Wastewater Overflow near Fordham Boulevard

The Orange Water and Sewer Authority responded to a spill of untreated wastewater on Thursday near Fordham Boulevard and Erwin Road in an area that drains to Booker Creek.

The wastewater spill of about 1,875 gallons occurred because of a sewer build-up and blockage caused by debris.

The NC Division of Water Resources is reviewing the overflow, which lasted from 10:30 Thursday morning until 4:45 that afternoon.

To prevent future wastewater spills, OWASA encourages residents to not dispose of debris and trash like baby wipes in water drains and to contact them prior to planting any trees, shrubs or installing fences.


Wednesday Morning Vehicle Fire Cleared from Fordham Boulevard

***UPDATE: Both accidents have been cleared and traffic is back to normal in both directions.***

Multiple wrecks have been reported on Fordham Boulevard Wednesday morning.

The obstructions are causing major delays near the junction with 15-501 in southern Chapel Hill.

Traffic heading north on Fordham is backed up to the exit from 15-501 due to an accident near Manning Drive.

Chapel Hill Police said the obstruction in the northbound lanes is a vehicle on fire.

In the southbound lanes, construction near Manning Drive and a wreck between Raleigh Road and Manning Drive is causing backups as well.

Chapel Hill Fire officials are saying that delays are expected to last until early Wednesday afternoon.

Motorists are encouraged to avoid the area if possible.


CHTC Green Lights Ephesus-Fordham Road Plan

The Chapel Hill Town Council on Monday gave town planners the green light to move forward with a revamp of the Fordham Boulevard-Ephesus ChurchRoad intersection.

The first phase of the project will cost $2.4 million, but the NC Department of Transportation will reimburse the town for the majority of the costs.

The project will widen Ephesus Church Road near Rams Plaza and add a new westbound left-turn lane as well as pedestrian crossings, medians and missing sidewalk connections.

Officials say construction to redesign one of Chapel Hill’s busiest intersections will take place during off-hours and during the summer months.

Council members voted unanimously to authorize roadway design, negotiation with property owners for public right-of-way and easement agreements, and bidding the projects for construction.


Water Main Break Near Fordham Blvd (15-501) and Estes Dr.

8:45 p.m. Update – All lanes of Fordham Boulevard are now open. OWASA reports that the repairs are complete.

12:30 p.m. Update – The Orange Water and Sewer Authority reports that the repair of the water main break may be completed by late afternoon or early evening.

7:45 a.m. Update – One northbound lane of Fordham Boulevard (15-501) was opened a little after 7:30 a.m. Wednesday according to Chapel Hill Police Public Information Sergeant Bryan Walker. Heavy delays should still be expected in the area of 15-501 and Estes Dr.

Story originally posted October 8, 2014, 6:35 a.m.

Both northbound lanes of Fordham Boulevard (15-501) are closed around Estes Drive due to a water main break that occurred Wednesday morning.

The break occurred on the north side of the intersection. Chapel Hill Police officers are diverting traffic away from the area and OWASA crews are on the scene repairing the break. It is not known at this time when the road will be reopened.


Friday’s Homicide Investigation Continues

Story originally posted 2:02 p.m., June 2, 2014

Questions remain in Friday’s homicide in Southeast Chapel Hill as the investigation rolls on.

Chapel Hill Police Public Information Lt. Josh Mecimore confirmed Monday afternoon that no new information was available. When the first reports came in of the shooting, a few details were reported that are still unclear. The incident was initially reported as a break-in, but Lt. Mecimore said neither the victim nor the suspect were residents of the home where it took place at 102 S. Christopher Road. He said the dispatcher might have first used that description when there was little information.

South Christopher Road runs parallel to 15-501, Fordham Boulevard, and the home is next to the onramp from NC-54.

Lew Hahn Hood, 33, of Chapel Hill was pronounced dead at the scene on Friday afternoon, after police officers responded to a report of a shooting. Police say Hood had multiple gunshot wounds.

Bartholomew Romidas Scott, 35, of Durham was arrested and charged with first degree murder. He’s being held without bond in Orange County Jail, and had his first appearance in court Monday.

The Chapel Hill News reports that Scott’s attorney, Matt Suczynski, told the court Monday that it was Scott who called 911 to summon police to the scene. While the investigation is ongoing, Orange and Chatham District Attorney Jim Woodall said police believe, “at this time”, Scott is responsible for killing Hood.

Woodall also said police are trying to figure out if anyone else was involved.

Alert Carolina reported Friday that there were two black male suspects. UNC Department of Public Safety spokesperson, Randy Young said that was the early report released by Chapel Hill Police, that two black males were involved. Lt. Mecimore said Chapel Hill Police were not looking for a second suspect.

A June 12 probable cause hearing is now scheduled for Scott to determine whether police have enough evidence to hold him on the murder charge.


Five-Car Pileup Closes Fordham For One Hour

CHAPEL HILL – Your Friday morning commute was a slow one if Fordham Boulevard is your normal route.

“The accident that occurred on Fordham Boulevard near Kings Mill Road this morning was in the northbound lanes,” Chapel Hill Police Public Information Sgt. Brian Walker says. “Initial reports were that seven vehicles were involved. When officers arrived on scene, I believe they discovered that there were actually five vehicles involved.”

Sgt. Walker says police were investigating the cause of the accident, but that information was not immediately available.

“One person was trapped in their vehicle—at least temporarily until the fire department arrived and was able to free them,” Sgt. Walker says. “That is the only person that was transported to the hospital in that accident.”

