Chapel Hill News

Council to discuss plans for Chapel Hill’s Edge

The Town Council will hold a public hearing Monday about the latest plan to bring several hundred apartments, plus stores and offices, to 54 acres on Eubanks Road north of town.

Town staff is recommending the council discuss the plan – the fourth version in several years – and continue the public hearing to Dec. 3 to allow more time for community input.

Developer Northwood Ravin has put some flexibility into this version of The Edge, which could feature 600,000 to 932,000 square feet of floor space (two to three times the size of University Mall) and buildings up to 90 feet tall. If approved, the town could annex the development.

The plan shows a network of buildings and streets, but project officials said the final appearance and tenant mix would develop over time. Roughly 70 percent of the land could be covered with impervious surfaces, including streets, parking and 18 to 35 buildings.

The developer has offered to make 50 apartments – 7 percent to 13 percent of the proposed housing – affordable to those earning 80 percent or less of the area median income. The area median income for Chapel Hill is $65,700 a year for a family of four.

Adam Golden, vice president of development for Northwood Ravin, has said possible tenants could include a small- to mid-size grocery store but that a big-box retailer isn’t likely.

The property is next to and could connect with the town’s Eubanks Road park-and-ride lot. It’s also is across the street from the Northwood neighborhood and Chapel Watch Village.

Neighbors have shared concerns about what stores are possible, increased traffic and noise potential once the primarily wooded land is cleared.

The developer is asking for several exceptions to existing land-use rules, such as reducing the required tree cover to 20 percent and allowing taller buildings, smaller landscape buffers and more signs.

Golden asked the council earlier this year if Chapel Hill also would help pay for the required road improvements.

The developer, town staff and N.C. Department of Transportation officials are planning at least two new stoplights; new travel lanes, bike lanes and sidewalks on Eubanks Road; and additional turn lanes at the Eubanks-MLK Boulevard intersection.