Thursday, November 20, 2008
Woodmont will move forward. That is the news coming out of the Chapel Hill Town Council. The following article from The Daily Tar Heel details the plans.
The Chapel Hill Town Council voted to approve several measures that will allow the Woodmont development project off of N.C. Highway 54 to continue.
Representatives from Capital Associates in Cary, who are in charge of the development, presented materials and plans for the proposed 33-acre site that will house office space, condominiums and retail.Most surrounding neighborhoods seem to be in favor of the redevelopment, said Harry Bowles, project manager for Capital Associates.
“We believe that most of the neighborhoods are now on board in favor of the proposal,” Bowles said. “There is some vocal opposition still, though.”Sally Trauco, who lives on the border of the proposed site, said she is in favor of the plan.“I think it is a nice amendment to the Meadowmont area,” Trauco said. “There are lots of residential areas around there. It would be nice for all of us to be able to walk to one place.”Trauco spoke at the meeting and submitted a letter to the council that included 10 signatures in favor, two opposed and eight neutral neighbors. She filed the letter so the council would know exactly who was in favor and who was opposed, she said.Henry Lister said he has been fighting the Woodmont development for years. He said the development will not fit the town’s comprehensive plan like developers said it will.“Despite all the changes and promises made by the developers, there are some issues that have not changed,” Lister said. “Woodmont lacks … pedestrian connectivity. It brings over 5,000 car trips per day onto the over-burdened (N.C. Highway) 54.”In May, the Chapel Hill Planning Board recommended that the council deny the request to rezone the area.But town staff, in a memo to Town Manager Roger Stancil for Monday’s meeting, recommended that the rezoning be approved despite citizen objections to traffic impact and public transportation opportunities.And the developers said they have worked out the main differences with the surrounding citizens.“We are almost fully aligned with the neighbors who have taken a stand,” Bowles said to the council.Bowles said his company has taken all of the necessary steps to not only protect surrounding areas, but enhance them, including a pedestrian walkway all around the site.“It will be a stark contrast to the warehouses and storage sheds that are currently sitting there,” Bowles said.The council approved a rezoning application, a master land use plan application and a special use permit that the development needs to proceed.“We still have to go through with the zoning compliance. It could take another five to six months to start with phase one,” Bowles said.The council also approved a motion to draft a letter of intent granting Kidzu Children’s Museum a space on the plaza level of the Wallace parking deck.