Published: Feb 26, 2013 07:00 PM
Modified: Feb 26, 2013 06:34 PM
CHAPEL HILL - The Town Council could decide tonight whether a developer can triple the number of students in a redeveloped apartment complex at 602 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Trinitas Ventures wants to raze three two-story apartment buildings at the Central Park Apartments and replace them with one larger building. The council had many questions at its public hearing Jan. 22 about how a larger student residential project would affect surrounding neighborhoods.
The new Bicycle Apartments at Central Park would offer 194 student-oriented units with 608 fully furnished bedrooms renting for $600 to $737 each, developer Travis Vencel said. Limited parking and increased bicycle storage would encourage residents to walk, bike or take the bus, he said.
The building would rise from four to six stories as it descends the hill. The project also needs council approval of a rezoning and special-use permit that allows a slightly taller building, fewer parking spaces and permission for crews to work in the stream conservation zone covering half the 9.1-acre site.
If approved, the project would triple the number of residents.
Vencel said it also could bring a five-fold increase in property values and tax payments.
A strict written policy, on-site security and screening would ensure the student residents don’t cause additional noise, traffic and crime in the nearby Franklin-Rosemary Historic District, he said.
Many residents have said the project won’t meet the town’s need for workforce and affordable housing. Some have asked the town for time first to complete the Chapel Hill 2020 small-area planning process, which will create a vision for how that area of town should grow. Once that property is redeveloped, it won’t leave much for neighbors to talk about, they said.
Other residents, students and business representatives support the plan’s focus on student housing and economic vitality. The plan also meets the town’s 2020 Plan goals, they told the council.
Trinitas has agreed to pay $90,000 to the town’s affordable housing fund instead of providing lower-cost apartments. The developer also committed to $20,000 in bus stop, traffic and crosswalk improvements.
Other items on the council’s agenda include a preliminary budget discussion, a five-year fire services contract for homes in southern Orange County, traffic control and speeding concerns, and parking regulations in the Pine Knolls neighborhood.