Blue Hill Massing Study

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**The project has been rescheduled from the previously noticed dates for both Planning Commission and Town Council. Check this page for the latest on meeting dates.

WebBannerIn response to a petition from Councilmembers, the Town is conducting a Massing Study to evaluate potential modifications to the Form-Based Code for the Blue Hill District (LUMO 3.11).

Massing refers to the shape, form, and size of a building. Massing that creates a sense of human scale can contribute to the walkability of an area.

Project Purpose

Objectives for new standards around building massing in Blue Hill include:

1) Increase pedestrian connections (ability to move around buildings)
2) Increase visual permeability (ability to see around buildings)
3) Reduce visual impact of taller buildings (ability to see over and above buildings)


Upcoming Meetings

Each of the following meetings will include opportunities for public comment on the draft Massing standards

Public Information Meeting


Planning Commission Recommendation


Town Council Public Hearing




Council Petition - submitted to Town Council March 14, 2018. Seeking to address community interests for the Blue Hill District.

Council Work Session - June 5, 2019. Town Council discussed potential new massing standards that could achieve the purposes of the Council Petition.

Existing Standards: The Blue Hill Form-Based Code addresses massing through standards such as Height, Block size, Building step back requirements, and Building floor plate requirements.

Existing Guidance: The Blue Hill Design Guidelines describe desired approaches to Building Mass & Scale. These include varied height, varied vertical and horizontal expression lines, varied roof lines, wall setbacks, and upper story step backs. The Design Guidelines support the Community Design Commission's review of projects in the Blue Hill District.


 1. Assess Existing Conditions  Aug-Sept 2019                                
 2. Market Overview of District  Sept-Oct 2019
 3. Advisory Board Introduction (Community Design Commission and Planning Commission)  October 2019
 4. Test Building Concepts (urban design and development feasibility)  Oct-Nov 2019
 5. Test Mass Variation Opportunities (urban design and development feasibility)  November 2019
 6. Draft Recommended Standards  November 2019
 7. Community Review (public and Advisory Boards)  Nov-Dec 2019
 8. Town Council Review  Jan-Feb 2020


Analysis and Proposed Standards

The Town has engaged Civitech, Inc to develop and evaluate additional standards that would more effectively achieve the objectives for building massing. To ensure that buildings meeting new standards are still economically feasible, the Town has also engaged Noell Consulting Group to study development finance impacts.

Past Meetings

 Planning Commission Intro

October 15, 2019, 7:00pm, Chapel Hill Town Hall


Community Design Commission Intro

October 22, 2019, 6:30pm, Chapel Hill Town Hall


 Council Committee on Economic Sustainability

November 1, 2019, 8:00am,
Chapel Hill Library, Meeting Room B

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