At their Wednesday meeting, the Chapel Hill Town Council gave updates on the redevelopment of the affordable housing complex Trinity Court, two concept plan reviews, appointments to three Town boards and other land use items.
The council also heard from numerous community residents and UNC students during public comment regarding the preservation of The Purple Bowl in Chapel Hill.
- The Town Council heard a presentation of the proposed concept plan regarding the Chapel Hill Life Sciences Center, which will be located at 306 W. Franklin St. This is the current location of The Purple Bowl, a popular restaurant on Franklin Street.
- The plan was proposed by Longfellow Real Estate Partners. It would add lab, office and retail space where The Purple Bowl is located.
- The Town Council was only considering a concept plan, not an official application.
- Representatives of the Life Sciences Center said they have had success in Durham, something they want to bring to Chapel Hill.
- Paula Gilland, The Purple Bowl's chief executive officer, discussed the importance of preserving Chapel Hill's local charm through its historic buildings.
- “If we have large buildings sitting largely unoccupied, not only has the Town and its population of citizens and students undergone the trauma of a long construction project for nothing, but the empty building sitting right on Franklin St. will serve as a blight on downtown,” Gilland said.
- Local community members publicly commented in opposition to this center, including UNC Student Body President Taliajah "Teddy" Vann. Vann expressed concern about how the center would replace a historic building. She said this might impact the historic Black community of Northside.
- "I think about the history of gentrification in our country, but also with Chapel Hill specifically, and have some major concerns about what the creation of this space would mean for the Northside," Vann said.
- Community members shared the impacts that The Purple Bowl has had on their lives and their families.
- “Many of us depend on Purple Bowl for the warm and welcome environment that suits congregation and studying alike,” UNC Track & Field athlete Ava Dobson said.
- Corey Liles, the planning manager for the Town, opened up discussion and comment on a concept plan review for a new site on 200 S. Elliott Rd.
- The plan aims to reduce the amount of parking on the site, create a more attractive area on South Elliott St. and expand connections to surrounding shopping and transit services.
- Liles recommended that the Town Council adopt a resolution regarding the proposed development.
- Council members emphasized that connectivity should be a priority and affordable housing is an expectation.
What decisions were made?
- The Council unanimously authorized Interim Town Manager Chris Blue to execute a development contract for the redevelopment of the Trinity Court affordable housing community. The plan calls for over 50 affordable apartments, according to Faith Brodie, Chapel Hill public housing director.
- The Town Council unanimously approved the consent agenda.
- The Council discussed conditional zoning at Tri Pointe Homes and unanimously moved to close the legislative hearing, adopt the Resolution of Consistency and Reasonableness and enact revised Ordinance A — approving the Conditional Coning Atlas Amendment.
- The decision to consider conditionals on an application for Aspen Heights at 701 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. was reopened from the last regular meeting. However, the resolution failed in a 5-4 vote.
- The motion to approve the fiscal year 2022 Excess Fund Balance Appropriation was approved by an 8-1 vote. The fund balance is over $6.6 million, however, the staff did not recommend the Town Council spend more than the proposed $4 million.
- The next regular Chapel Hill Town Council meeting will not be until April 19. The agenda can be found here.
- Council member Paris Miller-Foushee mentioned that there will be a Ramadan Interfaith Iftar on March 30 at sunset. The event is co-hosted by various groups including the UNC Muslim Student Association. More information can be found here.
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