What’s not hot tonight

It may be Valentine’s Day, but the town isn’t feeling any love for annexations or for moving the library to University Mall. Both items are on the agenda tonight, and town manager Roger Stancil has given a thumbs down to both.

Town staff prepared a list of possible sites to annex. However, water and sewer access has to be in place before the town can approve annexation. The two most likely spots to be annexed are the Northwest Area, land near the town’s operations center and the Rogers Road Small Area Plan Study Area, and land south of Mount Carmel Church Road and East of U.S. 15-501, which includes the Obey Creek parcel. But Stancil recommends no annexations in 2011. We’ll see whether council members agree.

Enthusiasm for the much ballyhooed plan to relocate the library to the mall has cooled. After factoring in the $4 million purchase price of the space now occupied by Dillard’s, the cost savings have dwindled to a mere $1.5 million less than proceeding with renovating and expanding the library at the current site so as to add a coffee shop and gift shop. U Mall management wouldn’t budge on the sales price. Looks like Dillard’s will stay after all.
– Nancy Oates

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  1. What is up is another expenditure buried in the consent agenda:

    Fiscal Note: There are sufficient funds available in the Parking Fund fund balance to pay for the $420,000 acquisition costs and the $40,000 of land improvements needed to prepare the site for use as a parking lot. When the new parking facility at 140 West becomes available this property may be sold with the proceeds going back to the Parking Fund.

    Interestingly enough, if the Town Manager proposed allocating $320.000 Jan. 24th:

    Recommendations: We request that Council authorize the Town Manager to proceed with procurement of an on-street parking payment system from Duncan Solutions and enact the attached budget ordinance amendment appropriating $320,000 from Parking Fund fund balance. Further, we recommend that Council adopt the attached fee resolution increasing the On-street parking fees from $1.00 per hour to $1.25 per hour effective May 1, 2011.

    That’s $780K out of the fund that’s supposed to defray the Lot #5 costs among other planned expenditures. I’m not sure, but I think the new lot might be across from the Chapel Hill News building – anyone know?

    Also up is the recreation impact fee discussion. Late last Fall, Town staff proposed a %50 discount in the way the fee is calculated for developments in Town Center and other high density zones. At the time, there was no substantive evidence (really, no evidence) that asking developers to shoulder their fair share of the cost of providing recreational opportunities would dissuade further high density development (developers not wishing to shell out in lieu bucks to the Town could provide minimal opportunities on-site).

    The business community – well at least the Downtown Partnership and the Chamber – said %50 was not enough of a discount and adoption of the ordinance was postponed. Tonight’s proposal is for %60 (!!), an additional %10 reduction, with a further exclusion of hallways, common areas and other similar square footage in the new developments.

    I did a back of the envelope calculation and, with the exclusion, a project like Lot #5 is getting an effective discount of %70. In reviewing the memo, once again there is no specific indication that a discount of %20-30 be onerous.

    If developers forgo providing on-site recreational/open space areas, residents will have to seek them off-site. Providing these services in urban and high-density development areas are significantly more expensive. Who will pickup the slack?

    There is a proposed moratorium on applying the new formula, and, if approved, the largest projects Downtown will skirt through with an even greater reduction.

  2. mere 1.5 million less…

    a penny saved is a penny earned. or in this case, 1.5 million dollars.

  3. John Kramer

     /  February 14, 2011

    So am I to read into your note, mr will, that the town is spending 320k for parking meters? Or am I missing something?

    And in the US we say 25%. Not %25, fwiw.

  4. John, the Town wants to acquire 40 new parking kiosk and supporting infrastructure for $320K. During the discussion Jan. 24th the analysis didn’t include the additional $460K bite proposed tonight. Buying additional parking space Downtown has been in the wind for some time, and I understand that Council might not want to tip their hand, but the borrowing out of the fund does represent a significant fiscal impact. By the way, at $460,000, the 35 additional spots will cost roughly %28 of the spaces in the Lot $5 moneypit.

    As far as %28 vs 28%, chalk that up to too much HTML coding!

  5. John, check out the Jan. 24th agenda. If I post it here my comment moves to pending status.

  6. John Kramer

     /  February 15, 2011

    Wow! Over nine large per parking space. Recession, what recession? Cost benefit analysis, what the heck is that?

    Lol, Will. Thanks for the depressing news.