Chapel Hill eNews

Post Date:11/09/2017 8:30 AM
Chapel Hill eNews


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Up Front


 Arbor Day Celebration Nov. 17


Students from Suzie Roth's third grade class at Northside Elementary School will participate in the Arbor Day celebration at 11:15 a.m. Friday, Nov. 17, at Town Hall. Read more.

From Town Hall

Town-Sponsored Events

Town Services


Public Safety News






Up Front



TOWNweek has been posted!





Things to do in Chapel Hill

Meet the Author Tea: Mimi Herman

3:30-5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16
Chapel Hill Public Library, 100 Library Dr. Chapel Hill (919) 968-2777


Mimi Herman - 2017 Piedmont Laureate

Mimi Herman reads from and discusses her book of poetry, Logophilia; The Art of Learning.





Honoring Our Veterans

The UNC-Chapel Hill ROTC will host a Veterans Day ceremony at 11 a.m. at the Alumni Memorial (between Phillips and Memorial halls, along E. Cameron Avenue). ROTC members will be present, in uniform, for the presentation of Colors and remarks from Major General Peggy Wilmoth, U.S. Army Reserves (retired) and executive dean and associate dean academic affairs at UNC’s School of Nursing.

On site contact: Carly Swain: (704) 305-1838.

For more information on programs and services tailored to the military-affiliated population at Carolina, please visit





Town In News

Town in News – TIN Report – is a sampling of news media coverage about the Town of Chapel Hill compiled by the Communications and Public Affairs Department. This listing includes articles and columns that are available on the web, and may not necessarily contain all stories in the print edition of the papers or on televised broadcasts.

Links access online stories that are posted for a limited time. Some media organizations require registration or a subscription.

For information, contact us at



Newcomers were big election night winners in Orange County’s town, school board races (The Herald Sun)

Voters gave Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger two more years in office and ousted two incumbent Chapel Hill Town Council members Tuesday in favor of four challengers. Read more:


Want Young People to Vote? Maybe Throw Them a Literal Party (Vice)

Could voting "festivals" encourage normally apathetic millennials to come to the polls during local elections? Read more:


Writer speaks about inspiration for her work at NC Botanical Gardens (The Daily Tar Heel)

Seeds are often overlooked, but on Sunday at the North Carolina Botanical Garden, they were the star of the show. Read more:


Fitness course for all ages opens in Chapel Hill (WRAL)

Chapel Hill has a new fitness course thanks to a collaboration between the town and Southern Village. Read more:


Iconic UNC campus Davie Poplar has survived 300 years — and now a fire (The Herald Sun)

The iconic tree near the Old Well was damaged Thursday after it was set on fire by a former student. But the Davie Poplar will survive. Read more:


Iconic UNC campus Davie Poplar has survived 300 years -- and now a fire (Winston-Salem Journal)

The Davie Poplar has stood tall in McCorkle Place on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus in the face of hurricanes, lightning strikes and now fire. Read more:


Former Student Sets Fire to 300-Year-Old Tree at NC University (

The Davie Poplar has stood tall in McCorkle Place on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus in the face of hurricanes, lightning strikes and now fire. Read more:


Local construction brings AC Marriott Hotel, Carrboro Town Commons renovations (The Daily Tar Heel)

The AC Marriott Hotel on West Rosemary Street is set to finish construction some time in the next two weeks and is slated to open on Dec. 1. Read more:


Chapel Hill supports group joining brief in Colorado LGBT wedding cake case (The Herald Sun)

Mayor Pam Hemminger and the Chapel Hill Town Council have joined more than 150 mayors from across the country in support of an amicus brief filed by Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination in the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. Read more:


Chapel Hill Joins LGBT Cake Shop Discrimination Supreme Court Brief (WCHL)

Chapel Hill leadership has joined an amicus brief filed in a case before the United States Supreme Court over LGBTQ discrimination by a Colorado bake shop. Read more:


UNC Chapel Hill: 'Device' detonated on campus (Winston-Salem Journal)

One man was arrested and a professor was injured Thursday afternoon after an explosion scorched a famous tree on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. Read more:


Chapel Hill Approves Plans for New Wegmans (WCHL)

The Town of Chapel Hill approved the plans for the construction of a new Wegmans grocery store last Wednesday. Read more:


Town of Chapel Hill debates limit on number of unrelated housing occupants in a college town (The Daily Tar Heel)

The Town of Chapel Hill’s housing code puts an occupancy limit of no more than four unrelated people that may reside in the same dwelling unit. Read more:





From Town Hall




Permits: Why They Are Your Friend

Come Learn with Us: A One-Hour Lunchtime Event

PLEASE NOTE that the location for this event has changed to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce.

