Take more time
I hope common sense will prevail and that the Town Council will decide not to approve rezoning or a special development permit for the three parcels of land being called “Obey Creek.”
It does not seem to me as though the council has considered what would be best for the town, but rather has reacted to proposals submitted by Mr. Perry on behalf of his investors. Work done by planning and zoning commissions over the last few years have not been taken seriously.
If the town is looking for revenue and the council thinks a higher-density development of the property will generate a net gain, what kind of development would produce the desired result? What kind of changes to the transportation network be required? Would light rail connect with that development? Greenways?
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What provision has been made for the additional highway traffic in and through Chapel Hill, especially on Fordham Boulevard, in view of the fact that the town has been unable for many years to obtain a true bypass around the town, or to even get a pedestrian bridge across Fordham at Manning Drive?
For example, I understand that “Scenario A, with 300 fewer apartments and a development program of 914,357 square feet, resulted in roughly 96 percent of the fiscal benefit to the town compared with the developer's proposal, while producing only 57 percent of the traffic.” Where would the people work who would live in all those apartments? UNC Hospitals? RTP? Who would care for the environmentally sensitive land on the site, should a swap be approved?
In short, it looks as if the town needs to take more time to consider alternative proposals and is a long way from being ready to change the current zoning, swap property, and approve a comprehensive development proposal for a private venture.
I am writing to express my support of the Obey Creek Development and strongly urge the Town Council to approve it. I also appreciate the manner in which the council requested and obtained many community benefits from the developer before moving forward with the project, let alone the projected $1 million in net revenue annually it is expected to generate.
I am local CPA with offices in downtown Chapel Hill and currently serve on the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce. I reside in northern Chatham County and commute to my office in downtown Chapel Hill and still feel strongly that Obey Creek would be a great addition to our community. So the project will affect me, and I strongly believe in gaining the benefits of the retail businesses, age-restricted housing, office space and additional amenities in southern Chapel Hill.
In addition to the above, several community leaders have come out in favor of this project. The (chief executive officer) of the Home Builders Association, states, “the project meets our needs.” Former Mayor Kevin Foy says, “it meets the standard of being a change for the better in our community,” and former council member and UNC planning professor David Godschalk says that Obey Creek is an “opportunity to create a vibrant new southern neighborhood.”
With all of these endorsements and the benefits it will bring to our community, there can be only one answer. Again, I strongly urge you to approve the Obey Creek Development project.
As a homeowner who lives in the Hundred Oaks subdivision, Chapel Hill, I’m concerned about the size of the new Obey Creek development.
The James Taylor bridge is already a bottleneck for motorists trying to get to work and school, and the strain of all the extra traffic this development will bring is going to make this part of Chapel Hill a nightmare to live in.
Please, Town Council, take the time to explore the extent of the traffic issues this development will bring and do the right thing for the people who live here and chose Chapel Hill because of its wonderful lifestyle and small neighborhood feel.
I would like to encourage (the council) to strongly consider the smaller-scale proposal, which would reduce the traffic impact while maintaining significant profitability for the town and the developer.
I realize that development is a key to growth, but I am concerned by the large scale of development. We, and many of our neighbors, have moved to Southern Chapel Hill for the wonderful schools, quiet neighborhoods and thoughtful development. I hope that the council will consider the impact of this large development and how it affects the livability of the residents. U.S. 15-501 (from Estes Drive to Columbia Street) is already clogged with traffic during rush hour, and I am concerned of the impact of adding thousands of other residents and shoppers to a very congested area.
Blinded by $$$
As the Town Council considers the Obey Creek development, I hope it will have the patience and wisdom to consider proposals of various sizes and to keep in mind the thoughtful development planning done by the city in the past.
I fear the town, blinded by the prospect of money, is rushing carelessly toward a scale of development that could create as many problems as it solves. I am not against development, but it should be appropriate and a balance between what the town’s residents – the council’s constituents – want and the opportunity the city and developers seek.
Stop the spin
I have been reading for a while about Obey Creek, but only recently attended a council meeting to hear first-hand what is transpiring regarding this potential development. I understand that the Perrys are offering some nice benefits to the town by providing a park, low-income housing and financial incentives. There was also lots of talk about Obey Creek being pedestrian and bike-friendly.
I think that the concerns about traffic were downplayed by the developer and the architect. The subsequent reports by NCDOT and the town’s own Planning Commission makes this clear and should give us all pause. Please do not let the developer “spin” this any more. People may enjoy walking around Obey Creek once it is built, but most people are going to drive their cars there to do so. This is just common sense and really does not require a traffic study (although the traffic study certainly backs it up).
I know that Obey Creek has been hanging out there for a long time, but it seems to me, having just walked into the debate, that a consensus has been developed only between the Town Council and the developer. There are still too many stakeholders who have not been convinced of the merits of this size of development, given the traffic implications.
The Perrys can (and assuredly will) wait for a decision on this. I do not believe for a minute that they will walk away from the project if a smaller project is required and neither should the council. The long-term traffic implications for the area are too great to rush this decision. Please, Town Council, do not sell out the quality of life for the entire southern side of Chapel Hill for the sake of a park and a few units of affordable housing.