Large development coming to Chapel Hill?

Friday, July 14, 2017

Judging from the agenda at Monday night’s Chapel Hill Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting, the town could see a flurry of construction soon.

The meeting was dominated by zoning requests forwarded from the town’s planning commission for approval by the board.

The largest request concerned the rezoning of a 55-acre parcel bordered by Eagleville Pike and Stevens Road.

A preliminary plan presented to the council proposes 159 single-family home lots, as well as 106 townhomes, in a development called the Cottages of Chapel Hill.

Town Administrator Mark Graves said that the project could potentially represent a $250,000 annual increase to property tax collections, depending on the price of the homes, for the town once completed.

Graves told the aldermen that the town had sewer capacity to service the project and that the county Board of Public Utilities had committed to supply sufficient water for the development.

Any final plans must still go before the planning commission for approval but the developer hopes to start on the project by the end of the year.

Aldermen approved on the second and final reading changing the zoning of six Unionville Road lots between the town hall and the Co-op from commercial to residential.

Several other zoning changes were approved on first reading.

A 31-acre lot on Nashville Highway to the north of Stoney Brook subdivision was approved for a change to residential, barring the first 200 feet of the parcel bordering the road, which will remain B-2 commercially zoned.

An approximately one-acre lot on Maple Street was also approved for the change from commercial to residential.

Under current guidelines, up to three homes could potentially be built on the parcel.

All of the changes were recommended for passage by the planning commission.

Jim Lech, the town’s planning consultant, said when several of these proposals were made to the planning commission that requests to move from commercial to residential zoning were rare in his experience.

These several requests to do just that indicate the interest in building homes within the town limits.

In non-development discussion, Graves noted to the board that they would need to reexamine employee benefits.

The current employee health insurance plan offered by the town is facing a 25 percent increase, Graves said, which the town would not be able to bear.

He said that two other plans had been identified that could replace the plan, but that he wanted to schedule presentations about each for the board and employees to understand potential changes.

“I’d like to be able to explain to the employees what changes we may be looking at making before you vote on something and give you an idea of what you are voting for,” Graves told the aldermen.

“Either way we are going to have to structure something that is very different than what they’ve had in the past,” he said.