The Most Bizarre Thing Said About Ephesus-Fordham

Unless you watched the Chapel Hill Town Council meeting on Ephesus-Fordham last Monday from start to finish, there’s a good chance you haven’t heard the most bizarre thing said at that meeting.

That comment came from Councilmember Ed Harrison during the discussion on whether or not to apply the freshly-approved form-based code elements of the Land Use Management Ordinance (LUMO) to the areas of the Ephesus-Fordham district.

As a recap, you may recall that the Council approved the form-based code addition to the LUMO by an 8-1 vote (Matt Czajkowski voted no), but only approved applying those LUMO additions to Ephesus-Fordham by a 6-3 vote (Ed Harrison and Jim Ward joined Czajkowski in voting no here).

Czajkowski made clear during the debate that he didn’t like form-based code as a development tool, and said very clearly that he wanted to only approve the DHIC project. Instead of form-based code, he wanted to ask developers to use the special use permit (SUP) or development agreement process for the rest of the Ephesus-Fordham redevelopment.

Jim Ward expressed his discontent with the project as well, being clear that he thought the proposal “gave away too much,” particularly with regards to affordable housing. Ward expressed that he thought the inclusionary zoning ordinance, used with the SUP process to mandate 15% of units be affordable, was a success in Chapel Hill.

By contrast, Ed Harrison said he liked form-based code, and would vote for it next spring, but that he couldn’t vote for it right now. And Harrison expressed these views by comparing this rezoning to... same-sex marriage and marriage equality. Watch his full remarks below.

Councilmember Maria Palmer, a minister herself, took issue with Harrison’s remarks, both about the proposed rezoning and on same-sex marriage. Watch her reply to Harrison below (and listen for Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt’s interjection about Harrison’s remarks, too).


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