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Carrboro Town Council discusses land use ordinance changes and ARPA funding

20231129_Peng_city-chapel-hill-town-council-meeting-1129
The Chapel Hill Town Council meeting at the Chapel Hill Town Hall on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023.

On Tuesday night, the Carrboro Town Council discussed changes to its Land Use Ordinance and allocation of American Rescue Plan Act funds.

What’s new?

  • Tina Moon, the Town's planning administrator, gave a presentation for two text amendments to the LUO. The text amendments were requested by Heather Washburn, the founder of Calico Studio, to be able to establish live-work units and a community cafe.
    • The first text amendment would establish a new restaurant land use category, called a Neighborhood Cafe, for the sale of coffee, other beverages and foods prepared off-site.
    • The second text amendment would alter the density and dimensional regulations for the Town's office-zoned areas to allow for greater residential density, which would include 15 percent affordable housing.
    • Moon said the draft ordinance would be consistent with the Carrboro Connect Comprehensive Plan by meeting its goals for affordable housing, economic sustainability and land use.
      • “This needs to be a vertical, mixed-use project, which is the way Carrboro really needs to think about growing from this point on because there’s precious land left to do that,” Dan Jewell, the Thomas and Hutton regional director for the Raleigh-Durham region, said.
    • Council member Catherine Fray expressed concern over the text amendments tailoring the LUO to suit Washburn’s project, but making it difficult to do other projects.
    • Fray’s recommendations for the draft ordinance included increasing the threshold before a special use permit is needed and removing parking requirements.
  • Wendy Welsh, the Town's grants manager, gave a presentation requesting the council’s approval to redistribute funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to affordable housing units, financial assistance programs for families in Carrboro and maintenance of recreational and cultural facilities.
    • Welsh said since emergency housing assistance programs no longer have the capacity to support themselves, leftover funds will be reallocated to housing.
  • Anne-Marie Vanaman, the Town's director of housing and community services, presented applications from local affordable housing nonprofit providers requesting an award from the Town's remaining $1 million in ARPA funds. The award would support upcoming affordable housing unit projects.
    • “The intent was to support projects that had the potential for a deep impact in the community, and even the potential to be transformational for our community,” Vanaman said.
    • The projects will be backed by EmPOWERment, Inc. and Habitat for Humanity of Orange County. EmPOWERment requested $600,000 and Habitat for Humanity requested $1 million.
      • EmPOWERment would use the funds for its project at 301 Homestead Road, providing 10 units, and Habitat for Humanity would use the funds for its project at West Rogers Road, providing 75 units.
    • "It is probably one of the best uses of ARPA dollars," council member Randee Haven-O’Donnell said. "It will really make a difference to the families and the residents."

What decisions were made?

  • The council voted unanimously to pass the text amendments to the LUO with Fray’s recommendations.
  • The council unanimously approved the redistribution of ARPA funds.
  • The council voted unanimously to approve a combined total award of $1.6 million to EmPOWERment and Habitat for Humanity to support affordable housing projects.

What’s next?

  • The council will hold its next regular meeting on May 7 at 7 p.m.

@DTHCityState | city@dailytarheel.com

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