Letter to Editor
To the Chapel Hill News Editor:
Regarding the 11 April cover story on Carolina Flats: First, it is premature to claim that the Carolina Flats concept is consistent with any comprehensive plan that may come out of the already controversial Chapel Hill 2020 Project. In fact, both Carolina Flats and Chapel Hill 2020 fall far short of recognizing the full impact of Carolina North and the need to treat the CN apron area as a whole for planning purposes. Approval of rezoning for individual tracts in the area, one by one, ultimately surrenders comprehensive, town-driven planning to developer-driven, piecemeal changes altering the entire nature of our town, but particularly the area around Carolina North.
Red flags should go up the moment any re-zoning near Carolina North is requested, especially if it entails a jump of several levels of density and a change from residential to commercial. As it is, the Estes Drive corridor is already identified as a controversial part of CH 2020, begging for much more discussion before rezoning any part of it, let alone modeling its future on Rte.15-501 or 54 corridors.
As proposed, the Carolina Flats project entails a density of parking, traffic, and commercial activity that the corner of Martin Luther King Blvd. and Estes Drive — already one of the most congested in town — could hardly sustain. Near-corner ingress and egress on either MLK or Estes would be troublesome. The number of cars plus paving and run-off are problematic, especially in a town striving for environmental sustainability. And the issue of adequate student housing is something of a red-herring until we know what, exactly, will be included in Carolina North. Finally, any plan for development on Estes near MLK must take into account the proximity to two schools, a church, a Y, a day-care facility, and surrounding single-family neighborhoods.
Priscilla C. Murphy