Neighborhood Character Standards
Status Update: On November 23rd, 2015 the Council closed the public hearing and took no action on this possible ordinance amendment.
Neighborhood Character Standards are a possible zoning tool that could be used to protect the character of a neighborhood and also allow flexibility, room for reinvestment, and change that is compatible with surrounding homes.If adopted into the LUMO, the Neighborhood Character Standards would be contextual - For example, when new construction or an addition is proposed, the applicant would need to demonstrate that the new construction/addition is compatible with the surrounding structures.
These Standards are currently in draft form and will be considered by the Council during the Council Business Meeting on November 23, 2015.
Staff Recommendation for Neighborhood Character Standards
The following staff recommendation was endorsed by the Planning Commission during the November 5, 2015 Planning Commission meeting. This recommendation will be presented to the Town Council during the November 23, 2015 Business Meeting.
Recommendation #1: Not to adopt as a part of the Land Use Management Ordinance
Recommendation #2: Guidelines for Historic Districts
What would the proposed Standards regulate?
Note: Staff is recommending that these Standards not be adopted as a part of the LUMO. The proposed Standards currently include the following topics. The Council has not yet adopted these Standards. For a copy of the latest draft, click here.
Would these impact existing Neighborhood Conservation Districts?
Note: Staff is recommending that these Standards not be adopted as a part of the LUMO. No - If adopted, these Standards would serve as an alternative option to the Town's Neighborhood Conservation District (NCD) zoning overlay and would not affect existing NCDs. Existing Neighborhood Conservation Districts would remain in place.
Possible Community Benefit
Every city has a set of development regulations that serve as the rulebook for things like where a building can be located on a property, how tall it can be, or even how close the structure can sit to the nearest road. This same set of rules also govern the design of streets, the streetscape, parking lots, site lighting, signage, water quality and landscaping.
In Chapel Hill, these regulations are contained in the Land Use Management Ordinance or "LUMO" for short. Updating the LUMO was one of the community's goals expressed in Chapel Hill 2020, the comprehensive plan that guides our community's vision for the future.
Phase One of the project includes a look at the following topics: bed and breakfasts, signage, accessory apartments, neighborhood character standards, parking lot landscaping and water quality.
Topic Area Lead - Have questions? Contact John!
John Richardson, Planning Manager for Sustainability
Review the Draft Standards and Public Feedback!
- Comments from OpenComment for Neighborhood Character Standards 6/15-8/15/15
- Comments from OpenComment for All Topic Areas from 6/15-8/15/2015
- Questions/Comments and Responses during the Public Information Meeting 08/03/2015
- Question and Answer at the LUMO Draft Revision Meeting 06/15/15
- Emails received regarding the proposed Neighborhood Character Standards
- Preservation Chapel Hill Statement on Neighborhood Character Standards (September 22, 2015)
Connections to Chapel Hill 2020
Technical and Reference Data
- On April 21st, 2014, the Council passed a resolution to proceed with the development of Town-wide Neighborhood Character Standards (also known as "Contextual Infill Standards") that could be applied specifically to the Roosevelt Drive neighborhood.
Excerpt about Neighborhood Character Standards (also known as "Contextual Infill Standards") from page 25 of the Land Use Management Ordinance Critique & Technical Report:
The idea of neighborhood conservation districts is not unique to Chapel Hill. Many communities have special rules for neighborhoods that may not meet the criteria for historic district protection. These districts typically focus on scale, massing, and other site dimensional standards. Another approach is to incorporate these types of infill protection into contextual infill standards. Contextual infill standards apply generally and address issues of lot width, setback, height, and garage or front porch placement. They base their standards on the established pattern on a given block face. In Chapel Hill these infill standards might be useful in limiting the number of neighborhoods that feel it necessary to have specially crafted neighborhood conservation districts.
Click here for more information about the entire LUMO Update Project, including a full list of topic areas.
LUMO Stakeholder Meeting to Gather Public Input
5:30 PM at the Library
LUMO Stakeholder Meeting to Review Public Drafts
1:00-2:30 PM at the Library (midday session)
5:00-6:30 PM at the Library (evening session)
(Materials: handout, poster, overview, presentation)
Council Public Hearing (All Topics)
Council Business Meeting
Council Business Meeting
Materials from the Public Information Meetings - August 3 and 31, 2015
Thank you to all who attended the Neighborhood Character Standards Public Information Meetings on August 3 and 31, 2015. During the meeting, staff provided an overview of the proposed Standards, listened to input, and responded to questions.
The following are materials from the August 3rd Public Information Meeting:
- Staff PowerPoint presentation (PDF)
- Handout: Includes an overview of the proposed Standards and the draft Standards
- Questions/Comments from attendees and staff responses
The following are materials from the August 31st Public Information Meeting:
Have questions or ideas? Contact John Richardson, Planning Manager for Sustainability, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-969-5075.