Chapel Hill residents oppose project proposal, citing traffic and flooding

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) — Over 100 Chapel Hill residents are opposed to a development proposal at the intersection of North Estes Drive and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Chapel Hill.

They have submitted a letter to the town council and the developer citing their disapproval with a list of reasons for their position.

“They’re marketing it as a mixed-use, a little bit of office, a little bit of retail,” said Julie McClintock. She has been in a lot of ways organizing the effort in rallying residents. “If you look at it carefully, there’s not much.”

The project developer, Cant Hook Properties LLC, has proposed 269 multi-family units, office space, retail space, a four-story parking deck adjacent to a six-story parking deck, a dog run, a pool, and an area for stormwater management.

“If you’re going to build a development project, it’s got to be responsible and it’s got to be something the town can handle,” McClintock stressed. “And right now we couldn’t handle that.”

The town’s community design commission discussed the proposal in their March meeting and concluded with a list of recommendations they intend to submit to the developer ahead of a Wednesday evening meeting.

Among the commission’s concern was traffic and wastewater issues. Furthermore, the commission recommends the town council deny a building permit based on a North Carolina law that blocks such construction three years after timber harvest.

The land’s owner previously operated a tree farm at the intersection. In June 2018, the trees were harvested and a decision was later made to use the space for this proposal. An official for Chapel Hill said the landowners did not harvest the land with the immediate intention of building a mixed-use project.

Residents also fear the worst for the development. “It’ll be a nightmare,” McClintock said. “It is unsafe and it will be congested beyond the point of responsibility. Some development can occur here, but only if you address the transit problem and you address the stormwater problem and you give us something we really want like a community amenity.”

Wednesday’s town council meeting is a concept plan meeting. The council plans to hear opinions from the public and forward those comments, along with the recommendations from the community design commission, to Cant Hook Properties LLC.

The developer will take that feedback into consideration before making a decision on submitting a formal application for a building permit.

ABC11 reached out to the developer for comment and has not yet received a response.

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