UNC Explains Requested Changes

I just got this by e-mail from the Town Clerk:

You are invited to attend a Town Council Work Session on Thursday, April 1, at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber at Town Hall, 306 N. Columbia Street. The Council will hear a presentation by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on the University’s Development Plan Modification No. 2.

Because this is a "work session" public comment won't be allowed. But it should be a great way to find out what changes UNC is asking for in their main campus Development Plan. It could also be a good way to signal to the Council with our presence that we are paying attention.

Here's a little background of the politics around this modification request.

Issues: 

Total votes: 230

Comments

Anita and Terri, there is a really good article in the Chapel Hill Herald today about what the town staff will and won't do for the University. For once I totally agree with the Manager AND the Planning Director!

http://herald-sun.com/orange/10-467008.html

Again, this is an issue with Carolina North and not the Development Plan Modification, which was the original topic of this thread. Do we need a new thread on Carolina North?

It's true that town employees have been instructed not to talk with UNC employees about Carolina North. Those instructions certainly send a message, whether intended or not.

http://indyweek.com/durham/2004-01-21/burtman.html

Hey everyone, don't forget this meeting is TONIGHT! Here is the agenda: http://townhall.townofchapelhill.org/agendas/ca040401spec/AgendaFaceSheet.htm

They do have a space on the agenda for comments by citizens, so it might be worth coming out there in person. 7 pm, Council Chambers, 306 North Columbia Street. I think it will also be on local cable.

Anita, I prefer that the elected officials negotiate with the University, before we put our staff in the position of working with them to hammer out details. It's inappropriate and unfair to ask the staff to do this without Council direction. The Mayor seems to be in very regular contact with the Chancellor. And of course we've read about other UNC adminstrators targeting specific Council Members, who are very accessible people. No-one's getting the silent treatment.

I just looked at the article that Terri is citing. Perhaps because she is the Assistant University Editor, the author thought it was important to interview the Chancellor and the UNC Trustees, and not anyone at all from the Town. Or possibly the copy editor just thought half of the story should be cut.

Sometimes the DTH really nails it, sometimes they don't. They're learning, so I try to be patient.

And sometimes, they're the only newspaper in town with the backbone to say it.

The important point to me was that UNC officials could be claiming that the town wasn't working with them. Since no one from UNC admin participates on this site, we don't always get both sides to the story. Wish I knew someone in admin so we could get more direct info.

I would think that if you somehow found the DTH article convincing, you'd want to hear the Town's rebuttal - not more from the UNC PR machine. Personally, I thought the reporting was about as credible as my NCAA bracket (Duke must not win, I have my fantasy).

By the way, someone from the University DOES participate in this site. (Are you out there, Linda?) They have every opportunity to tell their side here and in all of the local papers. And they don't have day jobs for their advocacy and education efforts to compete with. If you're not hearing from them it's not because they can't speak.

I wonder if the town should have a citizens' committee to

review the UNC development on the main campus and

advise the council in a manner analogous to the committee

that performs these functions for Carolina North. Would

such a committee have prevented, or at least eased the

impact on the Mason Farm neighborhood of the current

development on MF Road?

An article in today's DTH, claims that the town is unwilling to work with the university on revisions to the CN plan. Anyone care to comment?

http://www.dailytarheel.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2004/03/26/4064374d9c9ba

sorry for the straying.

the changes are in the right direction.

school site for land that wasn't going to be used anyway.

building more up than out (good!)

more buffer for North haven.

little different street alignment.

Not clear exactly what a stream is - does it include the intermittent one the road goes across???

also parking, commuting not sufficiently changed

Hey y'all I just realized that we are all confused. I wasn't even paying attention and I did it too! This thread is about changes to the Development Plan on UNC's main campus, *NOT* about the proposal for Carolina North.

The latest thread on Carolina North is here: http://www.orangepolitics.org/archives/000197.html

(Of course, they're straying into the DP modification and OI-4 over there a bit, too. I guess they're hard to separate.)

Hi resident. While these may not be "design" issues, I'd like to highlight errors and omissions in the "second draft plan"-- or should I say ommissions, potential and futuristic errors. One is, "Carolina North will comply with the Town's Comprehensive Plan" per the HWCC report. The CN plan does NOT follow the comprehensive plan in conserving and protecting the Town's existing natural setting: "protect the environmentally sensitive areas...and establish a percentage of the overall acreage that will remain completely undeveloped in perpetuity, perhaps under a land trust or permanent deed restrictions."

