Monday, November 20, 2006, AT 7:00 p.m.

Present were Mayor Kevin Foy, Mayor pro tem Bill Strom, Council Member Laurin Easthom, Council Member Sally Greene, Council Member Ed Harrison, Council Member Cam Hill, Council Member Mark Kleinschmidt, Council Member Bill Thorpe, and Council Member Jim Ward.
Staff members present were Town Manager Rober L. Stancil, Deputy Town Manager Florentine Miller, Assistant Town Manager Bruce Heflin, Town Attorney Ralph Karpinos, Town Information Officer Catherine Lazorko, Mayoral Aide Adam Schaefer, Development Coordinator Gene Poveromo, Planning Director J.B. Culpepper, Long Range and Transportation Coordinator David Bonk, Principal Long Range Planner Gordon Sutherland, Engineer Services Manager Kumar Neppalli, Finance Director Kay Johnson, Interim Parks and Recreation Director Bill Webster, Financial Reporting Manager Jeanne Tate, Accounting Services Manager Rhonda Sommer, Fire Chief Dan Jones, Public Works Director Bill Letteri, Landscape Superintendent Robert Minnick, and Town Clerk Sabrina Oliver.

1. Ceremonies: None

2. Public Forums and Hearings:

a. Public Forum: Draft Chapel Hill 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan Socio-Economic Projections.

Long Range and Transportation Planner David Bonk said the Durham, Chapel Hill, Carrboro urban area had begun the process of revising the Long Range Transportation Plan for the region. The current plan included socio-economic projections for the year 2030, and the revised plan will include those projections up to 2035, he explained.

Through that process each of the urban areas has requested that each of the member jurisdictions prepare a new set of projections out to 2035 using a process that would be consistent with all jurisdictions in terms of identifying areas for new development or redevelopment, Mr. Bonk explained. This region is doing this revision in conjunction with the Raleigh area and will have a completely new set of projections for 2035 by early spring, Mr. Bonk added. These projections will be used as part of the 2035 Regional Transportation Plan, he said. The projections will also be part of many ancillary uses such as the regional blue print analysis, headed up by Triangle J Council of Governments, as well as Chapel Hill’s Long Range Transit Plan for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro communities, Mr. Bonk added.

Mr. Bonk said the Council’s memorandum summarizes the process used to develop the 2030 plan and comparisons between the new set of projections and the 2030 plan. The projections are predicated on the development and implementation of transit-oriented development corridors throughout the Town, he said. 

Mr. Bonk used maps to show the corridors along which the projections were made. He said that land use projections were located along the corridors in various locations. He said staff also reviewed transit corridors, noting that as transit service was expanded further development could be expected, and bus stops may need to be consolidated to increase efficiency in transit services. Mr. Bonk said areas where development or redevelopment could occur also had been identified.

Mr. Bonk said projections were also provided for the downtown area, and the Carolina North area. He said after public comment is received by the Council tonight, staff recommends adoption of the projections at the December 4 meeting. He said the projections would be compiled by the Metropolitan Planning Organization and be put out for public comment in January or February of 2007.

Council Member Easthom asked if that projection through the Horace Williams tract assumes a north-south road as proposed. Mr. Bonk said no, that it was a high capacity express bus route through what they assume will be a large park and ride facility and the I-40/15-501 area for people to take buses to Carolina North. He said it could be a dedicated bus lane. 

Council Member Easthom said she personally would not support a north-south corridor through the Horace Williams tract since they had not decided on what was going there at this point. Mayor Foy said that corridor had been removed from the plan. Mr. Bonk said that right-of-way had been used expressly for a high capacity bus lane. He said the regional plan included that corridor. He said everything that was shown on the map was a part of the adopted plan and nothing was a new proposal, however, if the Council wanted that removed they could do so.

Mr. Bonk said the original set of projections that had been done for Carolina North in the 2030 plan had been predicated on the site plan that was done by Aire Saint Gross and the 50-year build out for that site. He said they used one half of the projections that had been part of that plan. Mr. Bonk said the University has said the projections will change but they do not know to what extent or in which direction they will be different. 

Council Member Ward asked what the deadline was for modifications to the 2035 plan and the conclusion of the Long Range Transit Plan. Mr. Bonk said the 2035 projections are scheduled to be approved by the TAC in March 2007. The Long Range Transit plan will be a nine-month project beginning in January, which provides an opportunity for close coordination of the two, Mr. Bonk said. He said he saw no reason why the consultants could not proceed immediately.

Council Member Ward said the north-south corridor through the Horace Williams property, whether it is there or not, is a significant element of the 2035 plan, and seemed like it was putting the cart before the horse with the Long Range Transit plan, and trying to identify how existing corridors can integrate traffic.

