C harting O ur F uture A Land Use Initiative
North 15-501 Corridor A destination with a mix of higher intensity uses.
Placemaking, Street Character, and Urban Form As a gateway from the northeast, additional attention should be given to the form and function of the corridor. 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. In all instances, the entrances to Town should demonstrate the Town’s uniqueness. As single-story retail centers such as University Place and Eastgate are redeveloped into multistory, mixed-use developments, the provision of additional, connected public spaces and green spaces should be emphasized. 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. Redevelopment should feature a more compact and connected urban framework by limiting block lengths, thus ensuring a higher number of intersections per square mile. Site buildings closer to the street to enhance the walkability within the Focus Area. 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. Density & Intensity The mix of uses should vary in scale and intensity based on the different context of the Focus Area. Density and intensity should be the highest near larger proposed future transit stops with transitions to adjacent areas. The density and intensity of these areas may be reconsidered if transit is not constructed. Environmental The Town should leverage redevelopment as an opportunity to reduce overflows into the Focus Area’s historically flood prone locations. Redevelopment and new development should enhance how people are connected to and experience the area’s natural resources, including Little Creek and Booker Creek. The creeks should be incorporated into site design as well as daylighted and/or developed into green infrastructure and green spaces, where appropriate. The North 15-501 Focus Area should have a greater contribution to the Town’s overall urban tree canopy. Some developed properties should partially transition to open space, where possible, which may require intensifying development away from restored open space on these properties.
The North 15-501 area is envisioned as a dynamic mix of higher-intensity uses, including places to shop and reside. The vision for this area balances its role as a gateway to Town from points east and a destination that draws residents, employees, shoppers, and visitors from elsewhere. The Focus Area promotes active street life that blends the built environment with mature tree canopies and offers wide sidewalks and other multimodal features. Portions of the Focus Area that are currently developed may transition over time to open space. Overview of Current Conditions North 15-501 is one of the town’s major retail and commercial centers as well as an important gateway from I-40.The Focus Area follows North 15-501 and runs from I-40 to Estes Drive and includes portions of East Franklin Street and Erwin Road. Higher density housing, commercial, and mixed-use developments dominate the corridor, which is surrounded by established single-family neighborhoods. Significant flood and stormwater concerns impact a major portion of this area. In 2014, Chapel Hill adopted a form-based code for the Blue Hill District to establish and maintain a consistent and cohesive design aesthetic. Previous planning efforts include Ephesus Church Road/Fordham Boulevard Small Area Planning and Traffic Analysis, Blue Hill District Design Guidelines, and various townwide plans. Planning strategies should reference the concurrent planning process for the UNC Healthcare Eastowne campus. Parking strategies—such as consolidating parking in strategic locations—should encourage people to park once and walk from one destination to another within in mixed-use activity nodes. Likewise, property owners who have different peak hours of parking demand should share their parking spaces with one another. Given the higher density envisioned for this corridor, bicycle and pedestrian mobility within and to the Focus Area should be prioritized. The North 15-501 Focus Area should be studied for potential high-frequency transit options. Land Use Existing single-use shopping areas should be encouraged to transition over time to mixed-use areas with clear connections to adjacent neighborhoods and developments. Special consideration should be given to the transition from higher density and intensity uses along the corridor and near larger proposed transit stops to single-family neighborhoods. Housing of various price points should be integrated into mixed-use nodes or located near employment centers. Townhomes should be encouraged to provide a transition between higher densities in the Focus Area and the single-family residential neighborhoods on the periphery. This Focus Area should include employment centers, whether single user or in a mixed office setting, within proximity to future transit stops. Focus Area Principles Connectivity & Mobility
Town of Chapel Hill |
| December 2020
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