Chapel Hill puts surplus property, advisory boards on agenda

tgrubb@newsobserver.comNovember 8, 2013 

— The Town Council will discuss surplus and aging properties during its meeting at 7 p.m. Monday in the Southern Human Services Center, 2501 Homestead Road.

A group of local real estate and business professionals helped study properties, including the former Chapel Hill Public Library/Chapel Hill Museum on East Franklin Street, Chapel Hill Police Station on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and the former Town Hall (IFC shelter) on West Rosemary Street.

The fate of two properties will be considered Monday: the library and Chapel Hill Fire Station No. 2. If the council agrees, town staff could work with Preservation North Carolina to sell the former library building. The nonprofit signed an agreement with the town to protect the building, in the Franklin-Rosemary Historic District, from demolition.

The council also could ask the town manager to seek bids for the temporary relocation and reconstruction of Fire Station No. 2 at 1003 S. Hamilton Road. behind East 54 near the Glen Lennox neighborhood. Town staff propose a public-private partnership that includes the new fire station in a larger mixed-use development. Similar partnerships could help replace stations on Elliott and Weaver Dairy roads, located on lots with commercial redevelopment potential, staff said.

Advisory board changes

Also Monday, the council will consider a proposal to revamp its advisory boards. The advisory board makeover is a recommendation of the town’s 2020 Comprehensive Plan for growth.

Town staff worked with UNC’s School of Government, the Council Committee on Boards and Commissions and residents for nearly a year to review the current system of advisory boards. The goal is to streamline the town’s development approval process and create more opportunities for public input.

The council is being asked to add three new advisory boards: Environmental Stewardship, Housing and Transportation and Connectivity. The council also could terminate five existing boards: Bicycle and Pedestrian, Cemeteries, Public Housing Program, Sustainability and Transportation.

If the changes are approved, they would be fully phased in by July 1. In the meantime, the town would develop new criteria for applicants, applications and advisory board training. A tentative deadline of April 15 has been set for receiving applications from residents interested in serving on the new boards.

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