Enhance and focus development review process

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Council Goal

Enhance and focus development review process to achieve Council Goals and encourage diverse types of development by:

  • Rewriting and clarifying the Land Use Management Ordinance
  • Initiating new land use planning strategies (informed by work session discussion of priorities)
  • Establishing and evaluating optimal target ratio for mix of office, retail and residential uses to meet Chapel Hill 2020 Plan goals
  • Continuous improvement of predictable, streamlined staff, advisory board and Council development review process
  • Evaluate Chapel Hill Market capacity relative to regional market

Goal Champion

Ben Hitchings, Planning and Development Services Director


The Council has been receiving updates on a portfolio of planning initiatives at work sessions and committee meetings to track initiatives such as updating the Ephesus-Fordham code, design standards, walkability standards, downtown projects, and the LUMO re-write.

In November 2016, the Council received an update from the Professor David Owens at the School of Government to review the options available to local governments for managing and approving land use decisions in the community. This session informed the Council’s direction to initiate a Land Use Management Ordinance rewrite and begin testing the use of conditional zoning in the Enterprise Zone on Millhouse Road as part of an effort to pursue other development process improvements in advance of the LUMO re-write. 

Current Status

  • In FY’17 and the first quarter of FY’18, the Planning & Development Services Department and its organizational partners, including the Manager’s Office and the Public Works Department, worked on 11 of the 12 special projects authorized by Council in June of 2016.

  • Four of the projects have been completed, including the Sign Ordinance Update, the Ephesus-Fordham Walkability Standards, the West Rosemary Street Development Guide, and the Mobility and Connectivity Plan.

  • In addition, the updated Ephesus-Fordham Transportation Impact Analysis is nearing completion, a public review draft has been completed for the Blue Hill District Design Guidelines project, and considerable progress has been made on Station Area Planning and on Downtown 2020 Implementation.

  • The Manager’s Office has conducted project initiation and started project planning for the update of the Future Land Use Map and the LUMO Re-write project, including hiring a LUMO project manager. 

  • The Manager’s Office has also begun work with a consultant on the Downtown Circulation and Parking Study.

  • The Planning & Development Services Department has initiated online residential permitting to improve the residential development review process, and has been working to systematically improve the development review process through clarifying steps in the review process and coordinating closely with other Town staff and applicants.

  • The Council Economic Sustainability Committee recommended and the Town Council adopted a new Enterprise Zone along Millhouse Road to encourage jobs, light industrial uses, and innovative spaces in the northwest area of Town.  In October 2017, the Council approved the first development project in the new zone.

  • Town staff received market data, has been analyzing it, and will present findings in January 2018.

Last Updated

November 7, 2017




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