The Chapel Hill Planning Board met on November 19th and responded positively to concerns expressed by the public. The Board adopted these recommendations to the Town Council which we support. We strongly recommed that the Town Council adopt these recommendations as a part of the proposed small area plan.
The Chapel Hill Transportation Advisory met October 24th. Michael Parker wore two hats as chair of the Transportation Board and Steering Committee Co chair. After he presented the plan, the Board heard public comment. Three steering committee members spoke in favor of the Citizens’ Plan. Steering Committee member Firoz Mistry asked that Whit Rummel, Central West property owner and member of the Transportation to recuse himself.
Mr Rummel voted on the motion with other Board members to adopt the Central West Committee’s higher density Small Area Plan with the caveat that “all means necessary be used to keep traffic moving on Estes.” This caveat was surprising as the Town has made it clear that it does not intend to widen Estes: (1) there is no money to do so allocated at the MPO; (2) the 2009 Long Range Transit Plan does not list Estes as a transit corridor, and (3) CW steering committee itself has voted to keep Estes to two lanes. Transportation Advisory Board Resolution is here.
The Chapel Hill Planning Board met on October 29. The Board heard a presentation from the staff and co chairs. A number of citizens spoke in favor of the Citizens’ Plan. In addition these concerns about the committee plan were raised: (1) committee plan densities will cause gridlock on Estes; (2) questioned the traffic consultant’s assumptions about how many people actually will use Estes versus MLK; (3) concern that no real plan for affordable housing exists; (4) uncertainty that a stormwater management plan will be effective at managing substantial increase in impervious surfaces; and (5) a call for respect for the old growth hickory forest on the Davis property.
Some of the most important Board member comments follow:
- Add a principle not to widen Estes Drive
- Move 2020 goals to front and link plan to them
- More synergy with Carolina North needed
- Use low impact design techniques
- Add limits on parking
- Add affordable housing recommendations
- Need to link focus area plans and do a town-wide TIA
Two or three planning board members said they liked the densities, and one posited that Estes would eventually be widened. Board members said they were not ready to endorse a plan to the Council and wanted to see what the Committee would do with their comments. The Board will meet to make a recommendation on November 19th. Here are the Planning Board Comments
The Greenways Commission met October 23 and made these Recommendations.
The Bike and Pedestrian Board met October 22 and made these recommendations.