Mr. Bonk said one of the first tasks of the Long Range Transit Plans is for the committee to delineate transit corridors and if the committee decides they don’t want to show the express bus corridor out of the Carolina North property then that is something they could do.

Mr. Phillip Duchatel said the trend with development was going outside of town.

Council Member Jim Ward MOVED, SECONDED BY Mayor pro tem Bill Strom, TO Receive and Refer the comments to the Town Manager.  THE MOTION WAS ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY (9-0).

b. Public Forum: To Consider a Potential Change in Cablevision Public Access Fees Paid by Cable Television Customers.

Town Information Officer Catherine Lazorko said that each year the Council decides to maintain, increase or decrease the cable-vision public access fee. She said the customary three percent increase would result in the fee being increased from .76 to .78 cents per customer per month beginning in January 2007. The increase would raise an additional $3,615 for the Peoples Channel next year, she said. Following the public forum, she said staff would return with the follow-up report at the December 4 meeting. 

Chad Johnson, Peoples Channel representative, said state and federal legislation could result in changes to the fees and franchise agreement. He said because of that legislation this may be the last time the Council could approve an increase in the public access fee. He said the Peoples Channel had increased programming over the past year. He encouraged the Council to support the increase.

Marion Turner expressed concern about programming she described as immoral. 

David Casper said he had worked in 1998 to get the Peoples Channel. He said he was an advocate of public television. What we have is something that is uncensored, he said, with no restrictions except for commercials and that which is determined to be obscene. Mr. Casper said the accomplishments made with the money the Peoples Channel gets from the Town, of a total budget of $150,000, is quite an achievement. He said programming has more than doubled in the past three years. He said he would encourage the Town to recognize that what we have here in Chapel Hill does not exist in most municipalities.  

Council Member Jim Ward MOVED, SECONDED BY Council Member Sally Greene, TO Receive and Refer the comments to the Town Manager. This item will return to the Council on December 4, 2006.  THE MOTION WAS ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY (9-0).

c. Public Forum: Downtown Development Initiative.

Mayor pro tem Strom, chairman of the Downtown Development Negotiating Team, said this was the first time the Council as a group had run a marathon and hopefully the finish is in sight. He outlined key milestones in the downtown development initiative. He said he joined Council in 1999 and under Mayor Rosemary Waldorf’s leadership had already focused on downtown and revitalization. He said in 2000 the Council adopted the Downtown Small Area Plan and included it as part of the new Comprehensive Plan. In 2002 the Council ran a series of design workshops where citizens volunteered with groups of designers for development opportunities for Lots 2 and 5. He said also in 2002 the Council established the Council Committee on Lots 2 and 5. He said a majority of Council members served on that committee. 

Mayor pro tem Strom said in 2003 after public hearings were held the Council adopted principles and priorities for Lot 5 and the downtown development that created the standard by which it would judge the developments it would consider. In October 2003, after issuing a Request for Proposal and Request for Qualifications, the Council hired John Stainback, he said.

In November 2003, the Council held public sessions where goals and principles were explained and a community discussion was held, Mayor pro tem Strom said. By April 2004 the Council had done its own market research and Stainback had developed a financial plan, and a building program had been adopted for Lots 2 and 5, he added.

Mayor pro tem Strom said that between April 2004 and tonight there had been 41 meetings regarding the development. He said members of the Council Negotiating Committee were Council Members Cam Hill and Sally Greene, and that Mayor Foy had helped smooth negotiations. He said there had been great Council involvement and staff support from Chris Berndt and Gordon Sutherland, Cal Horton, John Stainback and Glenn Hardymon, and that Town Attorney Ralph Karpinos had provided excellent advice. He said that Ram Development Company had worked well with Chapel Hill.

Mayor pro tem Strom said that the Town had recently started a downtown police squad, a streetscape plan, and had budgeted a public works position for downtown. He said the Lot 5 project has the potential to be a giant step forward to revitalize the downtown area. He said it was down to the best and final offer stage for both sides and it was important to move forward.

Mr. Stancil said the conceptual plan of the project, which consists of mixed uses of housing, retail and parking, is located on the block that is bounded by W. Franklin Street, Church and W. Rosemary Streets. The project addresses Council goals by providing for a sense of community, bringing vitality and life to the street, reducing dependence on the automobile, improving public safety and increasing business activity, he said.

The goals for the project, Mr. Stancil said, would create a vibrant downtown, and meet the Council’s affordable housing goal and goals for energy efficiency and sustainability, at a minimal risk to the Town, by putting the risk on the developer.

Mr. Stancil said the project was consistent with the Council’s goals in the Comprehensive Plan and Small Area Plan. He said the project is the Council’s number one goal this year, and there were many opportunities for public input into the project. He said the plans had been reviewed by the dean of the NC State University College of Design, to insure its consistency with excellent design principles.

