The Cottages, redux

The Cottages of Chapel Hill are back on the agenda for tonight’s Town Council meeting. In May, Capstone Co. of Birmingham, Ala., proposed a complex of townhomes and apartments along the south side of Homestead Road, near the intersection with Weaver Dairy Extension. The original plan, given a thumbs down by council members, consisted of an entirely residential project with a mix of 57 two-story cottage homes, 60 two-story townhouse units (15 buildings with four units per building) and 213 apartments divided among 71 three-story buildings. The units ranged from one to five bedrooms, and the complex included a 12,000-square-foot clubhouse and indoor and outdoor recreation areas, as well as 1,175 parking spaces.

The revised plan that Capstone will present at the concept plan review has sliced the number of residences by a third – 188 in the revised plan, compared to 300 in the original. Rather than 137 two- and three-story buildings, the new plan calls for 119 two-story only buildings. Parking spaces have been reduced from 1,175 to 898.

At least one nearby homeowner has objected to even the scaled-back version, pointing out that as construction of Chapel Hill North has been put on hold and The Cottages is marketing to students, there is no need to build the complex at present.

We are sympathetic to the development threats that property owners along Homestead Road have endured. At the same time, once Chapel Hill North is built, there will be a need for more living quarters for students. We would be inclined to leave it to the developer to decide when it makes economic sense to start development, just as RAM has with 140 West Franklin. Despite RAM’s updates on groundbreaking – remember when it was September, for sure? – Lot 5 is still Lot 5, and will remain so until the economy and a wave of buyers catch up.
– Nancy Oates

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  1. John Kramer

     /  November 15, 2010

    Let’s see……density is good in Chapel Hill. No, wait it isn’t. Oh my, now a neighbor is objecting, whatever shall we do?

    Someone should do a “case study” on how many iterations this will take.

    I hope they build it soon, and as high a density as possible.

  2. steve lonegan

     /  November 15, 2010

    Help me understand how you are sympathetic to folks along Homestead Road? Evidently not enough to know the reasons behind our objections, or the important facts here. Our objections were never about the number of buildings. It’s the wisdom of plopping 1000 undergrads in a residential area over 3 miles from campus (this IS undergrad housing, btw). And, look at the numbers a little closer and you will see that Capstone’s revised plan reduces the number of students by merely 14% (1035 to 891). If you attended the CDC meeting a month ago (or bothered to talk with someone who did) you’d know that there were MANY homeowners who still object to this project. I suspect you’ll see a bunch more this evening. We’re talking about a rezoning here. Neighbors invested in their homes and communities with the understanding that surrounding land was zoned R-2. If the Council were to ok a change in zoning to allow for a discretionary student housing complex it would betray the faith of the citizens effected. Fortunately, an overwhelming majority of CDC members felt as we do about proposed development, as did Council members the first time around.

  3. John Kramer

     /  November 15, 2010

    Chapel Hills answer will probably be to install a round about. It really wont make any difference but it is cool in a euro sort of way.

    If this is a rezone then i agree with Mr. Lonegan that the plan should be tossed. Assuming they ignore your concerns, a likely outcome, then my counsel to you is to remember that at the next election cycle and get some fresh people on the town council.