CHAPEL HILL- The advisory committee charged with evaluating a development proposal for the Obey Creek property across from Southern Village said Tuesday that plan is not ready to move forward to the Chapel Hill Town Council.
“There are just too many pieces that are not known to make a responsible decision for the town and the community,” said committee member Jeanne Brown.
The concept plan calls for 1.5 million square feet of retail, office space and housing along South 15-501. This past spring the Town Council appointed a 17-member committee to evaluate the plan and decide if elected officials should begin negotiating a development agreement with East West Partners to govern the design and build-out of the project.
The committee is due to report to the council in January, but the majority of members signaled they are not ready to approve the next phase unless major changes are made.
***Addition: The committee took a vote on whether to accept the plan, reject it, or change it. The vote made was to change it to go along with the set of principals that were adopted by the committee. (This information was shared with WCHL from Aaron Nelson who is a member of the committee)
***The committee also voted to extend the exploratory phase in the effort to accomplish:
1. Council review of scope and direction given to Technical Team
2. East West Partners provides a new concept plan that is aligned with Compass Committee principles
3. Economic cost/benefit and traffic analysis data are applied to the new plan
4. Inclusion of all or part of the Compass Committee in evaluating the new plan
A decision whether or not to move into phase two will be based on the outcome of those topics. (This information was shared with WCHL from Jeanne Brown who made the motion to to extend the exploratory phase)
Specifically, they want to see a new, smaller concept plan from East West Partners, one that incorporates the design principals the committee has outlined. Much of Tuesday’s three hour meeting focused on ways to keep the project “human-scaled” by limiting building heights, capping square footage, reducing block size and focusing on pedestrians and cyclists.
Members also say the council shouldn’t consider any next steps until studies of the traffic and economic impacts of the project are completed.
“I don’t think the Town Council has the information right now that will allow them to be able to specifically define the things that they want as an outcome from that negotiation,” said committee member and Southern Village resident Susana Dancy.
The committee meets again in two weeks to finalize its recommendations, but some want to ask the council for an extension to allow time to evaluate any new data or revised plans.
The council will hear from the committee and the developer on January 13.