by Ken Larsen
Ephesus-Fordham Development Project
Understanding, questions, and concerns of Briarcliff resident Ken Larsen and others Compiled by Ken Larsen, KLarsen1@nc.rr.com 919-942-8635
Last modified: February 3, 2014 4:14 PM EST
The Town of Chapel Hill is considering a vast redevelopment of a large area surrounding the Intersection of Ephesus Church Road and Fordham Boulevard. The objective is to “broaden the tax base” and upgrade the visual appeal of the area which serves as a gateway into Chapel Hill.
The contributors to this document believe that some sections of the target area deserve to be redeveloped – like the vacant lot near Whole Foods that used to be a movie theater, Rams Plaza, and the Quality Inn. However, we’re skeptical about the purported financial benefits of blanketing the entire area with a new zone and believe that many low income residents and small businesses will suffer. We see the developers and land owners as being the only real beneficiaries.
Our study of the project documents has not done much to allay our fears. Numerous questions have been raised, and we would like the Planning Board and Town staff to answer them before we can endorse the full scope of the project.
The principal questions we have are:
- What will be the true hourly traffic to and from the project area and does the Town have the transportation infrastructure to manage it? We believe the 2011 traffic study greatly underestimates the number of auto trips.
- What are the real numbers regarding affordable housing? When the low-moderate cost units are removed, how many are gained?
- We want to see the full financial scorecard of the project. The public deserves to know that the project will bring the Town a net positive revenue (including the costs of services) and the cost of subsidizing new rental units.
- We want to see the scorecard on impervious surfaces – one that includes the new roads. Homeowners and small business must know that the storm water facilities located in the flood plain will work and not damage property post construction. Right now we don’t know what will work or how much they will cost.
- We recommend to the Planning Board that the Town supply a graphical representation of what the Town proposes to build. The Plan now calls for 7 story buildings, yet is not reflected on this plan. To do otherwise, misleads the public about what is proposed.
Read the entire paper here. Ephesus White Paper.2.12