CHAPEL HILL — The Town Council will take another look Tuesday at competing plans for how the Estes Drive-MLK Boulevard intersection should grow.
Central West is a roughly 97-acre area surrounding the Estes Drive-Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard intersection. The council has two options: an official map drafted by the 17-member Central West Steering Committee and a less-dense citizens alternative map.
The council’s meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the Southern Human Services Center on Homestead Road.
If the council approves a small-area plan, developers and town staff will use it to design future projects. Approval does not guarantee everything on the map would be built, when it could be built or how the area would look.
Most of the land would have to be rezoned for commercial or multifamily projects.
Planning Board Chairman Neal Bench said the big questions are how much development should happen and how it could affect traffic, stormwater and other concerns. The Planning Board unanimously approved the committee’s revised map Tuesday, with conditions.
The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools also provided recent comments. District officials said schools have room for the number of students expected to live there, but they would like to see safer pedestrian and bicycle connections.
The committee’s map shows up to 270,000 square feet of commercial and retail space, 620 residential units and buildings up to three stories along the streets, stepping back to four stories. Taller buildings are possible along the steep slopes south of Estes Drive.
A citizens group – four committee members and residents – drafted its own map after complaining its ideas weren’t getting a fair shake. That map recommends less retail and commercial space in exchange for more single- and multifamily homes. It also creates several parks and includes senior housing south of Estes Drive.
Town officials and other committee members have said the alternative ideas were considered but didn’t win in supermajority votes.
Bench said the plan makes sense if the town’s goal is to get projects approved faster. He also praised town planner Megan Wooley, who worked with residents and the committee to keep the process moving forward.
“She did a very nice job hearing what people said and summarizing it in a clear document,” Bench said.
A preliminary report in October drew an overflow crowd of more than 100 people to the Southern Human Services Center. Some residents said they left because they couldn’t hear the discussion. They asked the town to plan for a bigger venue next time.
Town officials instead changed the date and are starting an hour earlier than usual.