Monday, December 08, 2008
The Chapel Hill Town Council gave the Cary firm The Design Response mixed feedback at a public hearing on Monday night. The firm is considering a mixed-use project along Homestead Road on the Fraley Property that would include 32 townhomes– five “affordable” — and two two-story buildings featuring up to 49,000 square feet of office space. Members of the Town Council offered suggestions, including improving traffic patterns, maximizing the proposed retail space and mixing the affordable housing throughout the project. Here is the full story as reported by Daniel Goldberg of The Herald-Sun
Firm offers four options for development
As a matter of process, the Chapel Hill Town Council gives developers an opportunity to get direct feedback on proposed building projects. During a Monday public hearing, Cary firm The Design Response fully embraced the opportunity to get direct feedback on proposed building projects. During a Monday public hearing, Cary firm The Design Response fully embraced the opportunity: Jack Smyre, a principle in the company, presented four options of a concept plan for the Homestead Road area referred to as the Fraley Property. Smyre told the council that The Design Response favors the third option, a mixed-use approach that would include 32 townhomes– five “affordable” — and two two-story buildings featuring up to 49,000 square feet of office space. Members of the Town Council offered suggestions regarding the orientation of the concept: Bill Strom noted that the affordable units should be mixed with the rest of the townhomes, Mayor Kevin Foy said the parking deck supporting the commercial buildings looked “uninviting.” Councilwoman, Laurin Easthom, who lives in the area, was particularly concerned about traffic and the placement of commercial space in a largely residential part of Homestead and Weaver Dairy Road Extension. She said there is commercial development in both directions on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and “it’s not like we need” more. Fellow Councilman Matt Czajkowski had a different take, recommending that the developer maximize the retail space, pointing to the need for more commercial tax base in Chapel Hill. He asked Smyre what kind of stores he envisioned at the Fraley Property. The developer said those decisions have not been made, but he anticipates “neighborhood scale” businesses like a Subway or an insurance office. “My notion of success in terms of retail in Chapel Hill does not include a coffee shop, a pizza place, a drycleaner and a Subway,” Czajkowski replied. “I would like us to be a little more creative than that.” The council’s agenda was thinner than previously expected. A concept plan for a proposed hotel in Southern Village was pulled from the agenda at the request of developers, who are working with a committee formed by the Southern Village Homeowners Association on a compromise for the site. “The chairman of that committee asked us to postpone because they had not had enough time to look at the material or work with us,” developer D.R. Bryan said Monday. Some Southern Village residents oppose Bryan and developer John Fugo’s proposal of a four-story hotel or other building on the site where a parking lot sits. More than 80 residents have signed a petition against the development and dozens of people have written to the Chapel Hill Planning Department.
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