Though the Chapel Hill Town Council passed the land use management ordinance (LUMO) text amendment intended to gently increase housing density on June 21, there has been no increase in multi-family housing projects.
The Town's Building and Development Services has not yet seen any new applications for multi-family homes to be developed.
"We were not expecting a huge initial wave," Corey Liles, the Town's planning manager, said. "In Chapel Hill, things like duplexes and accessory apartments get built at a steady pace of a few a year. We hope that can start to ramp up, but it's a little early to know how much impact we're seeing from the new rules."
Kurt Mueller, company owner of New Vista Development, Inc. in Chapel Hill, said he does not know of any development projects constructing multi-family homes on single-family-zoned lots.
“I think developments have been limited by builders and developers concerned about surrounding neighbors harassing or shutting down their project, even though it has a permit to build and is approved for planning,” Mueller said.
The amendment changes zoning rules and allows for two-family homes to be constructed on all residential lots and three- and four-family homes in some higher-density areas.
The text amendment lists providing affordable and missing middle housing, increasing the walkability of neighborhoods, reducing construction costs with smaller houses and unit sizes and eliminating zoning that historically contributed to segregation and economic exclusion as reasons to increase density.
"I feel there needs to more housing options available within the city and I think it promotes diversity and equality,” Cherilyn Harline, a Chapel Hill resident, said.
Harline also said she thinks the delay in development is part of the “slow rollout” process of increasing housing density and that the amendment intends for development to be gradual.