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