Category Archives: Central West committee meetings

What happened after the September community session?

After the Community Input session at Amity Church and the Town sponsored survey, many felt that community members had spoken clearly that the four maps brought to the meeting brought too much intensity and traffic to the area. The session was attended by over 230 people, despite a Back to School event the same evening.  Although the Committee had voted against allowing the Citizen Map to be presented at the workshop, copies were distributed outside the door.  Lively conversation made up for fairly primitive displays of red and green dots. Although the Citizen Plan had not been invited to the party, it was the most popular guest.

In the Report to the Citizens of Chapel Hill four members of the Steering Committee explain why they favored the Alternate Citizens’ Plan over the Committee Plan.

The following week, the Co chairs decided on their own to go back to the drawing board on the concept map.  Amy Ryan and Michael Parker initiated private meetings with every committee member where they sought views of what should be on a map.  From these meetings grew a new hand colored map – a separate but collective view.  At the  September 24 Steering Committee meeting, members were invited to make individual suggestions for the new map .Over 55 recommendations were articulated and listed as possible changes.  The co chairs followed up with motions and the committee voted on some of them. Many suggestions were left on the table, not discussed, and never revisited. 

Some steering committee members expressed disappointment that the new map lacked the good traffic analysis done previously on A1 – B2 maps (the ones that had been taken to the workshop).  They said the Council deserved a map that would show where density should go in order to estimate the impact on traffic.  They also pressed for setbacks, lower heights and density in order to reduce new expected traffic on Estes from Carolina North and other new development. Alan Tom closed this meeting with an articulate summary of the year’s progress in Central West.  See Alan’s remarks.

August 19, 7 and July 30 Steering Committee meetings

August 19 Staff action meeting notes are here.  The Committee now has 4 maps on the table found here. Several committee members told staff that they did not have sufficient content to be analyzed. The don’t show building foot prints, intensity or road circulations, unlike earlier maps. Staff shared an outline for the small area plan. Steering Committee David Tuttle explained he found the steering committee meetings lacking in dialogue and a real exchange of views.  He was saddened that committee members no longer seemed to care about taking a consensus recommendation to the Council – on  that the community and a committee minority would support.

August 7  Staff action notes are here. This meeting was frustrating to observe.  Because the Committee lacks a skilled facilitator, committee members engage in serial conversations and conversation is not around one topic.  Decisions as recorded by co chair report are here.

  • Parcels B and C should have a mix of uses including: incubator (create relationship with Carolina North), significant residential along northern section, non-residential uses along Estes (intensities that are lower than Parcel A) and institutional uses such as a parks and recreation center.  An alternative scenario for this area should also be tested that would call for residential uses only on these parcels.
  • Consider a road connecting Somerset and the proposed road running along the south part of the YMCA property to MLK and have it tested for transportation impacts.
  • For area E, to apply environmental language from earlier discussions of areas G and H, and test two options: one that is residential, and one that is primarily residential with institutional/office uses along Estes Drive frontage.
  • Area J should be residential.
  • Because of meeting time constraints, the group was not able to make specific building height recommendations for areas A–F.  It was agreed that we would test on the range of heights suggested by a majority of committee members in the July 1st “homework” activity, with area C changed from 2-4 stories, with any decision that the Committee has already made to supersede the July 1st activity heights.
  • The group decided to test continuation of the area A retail strip south of MLK onto D and F. For testing purposes, we would assume that D would be a synthesis of uses and heights for areas A and B, and that F would assume an expansion of its current institutional use. A low-end use for Parcel D — institutional with a small area of retail — would also be tested..

July 30  Most of this meeting was a discussion about preferred land uses, intensities and heights for the undeveloped land south of Estes Drive.  Results are shown here.  Several members of the steering committee asked for a big picture discussion about data about land constraints and traffic for the area BEFORE making these decisions on a tract by tract basis.  They did not convince the co chairs of this approach. Whit Rummel presented his concept for retail, housing and civic uses for the undeveloped property north of Estes.