CHAPEL HILL — The Town Council will return to work Monday at the Southern Human Services Center with an update on Glen Lennox development negotiations and summer flood damage.
A team of consultants is working with developers, town staff and residents on the first phase now for two projects: the residential and commercial redevelopment of the Glen Lennox neighborhood on N.C. 54, and the proposed Obey Creek development on U.S. 15/501 South. The information gathered in that first phase will help the council decide whether a development agreement is right for those projects.
The town or the developer can stop the negotiations at any time and choose instead to seek a special-use permit and, possibly, a rezoning. If a development agreement is reached, it would lay out how the project is built, what it looks like and what changes will be needed to ease any impact on traffic, schools and town services, among other issues.
Jason Damweber, the town’s project manager, said the technical team could recommend Monday that the council move on to Phase 2 for the Glen Lennox development agreement. Those negotiations are moving more quickly than the Obey Creek talks, because the town and Grubb Properties already spent two years discussing Glen Lennox with the community and creating the necessary Neighborhood Conservation District zoning, he said.
“The development team has been very clear it’s a community plan,” he said.
The technical team also is working on the Obey Creek project, which East-West Partners developers Ben and Roger Perry have put on hold for now. The original proposal calls for a mix of commercial, residential and retail uses on 40 of 124 acres located across the highway from Southern Village. The technical team and a 17-member committee of residents, developers and town staff are just starting that discussion, Damweber said. Each group is expected to present its own report to the Town Council in late November, he said.
The town hired the technical team, but the developers are picking up the tab. Contracts provided by the town show the four consultants would be paid $288,434 if they complete both phases.
Residents who have not been actively involved in the Obey Creek talks will get two chances this fall – a Sept. 18 public forum and an Oct. 8-9 design workshop – to learn more and offer feedback, he said.
Storm damage update
The Town Council also will hear Monday how much the June 30 storm will cost taxpayers. The storm dumped more than 5 inches of rain on the town in less than two hours, damaging the first floor of Chapel Hill’s Town Hall and 18 of 26 apartments at the town-owned Airport Gardens public housing complex.
Town staff estimated the Airport Gardens work could be completed by Sept. 30, while the work at Town Hall could take up to a year to finish. Insurance is only expected to pay about half the cost for the work, which town staff estimated at roughly $680,000 for Town Hall and $450,000 for the apartment complex, including the cost of housing affected residents in hotels for three months.
The work to reopen the first-floor of Town Hall is taking more time, because the damage was so extensive that officials decided to proceed with long-planned renovations to the Business Management office and the Town Council chambers. The town will use money from its savings to cover the costs that insurance doesn’t pay, officials said.