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Natural Resources - Special Protection Areas/Districts



The goals of floodplain regulations are to minimize the threats to human health and property losses in areas that are prone to flooding. Therefore, development undertaken within a floodplain is subject to regulations which ensure that changes to natural floodplains are controlled, and facilities within a floodplain are protected against flood damage. 

Detailed information can be found in the Chapel Hill Land Use Management Ordinance, sections 5-59, 5-60, and 5-64.


Jordan Buffers

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All waterways in Chapel Hill and its planning jurisdiction flow into the Upper New Hope Arm of Jordan Lake. In an effort to maintain a high level of water quality in Jordan Lake, certain development activities are restricted near natural bodies of water such as streams and ponds.

Section 5.18 of the Chapel Hill Land Use Management Ordinance describes in detail the development restrictions in the Jordan Watershed; click here for more information.


Resource Conservation District

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the Resource Conservation District ("RCD") provisions limit or eliminate structures and development within streamside buffer areas. RCDs protect or improve the water quality of streams by reserving vegetated areas to slow and infiltrate stormwater runoff and to remove pollutants from runoff. For more information, click here.


Watershed Protection District

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The Watershed Protection District is a sensitive area of land that drains to Jordan Lake Reservoir, a drinking water source for thousands of North Carolinians, and a potential future drinking water source for Chapel Hill.

As part of the NC Division of Water Quality's Water Supply Watershed Development Regulations, land use within this area has strict requirements for density, Resource Conservation Districts, use of toxic materials, and construction standards.

The relevant section of the Town's Land Use Management Ordinance (LUMO), Section 3.6.4, describes more about this special area. For more information, click here.


Built Environment (Buildings, Houses, Etc.) - Special Protection Areas/Districts


Historic Districts

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Local Historic Districts are zoning overlay districts created to protect and conserve the heritage and character of Chapel Hill. Regulations are provided in Section 3.6.2 of the Land Use Management Ordinance.

For more information about Chapel Hill's local Historic Districts and National Register Historic Districts, click here.


Neighborhood Conservation Districts

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Neighborhood Conservation District (NCD) Zoning Overlay is a set of land use regulations that is applied to a specific neighborhood as a zoning overlay.

The designation is used by the Chapel Hill Town Council to protect distinctive neighborhood characteristics and is useful in areas that contribute significantly to the overall character and identity of the Town, but may lack sufficient historical, architectural or cultural significance at the present time to be designated as a Historic District. To learn more about Chapel Hill's Neighborhood Conservation Districts, click here.


What are Special Protection Areas and Districts, and how do they affect my property? 

Special Protection Areas are special zoning districts that protect either natural resources or the character of the built environment (buildings, houses, etc.). Development within special protection areas and districts are subject to both special regulations and the regulations associated with the underlying zoning district.
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