Mr. Stancil said the revised proposal only develops Lot 5, and provides a mix of uses, including 28,540 square feet of retail space, 137 residential units, with 21 of those being affordable units, with underground parking replacing surface parking, 27,000 square feet of public plaza, and one percent for art.

The developer’s responsibilities in the project, Mr. Stancil said, was to construct a $75 million project, with a requirement of placing $12.5 million in equity into the project, and lease the project for 99 years from the Town for one dollar a year, and within 50 years have the right to acquire the air rights to the project for $2 million, and the developer will put $200,000 into the project for programming of the public space.

Mr. Stancil said the Town’s role was to replace surface parking with underground parking, and to play a regulatory role in the Special Use Permit process.

Mr. Stancil said funds needed were $7.245 million for 161 parking spaces to replace surface parking, with the first year of debt service on that being $725,000. He said the Town would borrow the money and sources of paying back those funds would come from property taxes from the project and sales taxes from the retail portion of the project, and incremental additions to parking revenues by increased activity. He said positive cash flow to the Town was estimated by year four and the negative cash flow to the Town in the first years would be absorbed by the funds in the off-street parking fund.
Mr. Stancil said public benefits of the project was that it advances the Council’s number one goal of adding residents to downtown, connects the east and west ends of downtown, provides affordable housing in Land Trust, provides a public plaza, and stimulates development in the downtown.

He said the next steps were to receive public comment tonight, with the Council to consider action at its December 4 meeting on whether to authorize the Manager and the Town Attorney to negotiate an agreement with the developer to return back to the Council within 60 days, then the Special Use process would begin. 

Bernadette Keefe, a 20-year resident of Chapel Hill, said she lives near Lot 5. She said she believed the project would greatly benefit the community. She said the development would be positive for downtown and it needed revitalization to survive. She said this would be a flagship project that would bring residents to downtown.

Will Raymond said he was not against change, but he did not believe the project was a good deal for the community. He said it was out of scale with surrounding buildings. He said the Town could not afford this project. Mr. Raymond said the Wallace Deck redevelopment was needed but now it was off the table. He said the secured debt would go against the Town’s  bond ratings.

Bill Camp said the project was a waste of public resources. He said the project had gone from $.5 million to $7.5 and that presented a real problem that would come out of taxpayers’ pockets one way or another.

Phillip Duchastel said the nutshell for this project was to revitalize the downtown area. He said it was a great project, but in the wrong place. He said a quaint little town cannot allow a project like this to go forward. He said it would ruin the character of downtown. He asked the Council to reconsider the vision. He said there was a need for more vitality, but move it out a little further, similar to what has been done on Rosemary Street. He said that development would have been a disaster on Franklin Street.  

Liz Parham, speaking on behalf of the Downtown Partnership, said they were in support of the project. She said just the design phase had already created interest in residential and mixed use development. She said residential development downtown is a key component to a thriving downtown. She said the project would add retail space, and public space, and the Partnership would be the Town’s partner in the project.

Josh Gurlitz said he had been a long time advocate of enhancing vitality downtown. He said Chapel Hill was fortunate to have a wonderful town center. He said it was challenging for business to survive downtown, and Chapel Hill had not been successful in maintaining residential development there. He said the Franklin Hotel will bring people downtown. He said the whole notion of the project was sustainability personified.

Tom Jensen said he would really like to live in the new project. He said he commutes to Raleigh by TTA everyday, takes the bus to work, and meets his daily needs by walking. He said currently there was nowhere he could walk in 20 minutes to buy a gallon of milk. He said he did not want to own a car. He said it would be a horrible shame at this point to let the project die, because it would improve the quality of life in downtown Chapel Hill. 

Anita Badrock said she supported the Lot 5 effort. She said it was one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in this community. She said the project would bring a good return on the investment.  She said it would provide economic sustainability, increased tax base, and more people. She said the project would reduce reliance on automobiles, it would be an energy efficient LEEDS building project, and would have 40 percent as open space. Ms. Badrock said Chapel Hill needs people downtown, and that would improve safety.

Scott Radway, former Planning Board member, said the Town could get busy dying or get busy living. He said he thought the project would compliment Chapel Hill.

Laurie Paolicelli, executive director of the Chapel Hill/Orange County Tourist Center, said 1.5 million tourists leave a lot of money in Chapel Hill. She said they were here mostly because of UNC and looking for entertainment. She said downtowns like Chapel Hill’s need something to attract people to its core. She said Durham’s Southpoint Mall comes up more than they would like to see, and Chapel Hill was losing money that should stay here. She said the Center supported the project.

Alan Rimer said the Council should keep in mind the types of living quarters that will be put in these structures. He asked the Council if they would live there and said he was asking this because much of the living quarters could end up as student housing. He said they should ensure quality of construction inside as much as outside, with heavy fire walls so you cannot hear the party next door.  He also encouraged the Council to incorporate legal covenants so owners of the units must occupy the units.  He said he believes this is the right project at the right time.

