Chapel Hill council OKs fire station plans, delays deciding former library future

tgrubb@newsobserver.comNovember 14, 2013 

  • In other business

    The Town Council continued a discussion to Nov. 25 about how to revamp development-related advisory boards.

    Council member Gene Pease led a conversation this summer about how to streamline board reviews and get development projects approved faster with more public input.

    The current system of 19 advisory boards, plus ad hoc committees, costs time and money, he said.

    The council is being asked to add four new advisory boards – Environmental Stewardship, Housing, Community Design, and Transportation and Connectivity – and update the Planning Board. Five existing boards could be dropped: Bicycle and Pedestrian, Cemeteries, Public Housing Program, Sustainability and Transportation.

    If the changes are approved, the new system could start by September, Pease said.

— The Town Council OK’d redeveloping a 1950s fire station and surrounding land but put the future of a longtime East Franklin Street landmark on hold.

Chapel Hill Fire Station No. 2, located near Glen Lennox at 1003 S. Hamilton Road is the first of three stations on highly developable property that could be replaced.

The town is seeking a public-private partnership with a developer who could house a temporary replacement for the Hamilton Road station while a new fire station is built.

Similar partnerships could help replace stations on Elliott and Weaver Dairy roads in the future.

Other properties under consideration for redevelopment or sale include the Chapel Hill Police Station on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, the former Town Hall (currently a shelter for Inter-Faith Council) on West Rosemary Street, and the former Chapel Hill Public Library/Chapel Hill Museum on East Franklin Street.

The council will discuss early next year what to do with the library building, now home to the Chapel Hill Historical Society.

If the council agrees to sell the building, staff could work with Preservation North Carolina to find a buyer. The town signed an agreement with Preservation North Carolina in 2007 to protect the building, located in the Franklin-Rosemary Historic District, from demolition.

Susan Worley, a member of the historical society’s board of directors, asked the town to reconsider.

“Once this building’s gone, it will be too late to get it back,” she said. “Two years, or 20 years, or 50 years down the road, the money from the sale will be long gone and the building that could have been a focal point to celebrate our community will have been turned into … a cookie-cutter office building, like so many we already have.”

Grubb: 919-932-8746

Chapel Hill News is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service