TO:                  Mayor and Town Council


FROM:            W. Calvin Horton, Town Manager


SUBJECT:       Report on Possible Adjustments to Land Use Management Ordinance


DATE:             November 10, 2003



This memorandum lists topics and issues that the Council will be discussing in January 2004 as part of a Public Hearing on Chapel Hill’s Land Use Management Ordinance.  The purpose of tonight’s report is to relay to the Council the list of topics that have been identified as candidates for change, to offer an early review of the January 21, 2004 Public Hearing, and to offer the Council an opportunity to suggest additional issues for consideration at the hearing.




On January 27, 2003, the Town Council enacted a new Land Use Management Ordinance for Chapel Hill.  This new ordinance contains new initiatives in several substantive areas, including stormwater management, tree protection, Resource Conservation District regulations, and impervious surface requirements. 


When the Council enacted the new ordinance, it directed the Town Manager to begin keeping a file of ideas and experiences related to administration of the new regulations.  The Council called a Public Hearing for January 2004, one year after enactment of the ordinance, to afford an opportunity to make any changes or adjustments that the Council deems appropriate.


The Council also directed the Town Manager to bring immediately to the Council’s attention any provisions in the new ordinance that were creating serious and immediate problems in administration of the regulations.  We have taken three such issues to the Council for action. Those are:



In addition, the Council has identified three specific issues that are to be considered at the January Public Hearing, all resulting from additional study that has been ongoing.  Those are:



We note that consideration of duplex regulations is especially time-sensitive, because the current prohibition on new duplexes in most residential zones expires at the end of February 2004.




As requested by the Council, we have been keeping an inventory of ideas and issues that have been raised which suggest consideration of changes to the Land Use Management Ordinance.  We have grouped these ideas into three categories: 


  1. Correction of error
  2. Clarification of intent
  3. Suggestions for substantive change


We are not offering recommendations on any of these items at this time, but will in January.  The lists below are compilations of ideas that have been suggested to us.




We have flagged the following provisions in the Land Use Management Ordinance that we believe to be errors in translation from the former Development Ordinance, and that have resulted from the re-formatting of the new ordinance.  Suggested corrections are:












We have identified the following provisions of the ordinance which we have found to lack clarity, hampering administration of the ordinance.  The suggestions are:

















Suggestions for Substantive Changes


Suggestions for changes have come from citizens, Council members, advisory board members, developers, and staff.  The following suggestions have been made:











The Council has called a Public Hearing for January 21, 2004.  We intend to prepare a discussion of the items identified in this memorandum for consideration at that hearing.  We welcome direction from the Council as to addition of items for reconsideration.