Janet Kagan said the project was a great investment for downtown and she would encourage the Council to release Lot 2 and Wallace Deck and put them out for proposals.  She said this development was important for a pedestrian friendly community, and she thanked them for the public art efforts. 

Joyce Brown said the buildings were too tall, and the development was too dense, and solar technology should be incorporated. She said the 99-year lease might be legal but is frightening. She noted changing community needs, and said that future generations will be stuck with it. She asked what it would mean to taxpayers in an economic downturn. She asked the Council to vote no on the project, and if they could not do so, at least incorporate the energy methods required of the University. 

Dave Hartsell, a UNC professor, said he loved the development, but its negotiations had been conducted behind closed doors and the investment had increased. He said it began as a $1 million Town investment and now it was at $8 million. He said the project was not revenue neutral. He said he would not want to invest his money in the project because it seemed too risky. 

David Godschalk, planning professor, said that all development projects start out rosy. He said the project had been kept alive by continuous shuffling of cards. He said no Council member had offered any objections. He said if something seems too good to be true, then perhaps it is.

Lance Alexander said he had the opportunity to start a small business downtown, but there were not enough people living downtown to sustain retail. He said he was seeing some development on Rosemary Street, but there were all kinds of gaps on Franklin Street. He said he hears downtown businesses talking about how more people need to live and work downtown for it to be successful. 

Roger Perry said he respected Mr. Godschalk and Mr. Hartsell, but disagreed with them. He said he believes it is a sustainable project, with significant affordable housing and open space. He said he believes it is economically a good deal, even if the projections are optimistic. He said the development would not only be good for downtown, but for all of the Town.

Gene Pease, a member of the Planning Board, said he strongly supported the project and encouraged the Council to move forward.  Robert Dowling, with Orange County Land Trust, thanked the Council for its commitment to affordable housing, and said he was looking forward to working with the Town to make 15 percent affordable housing work. He said Chapel Hill was growing and it needed to take on more density and height. He said there was nowhere else to go if they maintained the rural buffer.

Scott Kovens said construction costs are only going to increase and urged the Council to go forward with the project. 

Don Stanford said the biggest problem we are facing today is quality of life. He said the Town was fixated with a magic bullet. He said in the 1960s the Bank of America building was sold as a magic bullet. He said it was a major eyesore, and was the reason Chapel Hill has Granville Towers. He said there were thousands of citizens who live downtown and their issues are not being addressed. Mr. Stanford said this project is the wrong project at the wrong time and does not solve anything. He said this was another mistake in line with a lot of other mistakes. He asked the Council to help those citizens who live downtown to maintain a strong downtown, because they were the people who supported downtown.

Council Member Thorpe said a major concern was downtown safety.  He said he wanted the underground parking segment of the construction to be well lit to ensure citizen safety.

Council Member Jim Ward MOVED, SECONDED BY Mayor pro tem Bill Strom, TO Receive and Refer the comments to the Council and staff. This item will return to the Council with a recommendation on December 4, 2006.  THE MOTION WAS ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY (9-0).

3. Petitions by citizens and announcements by Council members.

a. Petitions by citizens on items not on the agenda.

1. Inclusionary Zoning Task Force regarding the Task Force Report.

Council Member Greene said the Council Committee was to come up with an ordinance for inclusionary zoning. She said the report was what the committee had developed to date. She said the committee wants to move it to the next phase. She said some committee members would speak.

Robert Dowling said he went into the committee believing he knew everything about inclusionary zoning and found he did not know much of anything. He said it was so complex that a professional was needed to determine how it would affect other parts of the Land Use Management Ordinance (LUMO). 

Scott Radway thanked Council members who participated and supported the effort. He said one of the committee’s recommendations was that the Council hire a consultant to work with staff, the Council, and the Planning Board to help get integration of details so that they do function. He said the other part of the recommendation dealt with the integration of equity. Mr. Radway said one of the principles the Council had practiced was to allow for an increase in intensity with the inclusion of affordable housing. He said that was one of the principles they recommended be maintained as part of the inclusionary zoning.

Sara Donahue said as a committee member she had been involved with efforts to improve the lives of low income residents. She said she had three comments on the proposed ordinance.  First, she said, was the importance of looking at some form of inclusionary zoning policy to attack the problem of affordable housing. She said if the community did not act on this it was in danger of becoming an exclusive community where only a subset of the community could afford to live. Second, she said, she wanted to emphasize that the development of an ordinance would take considerably more effort and recommended hiring a consultant to complete the ordinance. Finally, she encouraged the Council to create an advisory panel on how to make Chapel Hill more affordable and think of ways to meet the needs of people with varieties of wealth.
Council Member Greene requested that staff comment on the work that had been completed and on the possibility of hiring a consultant, what the process would look like, and the staff’s opinion on a standing committee. She said the item could come back in January for a public hearing. Council Member Greene said the work is important and necessary. 

