The Ephesus Fordham District


The Ephesus Fordham Area became a new zoning district in July 2014. Our goal is to renew and transform an area characterized by strip malls, parking lots, confusing roadways and traffic congestion. The area includes some of Chapel Hill’s older, suburban style shopping centers -- including Eastgate Shopping Center, built in 1958; Village Plaza, built in 1974; and Rams Plaza, built in 1982.

The vision is to create a pleasant walking experience, and a mix of commercial uses, upper story residences and offices, bike paths and sidewalk cafes. The vision was created by public input through visioning workshops with residents and business owners that began in July 2010.

A Form Based Code for the zoning district will stimulate new interest in developing and investing here. The Code for the district sets rules for how the district will be built and change over time.

What will buildings look like? All applicants must receive approval of a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Community Design Commission, a citizen advisory board.

How tall will the buildings be? The majority of the district at its center will be zoned WX-7 where the maximum height is seven stories with five-story transitions at many edges. The zone closest to existing neighborhoods is WR-3, where the maximum height is three stories.

How can I find out about upcoming changes within the District? The Ephesus/Fordham updates page includes the latest information on changes within the District.

The Ephesus Fordham District advances the Chapel Hill 2020 community goals and addresses concerns expressed in the Community Survey.

Goal: Improve transportation connectivity and reduce congestion, funded by $8.8 million bond to be repaid with new tax revenues generated by new development in the District. No. 1 concern from Community Survey. Visit the transportation updates page for information on transportation improvements in the District.

Goal: Improve stormwater services

by creating high standards for new development in the District. using some of the new tax revenues created by new development to pay for watershed improvements; creating a higher level of maintenance in the district funded through a municipal service district. Visit the stormwater updates page for information on changes to stormwater management in the District.

Ephesus Fordham Rendering Goal: Create more affordable housing. The Town has provided 8.5 acres of Town property off Legion Road to build between 140-170 units for seniors and low income families. Top concern from Community Survey. Visit the affordable housing updates page for information on changes to affordable housing in the District.

Goal: Incentivize developers to design to conserve energy and water resources through a pilot program that is being organized.

Goal: Create new shopping opportunities. Did you know? 70% of Chapel Hill residents leave town every day to once a week to shop.

Goal: Expand the commercial tax base in Chapel Hill. Did you know? The portion of Chapel Hill tax revenue from commercial is only 18%, compared to Durham at 40%.

The Town will issue municipal bonds to finance the $10 million in public improvements, and the debt issuance will be repaid over 20 years.

Estimated new tax revenue from redevelopment over 20 years is $26.5 million to $47 million.

Please Note: We are revising this area of the website to include more information about the Ephesus Fordham District. Please check back with us soon! Questions? Contact
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