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Central West On Track To Present CH Planning Board

By Rachel Nash Posted October 8, 2013 at 11:40 pm

CHAPEL HILL – The Central West Steering Committee is on track to present its drafted plan to the Chapel Hill Planning Board next Tuesday. The group, which is disposed to having disagreements, decided to schedule an additional meeting Monday, though all the members won’t be present.

Committee member Sarah McIntee said she wanted to spend more time working out important details that were not addressed fully in the plan.

“I think this is a good start, but it is not finished. I think that putting a stamp on it would be premature,” McIntee said.

The committee’s looming deadline is November 25, when it will present final recommendations to the Chapel Hill Town Council for approval.

Since December of 2012, the committee has worked to craft its vision for future mixed-use development in the area, which is near the intersection of Estes Dr. and Martin Luther King Jr., Blvd. Recommendations in the detailed plan include uses and heights for the proposed development and suggestions for bicycle and pedestrian amenities.

Chapel Hillian Blair Pollock said during the public comment period that he was pleased with the provision for pedestrians and bicyclists.

“I’m really excited and happy to see that on the north side of Estes, there’s a plan for a wider path for non-motorized transportation.” Pollock said.

The committee made revisions to the draft on Tuesday evening in the sections dealing with streetscapes, transportation, and storm water management.

Before getting into the minutia of the meeting, the committee took time to read the draft and then gave feedback.

Julie McClintock, who has been vocal about her frustration with the process, said she believed that the transportation section, which in part discusses development and its impact on traffic in the area, won’t be completed or adequately addressed by Tuesday.

“I know the staff is doing the best they can, but this is an artificially imposed deadline, and we can’t really do a good job, a thoughtful job.” McClintock said.

Town staff said that more in-depth traffic analysis would be incorporated into the plan next week.

McClintock added that she did think that the draft had progressed and that it laid a good framework for moving forward.

Development and its relationship with storm water management has been a contested topic over which many community members have voiced concerns.

Town Planner Megan Wooley said that section of the plan was reviewed by the Town’s storm water management division. She said adjustments were made for practical purposes between stringent regulations and realistic expectations.

Committee member David Tuttle said he would rather “step up” storm water infrastructure, given the flash flooding that swept through Chapel Hill this summer.

The group agreed to meet again Monday at 3 p.m. at a location still to be determined. It will then present its recommendations to the Planning Board Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. in the Public Works Building 2 on Millhouse Road.

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