Sgt. Walker says the extent of the injuries was not immediately known but that CHPD believed they were fairly serious.

The northbound lanes of Fordham Blvd. were closed for about an hour between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m.


Pedestrian Killed At Estes Drive Intersection

CHAPEL HILL- A woman died Wednesday night after being hit by a car near the intersection of Fordham Boulevard and South Estes Drive. Chapel Hill police say Lisa Renee Baldwin, 41, of Chapel Hill, was walking when she was hit shortly before 8:30 p.m. Baldwin died at the scene of injuries related to the accident.

WCHL will have more on this story as details become available.


CH Man Struck While Biking On Fordham Blvd.Tuesday

CHAPEL HILL – A Chapel Hill man was hit while biking on North Fordham Boulevard near the Estes Drive intersection Tuesday afternoon.

Donald Holloway, 75, was knocked off his bicycle at 4:48 p.m. by a truck hauling a trailer with heavy piece of equipment on it, Sergeant Donnie Rhodes of the Chapel Hill Police Department confirmed. The piece of equipment hit Holloway, catapulting him over his handle bars. The truck driver did not realize that Holloway had been hit and continued to drive until police later stopped him. The driver also said he thought Holloway was a pedestrian and did not realize he was riding a bike.

Holloway, who was wearing his helmet at the time of the accident, was transported to UNC Hospitals. Srgt. Rhodes said believes he did not sustain life-threatening injuries.

The incident caused the right lane of Fordham Blvd. to be closed-off and traffic was backed-up for about an hour.


Plans On Hold (For Now) For Park At Chapel Hill Redevelopment

CHAPEL HILL – Plans are on hold—at least temporarily—for the redevelopment of an apartment complex on Ephesus Church Road, as Town officials prepare to discuss rezoning.

“The applicant had (seen) that the Town was beginning to move forward,” says Chapel Hill economic development officer Dwight Bassett, “so the client felt that it made sense for them to step back into the sidelines and let us get through with the conversation about the rezoning before they proceed with their application.”

The complex in question is The Park at Chapel Hill (formerly The Colony), located at 1250 Ephesus Church Road behind the Chapel Hill University Inn. The plan is to redevelop it as a mixed-use project, with 10,000 square feet of retail and 800 apartments and townhomes.

View the Town’s page on the Park project.

See the concept plan.

That plan is part of a larger undertaking by the Town to revamp the entire Ephesus Church-Fordham Boulevard corridor—including a redevelopment of Ram’s Plaza and the construction of new roads and road extensions to better handle traffic. The Town Council approved a Small Area Plan for the area in June of 2011.

Click here to see the plan itself, with details about the new roads–including extensions of Elliott and Legion.

But that project requires a rezoning, and Bassett says the developer has decided to withdraw its concept plan for the Park at Chapel Hill until the rezoning process is finished. Bassett says the rezoning will be done by the end of this year—at which point he expects the developer to resubmit.

“They’re continuing to plan, continuing to consider, continuing to move forward,” he says. “They still have the desire, hopefully, to come out of the ground with beginning some redevelopment in 2014, and we think that this path can still meet that goal.”

The Chapel Hill Town Council was set to discuss the concept plan at its meeting next Monday, but that has been postponed. Once the Council discusses the concept plan, the developer will come forward with a more formal development proposal.

The Park project is not without some controversy: that complex has been known as a primary source of affordable housing in Chapel Hill, and some have argued that the redevelopment is making affordable housing even harder to come by.

Filling the Borders II

 Filling in the Borders

The cavernous space that once housed Borders on Fordham is about to be filled… by a recent retail visitor to Chapel Hill.  And, like the last time, this visit will be temporary.

A month-long J.Crew pop-up warehouse sale is opening there for the month of October. 
Property Manager Joe Mendola says he’s been working hard to fill the 25,000+ square foot space since Borders closed last spring.  
J.Crew has had success here before, when it occupied an empty space in University Mall.  The photo below shows the crowds it attracted last winter when it brought in merchandise  from dozens of stores and made it a special event.  
Last April, University Mall General Manager Peter de Leon told me the J.Crew event brought it lots of traffic, particularly younger customers who are not frequent mall visitors.  He told me then J. Crew’s success opened the door to a repeat event. 
I asked de Leon today about J. Crew’s plans to return to Chapel Hill but not to the mall.  While he wishes the company was returning, he says University Mall couldn’t offer J.Crew a space big enough, “They wanted something bigger.”      

A source at J.Crew concurred that the larger location is what decided where it will open.  I learned also that Chapel Hill is one of about 4 places the company holds these sales and it’s the college town aspect of Chapel Hill that makes it a good place to set  pop up.  

Chapel Hill Economic Development Officer Dwight Bassett is glad to welcome J.Crew, “ This will be a positive short-term addition for Chapel Hill and hopefully can lead to a future tenant that will be a positive addition to our business community long-term.” 
As for that long-term tenant?  Mendola tells me to stay tuned; he’s working on a long-term deal with new tenant.  He would give me (us) the following clue:  “it’s community-minded”.
Are you ready to get in line for J.Crew’s pop-up?  It will be open Oct. 7-23rd.  On the 7th and 8th it will be open 8am-8pm.  From the 9th-23rd the store will be open 10am-8pm.  Customers will find samples and some returned merchandise.  What would you like to see next in that spot?  Leave a comment below or write to me at donnabeth@chapelboro.com.