Orange County Economic Development

Chapel Hill Town Council evenly divided on Charterwood, plans do-over

By Tammy Grubb      The News and Observer

The Town Council tied Wednesday over whether the Charterwood mixed-use development meets goals outlined in the town’s Comprehensive Plan, delaying further discussion of the project to Sept. 24.

The 4-4 decision stopped consideration of a proposed rezoning and a special-use permit. Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt and council members Jim Ward, Penny Rich and Donna Bell voted in favor of the resolution, with members Matt Czajkowski, Laurin Easthom, Ed Harrison and Lee Storrow voting against.

Council member Gene Pease was absent.

Developer Bill Christian has asked the town change the current residential zoning on three parcels at 1641 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. to a mixed-use village zoning district. The 278,000-square-foot project is planned for 15.7 acres southwest of Weaver Dairy Road.

It includes 154 residential units and up to 72,000 square feet of retail and office space, and would preserve an existing farmhouse. Instead of building affordable housing, the developer plans to pay the town $233,000.

Roughly 45 percent of the land will be undeveloped, creating a buffer behind an adjacent neighborhood and a three-acre park.

The council first voted on the rezoning request in June, rejecting a motion to deny it, and then approved the rezoning on a 5-4 vote. However, state rules requires a second vote since the first did not get six of the council’s nine votes.

Planning Director J.B. Culpepper advised the council before Wednesday’s scheduled vote that planning staff had learned at a summer training session the council should vote on a statement of consistency before voting on rezoning applications.

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