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Council holds off on N.C. 54 moratorium

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The Chapel Hill Town Council chose not to act last week on a request for a development moratorium on N.C. 54.

One person spoke for the measure by the time the council got to the item around midnight on a packaged meeting agenda.

"A moratorium will create some breathing space," said Kristina Peterson of Neighborhoods for Responsible Growth. "The consequences of decisions made now we think will be with us and our children for many decades."

Byt council members agreed with staff (which disagreed with the town planning board) and decided there was no urgent need to pass a temporary development ban. Projects like East54 are well under way, and even if Grubb Properties were to move forward on Glen Lennox, the council still has time to consider a moratorium when it comes back from summer break.

"We really risk nothing by taking no action," Councilman Bill Strom said. 

The council is going to be talking about growth and density issues this fall. Councilman Ed Harrison says he hopes the N.C. 54 issues don't get swallowed up in that larger discussion. "The issues are really acute here," he told his colleagues.



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Moratorium Not Needed

Route 54 East is the perfect area for more growth, both commercial and residential. The quicker the town council sees the wisdom in this decision, the quicker our outrageous tax burden will be eased.

Moratorium is badly needed

By waiting to put a moratorium in place, the town council leaves the barn door open for more projects to claim "vested insterests" and exempt themselves because they were already "in the pipeline."

The council members know this full well and failure to act accordingly should be viewed as accommodating the developers.

The fact that Grubb Properties now claims that their plan was hasty and want to reconfigure it before the neighborhood can put a conservation designation in place is a bad sign. Had the opposition not presented itself, Grubb would be on its way to developing something that would forever spoil a neighborhood. It takes one council to approve a project that we will be stuck with for 60 years.

The town needs to put the brakes on and let the public react to the monstrosity revealing itself across the street from Glen Lennox.

It's great to equip toilets with two buttons, but there won't be enough water to flush the number one, let alone the number two!

Not exactly "disagreed"

I don't think it's exactly accurate to say that the planning board and town staff were in "disagreement" over the moratorium.  The petition which had been presented to Council was brought up by a board member, and after a brief discussion there was a general consensus of concern over the type and pace of development along the 54 corridor, so we opted to support the petition.  There was no staff comment on the petition at that point, as I don't believe they had fully reviewed it.  The planning board didn't discuss timing the implementation of a moratorium, and I wouldn't be surprised if a majority of folks on the board agreed with staff and Council to hold off on it for now given the information in the staff report.

Jason Baker

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About the blogger

Mark Schultz is the editor of The Chapel Hill News and The Durham News.