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Letter: Project asked to add commercial space

Thank you for your article on the Carrboro Board of Aldermen’s granting a one-year extension on several development permits. As your article points out, these extensions are essential to give these projects time to get going in a challenging economy.

One point omitted is that we only granted the Ballentine AIS a six-month extension, half the time they had requested. Ballentine is an entirely residential subdivision off Old N.C. 86, north of Lake Hogan Farms, much like those that have been typical in northern Carrboro. However, in recent years the board has heard loud and clear from residents that they want mixed-use and commercial projects that will provide retail services and nearby destinations for their neighborhoods.

Planning staff is working its way through a review of the Northern Study Area. This review is designed, in part, to identify locations for mixed-use and commercial development. While we await the completion of that process, the extension request afforded the opportunity to encourage a developer to seek to site some commercial space now (note: the three one-year extensions granted that same night already had commercial components).

In granting the six-month extension (which can be renewed), we requested MI Homes “to look favorably at including a commercial element in the project.” Our thinking is that even a single building near Old N.C. 86, perhaps similar in some respect to Johnny’s on Main Street, with a shop downstairs and offices or apartments upstairs, would be an important enhancement to this project and to the surrounding neighborhoods.

Dan Coleman
Carrboro Board of Aldermen

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