Compare and Contrast

Today the Chapel Hill Herald reports that the Town Commitee on Lots 2 and 5 (or whatever awkward name it has) will be meeting to continue the ongoing conversation about how to best utilize these two parking lots in prime locations downtown.

I participated in a "charrette" several years ago that I thought came up with some good initial thoughts about how this land could be used creatively to meet the community's social needs as well as provide other services like a transportation hub, or some truly mixed-use buildings. After going through this and also sitting on the Downtown Small Area Plan Committee, I guess I OD'ed on ideas for downtown. Can someone tell me concisely what is really going to happen there? And who is going to pay for it?

In the same issue, the Herald also tells us that:

Scott Kovens and Eric Chupp of Capkov Ventures have their sights on about 150 acres of land right across the road from Southern Village, on the northeastern side of U.S. 15-501...

The land is zoned now for 1-acre home lots and some commercial uses right along U.S. 15-501, but Kovens said the developers' goal would be to have some businesses in the interior of the project, and to do things like possibly clustering some of the homes. All of those things would point to changes in the land-use designation for the acreage.

Before they give the town more details to consider, Kovens and Chupp hope that officials will give them some sense of what type of development they'd like to see on the land.- Chapel Hill Herald, 5/12/04

So do you think the town will learn from the mistakes of Southern Village and Meadowmont and do it better this time? How long before the neighbors on Lystra hear about it and start organizing in opposition? And how can these developments - one in the center of town, one on the edge - complement each other and serve the community's needs best?


I want to recount a little history that relates to the Kovens-

Chupp proposal on 15-501 south. Back in 1992 when the

CH Town Council approved Southern Village (I voted for it)

it was our first attempt at a true mixed-use project.

We calculated that the 2500 acre southern area would have

an eventual build-out of about 6400 people, according to its

pre-1992 zoning and the land-use plan then in effect. We

upzoned the 350-acre core of the region for Southern

Village and downzoned the surrounding acreage in order to

maintain the same total buildout, thus clustering the same number

of new residents in a region along a major road that would

be easy to serve by mass transit. The town survived a couple

of lawsuits by the owners of the downzoned properties, and

Southern Village was built.

In my opinion, it is important

that the peripheral downzoning be continually be respected.

If the Kovens-Chub project wants to cluster 180 homes on

a small part of the 180 acres, that is fine, indeed excellent,

but I believe that we should not allow a net upzoning of their


Mark, do you have the same recollection of this that I do?

How about 20 acres for a school site and some other public facilities?


The 2&5 committee's work is going very well. Already we've completed a market analysis and today will be finalizing our instructions to the concept architects. I think you'll see many familiar elements incorporated within the concept plans that will be generated. The concept plan will be ready by the end of the summer. At that time a financial plan and RFQ/RFP will go out. We should be seeing amazing things on those two lots very soon.

Among the things the committee is focusing on and some things that we might be seeing soon: no net decrease in parking; residential and commerical mix with significant public space on both lots; possible bus transfer station; housing over the Wallace Deck; moving Church St.

Ultimately, the Town will retain ownership of the lots and contract with a developer or developers. Since the Town isn't profit centered we can leverage the public ownership to create new public spaces.

The public is invited to all the meetings and in fact we've had a significant turn-out of interested citizens at every meeting. The next one is today at 5:30.

Mark K.,

Has there been any discussion of green building standards, energy-efficiency, etc. for this development?


Mark M.

I think those issues will be very important when we begin the RFQ/RFP process. The members of the committee are all committed to the standards you're referencing.

I work next to lot #5 and hate to see the trees go. It's taken several years to recover the lots foilage to where it was.....

Any plans to preserve the trees or will this be like the downtown sidewalk repair that nuked the large trees in favor of the inferior type we have now?


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