CHTC Approves the Graduate, Courtyards at Homestead, New Life Fellowship

At its meeting last night, the Chapel Hill Town Council voted unanimously to approve three developments: the Graduate, an apartment complex targeted to graduate students to be located behind the Franklin Hotel between Mallette and Kenan Streets; the Courtyards of Homestead, an age-restricted, single-family home development to be built off of Homestead Road; and New Life Fellowship, a church to be built between Sage and Weaver Dairy Roads.

The Council spent a considerable amount of time discussing the affordable housing component of the Courtyards at Homestead. Councilmembers Maria Palmer and Jim Ward wanted to see the full 9 units required under the inclusionary zoning ordinance - or at least the 3 units proposed by staff recommendation - to be built while other councilmembers, including Sally Greene, Matt Czajkowski, and Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, expressed concerns that the development, being age-restricted, only 2-bedroom houses, and without access to transit, was not a good fit for affordable housing units. The Community Home Trust's Robert Dowling also expressed doubts that his organization could find buyers for the units, saying he felt he could sell maybe 2 or 3, but certainly not 9. Council ultimately voted unanimously to accept a full payment-in-lieu for the development rather than require affordable units to be built here after a vote to adopt the staff recommendation of 3 units plus a 6-unit equivalent payment-in-lieu failed by a 2-5 vote (Palmer and Ward voted yes).

The Graduate, an apartment complex targeted to graduate students to be built behind the Franklin Hotel, was approved unanimously after the developer, Wintergreen Hospitality, brought back a revised proposal that changed the massing of the building and the parking flow in response to community and Council concerns. Councilmembers expressed their gratitude for the way Wintergreen Hospitality handled the process and responded to concerns before approving the development. The new complex will also include 12-15 affordable rental units (15% of the total number of units in the building) through a voluntary agreement between the developer and the town in exchange for a density bonus.

Council also approved the New Life Fellowship Church on Sage Road and took some time at the end of the meeting to discuss Village Plaza Apartments, the first proposal submitted to the town under the new form-based code in the Ephesus-Fordham district. Most councilmembers used this time as an opportuntity to get staff feedback on the process and to think about changes to the form-based code that they might want to make in the near future.

Here's the Storify from last night's meeting:



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