Glen Lennox neighborhood conservation effort moves forward
Jul 3, 2008 News
by Rich Fowler | Staff Writer | The Carrboro Citizen - Carrboro,NC
Glen Lennox area residents are one step closer to getting a Neighborhood Conservation District. At its meeting last week, the Chapel Hill Town Council allowed residents to go forward with the NCD process, which allows the planning department to hold an informational meeting for area landowners.
The NCD petition was filed soon after Grubb Properties, the owner of the Glen Lennox apartments and shopping center, announced a plan to redevelop the area into a high-density neighborhood similar to Meadowmont.
But at the council meeting, Clay Grubb, president of Grubb Properties, said he didn’t think the plan was sensitive to the history of Glen Lennox.
“I apologize,” Grubb said. “We were not prepared to submit that plan, but we felt like we had no choice at the time. That was a plan that was done hastily.”
He said he’d be happy to halt plans while all parties involved talked it over.
Grubb said he didn’t feel the NCD process was fair, because his company owns the 440 apartment units and shopping center, which make up a little more than one-third of the area.
Mary Dexter, who filed the original petition, said the proposed Glen Lennox redevelopment plan wasn’t the only reason for an NCD. “We’re working on saving a neighborhood, not just apartments,” she said. Dexter said area residents were concerned about teardowns and “McMansions” in their neighborhood.
“We have common historical values, we have common architectural values,” she said. “We are a neighborhood, and you are part of it.”
The next step is that the planning board will schedule a meeting to tell landowners how the NCD process works, what it protects and what it doesn’t protect. Notices will be sent to all landowners within a 500-foot radius of the proposed NCD before the meeting.
There are currently six NCDs in Chapel Hill, including one in Northside and the most recent one in Coker Hills.
The council took no action on a proposed moratorium on development along NC 54 east of 15-501 up to the town limits. Projects already under construction as well as those still in the application phase would not be stopped by a moratorium.
Because of the way the development process is set up, the proposed redevelopment of Glen Lennox, along with any other future proposed projects along NC 54, would still be subject to a moratorium if the council chooses to pass one when it meets again in the fall.
Michael Collins, vice chair of the planning board, said the board unanimously supported the original petition for a moratorium on NC 54. “The applications seem to be coming fast and furious,” he said. Collins said that perhaps it was a good time to step back and discuss what the council and citizens want along the road.
Mayor Pro Tem Jim Ward said that passing the moratorium now wasn’t an either/or issue. He said that passing one right now wouldn’t be effective, because the town would wind up losing a lot of time under a moratorium when the council wasn’t in session.
“It has our attention, and it will gain more attention and thought over the next few months,” he said.
“We have common historical values, we have common architectural values,” she said. “We are a neighborhood, and you are part of it.” Yup, that is what this is all about.