Published: Sep 24, 2012 09:54 PM
Modified: Sep 24, 2012 09:55 PM
CHAPEL HILL - After five years and four votes, the Chapel Hill Town Council vote 5-4 Monday night to approve both a rezoning and a special-use permit for the proposed Charterwood mixed-use development.
The council did not discuss the project before or after voting.
This was the third vote for the latest Charterwood plan. The first vote, in June, rejected a motion to deny the project’s required rezoning, and then approved it on a 5-4 vote. However, state rules required a second vote since the first did not get six of the council’s nine votes.
The council voted again Sept. 12 but tied 4-4 on a statement of consistency with the town’s Comprehensive Plan goals. A state court has determined that local governing bodies must vote on the statement of consistency before approving a rezoning request. The council did that Monday night
Monday’s vote fell along the same lines as the June vote with Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt and council members Jim Ward, Penny Rich, Gene Pease and Donna Bell voting in favor. Council members Czajkowski, Laurin Easthom, Ed Harrison and Lee Storrow opposed the project.Mixed-use village
The vote changes the current residential zoning on three parcels to a mixed-use village district zoning.
Roughly 45 percent of the land would be undeveloped, creating a three-acre park and a minimum 50-foot buffer between the development and the Northwoods neighborhood. The 278,000-square-foot development is planned for 9.3 acres south of Weaver Dairy Road and west of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
Charterwood developer Bill Christian recently submitted a revised SUP that limits two buildings to a maximum height of about 70 feet; the western side of one building would be limited to 61 feet. The plan includes up to 154 residences and 72,000 square feet of retail and office space. He plans to pay the town $233,000 instead of building affordable housing.Property lines redrawn
Charterwood was first proposed in 2007 and has been submitted several times with some changes, including larger buffers and reduced size, density and parking.
A protest petition helped defeat the proposal in January, but Christian redrew the property lines and submitted a new rezoning request and permit application. Neighbors failed to get enough signatures on a petition against the second request.
Town planning officials said redrawing lines for a new application, called recombination, is routine. The town’s land-use ordinance states that when the Town Council rejects a rezoning, the same or similar project cannot be resubmitted for one year. Critics said Charterwood has violated the rule, and complain that the move limits public opposition to potentially harmful projects.
Town staff said the council did not act on the rezoning, because it didn’t receive enough votes to be either approved or denied, so the waiting period doesn’t apply.
However, Northwood V neighbors have hired an attorney to oppose the move. Neighbors have threatened to sue if the Town Council approves the development.
The project’s opponents are concerned about the size of buffers, building heights and the potential for flooding and runoff problems downstream.