The Chapel Hill Town Council unanimously approved a change to the Ephesus-Fordham form based code that would make blocks in the district smaller and increase connectivity.
“I think this is a really important thing that we’re moving forward with,” said Travis Crayton from the town’s Planning Commission. “It could really set Ephesus-Fordham up to be a really great urban center for our town.”
The town originally planned on creating blocks that were a maximum of 500 feet, but after the council expressed a desire for small blocks, town staff recommended changing to a maximum of 400 feet.
Developers who desire larger blocks can receive approval for up to 600 feet from the Community Design Commission. A building pass-through will be required every 200 feet.
“It doesn’t necessarily have to be a street division,” mayor Pam Hemminger said. “That’s part of this discussion that’s evolving is that it doesn’t have to a road with two lanes a sidewalk.”
Some residents raised objections to the change, saying that it did not take into account issues such as topography, which could prevent a development from abiding by the law.
Councilman Michael Parker said the plan was still a work-in-progress.
“There is a commitment from the manager and the staff over the summer to engage with a consultant,” he said. “To really work through all of these issues through conversations with whomever needs to be conversed with.”
Town staff will review the plan, as well as addition changes to the Ephesus-Fordham zoning district over the summer.
The council will examine these issues when they return from break in the fall.