Published: Jun 12, 2012 07:00 PM
Modified: Jun 12, 2012 04:32 PM
For three years and seven Town Council meetings (plus advisory board meetings), residents protesting the Charterwood development have been subjected to highly questionable behavior by the applicant, William Christian and Associates.
The concept plan review in February of 2009 elicited a number of criticisms from the council.
This was followed by deferments, continuations, absences and other tactics designed to obfuscate the many problems inherent in the application.
Each of these meetings saw Chapel Hill residents and their children come out to make their voice heard.
This finally came up for a vote Jan. 30 when the application did not garner the council votes required for approval, based on a valid protest petition filed by neighbors and concerned residents.
This should have ended the process for at least a full year, based on town regulations. However, Christian reverted to a device that negated the only legal avenue for objection.
March 29, he cleverly recombined the lots to circumvent the petition.
Understand that the project submitted was exactly the same in every respect to the one that was defeated Jan. 30!
One example of many specific and clearly documented concerns has been parking.
The application was presented and reiterated as being highly transit friendly.
Throughout those council meetings, many council criticisms addressing this were consistently repeated.
The amount of parking was an issue from day one, when then-Councilman Mark Kleinschmidt said that the amount of parking needed “justification.” Those concerns were repeated by council members Jim Ward and Laurin Easthom.
In May of 2011, Mayor Kleinschmidt stated he wanted “more information on the amount of parking or less parking.”
In June of 2011, Councilwoman Donna Bell wanted a “better explanation for parking numbers and needs,” and Ward suggested halving the number of parking spots for one of the buildings.
I have gone into this detail for the following reason: When these comments were made, the proposed number of parking spaces was 282.
Now, in response to council’s repeated concerns, the proposal calls for 362 spots, an increase of 28 percent!
Clearly, Christian isn’t listening or addressing this concern (one among many) raised by both the Council and residents – a concern which he has used as one of the main selling points of his application.
How can the mayor and Town Council, in good conscience, approve something that is clearly not in the town’s best interests?
This time of expansion is when this kind of precedent will dictate the tone of future development in Chapel Hill.