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Central West Small Area Planning Process

Contact Information


Office of Planning and Sustainability

Email: planning@townofchapelhill.org

Phone: 919-969-5066



The Central West Small Area Plan and Appendices were adopted by the Town Council on November 26, 2013. For more information and for a copy of the adopted Central West Small Area Plan, visit Central West Small Area Plan.

Background of the Central West Process

The Central West Focus Area was identified as a priority during the Chapel Hill 2020 comprehensive planning process due to the known development pressures in the area.

During the adoption of the Chapel Hill 2020 comprehensive plan, the Council requested that the Town staff work with the community to develop a process that would provide an opportunity for more focused discussion that would ultimately provide the Council with additional direction for the area.

Between mid-September and early October 2012, four community meetings were held to develop recommendations that were sent to Council regarding the process. During the October 24, 2012 meeting, the Council reviewed the community, Planning Board, and Town staff recommendations, and the Council endorsed the following information. For a copy of the adopted resolution, please click here.



The Town Council encouraged the Steering Committee to work with the consultant firm Rhodeside & Harwell and Town staff to develop a process and schedule that will allow time for data collection and plan review and comment by the community at-large during several stages throughout the process, using the “accordion model."

The Town Council also requested that a draft plan be presented to the Council before their last June 2013 meeting for Council consideration and guidance and that a final plan be provided no later than December 2013.


Purpose and Work Product

The purpose of the Central West Focus Area process was for the community to provide their ideas and thoughts about the following:

  • Appropriate uses for the area (such as residential, commercial, office, mixed-use, etc.);
  • The form (what the area and buildings should look like); and
  • The intensity (how many new uses and buildings are comfortable for the area).

The community’s thoughts and ideas formed a small area plan. The small area plan combines visual images with descriptive text and include the reasoning, or the "why's," behind the plan, similar to the South 15-501 area plan, that analyzes conditions in the area and defines a vision for change that will help guide Town decisions.


Area Under Discussion

The following map provides an overview of the Planning Area and the Impact Area: Central West Focus Area Map

These boundaries were used as a starting point for the Steering Committee and community discussions.

  • The Planning Area identified the areas under discussion for potential form and use changes.
  • The Impact Area included the areas that may be impacted by potential changes in the Planning Area. This area will encompass topics such as Carolina North, transportation issues (including bicycle, pedestrian, and connectivity issues), watershed issues, and others that impact the entire area.
  • Properties along Martin Luther King J. Blvd. and Estes Drive that are most likely to change in the future were be discussed during this process.
  • Discussion about Homestead Road will be a part of the future Area 2: North Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd Focus Area effort.


Steering Committee

A Steering Committee was developed with the following purpose:

  • Maintaining the integrity of the planning process
  • Insuring that the process is open and participatory
  • Receiving and integrate community feedback
  • Facilitating communication with the community

The Steering Committee decided how to make decisions during their initial Committee discussions. A decision-making process that focused on broad consensus was encouraged so that Committee recommendations were reflective of the many interests in the focus area.

Steering Committee Composition

The following is the Steering Committee composition and members. The members were appointed to the Steering Committee by the Town Council during their meeting on December 3, 2012.

Number of Seats    

Seats Member


 UNC Chapel Hill liaison Jeff Kidd (with non-voting alternate* Gordon Merklein)


Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools liaison Mia Burroughs (with non-voting alternate* Todd LoFrese)


Planning Board member Amy Ryan (with non-voting alternate* John Ager)


Transportation Board member Michael Parker


Business owners/Landowners/Non-profit representatives from the area, including one Chamber of Commerce Member

Anthony Carey
Lucy Carol Davis
Bruce Murray
Whit Rummel


Residents from the Planning and Impact Areas

Eric Hyman
David Tuttle
Sarah McIntee
Firoz Rustorn Mistry
Mickey Jo Sorrell
Elizabeth (Buffie) Webber


Renter from the Planning and Impact Area

Abby Parcell


Public Housing resident or representative

Since a Public Housing resident nor representative applied for a seat, a resident from the Planning and Impact Area was appointment for this seat.

Planning and Impact Area Member: Julie McClintock


Bicycle and Pedestrian Board* or Greenways Commission Member*

Jared Simmons, Bicycle and Pedestrian Board member
(Keith Billy has resigned, and Jared Simmons was appointed.)




*For these members, if they are absent, then the non-voting alternate may attend in their place. The non-voting alternate will be able to participate in the Committee's discussion, but cannot vote.


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