Mayor pro tem Bill Strom MOVED, SECONDED BY Council Member Jim Ward, TO Receive and Refer the petition to the staff with the requests from Council Member Greene.  THE MOTION WAS ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY (9-0).

Mayor Foy announced that due to the large number of people wishing to speak on specific items, he was moving agenda items #7 and #9 to first and second on main discussion, followed by the report on the audit and the remainder of the agenda.

2. Petition from Citizens for the Preservation of Lincoln Arts Center.

Hunter Levinson gave a history of the Lincoln Center pottery program. She said the program was 25 years old, self supporting, and that materials and maintenance are covered by fees. It is the only Town supported arts center in Chapel Hill, she said, adding that it offers the only therapeutic play classes for special children in the community. Ms. Levinson said any member of the community can participate regardless of income. She said there have been 8,500 participants in the program since it began. The heart of the history are the stories and notes from participants and why they do not want to lose this program, she said, noting she would pass those along to the Council.

Barbara Tepperman, a student at the Center, told of her experience in the program and how it had positively influenced her life. She said the sliding fee scale made it possible for her to participate.

Carol Barrow also spoke on behalf of the Center, noting that she and her family had moved here from New York right after 911 at a time when her children were not doing well. She read a letter from the parent of a participant and how the therapeutic classes had benefited their child.

Marcus Bolin, a medical student, spoke of how working with clay had helped him through personal tragedies and his long hours in medical school. He said the program was invaluable and he had made many friends at the Center and saw the positive effects the class has on its participants.

Will Raymond said he was thrilled to represent the program. He said this was the best program around and he heartily supports it. He said this was the only hands-on program in Chapel Hill. He said it was the only program that served autistic children and handicapped children. He said he had a list of 20 facilities that could accommodate the program. He said the community park building, that houses the Parks and Recreation department, has needed a new location for years. He said that department could be relocated and the Lincoln Center program could be housed in the Community Park building.

Council Member Mark Kleinschmidt MOVED, SECONDED BY Council Member Sally Greene, TO Receive and Refer the petition to the Town Manager.  THE MOTION WAS ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY (9-0).

3. Petition regarding the Completion and Priority of Widening Shoulders on Particular Roads.

Blair Pollock said he began talking to Council about this issue in 1986. He asked the Council to work with the Town of Carrboro, the Metropolitan Planning Organization, and the Department of Transportation about finishing construction of the remaining bike lanes along Estes Drive. He said this was the key link between the two towns and he hoped the Town could find the funding.

Mark Chilton, former Carrboro mayor, said the estimates on costs were around $500,000 which would be well within the range allocated to the Seawell School Road project. He said the other entities could identify funds. He said he saw the opportunity to build the entire bike lane, which would promote biking and create a connection from Umstead Drive to Carrboro, to Bolin Creek greenway and University Mall. Mr. Chilton said if the entities could agree before the end of the year, the project could be reviewed in the draft Transportation Improvement Program. He said after the end of the year it would become a bit more laborious. Mr. Chilton said he would like to see this done while he could still bike. He asked the Council to move forward on this effort, adding that it would be an excellent trade-off for the Seawell project.

Heidi Perry, Carrboro Transportation Advisory Board member, said she had been working on this for 20 years and she wanted to see it completed while she could still bicycle. She requested that the Council move forward on the project, also noting that it would be an excellent trade-off for the Seawell School Road project.

Mayor pro tem Bill Strom MOVED, SECONDED BY Council Member Jim Ward, TO Receive and Refer the petition to the staff.  THE MOTION WAS ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY (9-0).

b. Petitions by citizens on items on the agenda. None

c. Announcements by Council members.

Council Member Kleinschmidt announced that he had recently represented Chapel Hill and the state at the Gay and Lesbian Conference in Houston, TX.

4. Consent agenda: action items (R-1).

Council Member Thorpe requested that agenda items #4d and #4f be removed from the Consent Agenda for discussion.

Council Member Thorpe asked that Fire Chief Dan Jones explain the SAFER grant. Chief Jones said the SAFER grant was part of the Homeland Security money that was put in place years ago. He said the current administration had de-funded several of those programs, but Congress had worked to keep them alive although at a lower funding level. He said the SAFER grant was based on the COPS program of the late 1990s. With the funds being made available to recruit volunteer fire fighters and career firefighters for smaller and mid-sized communities based on need. He said they had applied last year but were unsuccessful. Chief Jones said this year the department received a $1.2 million grant that would pay for 12 firefighters on a cost declining basis over four years. He said the grant provided cost sharing with 90 percent federal funding for four years, then in the fifth year the Town would pick up the expense of those positions.   He said the grant covers salaries and benefits.

