Future Land Use Map - Update to Chapel Hill 2020

C harting O ur F uture A Land Use Initiative

1 | I ntroduction

population, aging housing stock, a global pandemic, continued growth of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), and technology changes. Because it is anticipated that change will continue to be a constant in Chapel Hill’s future, reviewing and potentially updating this FLUM and Chapel Hill 2020 may be necessary periodically. Explanation of the Future Land Use Map & Its Components Future Land Use Map Considerations Purpose The Town’s FLUM is a tool to generally and flexibly direct future growth, implement the community vision, and create a sense of place and community for those who live, work, and visit Chapel Hill. The FLUM provides strategies and approaches for land use and development in Chapel Hill and will serve as a foundation for decision-making for elected and appointed officials as well as a guide for all community members be they businesses, property owners, developers or other concerned stakeholders to better understand the community’s vision for Chapel Hill’s future. The following considerations provide context for the Chapel Hill FLUM. Relationship to the Comprehensive Plan Chapel Hill 2020 is the community’s comprehensive plan that sets a vision and a path for Chapel Hill’s future. On June 25, 2012, the Town Council unanimously adopted the Chapel Hill 2020 comprehensive plan. The Chapel Hill 2020 comprehensive plan reflects the values, aspirations, and ideas of the community. The participants in the Chapel Hill 2020 process envisioned a town that is accessible, affordable, and sustainable; asserted the importance of protecting the community’s natural resources; and emphasized the importance of a vibrant downtown and active neighborhoods. Typically, FLUMs are components of comprehensive plans, and Chapel Hill 2020 includes a Land Use Plan. This revised FLUM replaces the Land Use Plan and will help to implement the vision of Chapel Hill 2020, including all subsequent amendments. Relationship to the Land Use Management Ordinance and Zoning Atlas The Future Land Use Map depicts a snapshot into the future of the Town’s preferred future mix of land uses. In other words, the Future Land Use Map will generally guide the Town as to where shopping, houses, apartments, townhomes, offices, and parks should be located to the year 2050. The Zoning Atlas is a regulatory map showing what the Town has already decided to allow today. The Zoning Atlas implements the Land Use Management Ordinance (LUMO). The FLUM and the Zoning Atlas are like a leader and a follower. The FLUM is the leading document that recommends and advises, while the Zoning Atlas is the follower map that authorizes and entitles. The Focus Area Maps and Principles in Section 4 portray a vision for the Town in the year 2050. In many instances, changes to the Town’s development ordinances, standards, policies, and regulations as well as construction of additional facilities and infrastructure may be required to implement this vision. Given the future- oriented nature of the Focus Area Maps and Principles, such changes may not happen in the near term. Instead, this Future Land Use Map will provide guidance only and help to clarify expectations for future development. As the Town works to update its land use tools, such as the Land Use Management Ordinance, near term priorities that implement this FLUM may be specified. However, the Focus Area Maps and Principles are not intended to depict that the Town is ready, in every instance, to approve applications and/or change existing zoning to support the vision depicted in the FLUM. Instead, individual development applications will be evaluated based on applicable development regulations, context, and circumstances with the understanding that the Town is looking for creative solutions to move toward 2050. The FLUM provides general guidance on how land can be

What is Charting Our Future? Charting Our Future is a two-phased project designed to chart the next course for the Town of Chapel Hill to the year 2050 and to make the Town’s Land Use Tools more predictable, functional, and intentional. The first phase, revising the Future Land Use Map (FLUM) and amending Chapel Hill 2020 , focuses on the Town’s key gateways, corridors, and activity nodes. The future land use for most of the Town, including much of the Town’s single-family neighborhoods, remains unchanged. The second phase of the Project is rewriting the Town’s Land Use Management Ordinance (LUMO), which is the Town’s “rule book” that specifies where uses, be they commercial; residential; mixed-use; open space etc., are allowed in Town. The LUMO also regulates where a building may be placed on a lot, the height of buildings, and a myriad of other details. Making the LUMO more predictable, functional, and intentional is one of the primary reasons the Town Council decided to Chart Chapel Hill’s Future. Charting Our Future by Looking to the Past As part of the first phase of the Charting Our Future Project, Town staff and consultants undertook a thorough review of previous planning efforts. A common theme in these plans is the community’s understanding that the physical environment of Chapel Hill—its neighborhoods, streets, utilities, and natural resources—deeply affect how people experience life in their Town. These past planning efforts include the creation of the Rural Buffer and the Urban Services Boundary. These forward-thinking efforts sought to limit the Town’s ability to sprawl and to maintain the semi-rural landscape that surrounded the Town at the time. Thirty years later, maintaining these sprawl control efforts, which help to create a more sustainable and climate resilient future for the Town, translates into an opportunity for the Town to mature within its existing boundaries thereby taking advantage of existing infrastructure, transit investments, the benefits of being the home of UNC-Chapel Hill, and the cultural enrichment that accompanies diverse communities living in close proximity to each other. Why does Chapel Hill need to Chart Its Future? In 2012, the Town adopted its current Comprehensive Plan entitled “ Chapel Hill 2020 .” Chapel Hill 2020 established this Vision for the Town: “Chapel Hill will be a multicultural university town where each day celebrates connections and choice; where a dynamic downtown and networked community inspire connections among people, ideas, the region, and the world; where innovation, technology, discovery, learning, and the arts continually animate a town alive with choices, options, and opportunities to live, work, play, and prosper.” This Vision and Chapel Hill 2020 continue to guide the Town. Nonetheless, the Town has changed since 2012 and responding to forces of change, many outside the control of the Town, make it necessary to amend Chapel Hill 2020 to include this Future Land Use Map and all of its components. These forces include climate change, population growth in both Chapel Hill and the Triangle Region, increasing urbanization, an aging population, the increasing cost of living and housing which may decrease socioeconomic diversity, an increasingly diverse



Town of Chapel Hill |

| December 2020

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