Our team at Town of Chapel Hill Development Services sometimes hear that builders or homeowners think working without permits is a good idea because of the time and expense related to obtaining building permits.

Please join a well-known local builder and Town staff who will put that concern to rest, and share with you all the long-term, less obvious benefits of permits. We will also address how to make getting a permit easier for builders in attendance.

Come Learn With Us:  “Permits: Why They Are Your Friend” is offered at noon Thursday, Nov. 16, at the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce, 104 S. Estes Drive, #102, Chapel Hill, NC 27514.

We welcome builders, homeowners, realtors, and others to this short, informative, lunch-time event. Pizza will be provided.

For more information, please contact us at or visit





Community Input Opportunity: Design Guidelines Open House

The Town of Chapel Hill is developing a set of design guidelines for projects in the Blue Hill District (formerly known as the Ephesus/Fordham District). The Blue Hill District is located around the intersection of Ephesus Church Road and US 15-501 or Fordham Boulevard, a gateway to Chapel Hill.

The public is invited to learn about the draft Design Guidelines and provide input at an open house from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13, in the Council Chamber Lobby of Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. The draft document is posted to the project web page at

Community input and ideas will inform the refinement of the draft document as it moves toward Town Council adoption in 2018. The draft Design Guidelines reflect feedback received from public workshops, an online survey, and work sessions with the Town’s Planning and Community Design Commissions.

The purpose of the Design Guidelines project is to establish and maintain a consistent and cohesive design aesthetic for the Blue Hill District. Key topics in the Design Guidelines will include streetscape and public realm, pedestrian connectivity, outdoor amenity space, transitions between sites, building mass, and building elements. The Town has engaged Winter & Company to serve as project consultant.

Following adoption of the Design Guidelines, applicants for development will refer to them when preparing projects for review. Town staff and the Community Design Commission will use the Design Guidelines to evaluate whether a proposed development meets the intent of the Blue Hill District's Form-Based Code  by contributing to the creation of a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly place all will enjoy.

More Information

Contact Corey Liles in the Department of Planning & Development Services at





Public Meeting on Future Transportation Impact Analysis for Blue Hill (Ephesus-Fordham) District

The public is invited to provide input on a multi-modal transportation impact analysis for the Blue Hill (Ephesus-Fordham) District for 2030 future year conditions. The study is part of the Town of Chapel Hill’s focus to mitigate traffic and create greater opportunities for walkability and connectivity in the area.

The public input session is scheduled for 6:30 to 8 p.m. Monday, December 11, in Room B, Chapel Hill Library,100 Library Drive. The session will provide an overview of the study on pedestrian, bicycles and transit analysis and results, and opportunity for public input and questions.

The four corridors involved in the analysis are:

  • US 15-501 (Fordham Boulevard) from Estes Drive to Erwin Road/Europa Drive
  • Ephesus Church Road/Eastgate Crossing from East Franklin Street to Frances Street
  • Elliott Road from Old Oxford Road/Velma Street to US 15-501 (Fordham Boulevard)
  • East Franklin Street from Estes Drive to US 15-501 (Fordham Boulevard) interchange

The Ephesus Fordham area – newly named Blue Hill -- became a new zoning district in July 2014. The Town of Chapel Hill’s 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.

2011 TIA – A Traffic Impact Analysis was completed for the Ephesus-Fordham District in 2011.  The community expressed an interest in a revised analysis that expands the study area and includes an assessment of all modes of transportation (transit, cycling, walking and driving).

Revised TIA 2016 – In fall 2016, the Town retained services of a qualified consulting firm for the preparation of a Multi-Modal Transportation Impact Analysis (TIA) for the EF Area. At the first public information meeting held on Oct. 12, 2016, Town staff presented an overview of the project, study area, timeline and TIA scope (E-F TIA Scope).

A second public information meeting was held on Feb. 14, 2017, when staff presented study results and methodology for 2016 existing conditions analyses to include data collection processes, traffic model development, vehicular operations, transit, and pedestrian/bicycle networks.

A third public information meeting was held on October 5, 2017, when staff presented study results and methodology for 2030 future conditions analyses to include data collection processes, traffic model development, and vehicular operations.