Mayor Foy said that Chief Jones was aggressive in locating funding and is successful in educating the public concerning the importance of fire protection.

Council Member Greene requested that agenda item #4i be discussed at the end of the meeting.

Council Member Thorpe asked for an explanation of agenda item #4f. Mr. Neppalli said staff had received a number of complaints about signage, in downtown particularly, and that the existing signs are not in compliance.  He said staff was developing a new sign program for the downtown area and improving the street name sign program for the entire Town.

Mayor Foy noted that the Town was putting sidewalks in on Estes Drive, and at the Post Office. He said people want to know how those projects are getting funded, and he believes it is important that citizens know that it is tax dollars funding those projects.

Council Member Ward said one area that is lacking signage is on major roads and the bypass at the cloverleafs. He said prior to exits off these roads there are no signs indicating where the exit takes the driver. Mr. Neppalli said that was also being looked at.

Council Member Ward asked if the signage for the bicycle and pedestrian routes could also be made consistent. Mr. Neppalli said they would make sure the signs were consistent in the future.

Council Member Bill Thorpe MOVED, SECONDED BY Council Member Mark Kleinschmidt, TO Adopt R-1 as amended with item #4i removed.  THE MOTION WAS ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY (9-0).












5. Information items.

Council Member Greene requested that agenda item #5g be removed for discussion. Council Member Ward requested that agenda item #5f be removed for discussion.

By Council consensus the above items were continued to the December 4, 2006 business meeting.

Will Raymond said, with regard to the update on wireless initiative, he was pleased to see the direction taken by the Technology Task force and asked how much public participation was anticipated. 

Council Member Easthom said Council needed to determine the makeup of the committee that would carry this out.  She asked Mr. Stancil when the report would come back to the Council. Mr. Stancil said it would return in February. Council Member Easthom asked if the committee makeup would be available before then. Mr. Stancil said it would.

All other information reports were accepted by consensus of the Council.

9. Southeast Chapel Hill/Southwest Durham Collector Plan (R-11).

Long Range and Transportation Planner David Bonk said this item was a follow-up report in response to comments and questions received at the October 18 public forum. 

Mr. Bonk said questions had arisen concerning the need for extending sidewalks on Lancaster Drive, and that staff supported pursuing that. He said concern had also been expressed about the extension of Kilkenny connecting to Nottingham Drive and the impact of more traffic on all of those roads. He said traffic calming measures had been implemented on Lancaster and Nottingham. He said the other collector in question was a connection onto Pope Road north of Ephesus Road. He said all three of those roads would impact directly into Chapel Hill.

Mr. Bonk said questions were raised about utilizing George King Road as an arterial collector connecting Southwest Durham Drive and Meadowmont Lane. He said there were no plans for expansion of the two-lane portion of Meadowmont Lane.

Concerning the possible realignment of Southwest Durham Drive to George King Road, Mr. Bonk said at the most recent TAC meeting, Durham had requested an amendment to the Plan using the existing George King Road as the realignment of Southwest Durham Drive. He said the TAC agreed to the proposal in concept but has not yet received comment from other units and that was not expected until after January. He said they were willing to consider this because it would still connect to the north and northeast across Farrington Drive and I-40 and continue to connect in the southwest to Meadowmont Lane as outlined in the Plan.

Mr. Bonk said that the realignment of Southwest Durham Road and Meadowmont Lane were not part of the decision making process that other units had been requested to comment on.

Mr. Bonk said there were also comments regarding the lack of quantitative analysis particularly of the collector system in Chapel Hill. He said the Plan did include a qualitative analysis. He added that he did not believe there would be any significant traffic impacts due to any of these alignments. He said once the system is implemented, Chapel Hill residents would find it easier going east using this collector street system rather than traveling north or south.

He said questions had also arisen concerning the proposal to construct collector streets across I-40 north and south of US 15-501. He said this proposal was consistent with the approved US 15-501 Transportation Master Plan, which included recommendations to provide alternative connections between the four quadrants of the US 15-501 and I-40 interchange to reduce anticipated congestion along US 15-501. He said the collector street south of US 15-501 differs from the Master Plan in that it proposes two separate crossings for the roadway and the fixed guideway corridor.

Mr. Bonk said staff believes this may be unrealistic, recognizing the cost of a bridge and the likelihood of securing funding for the bridge if it combined both the roadway and the corridor.

Mr. Bonk said staff recommended that implementation of the collector street connections to Chapel Hill should be coordinated to ensure that multiple connections will disperse traffic along alternative routes; that the MPO should provide funding from the Surface Transportation Program Direct Allocation program to implement traffic calming, including bicycle and pedestrian improvements along existing streets that are part of the proposed collector street network; that the MPO should revise the Memorandum of Understanding to correct any inconsistencies between state statutes and the provisions of the memorandum; and that the draft Collector Streets Plan should be revised to realign the proposed collector street crossing of I-40, south of US 15-501 to conform to the proposed fixed guideway crossing.

