Growth & Development

It's a Mixed-Use Free For All!

On the heels of the impending destruction of University Inn in favor of another mixed-use development, we get news of yet another one planned for a tract out on Eubanks Road, across from the Northwood community. We're being surrounded!

I'm not at all opposed to the "mixed-use" concept in theory, but in theory it's supposed to strengthen communities by getting people to brush shoulders with each other, congregate, and increase foot traffic (and therefore walk-in sales for merchants). Chelsea (in New York) would be a good example of a strong mixed-used neighborhood, and also that neighborhood on the east side of Washington Square Park, I always forget its name. I'm having a hard time grogging how building self-contained pods on the outskirts of town accomplishes this, but I'm willing to be enlightened. Nevertheless, I'm getting the sneaking suspicion that "mixed-use" is a term being thrown around to gussie up development plans that may be technically mixed-use, but are certainly not embracing the spirit of the concept.

Sunrise Plans Emerge

During the elections last fall, part of suburban north Chapel Hill was up in arms about a proposal from Habitat For Humanity to build some homes off of Sunrise Road. Habitat managed to quell the unrest for a few months by establishing a public process including a charette (community planning meeting) and proposals from 4 different designers.

The designers who participated are Josh Gurlitz, Gary Giles, Scott Radway, and James Carnahan. Theirs ideas range from 42 to 56 total units, with various mixes of single-family and townhouse units. No matter what Habitat does, I doubt that it will be few enough for the neighbors. It seems they will be happy with nothing more than zero townhouses and one or two detached houses on the 17-acre tract.

Members of the Sunrise Coalition, which includes residents of the nearby Chandler's Green subdivision and neighborhoods in the area, remain concerned about Habitat's plans.

UNC's Neighbors Getting Organized... Again

I was surprised to learn that yet another group, called "Neighborhoods for Responsible Growth," has come together in response to UNC development. I'm glad Northside is included for a change, but Timberlyne? Why not just admit that everybody in town will feel the brunt of Carolina North if/when it's built?

Although members said the group hopes to work on a range of issues that affect neighborhoods, the focus for now will be on the university's plans for the new campus. ...

The new group claims membership from neighborhoods including Elkin Hills; Mason Farm; Pinebrook Estates; Westside; Timberlyne; Gimghoul; Northside; Westwood; Colonial Heights; Homestead Village; Glen Heights; Coker Hills West; North Haven; Ironwoods; Northwoods V; and Greenwood.

The group had some initial meetings before the election last fall, [Mike] Collins said. But it's ramping up now in part because the council will take comments on March 1 on recommendations from its Horace Williams Citizens Committee on what the council should push for in reviewing plans for Carolina North. - Chapel Hill Herald, 2/25/04

World Class: It Ain't Always Pretty

Does a picture say a thousand words? Anita Wolfenden took this one near her home on Mason Farm Road. Will the final product "aid the University?s desire to enhance the setting of the entire community"? (Carolina North planning document). I enlarged this photo but still could not find the buffer.

click to enlarge

What's Up With Pacifica

I haven't been keeping up with Carrboro's supposedly-controversial Pacifica development, but it seems to be making headlines a lot.

The planners of Pacifica say they will move ahead with the housing project, despite town officials' refusal to cap the developers' share of the financial burden.

Pacifica, a controversial subdivision approved by the Board of Aldermen last June, will add 46 units to an 8.3-acre lot at the end of Hanna Street and Watters Road.

Touted by some developers and aldermen as a tool for integrated affordable housing, Pacifica sparked criticism from those who argued the subdivision would increase traffic and noise in the surrounding community.
-Chapel Hill Herald, 2/5/04

It always seemed to me to be a good proposal, and I've assumed that opposition came from the anti-infill NIMBYs in the area. Am I right or am I missing something? Pardon the bad analogy, but is this Carrboro's Meadowmont? What's this "cap" business?



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