More Information


Traffic Engineering Manager Kumar Neppalli at or 919-969-5093





Survey Respondents Value Improvements to Mobile Phone Service in Chapel Hill

About 90 percent of respondents in last month’s wireless survey said they rely on their mobile devices to a great extent -- and 96 percent said the quality of wireless telecommunications is important to them. Only 16 percent said they would be willing to tolerate worse wireless telecommunications service in order to minimize visual impacts in the Chapel Hill community.

To view the entire survey results from the Town of Chapel Hill Wireless Telecommunications Initiative (WTI), visit  and

There were 329 participants who provided feedback in the survey, used in part to gauge public perspective in the upcoming Wireless Telecommunications Master Plan and Ordinance. The community process was kicked off at a Sept. 21 public information meeting.

Next steps include 1) an open house for the Wireless Telecommunications Initiative at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 21, outside the Council Chamber at Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., preceding a status report to the Planning Commission at 7 p.m., and 2) the completion of an analysis of gaps in Town wireless facilities and 3) drafting the Wireless Master Plan and Ordinance.

For more information, visit, or send questions or comments here:






Open House to Learn More About Conditional Zoning

 As part of ongoing efforts to improve the development review process, the Town of Chapel Hill is considering whether to allow opportunities for applicants to request conditional zoning in a limited number of additional zoning districts. All rezoning requests would still come forward to the Council as part of its standard review.

Named “conditional zoning,” the tool is used in about 45 percent of all rezoning applications statewide. A proposed text amendment to Chapel Hill’s Land Use Management Ordinance (LUMO) considers the use of conditional zoning in non-single family detached dwelling districts. Conditional zoning currently is applied only in Chapel Hill’s Innovative, Light Industrial Conditional Zoning District (Enterprise Zone).

An open house for the public to learn more about the proposal is set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7, in the first floor conference room of Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. A second open house will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15, in Room 344 of Town Hall. This open house will be held prior to a public hearing at 7 p.m. that day in which the Council will receive public comment on the proposal.

The Council is revisiting a presentation on various development review options – including conditional zoning -- made by David Owens of the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government in November 2016. “Conditional zoning is proving to be very popular with elected officials, landowners, and many neighbors because it allows zoning to be tailored more carefully to a particular situation,” said Dr. Owens. “In some of the state’s larger cities, 80 to 90 percent of the rezonings use conditional zoning.” Read more from Owens here:

Conditional Zoning is Proposed Only in the following Districts

  • R-5 (Residential District that permit multi-family dwellings)
  • R-6 (Residential District that permit multi-family dwellings)
  • Town Center (TC-1, TC-2, and TC-3)
  • Community Commercial (CC)
  • Neighborhood Commercial (N.C.)
  • Office/Institutional (OI-1, OI-2, OI-3)
  • Mixed Use –Village (MU-V)

Conditional Zoning overview

  • Conditional zoning is a rezoning with conditions. In other words, conditional zoning allows a governmental body to rezone a parcel subject to certain conditions, mutually agreed to by the applicant and the governmental body, that are designed to protect the surrounding area.
  • Conditional zoning is a legislative process, not a quasi‐judicial one. Therefore, the rules governing ex parte conversation allow for more conversation, making it easier for the general public to provide input. In addition, the approval process can be more efficient because development applications need only to seek a rezoning, not a rezoning and a special use permit, which is the Town’s current process for conditional use districts.

Using the tool

  • In considering a request for a conditional zoning district, the Town Council may approve conditions or use limitations that are mutually agreeable to the applicant and the Town. A typical application for a conditional zoning district will include a list of only those land uses permitted on the subject site as well as a rezoning plan that includes pertinent development details such as the number of dwelling units, the number and location of parking lots, building massing, site layout, building envelopes, open space, vehicular and pedestrian circulation, etc.
  • Conditional zoning does not predetermine the form of development, such as with a form based code.  The approach proposed for Chapel Hill would use the conventional zoning standards in the LUMO, and would permit the applicant and the Town to customize them given the subject site’s surroundings and particulars.

Learn more at





Town-Sponsored Events




Chapel Hill Public Library Closed Nov. 16

In the interest of improving library user experiences, the library will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 16, for a staff development day. Borrowed items that are due on that date will not be marked late. Online resources, including eBooks, downloadable audio books, electronic magazines, and online training databases, will be available.

