This is Ken Larsen.
There has been a lot of controversy about the Ephesus-Fordham plan. Some people are for it, and some people are against it. The main reason for the polarization is:
If you just read Town’s vision statement or advertising, you’ll love it. I give the Town’s staff an A+ for the hype.
If you are a real estate broker or a developer, you’ll love it… as you stand to make a lot of money.
However, if you actually read the plan, you’ll find that it has many shortcomings:
- It will not bring us the type of stores Chapel Hill really needs, like a Costco or a Target, but instead lots of expensive apartments.
- Up-zoning will increase the property values of many small businesses and force them to leave.
- It will not resolve flooding issues for downstream property owners.
- Increased density and 7 story buildings don’t belong in a flood zone. Many of the buildings that are there shouldn’t have been built in the first place. They flood often.
- It will exacerbate traffic congestion by adding several thousand new residents to a congested part of town.
- It will not be walkable, as more streets will be added, but no pedestrian bridges or tunnels will be built to connect to current neighborhoods.
- It will diminish our stock of affordable housing. A token amount of affordable housing will be provided… but only in a later phase.
I give the current plan a C minus, and I urge the Town Council to fix the plan before any up-zoning vote is taken. Please make the plan match the vision that was agreed upon in the Small Area Plan.