Growth & Development

Where did all the kids go?

This was surprising news: Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools (you know, the ones that are overcrowded because of the rapid growth of our school-aged community) only added 68 new students this school year. This was so far under expectations that they may have to give some money back to the state. Don't worry - both high schools are still over capacity.

I haven't noticed any radical changes in development patterns. The only explanations I can think of are charter schools taking in more students, or the Schools Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (SAPFO). But I don't think SAPFO has been implemented yet. The Chapel Hill News called it a "pause" in our ongoing growth spurt. I wonder if this could this signal a significant change in our development patterns?

A new vision for downtown Carrboro jumpstarted

Last night about 80 folks met up with representatives from Main Street Partners, the company that hopes to redevelop the lot that currently is home to the Cat's Cradle, Performance Bikes, the Artscenter, Visart, and numerous other smaller shops and stores. I was actually quite impressed with the understanding the reps showed of the community. I think they realize that this project won't fly without early community buy-in. They also seem to be committed to finding ways to keep the current mix of tenants while attracting new businesses to town related to the music and publishing industries. I'm wondering if other folks have thoughts on this development? I'll reserve my comments for now so others can express themselves...

Go Carrboro: larger scale developments on the horizon

It does look like the efforts of the economic development folks at town hall coupled with development pressure are having an effect on Carrboro's downtown. For better or worse, there is a long list of proposals for development that are going to hit the town over the next few years.

Some of the ones I know about include a 100+ unit complex adjacent to the concrete plant and bike trail, a 5 story condo complex behind Cat's Cradle, some sort of mixed use multi-floor thingie where the current Carrboro arts center parking lot is, a remodeling/addition to the "Trading Post", the Weaver Street market sponsored redo of the Norina on Weaver Street and N. Greensboro, some kind of redevelopment of the Andrew-Riggsbee building, and a 2 story mixed use building on Weaver Street that might house a barbeque restaurant. All of these are simply in planning/talking stages and haven't been approved.

The Growth Boundary Dilemma

An earlier line of discussion on the "New Jackson Hole" post made it clear we needed a new thread for discussion of the urban growth boundary (or whatever terminology you want to use).

In my limited understanding of the issue, the towns of Carrboro and Chapel Hill have attempted to limit growth by creating a line in the sand and refusing to extend city services, including water and sewer, past that line. Since much of the land north of town doesn't perk and since much of the land west of Carrboro is in the University Lake watershed, this means that only lots larger than 5 acres can easily get through the process for development.

"So What is That Thing?"

... it's a mixed-use project, combining offices and residential condominiums, called simply "605 West Main Street." Technically, it's a three-story building, the maximum allowed in the B-1(g) [Carrboro] zoning district in which it is located. In actuality, though, the building will stand four stories tall; the entire ground floor will serve as a parking level. - Chapel Hill News, 7/12/04

I'd have to agree with Alex Zaffron that parking is not as good a use of the ground floor as retail. But what's really remarkable is the lack of an outcry against this building. It appears (at least from the skeleton) to be a break from tradition - and that's not a bad thing. The only complaint from a neighbor the reporter could find was that it's being built "too close to the street."

Have you seen it? Is it a visionary step forward or an out-of-place behemoth?



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