Town of Chapel Hill

The difference between a big idea and a big waste of time

When I first learned about the proposed framework for downtown, I was amazed to see such big, new ideas being proposed by the consultant hired by the Town of Chapel Hill and the Downtown Partnership. This proposal presents an opportunity for Chapel Hill to do something visionary and to once again have a thriving urban center that is the envy of other communities. But.

The only way that this Big Idea will evolve into a Good Idea is if Chapel Hill can make this vision our own. Not only that, but I also think this plan might have trouble being approved in Chapel Hill without generating significant community investment in its approach. Or, as I said in June:

Carolina North Public Information Meeting

Carolina North Public Information Meeting

A public information meeting will be held at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 29, to receive comments and feedback on the UNC-Chapel Hill 2010 Carolina North Annual Report to the Town of Chapel Hill. The meeting will be held in the Council Chamber of Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. 

Carolina North is envisioned as a mixed-use academic campus on university-owned property along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, two miles north of the main campus. University and Town representatives signed a development agreement a year ago that covers the first 20 years of development on the site. 

The report to be presented on Sept. 29 describes the activity on the Carolina North site in the past fiscal year (July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010). Most of those activities relate to the recreational uses that residents make of the Carolina North Forest. Read the report online: 

The report is a requirement of the Carolina North Development Agreement, containing updates on various topics, including housing, parking, land use, greenways and construction activities. The Campus-to-Campus Connector Report, a one-time requirement of the Development Agreement, is included in Attachment VI of the report. While there has been a delay in construction at Carolina North, the report is part of the structure established by the Development Agreement for providing continued town-gown communication. 

Town Manager Roger Stancil will review the report and the public input before reporting to the Town Council on his review of the development agreement and its requirements. 

Send comments about the annual report or other issues related to Carolina North at any time to or write Town of Chapel Hill Planning Department, Carolina North, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Chapel Hill, NC 27514. 

The 2010 Annual Report and other information can be found on the Town's website: 

Carolina North Main Page schedule of various activities and main news items, including the Annual Report 
Public Participation detailed description of various communication and participation efforts in the past year 
Campus to Campus background materials, public comments and community emails about the project 
Minor Modifications description of the process and modification materials 
FAQs - answers many of the frequent questions about the Carolina North project and the agreement 


Wednesday, September 29, 2010 - 1:15pm


Chapel Hill Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Chapel Hill

Get ready for 140 West

[DEDI]Yes, it's yet another urban development with no name! (Or more accurately: that steals it's name from it's location. See: East 54, The Franklin, McCorkle Place, etc.) It's hardly the most important thing about this development, but it still bugs me to no end. Doesn't anyone else think that we are losing character when we fail to properly NAME our places?

Anyway, I'm glad to see this is finally getting underway.  After years and years of participating in planning meetings that led to the creation and eventual approval of this plan, I will NOT be stopping by this information session tomorrow. And neither will the dozens of Chapel Hillians who will proceed to complain loudly about the project as soon as the first shovel hits the dirt. Sigh.

Here's WCHL's story today for more background: 

 Public Information Officer Catherine Lazorko says the Town of Chapel Hill has organized a public information meeting about the 140 West Franklin development.

 Representatives from the town and the developers will be on hand to answer questions about the project, including an overview of the construction, a timeline, information about good construction practices, and the various phases of the project and the logistics involved.

Construction is slated to begin in August and last about two years.

140 West Franklin is a mixed use development to be built on the town-owned Parking Lot 5 near Franklin, Church and Rosemary streets. The building will stand eight stories tall at its highest point. 

 The preliminary construction proposals called for the closure of one lane of Franklin Street and the complete closure of Church Street, which connects Franklin to Rosemary. Lazorko says this should not concern residents.

The meeting will take place Thursday at University Presbyterian Church from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. 



Thursday, July 22, 2010 - 12:30pm


University Presbyterian Church

Locally Grown: concert


Thursday, August 26, 2010 - 3:00pm


Wallace Plaza, downtown Chapel Hill

Locally Grown: Fantastic Mr. Fox screening

Starts at "sundown." 


Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 4:00pm


Wallace Plaza, downtown Chapel Hill



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