C harting O ur F uture A Land Use Initiative
North Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard A gateway corridor with mixed-use nodes.
Displacement mitigation strategies will be necessary should existing manufactured home parks in the Focus Area be redeveloped. The Greene Tract provides protection and habitat for various wildlife populations, and as such, any future development to occur on the Greene Tract should provide appropriate buffers and any future development on the edges of Sub-Areas B and C should provide appropriate buffers between the Greene Tract and developed land uses. Residential uses that are likely to attract students are appropriate in locations close to transit and with access to shopping and convenience to campus. Placemaking, Street Character, and Urban Form A cohesive street design along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard—from I-40 to downtown—should be achieved through improvements in the right-of-way including street trees and design standards. Additional and connected public and green spaces should be provided as existing retail centers such as Chapel Hill North and Timberlyne Shopping Centers are redeveloped into multi-story developments. Buildings should be located closer to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard at proposed bus rapid transit stations with wide, shaded and continuous multimodal paths to enhance walkability and frame the gateway corridor. Active frontages are encouraged to create vibrancy and ensure pedestrian activity over time. These frontages should consider the placement of buildings on the site, the location of primary building entrances, streetscapes, and pedestrian-scaled amenities. In some cases, active frontages may mean that retail and services should be allowed on the first floor within the Multi-family Character Type. The Focus Area is characterized by its inviting streetscapes that blend the aesthetics of the built environment with mature tree canopies within the public right-of-way and as part of private development. Maintain this quality by preserving key vegetative areas and implementing new street tree plantings to support this character, shade sidewalks, and help frame the public realm. Because the Town is designated as a Tree City USA, significant tree stands at Town entrances, as appropriate to the location, should be maintained and/or enhanced. For example, when entering Town from the Rural Buffer, density should build from the edge of the Rural Buffer toward the more developed portions of Town. In all instances, the entrances to Town should demonstrate the Town’s uniqueness Density & Intensity Leverage proposed transit service by increasing density and intensity within new developments near planned transit stations. Higher density mixed-use centers should have appropriate building height, landscape, connectivity, and transitions to residential neighborhoods. Concentration of density and intensity should be encouraged in proximity to transit stops to leverage transit service and to preserve and protect other areas Environmental Old Field Creek, which is located between Sub-Areas A and B, should be positioned as a protected natural amenity adjacent to shops, offices, and multifamily properties. The creek should be incorporated into site design, where appropriate, with riparian green infrastructure to provide for flood mitigation, habitat, and community space. Development in this Focus Area must be cognizant of the existing, significant watersheds.
The North Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard area is envisioned as a gateway to the Town from points north that includes mixed-use nodes that fully leverage future proposed bus rapid transit (BRT) service. While improvements will include wide sidewalks, buildings, and tree canopies that frame the corridor, east-to-west multimodal connectivity will also be emphasized. Implementing bus rapid transit along the corridor will significantly influence future mobility, land use, placemaking, and urban form. In order to create a cohesive corridor from I-40 to Hillsborough Street, as the corridor redevelops in concert with the BRT, at larger bus rapid transit stations, buildings (development) should be located closer to the street to create highly functional, walkable destinations for both transit riders and adjacent neighborhoods. Between these BRT stations, buildings may be pushed back with significant front yard landscaping. Overview of Current Conditions Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard is a major north-south arterial, a gateway to Chapel Hill from the north, and soon to be the Town’s premium transit corridor. The Focus Area generally follows Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard from I-40 to Homestead Road and includes portions of Eubanks Road, Weaver Diary Road, and the north side of Homestead Road. The area has seen strong development interest in recent years, in part due to its proximity to I-40 and availability of undeveloped land. Nearly 30% of the area is currently undeveloped, though planned mixed-use developments (including construction underway on Eubanks Road) and a planned bus rapid transit line will impact the character of this area in the future. Previous planning efforts include the Rogers Road Neighborhood Plan, the Greene Tract agreement, the Northern Area Task Force Report, and various townwide plans. Focus Area Principles Connectivity & Mobility Connectivity between commercial destinations and residential areas east of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard should be a priority. Bicycle, pedestrian, and multimodal links from existing development and new development/ redevelopment should be emphasized to fully leverage transit service. New developments near Rogers Road should open to and connect with the existing Rogers Road community. Parking strategies should encourage people to park once and walk from one destination to another within mixed-use activity nodes. Likewise, property owners who have different peak hours of parking demand should share their parking spaces with one another. Surface parking between buildings and primary streets should be avoided. While conversion of the existing railroad is a possibility, until such time, it will remain a barrier to east/west connectivity and ways to lessen its impact should be considered. Land Use New growth should be focused along transit corridors in mixed-use neighborhoods. Diverse and accessible housing options with a range of product types and affordability for people of all incomes and life stages should be promoted, particularly in proximity to existing and proposed transit service.
Town of Chapel Hill |
| December 2020
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