Months of negotiation on the Glen Lennox development agreement came down to the wire Monday night as the Chapel Hill Town Council rushed to conclude a four and a half hour meeting before accidentally triggering the automatic alarms at the Southern Human Services Center.
As the clock ticked toward midnight, Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt sped the council through a series of straw polls to dispatch the lingering points of contention between town staff and Glen Lennox developer Grubb Properties.
Much of the discussion focused on whether the developer should be required to provide bike lane improvements along N.C. 54, but Clay Grubb argued no amount of lane striping would help.
“The last thing we want is kids to think that they can ride in front of the shopping center and down under the bridge,” Grubb told the Council. “You know, I don’t care what hour it is, it’s a very, very dangerous street.”
The Council also considered, and then abandoned, the idea of asking the developer to extend the Meadowmont bike path from Burning Tree Drive to the eastern edge of the Glen Lennox property. Council member George Cianciolo said he believes that’s the town’s responsibility.
“We’re also talking about a developer who has been working for a couple years now on a very collaborative basis with the town, and I think we need to think very carefully about not trying to extract too much from this developer,” said Cianciolo.
As town staffers gathered papers in preparation for a hasty exit, Grubb Properties representative Rachel Russell told the Council there are still two unresolved matters the developer is looking to settle before signing off on a twenty-year plan to redevelop one of Chapel Hill’s oldest commercial centers and the surrounding neighborhood.
“There are two more issues that we brought to the table with some concern, and I recognize we’ve run out of time, but they are important issues to us that we need to address,” said Russell. “If I can, I’ll reach out to you this week and explain each of them to you.”
The redevelopment project has been in the works since 2004. Town planners and Grubb Properties have been actively engaged in the development agreement process since March 2013.
If approved, the Glen Lennox plan would add new roads, new housing and a greenway in the interior of the 70 acre site, as well as office and retail space along Fordham Boulevard and Raleigh Road.
All parties hoped to have the last few questions answered on Monday, in preparation for a final vote next week. The Council will reconsider the Glen Lennox Development Agreement on Monday, June 23.