Published: Jan 23, 2013 07:00 PM
Modified: Jan 22, 2013 02:46 PM
CHAPEL HILL - Residents can weigh in tonight on a developer’s plan to bring more than 500 more students within walking distance of the UNC campus.
Trinitas Ventures wants to raze three two-story apartment buildings at the Central Park Apartments, 602 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. The 9.1-acre site is zoned for residential, office and institutional uses, and about 4.4 acres lie in stream conservation zones.
The redevelopment would add one large building to the site that rises to four stories near the Franklin-Rosemary Historic District and six stories as it descends the hill.
The 194-unit Bicycle Apartments at Central Park would be located 170 feet from MLK Boulevard and offer 608 fully furnished, student-oriented bedrooms with private baths. The existing complex has 74 units.
Roughly 60 percent of the apartments would be four-bedroom suites.
The plan also proposes parking for 216 cars and 324 bicycles, and about 20,000 square feet for recreation.
Trinitas developer Travis Vencel modified this latest version of the plan in response to comments from Town Council, advisory boards and residents. The Planning Board recommends denying the application; four other advisory boards support it with conditions. The original plan had four seven-story buildings, 301 units and 150 parking spaces.
Vencel also has offered to pay $90,000 to the town’s affordable housing fund – $5,000 for up to 18 apartments. Another payment of more than $20,000 could improve nearby Chapel Hill Transit stops and make changes to offset additional traffic, including the construction of a high-visibility, mid-block crosswalk near the complex entrance.
The council would have to partially revoke a special-use permit for the site and the adjacent University Apartments before rezoning the property.
The proposed Residential-Special Standards-Conditional zoning allows higher-density redevelopment projects with fewer parking spaces and taller buildings. It also allows more land disturbance and impervious surface than usual in the town’s Resource Conservation District.
The town has approved similar projects in or near downtown, including the Shortbread Lofts and The Residences at Grove Park.
Some nearby residents oppose the rezoning and higher density. The apartments are closer to their homes than MLK Boulevard, undercutting the developer’s justification, they said. Neighbors also want the opportunity to decide the area’s future through the town’s 2020 Plan focus group process.
Another concern is the plan for a new pedestrian path to downtown and the UNC campus through Cobb Terrace.
The neighborhood has long been a student cut-through, suffering the effects of noise, littering and pranks, neighbors said. They worry that will grow, along with late-night parties and illegal parking.
The developer’s application includes a tenant agreement that regulates the use of drugs, alcohol, smoking, firearms and other substances. It also outlines parking rules and sets quiet hours of 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.