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BOA mulls 500 N. Greensboro project

By Susan Dickson
Staff Writer

CARRBORO – Following several hours of discussion, the Carrboro Board of Aldermen voted unanimously on Tuesday to continue public hearings regarding rezoning for a 114-unit mixed-used development at 500 N. Greensboro St until September.

A few members of the public commented on the proposed project, but no one spoke directly in opposition to it. Board members said they needed more information, wanted to see several changes to the proposal and wanted to consider all their rezoning options before approving the requested rezoning.

The proposed project, Shelton Station, is a two-building, 125,000-square-foot development on 2.7 acres at 404, 406 and 500 N. Greensboro St. and 113 Parker St. A three-story building would face North Greensboro Street with 12,000 square feet of commercial property on the ground floor and 24 residential units on the second and third floors. A four-story building, set back from the first and running perpendicular to Parker Street, would have 90 residential units with parking below them.

The developer has said the project would provide market-rate workforce and affordable housing, and has proposed adding a number of sustainable features, including an on-site charging station for electric cars, heat-reflective roof coverings and rainwater retention.

“We think there’s a demand in downtown Carrboro and the area for non-students who are looking for reasonably priced nice apartments,” said Ken Reiter of Belmont Sayre, the developer.

Several board members expressed concern about traffic effects, the size of the development and the percentage of the project dedicated to commercial space.

Mayor Mark Chilton said the board should consider that surrounding properties will also likely be developed in coming years, further impacting traffic in the area.

“The only thing that will make the traffic situation get better on Greensboro Street is for gas prices to continue to spiral out of control,” he said.

Several board members said they would like to see greater commercial density in the project.

“The density we really want to increase is the commercial cause that’s the revenue we need,” board member Randee Haven-O’Donnell said. “We need that revenue to support the infrastructure for the people that live here.”

Residents spoke in support of the project, though some urged the board to carefully consider all the implications before approving the rezoning.

David Arneson, a resident of Mulberry Street just north of the proposed project, said “The economic benefits of it I think are a slam dunk.” Having that many residents within walking distance of downtown “would be an obvious benefit for the entire community.

“I think density and design of an urban building like this, mixed-use, in an urban core, is inherently the most …green construction you can do.”

Barbara Jessie-Black, executive director of the PTA Thrift Shop, said she liked the affordable-housing aspect of the proposal.

“Most of my employees do not live in Carrboro because they can’t find any place to live in Carrboro,” she said.

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  1. James Smith

    Stopping this project would be a shame; to hamper everyone’s economic prosperity because a few people don’t want to wait another 2 minutes in the after work traffic.

    Do you really think making people live *further* away from town actually helps traffic any? The most likely tenants will be people that want to live within walking distance of work.

  2. Chris Bond

    Yes, who cares about people in cars? Why are we still protecting the feelings about people using cars? Let them suffer the way they make the earth suffer.

    And why do we care about the commercial aspect of the property? What more do we need as far as businesses downtown? I can buy everything I need; food, household, etc.

    The town needs more low income housing if they want to attract the people who actually BUY things in town and who actually WORK in town. It needs more housing to lower the cost of housing. Unlike the failed Greenbridge project which is green only because it is empty, I think a rental building like this would do far more for the community. And maybe some of the Northside residents will have a place to live in town.