To combat Chapel Hill’s rapid growth and unstable housing climate, the Chapel Hill Planning Department and Town Council are considering a text amendment to the Town’s Land Use Management Ordinance that would allow for duplexes to be built alongside single-family homes.
Many of Chapel Hill’s neighborhoods are zoned so that only single-family homes can be built. This means that if a home is torn down, it can only be replaced with another single-family unit.
However, Chapel Hill Town Council member Michael Parker said that with about 38,000 people having to commute into Chapel Hill every day, the Town hopes to find more ways to accommodate more people closer to the business area.
Chapel Hill's outward growth is limited by a rural buffer, meaning that more housing in Chapel Hill would need to be made available within the Town’s current boundaries.
Duplexes can house more people in the same dimensions. Parker said building multi-family homes helps fill the "missing middle" — a phenomenon where areas do not have housing options other than single-family homes or apartments.
A previous iteration of the proposal included being able to build triplexes and quadruplexes, but proposals for such developments were removed in later revisions.
“I think, in general, Chapel Hill needs to grow,” Parker said. “What we are trying to do through this package of amendments is create more diversity of housing types to give people more choices, and that's why it's called the housing choices amendment.”
However, some local residents oppose the amendments.
Signs have been placed in front of houses in Chapel Hill that read "Tell the Town Council NO REZONING! Protect Our Neighborhoods." These signs also have a link to a website that outlines why some community members are against the proposal.