • The Chapel Hill Town Council voted unanimously to continue the legislative hearing on the Conditional Zoning Application for 2217 Homestead Road to February 22.
  • The Chapel Hill Town Council will meet again on Wednesday, February 22.
  • The agenda can be found here.


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