Blue Hill District Rezoning

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Project Status: In progress, undergoing public review

Estimated completion: June 2018

Blue Hill Business Meeting Notification Map 06.27.18 

Project Overview and Background

At the March 14th Council Public Hearing, Mayor Pro Tem Jessica Anderson and Council Members Hongbin Gu and Rachel Schaevitz petitioned the Mayor and Manager to identify solutions that address community interests in the Blue Hill (formerly Ephesus/Fordham) District, through adjustments to the Land Use Management Ordinance regarding non-residential development requirements, affordable housing, and building size.

On April 18, 2018, Council received an email update regarding the status of the petition and potential options for consideration. At the May 9th Council Public Hearing, Council received further updates regarding the petition, resulting in a request for creation of new zoning districts, the rezoning of specific non-residential parcels within the Blue Hill District, and new building size standards including building footprint and lot coverage. 

Based on comment received at the May 23rd Council Public Hearing, the text amendment has been revised to apply more broadly to properties zoned for the WX or WR subdistricts. The creation of new zoning districts and rezoning of specific parcels is no longer recommended. Town Council will consider action on the revised proposal on June 27. For more information on the schedule, please see the Upcoming Meetings section below.   

Project Description

The proposal presented to Planning Commission at the May 15, 2018 meeting consisted of a text amendment to create Walkable Commercial (WC) Subdistricts where residential was not permitted, potential new standards for maximum lot coverage and maximum building footprint, and a zoning map amendment applying the WC Subdistricts to 6 properties in Blue Hill. Based on additional feedback received from the Planning Commission, the Community Design Commission at their meeting on May 22, 2018, and Town Council at their meeting on May 23, 2018, the proposal has been revised in the following ways:

  • Establishment of new Subdistricts is no longer proposed
  • A Zoning Map Amendment is no longer proposed
  • New requirements and incentives for commercial square footage have been developed, as outlined under Summary of Proposed Changes below
  • New standards for Recreation Space have been developed to substitute for a maximum lot coverage and maximum building footprint, as outlined under Summary and Table of Proposed Changes below

Summary of Proposed Changes

  • Proposed residential construction in the Walkable Mixed Use (WX) Subdistricts would be required to include a non-residential component through one of the following approaches:
    • Vertical mixed-use building
    • Horizontal mixed-use site where uses may be in separate buildings
    • Phased horizontal mixed-use site where a portion of the site may be reserved for a future building with other uses
    • A Special Use Permit or rezoning to allow Council approval of a project with little or no non-residential use
  • Non-residential square footage in a building could be credited to the upper floors to allow greater upper story floor plate area, subject to a 20’ building stepback on the primary street frontage
  • Standards for Recreation Space would be revised to require Recreation Space to be outdoors, at-grade, and at the perimeter of the lot, with pedestrian connections to surrounding public spaces

Upcoming Meetings

  • Planning Commission Meeting
    Tuesday, June 19, 2018 at 7:00pm
    Location: Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
    Room: Council Chamber, 1st Floor

  • Council Business Meeting
    Wednesday, June 27, 2018 at 6:00pm
    Location: Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
    Room: Council Chamber, 1st Floor

Additional Materials 


Project Location

The Blue Hill District is located around the intersection of Ephesus Church Rd and Fordham Blvd (15-501) in northeast Chapel Hill. It includes the Village Plaza, Ram’s Plaza, and Eastgate shopping centers.

For further information please contact the Department of Planning & Development Services at or (919) 969-5066.

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