Discuss Chapel Hill's emerging framework for downtown

Come to a public meeting to learn about the next step in the Town's radical/visionary new plans for downtown. I highly recommend checking out the presentation made by the consultants back in June. Link below, and blog coverage here.

The future of downtown Chapel Hill will be discussed during the presentation of the draft Downtown Development Framework and Action Plan to Town advisory boards and commissions on beginning at 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 16, in the Council Chamber of Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. 

The presentation will be made by Dan Douglas of Kling Stubbins, and questions will follow the presentation. 

The Town of Chapel Hill created a master plan for downtown, the Downtown Small Area Plan, in 2000. The Town Council initiated a new Downtown Master Plan as one of its goals for 2009. In November 2009, the Town, in conjunction with the Downtown Partnership, issued an RFP, and Kling-Stubbins of Raleigh was selected to complete the Downtown Development Action Plan and Framework. 

A planning team held two meetings in April 2010 for interested parties to share their opinions on development in downtown Chapel Hill. A first draft of findings was presented to the public during a planning charette on June 10. The June 10 presentation is available online: 

For more information, contact Dwight Bassett, Economic Development Officer for the Town of Chapel Hill, at 919-969-5010 or


Thursday, September 16, 2010 - 1:00pm


Chapel Hill Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Get ready for 140 West

[DEDI]Yes, it's yet another urban development with no name! (Or more accurately: that steals it's name from it's location. See: East 54, The Franklin, McCorkle Place, etc.) It's hardly the most important thing about this development, but it still bugs me to no end. Doesn't anyone else think that we are losing character when we fail to properly NAME our places?

Anyway, I'm glad to see this is finally getting underway.  After years and years of participating in planning meetings that led to the creation and eventual approval of this plan, I will NOT be stopping by this information session tomorrow. And neither will the dozens of Chapel Hillians who will proceed to complain loudly about the project as soon as the first shovel hits the dirt. Sigh.

Here's WCHL's story today for more background: 

 Public Information Officer Catherine Lazorko says the Town of Chapel Hill has organized a public information meeting about the 140 West Franklin development.

 Representatives from the town and the developers will be on hand to answer questions about the project, including an overview of the construction, a timeline, information about good construction practices, and the various phases of the project and the logistics involved.

Construction is slated to begin in August and last about two years.

140 West Franklin is a mixed use development to be built on the town-owned Parking Lot 5 near Franklin, Church and Rosemary streets. The building will stand eight stories tall at its highest point. 

 The preliminary construction proposals called for the closure of one lane of Franklin Street and the complete closure of Church Street, which connects Franklin to Rosemary. Lazorko says this should not concern residents.

The meeting will take place Thursday at University Presbyterian Church from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. 



Thursday, July 22, 2010 - 12:30pm


University Presbyterian Church

Compact, Connected, Anchored and Green

Draft Downtown Development Framework and Action Plan A few weeks ago I attended a meeting to hear the presentation of a group of consultants that have been working for the Town of Chapel Hill and the Downtown Partnership to create a "Downtown Development Framework and Action Plan." I didn't know much about this plan before showing up at the meeting, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it includes some pretty radical ideas for downtown Chapel Hill and they do not include trying to emulate Southpoint Mall!

The draft plan can be downloaded as a PDF from the town web site.  Here's my brief analysis...

Instead of the Southern Part of Heaven how about the Southern Part of Nowhere Special

History. For some, the mere suggestion of the topic instantly glazes over the eyes and makes the lids heavy. It's a fact that most of us have been taught history the wrong way. But the past can be a very interesting tool if you know how to use it. Through peering backwards one can discover who we are and it can be an important tool measure the future.

My job is to try and save Chapel Hill's historic places, which is no easy task. There are special buildings, homes, fields, and rocks in this town that embody a past that makes this town unique and downright cool. They are the physical manifestations of our history. But trying to appeal to the "better angels of our nature" about the importance of preserving history often falls on deaf ears. Chapel Hill is certainly progressive but it is not progressive about saving its past.   

I submit for discussion an ordinance the Preservation Society is trying to persuade the Town of Chapel Hill to adopt.

Is the 300 East Main proposal worth supporting?

I thought this was a good article in the Chapel Hill News on Sunday about the 300 East Main proposal. It seems there is a surprisingly low amount of public focus on a project that will undoubtedly reshape Carrboro and something the people have much more control over than Carolina North. So I'd like to ramp up the discussion.



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