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Charterwood vote returns

By Susan Dickson
Staff Writer

CHAPEL HILL – Despite multiple meetings and years of consideration, a decision on Charterwood has still not been made, and the Chapel Hill Town Council is set to take a third vote on the project at its meeting on Monday.

Last week, the council cast a 4-4 vote on the project, a mixed-use development proposed for Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Council members Matt Czajkowski, Laurin Easthom, Ed Harrison and Lee Storrow voted against the project, with Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt and council members Donna Bell, Penny Rich and Jim Ward voting in favor.

Council member Gene Pease, who previously voted in favor of Charterwood, was absent. Because of the tie, the project will come back before the council on Monday.

The six-building, 278,000 – square-foot project is proposed to include up to 154 residential units – nine townhomes and 145 apartments – and up to 73,000 square feet of office and retail space on 9.3 acres of a 15.7-acre property at 1641 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., just south of Weaver Dairy Road.

In June, the council voted 5-4 to approve the project, but because first readings of rezoning ordinances require supermajority approval, it had to come back before the council for a second reading, at which point it required only a simple majority.

The June vote wasn’t the first one on Charterwood. In January, the council voted 5-3 to approve the project, but because neighbors had submitted a valid protest petition, supermajority approval was required. However, the developer, WCA Partners LLC, redrew the lines of the rezoning request such that the protest petition is no longer valid. Under state law, when a protest petition signed by owners of at least 5 percent of the property within 100 feet of a proposed rezoning is filed, approval by a three-quarters majority is required.

A number of residents of the Northwoods V neighborhood, which neighbors the property, have come out strongly against Charterwood, citing concerns about buffers, building heights and flooding.

The council will discuss the project at their meeting at 7 p.m. at Chapel Hill Town Hall on Monday.

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