Point, Bridgepoint

Lucky would be the restaurant that was so popular its customers would cause traffic congestion severe enough to persuade the council not to approve it being built.

Rezoning the land at the corner of Weaver Dairy Road Extension and Homestead Road to make way for the mixed-use development of Bridgepoint came up for vote at last night’s Town Council meeting. Jack Smyre, the planning consultant representing the developer, presented revisions that addressed the concerns voiced by council and the public at the public hearing last month, in particular the impact of commercial space in the midst of heretofore residential neighborhoods. Smyre showed a detailed analysis of the number of residential units needed in a 2-mile radius for commercial establishments to succeed. Then he performed a “stress test” – cutting out all residences to the east of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The number of existing homes remaining still met the recommendations for business success.

But residents of a section of Northwoods (a neighborhood west of MLK Jr. and north of Weaver Dairy Road Extension) opposed adding commercial space, fearing the impact of additional traffic that might be drawn to Northwoods. Council member Laurin Easthom, who disclosed that she lived in that area, pulled out all the stops in her objections to the proposed commercial development. Weaver Dairy Road Extension is a neighborhood road, she said. (Other council members who regularly travel along Weaver Dairy Road Extension disagreed.) Could council wait for the Schools Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance to weigh in first? (No, Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt said, because council could make so many changes before approval that it would look nothing like what SAPFO approved.) How would lighting, such as in the parking lot or from neon signs on stores, affect nearby Vineyard Square residents? (LUMO will keep it in check, said town planning director J.B. Culpepper.) Could council see a sketch of what the project exterior would look like? (That will be presented after the special use permit is approved, and then to the Community Design Commission first for approval.) There is no large development expected along Homestead, Easthom said. (That’s because council shot down a large development recently proposed across the street from Bridgepoint.)

Smyre contended that the businesses would not need to draw in additional vehicular traffic because they would be supported by people already in the nearby neighborhoods. Are you saying, Easthom grilled, that a restaurant built there would not draw in any people from outside the area?

Smyre kept his cool. Not to the point it would have a significant impact on traffic, he said.

In the end, the council voted 6-2 to approve the rezoning and the application for an SUP. Council members Easthom and Gene Pease voted against both measures.
– Nancy Oates

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9 Comments

  1. Don Fraley

     /  May 25, 2010

    Actually the vote was 7 to 2 but who counts in Chapel Hill after the majority number of 5.

  2. Anon

     /  May 25, 2010

    Homestead road is not a walkable area (with no sidewalks West of the park) and has very little public transportation.
    Even council members who voted for this project have pointed out that this part of homestead is too far from MLK for dense development.

    We will see if the restaurant is “for the neighborhood” which would mean it would have to be a family oriented restaurant due to all the single family homes and large townhouses in the area.

  3. Anon

     /  May 25, 2010

    1) how do people go from the senior center to bridgepoint when there are no side walks?

    2) how do people get to the commercial when there is NOT A SINGLE BUS that serves weaver dairy extension?

    please answer that someone

  4. Anon

     /  May 25, 2010

    last comment.

    I should add not only is there no bus service on weaver dairy extension there is no bus service west of the senior center or east of the train tracks on homestead!

    http://www.ci.chapel-hill.nc.us/index.aspx?page=743

  5. Mark Marcoplos

     /  May 25, 2010

    Any info on why Gene Pease opposed the development?

  6. Geoff Green

     /  May 25, 2010

    Anon says: “I should add not only is there no bus service on weaver dairy extension there is no bus service west of the senior center or east of the train tracks on homestead!”

    Bus service is not fixed; it can be changed. And sidewalks can be added. Should be added. I don’t suppose there’s any way to get the developer to pay for sidewalk connections to the more easterly part of Homestead as a condition for approval.

    By the way, the Northwood development satellite photos make me somewhat nauseated. Cul-de-sacs galore. Lack of sidewalks. Garages taking up half the front of each house.. And a remarkable paucity of street trees. Oh my.

  7. Anon

     /  May 25, 2010

    @geoff –
    when everyone’s broke bus service is being cut not expanded, and I’ll bet the sidewalks don’t go in any time soon.

    council should not “hope” infrastructure appears, but only approve stuff that actually fits with what’s there already

  8. Geoff Green

     /  May 25, 2010

    The site is about 500 feet past the terminus of the A bus.

  9. Bill

     /  May 26, 2010

    Geoff- I live in a development full of cul de sacs and love it! No thru traffic is great. Not sure what is so nauseating about that.

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