AGENDA #9c, 9d





Roger L. Stancil, Town Manager




J.B. Culpepper, Planning Director


Gene Poveromo, Development Coordinator




East 54 Mixed Use Development (aka University Village) – Application for a Zoning Atlas Amendment (File Number 9798-34-3837)




February 26, 2007




Enactment of the attached Ordinance would rezone an 11.22-acre site from Community Commercial (CC) to Mixed Use-Village (MU-V). The site is located at 1310 Raleigh Road (University Inn) and 1001 South Hamilton Road, (Avalon Medical Building) and is identified as Orange County Parcel Identifier Numbers 9798-34-3837, 9798-54-7612, and 9798-93-5007.


The applicant has submitted two accompanying applications for 1) a Land Use Management Ordinance Text Amendment and 2) a Special Use Permit Modification. The Special Use Permit application proposes to construct a mixed use development with 511,985 square feet of floor area and 784 parking spaces. Please see the accompanying memoranda for additional information.

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



On January 17, 2007, the Council held a public hearing to receive comments on the proposed zoning atlas amendment. A copy of the January 17, 2007 memorandum is attached.




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 general use rezoning request and is accompanied by a Special Use Permit Modification application. The Mixed Use-Village zoning district does not have a conditional use counterpart zone.


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 on that application, 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 January 17, 2007 public hearing regarding the proposed zoning atlas amendment 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: No arguments have been made to date in support of changed or changing conditions in this particular area.


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:


Comprehensive Plan - “The Town’s Comprehensive Plan identifies the following planning principals in order to fulfill its purpose and objectives. These principals are designed to foster an ecologically and economically sustainable living environment that is in character with Chapel Hill. Currently, the site is zoned Community Commercial and is designated as Mixed-Use on the Town’s Land Use Plan. The following text summarizes how the development of University Village as a MU-V will better achieve these principals.”  [Applicant’s Statement]


Maintain the Urban Services/Rural Buffer Boundary – “Compact, infill development in the form of a MU-V enables more efficient service by existing Town facilities and fosters other mixed use development helping to reduce encroachment and sprawl into rural buffer areas.”   [Applicant’s Statement]


Participate in the Regional Planning Process“A local guided-rail station is designated immediately adjacent to the site which will help to improve the viability of future plans for regional transit systems. University Village, developed as a MU-V, will help to provide convenient services for the local community and “in town” housing needed for major regional employers including UNC and UNC Hospitals.” [Applicant’s Statement]


Conserve and Protect the Town’s Existing Natural Setting“The “wooded lawn” entryway created by the stand of large mature oaks along the NC Hwy. 54/Raleigh Rd. will be preserved to a great degree. The pine backdrop, formed by the wooded area south of Prestwick Road, provides a “native character” typical of Chapel Hill. Landscaping which utilizes native plant species will help to preserve this native character, conserve natural resources and minimize the need for artificial cultivation practices more common with exotic plant species.”  [Applicant’s Statement]


Encourage Desirable Forms of Non-Residential Development; Create and Preserve Affordable Housing Opportunities – “Affordable housing will be provided that meets and exceeds the Town’s minimum requirement. These units will be distributed throughout the various buildings and will be serviced equally with covered secure parking and equal access to all recreational facilities.”  [Applicant’s Statement]


Other goals and objectives of the Comprehensive Plan discussed in the applicant’s Statement of Justification include: Work Toward A Balanced Transportation System; Complete the Bikepath/Greenway/Sidewalk Systems; and Provide Quality Facilities and Services.


Arguments in Opposition:  To date, no arguments have been submitted indicating that this development 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 mixed use.




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.


As of February 21, 2007 we have not received any protest petitions for the Zoning Atlas Amendment application.




Recommendations are summarized below. Please see the attached summary of recommendations from the Planning Board, Community Design Commission, Bicycle and Pedestrian Board, Transportation Board, Parks and Recreation Commission, and Greenways Commission (part of Attachment 4).


Planning Board Recommendation: On December 19, 2006, the Planning Board voted 7-0 to recommend approval of the Zoning Atlas Amendment application. 


Staff Recommendation:  We believe that the rezoning could be justified based on finding (c), as described above. Our recommendation is that the Council enact the attached ordinance, rezoning the property from Community Commercial (CC) to Mixed Use-Village (MU-V).


The attached Resolution would deny the rezoning request. 



  1. Zoning Atlas Amendment Map (p. 8).
  2. Memorandum and Attachments from the January 17, 2007 Council Public Hearing (begin new page 1).