Bill Sax, president of the Oaks Villas Homeowners Association, deferred his time to Dr. Ed Kaiser.

Dr. Ed Kaiser said he was representing the residents of the Oaks Villas. He said that future development would be creating traffic impacts on Lancaster Drive, not the creation of the plan. He said they commended all of those involved in developing the plan. He said a plan should address all issues that would affect the plan. He said for this reason they believe the plan fails to reach its potential and that the problem was with Kimley-Horn. He said as a result, planners were backed into a corner to support an inferior plan. He recommended that the plan be sent back to staff for revision. He said clarification was also needed concerning the meaning of coordination of multiple intersections to disperse traffic.

Phil Post said the plan was flawed. He submitted a resolution to the Council outlining concerns. He said the plan was putting pipelines in Chapel Hill so everyone could escape to Durham and spend their money there.

William Dunk, a resident of the Oaks, said the plan would result in irresponsible development and asked what Chapel Hill would get out of the plan. He said the plan would increase traffic, pollution, stormwater, and erosion. He told the Council they did not have the data to make a responsible decision.

Morris Waller, a Meadowmont resident, said the plan was flawed and lacked analytical information. He questioned how the Council could ensure that the plan was the proper investment.


Mayor Foy asked if this was in addition to another resolution in regard to other roads, noting that this addressed only George King Road. Council Member Harrison said his resolution addresses Meadowmont Lane. 

After further discussion by Council members, Mayor Foy said he believed the motion and second should be withdrawn, with no further action taken until the item comes back to Council on December 4.

Council Member Harrison withdrew the motion.

6. Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

By Council consensus this item was continued to the December 4, 2006 business meeting.

7. Fairway Hill Subdivision: Application for Preliminary Plat Approval.

Development Coordinator Gene Poveromo said this item was continued from the October 18 public hearing. He said it involved a four-lot subdivision on the east side of Pinehurst Drive adjacent to Meadowmont. He said the item had not been before the Transportation Board, which is scheduled to meet on November 30, 2006. Mr. Poveromo said the Council could receive comments from neighbors tonight, and the Transportation Board’s comments would be referred back to staff and the item would return to Council on December 4, 2006.

Mr. Poveromo said the key issue was the street alignment. He said there was the applicant’s proposal and an alternate proposal. He said the applicant’s proposes an intersection at the existing driveway with the street curving to the south creating an open area to the north that the applicant proposes as a recreation area. He said this complies with the subdivision ordinance and the Engineering Department accepts the intersection. Mr. Poveromo said the Town was recommending payment in lieu for a portion of the recreation area that is not satisfied by the two proposed pedestrian paths. He said the applicant was proposing recreation area of about 13,000 square feet and two pedestrian pathways. He said staff was proposing payment in lieu instead of acceptance of this area as recreation.

Mr. Poveromo said there was discussion of an alternate proposal. He said it shows the road coming in at the same site and ending in a cul-de-sac. He said the Planning Board did not accept this alignment.

Mr. Poveromo said the applicant’s proposal complies with the subdivision ordinance.

Megan Crunkleton, representing Gene Rayfield, owner of 1027 Pinehurst Drive, and the developer of Fairway Hill, explained the history of the application. She said the compromise the Town accepted met their request except for the recreation area payment in lieu. She said the area meets the requirements as outlined in the Land Use Management Ordinance. She said she was requesting that Council adopt Resolution A with an alternative for the recreation requirement because the area is outside the Rural Conservation Buffer, flat, and dry. Ms. Crunkleton said the area could accommodate many recreation activities. She said the area was also contiguous with the Meadowmont soccer fields. She said this area, the sidewalks, and bicycle and pedestrian paths supplement the recreation area in a more personal way to benefit the residents in the new community and adjacent communities. She said the applicant’s proposed space and design meet the ordinance requirements, and she questioned the justification of the payment in lieu when the area supports active recreation uses. Ms. Crunkleton asked that the Council adopt Resolution A with an alternate to recreation.

Art Chansky, 1031 Pinehurst Drive resident, said he opposed the entrance for reasons of encroachment upon Meadowmont neighbors. He contended that the application was not in compliance. He said the road would create safety and traffic issues. He said 100 plus trees would be cut down, and that the road would create a dam effect resulting in a stormwater management issue. He asked the Council to send the request back to staff for study.

Tony Lindsay said there were two problems. He said one was the number of trees that would be cut down and the stormwater issue. He said it was a beautiful piece of land. He said there was an existing natural pathway where the entrance should be. He said his backyard has turned into a playground for school age children, and that construction of the road, within five feet of his backyard, would create an unnecessary safety hazard. 

