AGENDA #11a

MEMORANDUM

 

TO:

 

Roger L. Stancil, Town Manager

 

FROM:

 

J.B. Culpepper, Planning Director

Gene Poveromo, Development Coordinator

 

DATE:

 

June 27, 2007

 

SUBJECT:

 

Downtown Economic Development Initiative – Parking Lot 5, Zoning Atlas Amendment Application (File No. 9788-27-3068)

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Enactment of the attached Ordinance would rezone a 1.92-acre site from the Town Center-2 (TC-2) to the Town Center-3-Conditional (TC-3-C) zoning district. The seven lot assemblage is located on the east side of Church Street between West Franklin and Rosemary Streets and is currently occupied by Town of Chapel Hill Parking Lot No. 5. The site is identified as Orange County Property Identifier Numbers 9788-27-3068, 9788-27-6139, 9788-27-7042, 9788-27-7101, 9788-27-7251, 9788-27-8102, and 9788-27-8107.

 

The applicant has submitted an accompanying application for a Special Use Permit. The Special Use Permit application proposes to construct a nine-story mixed-use building with retail, residential dwelling units and a maximum of 340 parking spaces in two levels of structured parking. Please see the accompanying memorandum for additional information.

This package of material has been prepared for the Town Council’s consideration, and is organized as follows:

DISCUSSION

 

Zoning determines the type and intensity of uses and development that are allowed on a piece of land. A Zoning Atlas Amendment involves a change to the current zoning, and thus the permitted types and intensity of land uses. In Chapel Hill, a rezoning may be requested in two ways: general use and conditional use rezoning requests. A general use rezoning request is to change the zoning to a different zoning district in which any of several kinds of developments and uses are permissible. A conditional use rezoning request is to allow development and uses only with approval of a Special Use Permit. This rezoning application is a conditional use rezoning request and is accompanied by a Special Use Permit application.

 

The zoning designation of a property determines the range of land uses and development intensities permitted on the property. Article 4.4 of the Land Use Management Ordinance establishes the intent of Zoning Atlas Amendments by stating that, “In order to establish and maintain sound, stable, and desirable development within the planning jurisdiction of the Town it is intended that this chapter shall not be amended except:

 

a)                to correct a manifest error in the chapter; or

b)               because of changed or changing conditions in a particular area or in the jurisdiction generally; or

c)                to achieve the purposes of the Comprehensive Plan.

 

Article 4.4 further indicates:

 

It is further intended that, if amended, this chapter be amended only as reasonably necessary to the promotion of the public health, safety, or general welfare, and in conformance with the Comprehensive Plan.

 

The Council has discretionary authority to approve or deny a rezoning request. As with a conditional use rezoning request, the specific proposal in the accompanying Special Use Permit application is related to the rezoning request. We believe it is appropriate for the Council to consider a specific Special Use Permit proposal, in tandem with a rezoning hearing. If the Council does not find the Special Use Permit proposal to be an acceptable use of the property, we would recommend that the Council not approve the rezoning request.

 

There were no issues raised during the June 18, 2007 public hearing regarding the proposed zoning atlas amendment application.

 

ANALYSIS OF THE APPLICATION

 

Analysis of this application is organized around the requirement of the Land Use Management Ordinance that Article 4.4 of the Ordinance shall not be amended except: a) to correct a manifest error in the chapter; or b) because of changed or changing conditions in a particular area or in the jurisdiction generally; or c) to achieve the purposes of the Comprehensive Plan.

 

a.      A rezoning is necessary to correct a manifest error.

 

Staff Comment: We believe the information in the record to date can be summarized as follows:

 

Arguments in Support: We were unable to identify any arguments in support of a manifest error.

 

b.      A rezoning is necessary because of changed or changing conditions in a particular area or in the jurisdiction generally.

 

Staff Comment: We believe the information in the record thus far can be summarized as follows:

 

Arguments in Support: Arguments in support of changed or changing conditions were offered at the June 18, 2007 Public Hearing and can be summarized as follows:

               Town Establishment of the Northside Neighborhood Conservation District

               Town Investment in Public Transit

               Increasing Town wide Traffic Issues

               Increased Interest in Living in Urban Core Areas

               The Global Energy Crisis

               Global Warming

               Peak Oil: The Potential Decline of Global Petroleum Resources

 

c.       A rezoning is necessary to achieve the purposes of the Comprehensive Plan.

 

Staff Comment: We believe the information in the record thus far can be summarized as follows:

 

Arguments in Support: Arguments in support of this finding are offered in the applicant’s Statement of Justification (Part of Attachment 4). Portions of the applicant’s Statement of Justification are copied below:

 

“By redeveloping a Downtown site rather than challenge the buffer with additional suburban track development, the Lot 5 project alleviates suburban sprawl by providing a significant choice for new residential and commercial development on one of the few remaining sites where such development is encouraged and appropriate for the comprehensive plan. Additionally, this new opportunity is created with little additional infrastructure required since the utilities and base services are already present in the Downtown Area.” [Applicant’s Statement]

 

“As recognized and detailed by the Town’s Downtown Small Area Plan, no better location exists than on Lot 5 for a unique, mixed use redevelopment project like this one.” [Applicant’s Statement]

 

“By incorporating the retail component directly into the Downtown residential components of Lot 5, we create an integrated project from which both the commercial and residential components benefit. Furthermore, there can be no more desirable form of a required public parking deck than one hidden from view by an expansive public plaza and surrounded by pedestrian amenities.” [Applicant’s Statement]

 

“This proposal includes 21 new affordable condominiums on site and Ram has pledged an additional $25,000 to the Town of Chapel Hill to study strategies for keeping affordable housing affordable.” [Applicant’s Statement]

 

Arguments in Opposition: To date, no arguments have been submitted indicating that this proposal would not be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.

 

Additional Information: We note that the adopted Land Use Plan, a component of the Comprehensive Plan, identifies this area as town/village center.

 

PROTEST PETITION

 

A citizen or citizens opposed to this proposed rezoning could file a protest petition. A petition protesting a proposed amendment shall be subject to the provisions of North Carolina General Statutes Sections 160A-385 and 386, as may be amended from time to time. Any petition shall:

 

(1)   be in the form of a written petition actually bearing the signatures of the requisite number of property owners and stating that he signers do protest the proposed amendment;

 

(2)   be received by the Town Clerk at least two (2) normal work days prior to the date established for the public hearing on the proposed amendment; and

(3)   be on a form prescribed and provided by the Town Manager and contain all the information requested on the form.

 

We did not receive any protest petitions for the Zoning Atlas Amendment application. The deadline for filing a protest petition was 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, June 13, 2007. A valid protest petition was not filed prior to the deadline.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

 

Planning Board Recommendation: On May 22, 2007, the Planning Board voted 6-0 to recommend approval of the Zoning Atlas Amendment application. Please see the attached Summary of Planning Board Action.

 

Staff Recommendation: We believe that the rezoning could be justified based on findings (b) and (c), as described above. Our recommendation is that the Council enact the attached ordinance, rezoning the property from Town Center-2 (TC-2) to Town Center-3-Conditional (TC-3-C).

 

The attached Resolution would deny the rezoning request.

 


ATTACHMENTS

  1. Planning Board Summary of Action (p. 8).
  2. Area Map (p. 9).
  3. Certification of notice to nearby property owners (p. 10).
  4. Memorandum and Attachments from June 18, 2007 Council Public Hearing (begin new page 1).