Citizen and advisory board recommendations have been ignored.
Despite a 2-3 year collaborative process with citizens to decide on
changes to the Ephesus-Fordham (EF) area, the Town Council chose not
to adopt the Advisory Board and citizen recommendations.
The EF plan which was approved (6-3) by the
Council on May 12, 2014 permits 7 story buildings; however, the
Small Area Plan that the public and staff approved in 2011
permitted nothing higher than 5 stories. Mayor Mark
Kleinschmidt, Lee Storrow, Donna Bell, Sally Greene, Maria Palmer,
and George Cianciolo were the yes votes.
Matt Czajkowski, Jim Ward, and Ed Harrison were the no votes.
petition with 850 signatures asking for an improved Form Based
Code (FBC) was ignored on May 12, 2014.
The Council approved
the selling of 8.5 acres of Town property (worth $ 2M) for $ 100
without a public hearing.
In 2014, the Town Council
restructured planning boards to increase the influence of the
"Growth Machine" (special business interests who want Chapel Hill to
grow at a fast rate). They asked for everyone's resignation
and rebuilt each board from scratch.
Historically Chapel Hill has had a land use plan which governs
zoning. The Town is departing from that and is now using other
means for rezoning which has development agreements and Form Based
Code (FBC). The Council considers the Special Use Permit
(SUP) process as being too onerous and too time-consuming, but it
had environment and energy protections along with ample public
review. Not using SUP has other negatives.
Version of Form Based Code (FBC) to be rolled out for EF lacks the
SUP safety net. It also doesn't provide for ample parking.
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Current FBC reduces public feedback to just
cosmetic issues and via the Community Design Commission (CDC).