Mayor Foy said no action would be taken tonight. He said staff needs to look at this more closely to see if the request meets the ordinance. He said the safety concerns were clearly an issue.

Ms. Culpepper recommended the item be continued to the January 8, 2007 meeting.

Council Member Ward said he wanted to how the Land Use Management Ordinance addresses the placement of the entrance road, and if it does not then he would like to see it incorporated at another date.

Mayor pro tem Bill Strom MOVED, SECONDED BY Council Member Sally Greene, TO Defer action and continue the hearing on January 8, 2007.  THE MOTION WAS ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY (9-0).

8. Acceptance of Bid for Homestead Park Aquatics Center (R-10).

Council Member Ward asked what had happened to the solar hot water. He said he thought that was something that was very important. Mr. Webster said LEEDS certification was not possible within cost considerations.

Council Member Ward asked if the contingency fund could be cut or would it be available for additional technology he would like to see in this building. Mr. Heflin said based on experience staff would not recommend cutting contingency. Council Member Ward questioned the use of rain water. Mr. Heflin said that would be used to flush toilets and to irrigate.

Council Member Easthom asked about the underwater lights for the pool. She said she supported having the lights. Mr. Webster said he had done a lot of research on these and they are an aesthetics issue. He said the Triangle Sportsplex does not use them except for parties.  Meadowmont pool has them but rarely uses them, he said. Mr. Webster said as long as there are overhead lights underwater lights are not needed for safety. Council Member Easthom said she still wanted the underwater lighting. 

Council Member Thorpe said the bids are very, very close and he would like to accept the best bid, not necessarily the lowest bid. Mr. Heflin said staff believes the recommended contractor was the best low bidder.

Mayor pro tem Strom entered a friendly amendment to add the underwater lights. Mayor Foy and Council Member Easthom agreed as long as the addition was the lowest on the list of amenities.

Council Member Jim Ward MOVED, SECONDED BY Council Member Bill Thorpe, TO Adopt R-10 as amended.  THE MOTION WAS ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY (9-0).

10. Process for Revision of the Comprehensive Plan (R-12).

Principal Long Range Planner Gordon Sutherland said staff had gathered comments from the Planning Board concerning revisions to the Comprehensive Plan. He said Council memorandum included a matrix which outlined staff responses to Planning Board questions and comments regarding the plan. Mr. Sutherland said staff was recommending that staff redraft sections of the plan according to Planning Board considerations. He said staff was also recommending periodic updates to the plan, on a quarterly basis. At the end of the process there would be a public hearing addressing proposed revisions, and the entire redrafting process would be done in 2007, Mr. Sutherland added.

Amy Ryan, a member of the Community Design Commission, said the commission would like to see a more specific vision for development and concrete guidelines. She said development scale and density have increased, and the Town was entering a critical point, and was in danger of losing its distinctive character. She said putting just one inappropriate building in an area could lead to another, creating a domino effect. She said key areas of concern were the Glenn Lennox area, West Rosemary Street, and the area between Hillsborough Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Ms. Ryan said the commission had no standard by which to judge projects. She said the City of Seattle has guidelines about identifying the character of neighborhoods and how to maintain them. She said these would be valuable documents for the commission and for developers.  She said without such guidelines, development will take on a life of its own.

Community Design Commission member Chris Culbreth said the Lot 5 building would be a key building. He cautioned that developers will see that building and come here to build more like it. He said he did not have a negative opinion about students, but Rosemary Street was all students, with no professionals living there. He said the Lot 5 building would set a precedent. Mr. Culbreth asked the Council to give a conscious effort to see that Lot 5 is built. He said his concern was the massing of those buildings and how they would function.

Council Member Jim Ward MOVED, SECONDED BY Mayor pro tem Bill Strom, TO Adopt R-12.  THE MOTION WAS ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY (9-0).


Mayor Foy requested that the Seattle design guidelines be referred to the Planning Board.

Mayor pro tem Bill Strom MOVED, SECONDED BY Council Member Jim Ward, TO Receive and Refer the Design guidelines back to staff.  THE MOTION WAS ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY (9-0).

11. Appointments:

a. Orange Water and Sewer Authority Board of Directors.

The Council appointed Alan Rimer and Thatcher Freund to the OWASA Board of Directors. Alan Rimer will begin his term on December 31, 2006 and Thatcher Freund will begin his term on July 1, 2007.

Orange Water and Sewer Authority Board of Directors Master Ballot

12. Petitions:

a. By the Mayor and Council Members.

Council Member Mark Kleinschmidt MOVED, SECONDED BY Mayor pro tem Bill Strom, TO Receive and Refer a petition regarding Empowerment’s efforts to petition Orange County for exemption from property on the Midway Office building be referred to the Council for the December 4, 2006 meeting.  THE MOTION WAS ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY (9-0).

The meeting adjourned at 11:45 p.m.