The council approved $26,400 of town funding towards developing a master plan for sidewalks and other pedestrian services. The $105,600 plan is funded in conjunction with the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization.
2014-2015 Financial Report Update
Chapel Hill has been operating on a surplus, spending 9.3 percent less than budgeted last year.
Kenneth Pennoyer, business management director, said Chapel Hill is saving more money on personnel, but this is partially due to turnover and vacancies.
"When you need to fill positions to get work done, it's not good when that number gets too high," Pennoyer said, speaking on the personnel cost savings.
Sales tax revenue has increased since 2011. Over the past year it increased 6 percent on top of a 7.8 percent increase the year before.
The Parking Fund is struggling, as it has been for several years. The fund has almost $4 million in outstanding debt. The 140 West parking deck is still losing money, but at a slower rate than last year. The Wallace Deck needs $560,000 to repair the roof.
Chapel Hill also lacks the funds necessary to replace the aging fleet of buses that run through the town. The federal government has not allocated funds to the town's bus system in several years.
The council spoke about how the light rail project may impact transit funding in the future.
Ephesus-Fordham and Other Improvements
The council approved $7,879,000 for Ephesus-Fordham traffic improvements, Town Hall renovations, the Hamilton Road fire station, a new fire truck and other capital projects.
Renovations to the original Town Hall will cost $1.8 million. Ephesus-Fordham will cost $3,879,000 for road design and construction, along with $900,000 for other road projects, including Elliott Road improvements.
The Hamilton Road fire station will cost $500,000. Other capital investment projects, including a new fire truck, will cost $800,000.
The project initially cost $10 million, but the N.C. Department of Transportation reimbursed the town by $3 million.
The council passed a resolution to move the project to the Local Government Commission, where the final finances may be approved.
Chapel Hill Annexes Land
Chapel Hill agreed to pay the North Chatham Fire District $6,309 to immediately annex a parcel of land under its jurisdiction.
The property on 1201 U.S. Highway 15-501 South, located adjacent to the Obey Creek development site, is now a part of Chapel Hill.
The site was already within the Chapel Hill Planning Jurisdiction.
"You'll start paying taxes now," Kleinschmidt said.
The council heard proposed changes to the Land Use Management Ordinances concerning bed and breakfasts, accessory apartments, parking lot landscaping, water quality, Neighborhood Character Standards and signage.
After much debate about bed and breakfasts within Historic Districts, the council decided to move the issue back to the Historic District Commission.
Kimberly Kaiser of the Historic District Commission, said the commission had not had time to review new changes to the ordinances.
Kaiser said she is concerned lenient regulations could create a housing shortage, similar to Asheville.
Residents expressed concerns about the bed and breakfast ordinances being both too strict and too lenient.
Residents asked the council to clarify the petitioning process and reduce occupancy limits.
To consider creating a bed and breakfast within the historic district, the council must propose it or 85 percent of the residents must petition the council.
This would prompt the creation of an overlay district, similar to the historic district process, but expedited.
As of now, the bed and breakfast ordinances allow 23 guests, compared to 8 allowed in Asheville.
The ordinances would limit the size of any signage to under two square feet, require interior stairs and barred bed and breakfasts from charging extra for meals.
"What I want is for us to have a conversation about, if this is something people ask for, how do we do it in Chapel Hill?" council member Donna Bell said.
Airport Hazard Zone
The town council created three subdistricts within the Airport Hazard Zone on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. They then passed several ordinances that would bring those subdistricts into compliance with state and FAA regulations.
The council approved a resolution that would terminate the Airport Hazard Zone if Horace Williams Airport were to ever close.
A four-story, 123-room AC Hotel by Marriott on West Rosemary Street would bring in $192,000 of net general tax revenues each year.
In past public hearings, residents expressed concerns about environmental impacts, noise, traffic flows, bicycle lanes and pedestrian traffic.
To solve this, the AC Hotel developers addressed each concern in their newest resolution. Solutions included modifications to their roof air vent units, which would mitigate noise problems, signage directing traffic away from Northside and a pledge to seek LEED certification.
"This is a good fit for us on West Rosemary Street," Frances Gualtieri, owner of La Residence, said.
Delores Bailey said the AC Hotel developers have been in contact with the Northside Community regularly.
AC Hotel has offered to host job fairs and take applicants from nearby residents. The AC Hotel will display a mural decided upon by members of the Northside neighborhood.
"We are committed to working with the applicant and we'll be the watchdog to make that happen," Bailey said.
The council approved a resolution to close the public comment period on the AC Hotel and approved the special use permit for the site.
Housing and Community Development Needs
The council heard feedback on the various projects which are eligible for funds from the Community Development Block Grant.
The fund has $404,761 for 2015-2016.
Programs eligible for funds would serve communities earning less than 80 percent of the area median income.
Final approval for Community Development Block Grant program plans may be voted on at the April 11 meeting.
Bailey said she would like to see funds go to the job development fund in Northside.
Tri-City Medical Building
The council continued the public hearing on the Tri-City Medical Building's Master Land Use Plan. The medical building is located within the Meadowmont Development on Barbee Chapel Road.
The developer applied for a special use permit to build a two-story office building and a three-story parking structure.
The council approved the application for a special use permit.