Feature presentation

We’ve gotten spoiled. With Town Council’s newfound determination to end council meetings before midnight, and breaking out council discussions in midweek work sessions at the library (which are not on TV nor videoed and accessible by computer), the regular Monday night meetings end two to three hours after they begin.

Tonight may be an exception.

Several topics made the agenda for public hearing night, and first up is Roger Stancil’s budget recommendation that includes a 2-cents-per-$100-valuation property tax hike. Usually this draws a host of commenters, from representatives making a final pitch as to why their organization needs the amount of money allotted it, or more, and taxpayers who question why something was not included or why so much was allocated to something else, or weigh in on how the funds could be distributed more effectively.

Next, a LUMO amendment to increase fines for landlords who are repeat offenders in ignoring town ordinances. Most commonly cited violations were for too many cars parked on a property and two many unrelated people living in a rental unit. The two are related in that over-occupancy usually is detected by too many cars parked in a yard. Nevertheless, the town is requesting that the limit of cars per duplex be increased from four to eight, given that a landlord is legally allowed to have four unrelated people per unit. Doing the math, double it for a duplex and triple it for a triplex, but town has its limits, and eight cars per lot seemed a good compromise. We’ll see which triplex owner is the first to file a lawsuit.

The third item on the agenda is to have the contractor creating the new LUMO from the CH2020 document include revisions to the Resource Conservation District. Now, I haven’t kept up with the progress of the RCD changes after town staff originally recommended reducing all riparian buffers to 50 feet, but not knowing about a topic has never stopped me from commenting before. The resolution associated with the agenda item only allows the contractor, Code Studio, to do the work. The comments to be added are embedded in the hour-and-a-half-long video of presenters found at http://chapelhill.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=9&clip_id=1729. Riparian buffer width will come into play in the very near future as some of the concept plans for Central West development involve building in the RCD.

Finally, Duke Energy wants to build a power substation in the Calvander-Eubanks Road area and will present a concept review plan to start the process. Some neighbors already beleaguered by groundwater contamination from the landfill want to make sure Duke does enough landscaping to protect them from unsightly views.

With this varied lineup, you’re sure to find something that will get your blood pressure up. Enjoy!
– Nancy Oates

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  1. Scott

     /  May 21, 2013

    Nancy – Questions about your comment as copied: “Riparian buffer width will come into play in the very near future as some of the concept plans for Central West development involve building in the RCD.”
    (1) Are you referencing the concept plans produced by the Central West consultant and staff- or Concept Plans submitted by property owners/developers?
    (2) If you are referring to concept plans by owners/developers would you please identify which plans “. . . involve building in the RCD.”

    (3) What is it that they propose to build. I think I have seen all applicant concept plans presented to Planning Board and Council, but do not recall any of them proposing to build anything within an RCD except for required public improvements (roadway, water-sewer, utility lines).


  2. Nancy

     /  May 22, 2013

    Scott — From what I recall looking at the 3 plans last Saturday, and comparing them with the existing development map, it looked like one of the plans had development behind the Y that the existing map showed in green as the RCD. Is that incorrect? Does the planned development respect the current RCD buffer?

  3. Scott

     /  May 23, 2013

    Nancy – I reexamined the CW “concept” land use/ development plans. To me it seems that the RCD of 150 feet on each side of the stream behind the Y is crossed by pedestrian bridges and maybe a public roadway or private drive for access to land areas that might be developable. Not in evidence is any thought about how to provide sanitary sewer to this area, something that might also encroach into the RCD buffer areas. And in the outer 100 feet of the RCD stormwater management facilities are also allowed. All of these infrastructure type “improvements” are permitted in the RCD. I guess that qualifies as building activity in the RCD, just not buildings or parking in the RCD.

  4. Bonnie Hauser

     /  May 24, 2013

    Duke Power Substation? at Eubanks/Calvander? Is that Chapel Hill’s planning jurisdiction? Isn’t that Carrboro ETJ?

  5. Ed Harrison

     /  May 24, 2013

    The application wouldn’t be to Chapel Hill unless it was in the Planning jurisdiction. Local governments don’t screw that up, especially considering the two-inch thick Joint Planning Agreement that applies to the area.

    From the application, available in at least two places on the Town website:
    “History: In 2009 the development of the Calvander substation was proposed just north of the “Calvander”intersection on Old NC 86 at the 44kV White Cross Tap Line. Since that time a more suitable site has been placed under contract just south of Eubanks Rd. off Genestu Dr.
    Existing Conditions: The current 10.94 acre site, referred to as Calvander-Eubanks, is located just south of the Orange County Animal Shelter, east of the Orange County landfill, north and west of the White Cross Duke Energy transmission easement and west of the railroad spur serving UNC.”

    Local governments have essentially no control over what an applicant calls their proposed development, which allows for some places with really silly names.

  6. Bonnie Hauser

     /  May 25, 2013

    Thanks Ed – that helps. There’s a power substation there – next door to Gertrude Nunn’s home. We feature it on our “landfill tour”