Chapel Hill: Opinion

What’s else you’re saying: Jerry Schoendorf, Clara Zelasky and Anthony Waraksa

The wood framing on the upper floors of the Alexan Chapel Hill mixed-use project on South Elliott Road has been treated with a flame retardant to minimize the spread of fire, according to the town. The project also has fire walls and sprinklers.
The wood framing on the upper floors of the Alexan Chapel Hill mixed-use project on South Elliott Road has been treated with a flame retardant to minimize the spread of fire, according to the town. The project also has fire walls and sprinklers.

Question about new apartments

The massive building encroaching on Elliott Road by Whole Foods shocks me every time I drive by because the upper floors appear to be entirely constructed of wood.

Presumably, wood is less costly than a metal internal structure and I presume that building codes permit this, but is no one thinking of the people who will be living there – even with sprinklers in place?

Jerry Schoendorf

Chapel Hill

Note: We’ve heard this question from others, so we asked the town and one of the developers (The project is a joint venture between East West Partners and Dallas based Trammell Crow Residential) to respond.

Travis Crabtree, fire protection specialist, Chapel Hill Fire Department: The town of Chapel Hill’s development review of the Alexan Village Plaza project at 201 S. Elliott Road began with submission of building site, architectural and development plans. The town’s Development Services and Chapel Hill Fire Department, as well as numerous other local and state divisions, conduct review and inspections.

Architects and engineers from the N.C. Department of Insurance made a structural and life-safety review in March 2015 to ensure that construction requirements comply with N.C. Building and Fire Codes. Inspectors from the town of Chapel Hill building and fire departments began their initial review in April 2015 to ensure that building, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, and accessibility codes are met at a local level. Our inspectors continue to work on site to conduct multiple inspections on various trades, sometimes daily.

This is a six-story multi-use structure consisting of four separate buildings that all look to be one large structure, but are protected by fire rated barriers and true fire walls. Almost 400,000 square feet of the overall building is constructed of non-combustible material. The wood framing on the upper floors has been treated with a flame retardant (making the wood a pink color) to minimize the spread of fire. The entire exterior will be constructed with FlameBlock, a fire safety construction material.

Roger Perry, developer, East West Partners: My only addition is that the entire building has a water sprinkler system. This is the current state of the art in building apartments locally and nationally including Carolina Square and as many as hundreds of thousands of new apartments in North Carolina and millions in the United States over the last five years.

Move greenway path

The purpose of this letter is to remind you what is most important in the issue concerning the Bolin Creek Greenway project called 1B and the Chapel Hill Cross Country Course.

It is the students, the children, teenagers and young adults.

They are what matters most. We owe it to them to do what is right. They are the future of this town, country and the world. They matter.

We are setting an example for them. We are teaching them how to admit wrongs, how to communicate, how government works and most importantly how to work together as a community.

By choosing to move the Greenway path away from the Cross Country Course we are showing the students that their activities are valued. That they matter most even though the town may lose money and have to put many more addition hours into this project.

These students will carry the feeling of "I matter" with them into the future. A future that in 30 years from now many of us will not even be alive. No one will remember the money, the many hours spent reconstructing the route but those kids surely will remember. They will remember this event for the rest of their lives. They will remember that the town of Carrboro put their needs first. They will take this experience with them into their careers as lawyers, athletes, doctors, engineers, civil servants, or even mayors.

I encourage you to do what is right by these students and work to re-route Bolin Creek Greenway project 1b.

Let us not lose sight of what is really important here.

Clara Zelasky


Abandon tainted titles

Let's agree the academic/athletic scandal at UNC is not the NCAA’s problem but UNC’s. Let’s further agree that it does not represent the qualities we want our flagship university to represent.

It’s not up to the NCAA to impose penalties on the university, but it is up to the university to see that it has an ethical and moral obligation to recognize some of its professional staff had loyalties toward a sports team, not to the university's standards.

Certainly any sanctions or punishment should not harm the student athletics currently enrolled. They are innocent.

Instead, perhaps UNC’s administration should look at the games and championships won by athletes who were not academically qualified to play except but for fraudulent (as opposed to easy) courses.

It would be a step toward UNC’s regaining its honor by stating, "We did not earn these wins and these championships honestly, and we choose to abandon them."

Doing so would make us proud of UNC and would help our flagship university regain its honor.

Anthony Waraksa


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