The Town Council approved a number of changes to the town’s land-use rules Monday, including the creation of a new zoning district for independent senior living centers.
The new zoning district was created in response to a Hawthorn Development concept plan for a senior living center on North Estes Drive. The council did not apply the new zoning to any town land.
It requires independent senior living centers to serve adults age 55 and older and have a common dining room and kitchen. The centers could offer personal services, such a barbership or hair salon and housekeeping, but would have to rely on third-party providers for health services. Individual units also could have full kitchens or mini-kitchens and kitchenettes – limited to countertops, a sink, fridge and a hot plate or microwave.
The zoning also creates rules for how tall senior living centers can be and where they can be located on a lot.
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Hawthorn has not filed a formal application for the Estes Drive project. The council, if an application is filed, would have to approve a special-use permit and rezoning before the project could be built.
The council also approved a number of small land-use changes Monday in response to a 2015 petition from the Home Builders Association of Durham, Orange and Chatham Counties (see previous story, nando.com/3nr). The changes are aimed at further streamlining the town’s approval process for single-family home building, repair and renovation projects.
A second council decision brought the town’s land-use rules in line with changes to state law. The legislature prohibited local governments last year from regulating the design and the number and use of rooms in single-family homes and duplexes.
The changes also eliminated the ability of neighbors to file a protest petition, which required 75 percent of a governing body to approve zoning changes, and now require leaders to vote for or against zoning ordinance changes. Leaders previously could miss or abstain from a vote and still have their decision counted as a vote for change.
The Town Council:
▪ Approved spending $562,000 from the Affordable Housing Development Reserve on affordable housing projects. The money will be used to:
-Provide Community Home Trust with subsidies for a Sunset Drive home and Ramsley development duplexes
-Help Habitat for Humanity buy land on Lindsey Street and build a home on McMasters Street in the Northside neighborhood
-Provide DHIC Inc. with $450,000 for the Greenfield Commons senior housing development on Legion Road; DHIC is expected to repay the town within 20 years
▪ Authorized an interlocal agreement that requires Chapel Hill and Orange County to pay 43 percent of the $1.3 million cost to design and engineer a sewer project, conduct outreach and build a community center in the Rogers Road neighborhood. Carrboro would pay 14 percent.
▪ Use $8,000 from the 2010 Sidewalk and Street Improvement bond to install speed tables, markings and other traffic-calming measures on Edgewater Circle. Town staff also will study traffic throughout Southern Village and report back to the council in September.