UNC decided that a little conservation along existing streambeds/streams was enough. To heck with the rest of the 75% of the land, we can' t commit and won't. I guess the rest of the 75% of the land is not environmentally sensitive?

WRONG.

What about goal 2B, "protect the surrounding neighborhoods?" Well, great, they gave an extra 200 feet to separate their huge empire from the nearest homeowner (up from the original 97 ft.) The HWCC report states "protect adjoining neighborhoods through the use of buffers, noise and height restrictions, building design, and vehicular traffic control." I'd like to emphasize the last three words---vehicular traffic control. Is that in the CN plan? Here is your obvious "omission". There is no vehicular traffic control. There is NO transportation solution other than creating a new highway (deemed north-south road) to carry the tens of thousands of cars out of CN and THROUGH NEIGHBORHOODS never depicted on any slide or presentation--a new superhighway to I-40 through the second densest school system in Chapel Hill (Seawell district, along Weaver Dairy Road Ext.).

How about Principle 2, under Neighborhood/Community Interface Principles, Goal 2A strategy c of the HWCC report:

"roadway design within Carolina North should be used to limit the use of the campus as a cut-through for automobiles from any direction." Please do not tell me that the CN plan's north south road is not a cut through. And I know that CN is not created to solve transportation problems in Chapel Hill, as has been suggested sarcastically.

The north south road serves no other purpose but to have autocommuters from I-40 "cut through" and avoid Airport Road--which is an incorrect statement in and of itself as cars will still be displaced onto Airport Road at Weaver Dairy.

How about the HWCC report's Natural Areas/Parks and Rec Facilities Principles Goal 3A: "identify and delineate CN's most valuable environmental assets that merit permanent protection. These assets include critical habitat, hardwood forests, steep slopes, perennial and intermitent tributaries, stream buffers...and other riparian buffers. Preserve these assets by inviolable means, such as conservation easements or land trusts." I don't see any conservation easement, commitment in perpetuity in the whole of the 75% of the "undeveloped portion" of the Horace Williams tract. You better know that 970+ acres of this huge tract is going to be developed, someday...all of it, minus the few major creeks. There is a US Geological survey that shows an intermittent stream running right through the center of the undeveloped 75% portion of the HW tract. To me, development includes a new four lane parkway north/south road. Or, what is development to UNC? Maybe a good definition is in order.

Also in this designation is goal 1B strategy A-- "roads shall be located so as not to subdivide large environmentally sensitive tracts." That is exactly what the CN plan plans to do with their northsouth highway. Go to their website and look at the map.

What about the HWCC Transportation and Land Use Principles strategy b)-- "strictly limit parking (for example 1 space for every 3 employees and/or a specified cap)....Ensure that CN does not become a park-and-ride lot for the main campus." The reduction of 19,000 to 17,000 parking spaces is quite a humiliating joke.

A potential error that UNC may make is a possible request for an OI-4 zone for the tract. The HWCC report clearly states OI-2 as the town's best position. I think we all can see the effects of an OI-4 zoning designation.

This is just the start. I'm sure I've left out some other issues and next writing I hope to include more. Hopefully we'll all explore those publicly in the next weeks.

I think it would be very very wise for the council to immediately ask the Horace Williams Citizens committee to list conflicts between the 2nd draft plan and the committee principles.

We know there are lots of direct conflicts with the HWCC report.

What is the point in waiting to publicly point them out.

If the council waits too long to list these issues the developer will say sorry we invested too much time and money to change them now.

please Ruby point out specific design issues that conflict with the report so many people spent so much time on.

Y'all, I do not have time to conduct this analysis right right now. This is what we pay our talented Town staff for. Someone else is paying me to be out of town all week and so I've got to do that first. I will certainly have a look at it before the Council meeting on April Fools Day (symbolism?).

Anyway, I don't have any more expterise than other members of the HWCC and anyone else who's been paying attention. I'd like to hear what others think.

Here's report of the town's Horace Williams Citizens' Committee: http://townhall.townofchapelhill.org/planning/HWCC/HWCC_new.html

And here's a presentation on UNC's latest plan: http://cn.unc.edu/concept/

I haven't looked at this yet. I wonder if this is the same as what Council will see next week?

Ruby, at the council meeting there was a discussion of how the Horace Williams report should be presented to both the UNC admins and to the BOT.

Ms. Whiggin's suggested that it would be great if the UNC BOT was invited to present their plans to the council and town (to paraphrase - to get it from the horses mouth).

Ms. Greene made the point that it would be great to find out about UNC's plans directly instead of reading about it in the paper.

I look forward to your analysis.

 

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