The Town Council will hear two concept plans Monday, including for a business park at 7000 Millhouse Road that could form the first piece of an industry and research zone in the northern part of town.
Concept plans are not formal applications. The council offers feedback but does not vote on them.
Monday’s meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall Council Chamber, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. The council could discuss the new zoning district in January, which could allow industry and research businesses in an area now zoned for low-density, largely residential growth.
The planned district’s first project – Carolina Flex Park – could include affordable and flexible storage, office, wet lab, manufacturing and assembly space. The project could bring about 300,000 square feet of space and over 380 parking spaces to two lots near the Eubanks Road intersection.
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The concept plan shows two 12,500-square-foot, single-story buildings on a 2-acre lot west of Millhouse Road and the railroad tracks. Three 89,100-square-foot, three-story buildings are proposed for the 10 acres east of Millhouse Road.
Only one office building east of Millhouse Road would be visible to the public, the concept plan notes, and “significant wooded buffers” could be preserved.
There are some nonresidential uses already in the area, including the Chapel Hill Industrial Park and UPS on Eubanks Road, and Chapel Hill Transit and the town’s Public Works Department on Millhouse Road. The Orange County Landfill backs up to the smaller lot west of Millhouse Road.
The plan reflects the kind of commercial development the town has been considering for some time, said Dan Jewell, with Coulter Jewell Thames.
“Unless there’s council support to create this new zoning district, then we go home,” he said.
Town staff and the council’s Committee on Economic Sustainability have talked about rezoning roughly 77 acres on Millhouse Road, town planner Jay Heikes said. Only about 43 acres is available for development because of creek protection and other environmental constraints, he said.
The new district would focus on job creation and “creative, entrepreneurial and sustainable” businesses that might not be allowed in other areas of town, including creative and artisanal production; light industry and flex space; advanced manufacturing; and research and wet lab space, he said.
“It’s really about allowing an efficient use of land, recognizing that we have very little remaining developable land in Chapel Hill, and both staff and the Economic Sustainability Committee see this as an opportunity to add some non-residential tax base, as well as good-paying jobs,” Heikes said.
Wegmans Food Market
A concept plan for a Wegmans Food Market has been submitted for land on U.S. 15-501, near the intersection with Old Durham Road.
An official application has not been submitted, however, the town and Orange County have offered a $4 million tax incentive package if the project is approved.
Here are some details:
▪ Size: About 6 acres, four lots
▪ Current use: Performance AutoMall, house, a parking lot and the former Chapel Hill Violins shop
▪ Proposed use: 130,000-square-foot grocery store, 770 parking spaces
▪ Traffic: Multiple improvements being planned to surrounding intersections and streets, including a median on Old Durham Road to prevent traffic turning left and leaving Scarlett Drive from using the service road