The library will open at 7 p.m. for an event with Nancy Pearl, “America’s Librarian.”





An Evening with Nancy Pearl, America's Librarian

Attention Readers, Writers and NPR Lovers!

The Chapel Hill Public Library will host a special evening with Nancy Pearl at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16. Renowned as “America’s Librarian,” Pearl comments regularly about books on National Public Radio and speaks throughout the world about the pleasures of reading. This will be one of only two stops Pearl will be making in the Triangle area.

At the library, she will talk about her evolution from reader to writer.  Her emotionally riveting debut novel George & Lizzie, about an unlikely marriage at a crossroads, was published this fall to critical acclaim. She is also the author of the nonfiction Book Lust series, which features “recommended reading for every mood, moment, and reason.”

This special event is made possible by the Friends of the Chapel Hill Public Library. Flyleaf Books will have copies of Pearl’s books for sale.  Please note that the library will be closed for staff development on Nov. 16 and will open only for this evening event.





Chapel Hill Celebrates Arbor Day on Nov. 17

The Town of Chapel Hill’s annual Arbor Day celebration will be held at 11:15 a.m. Friday, Nov. 17, at Chapel Hill Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., in the parking lot on the corner of Columbia and Stevens streets.

Suzie Roth’s third grade class from Northside Elementary School will participate and do a presentation of The Giving Tree.

Mayor Pam Hemminger will read the Arbor Day Proclamation and accept the 2016 Tree City USA Award from the County Assistant Forest Ranger of the North Carolina Forest Service’s Orange County Office. 2016 was Chapel Hill’s 18th consecutive year as a Tree City.

To be named a Tree City, a town or city must meet four core standards set by the National Arbor Day Foundation: maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry, and celebrating Arbor Day.

The first Arbor Day in the United States took place in April 1872 in Nebraska where it is said that an estimated one million trees were planted. Each state now chooses its own date on which to observe the holiday. North Carolina celebrates on the first Friday following March 15, but Chapel Hill doesn’t follow the rest of the state.

Arbor Day was set by the Chapel Hill Town Council in 2000 as the first Friday after Nov. 15. Each year the Town celebrates trees at its Arbor Day ceremony by planting one or more trees at a Town-owned facility such as a park or entryway. Last year a Red Maple tree was planted in Southern Community Park.

Chapel Hill contains a diversity and abundance of trees. Its residents have had a long love affair with trees dating back to 1889, when cutting down a tree in town was punishable as a misdemeanor and carried a $20 fine.





Town Services




Tanyard Branch Trail Construction Update

The extension of Tanyard Branch trail is underway this fall with expected completion in summer of 2018. This construction phase will connect the Northside neighborhood to Umstead Park and will allow off-road pedestrian and bicycle transportation over a large portion of central Chapel Hill.

This four-tenths of a mile trail corridor under construction will require creative solutions to address steep slopes, the proximity to Tanyard Branch, and avoiding as many large trees as possible. Several trees were topped rather than removed, and the trunks have been left as future wildlife habitats.

An elevated concrete boardwalk will be installed to deal with a steep slope and the need to allow for natural drainage. Many retaining walls are being added to allow trail construction at grades acceptable for use by persons with physical disabilities. A portion of Tanyard Branch has also been stabilized, and any remaining section of the old natural surface trail will be closed to allow regrowth of woodland plants.

Trail construction will also include an art component. Carrboro artist Leo Gaev will construct a unique railing system for the concrete boardwalk rather than a typical off-the-shelf rail system.           

Once the new paved trail is completed the Town will look at relocating the natural surface trails within Umstead Park. Several trails will need to be relocated so that they merge into the new paved trail in ways that take advantage of slopes and to avoid areas with retaining walls. Some new natural surface trails may be added. This type of work is usually done by volunteers, such as Eagle Scout candidates.

For more information, contact Bill Webster, planning and development manager for Parks and Recreation, at

For more on greenways in Chapel Hill, visit





Leaf Collection Week of Nov. 12-18

Place loose leaves/pine straw, free of limbs and debris, at the back of the curb for collection. Keep leaves out of streets, gutters and ditches to prevent flooding and bike and car accidents. Do not block sidewalks, fire hydrants, mailboxes, storm drains or water meters or interfere with sight distances at intersections.

