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:

  1. 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.
  2. Up-zoning will increase the property values of many small businesses and force them to leave.
  3. It will not resolve flooding issues for downstream property owners.
  4. 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.
  5. It will exacerbate traffic congestion by adding several thousand new residents to a congested part of town.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.