Travel Safety Initiatives
We want everyone to travel safely in Chapel Hill. The Police Department and area partners will continue speed enforcement and Watch for Me N.C. initiatives throughout the month of February. These initiatives are an effort to continue to preserve and enhance a safe community in which to travel, whether on two wheels, four wheels, two feet, or other methods.
Watch For Me N.C. is a statewide safety initiative designed to improve relationships on roads between people who drive, people who walk, people who roll and people who bike. People may receive helpful information, warnings, and in some cases, tickets for violations during these initiatives.
The Chapel Hill Police Department is taking additional steps to encourage safety among all travelers of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and throughout the community. You may notice an enhanced police presence along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The Watch For Me N.C. travel-safety initiative scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 27, is being moved from South Columbia Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. You will also notice temporary digital signs along the road to encourage safe-travel behaviors.
Chapel Hill Flood Response Continues
The Town of Chapel Hill continues to respond to the aftermath of heavy rains that dumped more than seven inches of rain in Chapel Hill, causing flooding and property damage.
Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt issued a 30-day emergency proclamation on July 8, 2013, that will allow the Town to waive fees for pickup of flood related debris. Town Manager Roger L. Stancil has directed Town staff to expedite the building review process and to waive fees for permits related to correcting flood damaged properties.
“We are working to ensure that our residents get the help they need, but the assessment, clean up, and disposal will all take time, so patience is needed” Town Manager Stancil said. “Cooperation among our town, Carrboro, Orange County and the Red Cross has been outstanding and will help our community get back to normal.”
The Town’s Stormwater Management Division records show that 1.83 inches fell June 28-29; 5.06 inches on June 30, and another 0.97 inches on July 1 for a total of 7.86 inches. A total of 5.06 inches fell within 19 hours, most of it within two hours between 3 and 5 p.m. on June 30.
Solid Waste Collection:
In an effort to assist residents with clean-up activities, the Town is waiving its household bulky waste pickup fee for residents with flood damage. Residents with flood debris may call Public Works (919-969-5100) to arrange a special collection and verify that crews can collect their waste items. Crews will not be collecting construction and demolition wastes (e.g., sheetrock, insulation, treated wood, etc.) or household hazardous wastes.
Repairing flood damaged property and fee waivers:
In most situations, repairing flood damaged properties, including residential and non-residential (commercial, office, institutional) development, will require a zoning and/or building permit (for example damaged foundations, interior flood damage, damaged roof, collapsed retaining walls, washed out driveways, sidewalks etc.). In order to determine if you will need a zoning and or building permit please contact the Town’s Planning Department at 919-968-2728 or the Inspections Division at 919-968-2718. Processing of permits for flood damaged properties will be expedited. Permit fees are being waived through Aug. 8, 2013, for the following application types:
• Inspection Division Fees (electrical, plumbing, mechanical, demolition, temporary power, change of contractor, temporary certificate of occupancy, insulation, decks and accessory structures) http://www.townofchapelhill.org/index.aspx?page=171
• Administrative Zoning Compliance Permits ($480)
• Single Family/2-Family Zoning Compliance Permits: Regular ($240)
• Single Family/2 Family Zoning Compliance Permits: Express ($121)
• Building Permits for repairs and renovations associated with flood damage.
Central North Carolina Red Cross Chapter continues to operate the Flood Assistance Center at the University Mall in Chapel Hill, 201 S. Estes Drive inside the mall between Dillard’s and GNC. The public can use the Alfredo’s entrance for easier access. The center is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday. Working in partnership with Orange County Department of Social Services, the center assists by providing people impacted by flooding with food, clothing and lodging. Call the center at 919-903-0676 or the Red Cross at 919-489-6541.
Private Property Damage
To receive assistance for damaged property, start with your insurance company. Getting a formal insurance denial is important step in accessing other kinds of aid.
The Town of Chapel Hill is working with Orange County to pursue eligibility for disaster loan assistance from the Small Business Administration. A joint assessment of the most affected areas of Orange County was conducted Tuesday, July 9, by representatives from the SBA, NC Emergency Management, and Orange County Emergency Services in conjunction with the Town of Chapel Hill and Town of Carrboro. The team conducted a joint assessment of the most affected areas of Orange County to determine the magnitude of damage from the flooding. The findings will determine whether there have been sufficient uninsured /underinsured losses to homes and or businesses to request a USSBA Disaster Loan Declaration, offering low interest loans to qualified applicants.
Flood Damage at Town Facilities
- Town Hall at 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. – The first floor of the building was flooded. The clean-up and repair is underway. Residents may pay taxes and other bills on the second floor of Town Hall at the Revenue Collector. Business Management and Information Technology staff members have been relocated.
- Airport Gardens public housing neighborhood on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard: Clean-up and repair of 18 apartments is underway.
- Umstead Park: Rather than restore the existing playground, crews will install a new play structure in the park away from the creek. Work on Umstead Park is scheduled to begin this week with removal of the existing structure and barrier fencing.
- Greenways: The Bolin Creek Greenway was heavily impacted by the flooding. The Morgan Creek and Booker Creek greenways received some minor impacts, but these have been addressed. The Bolin Creek Greenway remains open, but greenway users need to be aware that while temporary measures have been implemented to maintain the trail surface, additional construction will be occurring over the next six months to repair damage. This work will necessitate the closing of sections of the trail. Crews will also be working in close proximity to the trail to clean up storm debris and remove damaged trees which may cause short term closing of trail areas.
- Sykes Street Playground: The Sykes Playground is closed until a new retaining wall can be installed and the playground fall surface replaced.
- Meadowbrook Drive: Closed, pending repair.
- Swimming Pools: None of the Town’s swimming pools were affected by the flooding. While we did receive the torrential rain at AD Clarke Pool, the pool filtration equipment is engineered to handle the overflow and keep the pool water within acceptable sanitary standards.