For more information on leaf collection, visit


Section III - Caswell Road, Granville Road, Burlage Circle, Meadowbrook Drive, Mount Bolus Road, Bolinwood Drive, Mill Race, North Street, Cobb Terrace, Boundary Street, Tenney Circle, Battle Lane, Elizabeth Street, Glendale Drive, Roosevelt Drive, Gimghoul Road, Greenwood Road area

Section IV - Laurel Hill Road, Purefoy Road, Whitehead Circle, Morgan Creek Road, Kings Mill Road, Highland Woods, Finley Forest, Little John Road, Meadowmont area








Tar Heel Express Service to the North Carolina Versus Northern Iowa Basketball Game

Chapel Hill Transit will provide Tar Heel Express shuttle service on Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, for the North Carolina basketball game against Northern Iowa, scheduled for 7 p.m. at Dean E. Smith Center.

Tar Heel Express shuttles will begin at 5:30 p.m. from the park and rides located at Friday Center, Southern Village, Airport Drive (103 Airport Drive, Chapel Hill) and Jones Ferry. Shuttles will also be available from the Carolina Coffee Shop located at 138 East Franklin Street (no parking provided).

The shuttles will provide continuous and fully accessible service, running every 10 to 15 minutes between the park and rides and the Dean E. Smith Center. The shuttles will operate for approximately forty-five (45) minutes following the game.

Shuttles drop off and pick up on Bowles Drive in front of the Dean E. Smith Center. Shuttle rides are $5 for a round-trip or $3 for a one-way trip.

Park and ride permits are not required during Tar Heel Express events.

For additional information on Tar Heel Express, please visit, email, or call a customer service representative at 919-485-7433.





Tar Heel Express Service to the North Carolina Versus Bucknell Basketball Game Nov. 15

Chapel Hill Transit will provide Tar Heel Express shuttle service on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, for the North Carolina basketball game against Bucknell, scheduled for 8 p.m. at Dean E. Smith Center.

Tar Heel Express shuttles will begin at 6:30 p.m. from the park and rides located at Friday Center, Southern Village, Airport Drive (103 Airport Drive, Chapel Hill) and Jones Ferry. Shuttles will also be available from the Carolina Coffee Shop located at 138 E. Franklin St. (no parking provided).

The shuttles will provide continuous and fully accessible service, running every 10 to 15 minutes between the park and rides and the Dean E. Smith Center. The shuttles will operate for approximately forty-five (45) minutes following the game.

Shuttles drop off and pick up on Bowles Drive in front of the Dean E. Smith Center. Shuttle rides are $5 for a round-trip or $3 for a one-way trip.

Park and ride permits are not required during Tar Heel Express events.

For additional information on Tar Heel Express, please visit Chapel Hill Transit's website at, email, or call a customer service representative at 919-485-7433.



Free parking 

Free Weekend Parking for the Holiday Season

Shop and eat locally this holiday season in downtown Chapel Hill! The Town of Chapel Hill's parking specials begin on Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, Nov. 23) and continue through the weekend including Small Business Saturday (Nov. 25) with free public parking downtown.

Parking will be free throughout December during Saturday day-times at all Town-owned parking lots and metered parking (three hour time limit). After 5 p.m., normal rates will be charged at the Wallace Deck and the Rosemary/Columbia lot. Public parking will also be free from Monday, Dec. 25 - Wednesday, Dec. 27 and New Year's Day (Monday, Jan. 1).

And remember...public parking is always free on Sundays year-round! Visit for a map and list of downtown parking options.




Public Safety News




Local Partnership Ignites Firefighting Academy in Chapel Hill

High school students interested in community safety careers have a new training opportunity, thanks to a partnership among the Chapel Hill Fire Department, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Career and Technical Education (CTE) department and Durham Technical Community College.

A new Firefighting Academy, housed at Chapel Hill High School, will offer students from across the district classes beginning their sophomore year. They will earn credit toward an associate’s degree as well as a certification. During their senior year, these students have the opportunity to enroll in the EMT (emergency medical technician) component of the Public Safety Academy.  With the successful completion of both program requirements, the students will be eligible for employment as professional firefighters upon high school graduation.

The Chapel Hill Fire Department has donated a fire truck to the new program. The dedication ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 8. Chapel Hill Training Chief Keith Porterfield and Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger will present the deed title to the truck to CHCCS Superintendent Pam Baldwin and Board Chair James Barrett.

Following the ceremony, students in the program will be on hand to demonstrate the equipment and to entertain discussions about their work.

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