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 May 29 Community Meeting

At the meeting on May 29, the university and Ayers Saint Gross presented the two possible designs for Carolina North — East-West and North-South — with a series of overlays on each. The overlays illustrated ways each design might function in relation to land use, transit, and energy infrastructure. Joseph DeSimone, UNC professor of chemistry, discussed current research in nanomedicine and how it would benefit from Carolina North.

Below are comments responding to information presented at the May 29 meeting, arranged by topic. Comment cards were provided at the meeting. Email carolinanorth@unc.edu if you'd like to add a comment.

Design scenarios

  • Still favor North-South because spreads transit in way growth going. Keeps development further from established subdivisions to south.
  • Prefer E-W orientation. Less overall impact and probably better transportation networks. Hope to see open areas with significant natural spaces — not "park-like" — for wildlife habitat preservation.
  • Ecology: if any, E-W seems better as N-S uses a lot of effort to close existing pond — problems with foundation for building.
  • E-W orientation over existing runway makes sense.
  • Prefer E-W option and transit E-W option 3.
  • East-West plan should have one dominant TOD center with 2 or 3 smaller centers (a hierarchy).
  • Just throw out the N-S plan. It rejects the rail line. Ped connections between 2 pieces look weak. Housing and retail are far apart, obliterates the lake.
  • E-W plan: central plant location is premium TOD opportunity on rail. Move it elsewhere. Transit plans need to be advocating for rail use, not shrugging shoulders and ignoring it. All the transit plans = missed opportunity.
  • Strong preference (along W/6-8 Estes Dr. Ext. households) for N-S plan, and watershed restoration — allows max. natural habitat.
  • Been waiting for ten years. Just get it started! How potential problems are solved will develop and change over the future years. Discussion on details and "what ifs" now, is spinning wheels. Prefer pattern of E-W layout.
  • I prefer the E-W option because it uses already disturbed areas and stays away from the neighborhood to the east of MLK.
  • I think I prefer E-W option because of lower costs: (1) not remediating airport and (2) not disturbing impoundment. Need to preserve some on-site parking.
  • Skip the nanotechnology presentations in the future. Improvement of MLK and of Estes will be critical, and should begin concurrent with Carolina North. I am skeptical about need to place co-gen plant on-site. Mild preference for E-W option.
  • From Old Forest Creek neighborhood homeowner: I am the first home downstream from CN. I will be directly impacted by any further increase in stormwater volume or capacity as my home is now 50-60' from Crow Creek which is expanding due to expansion on MLK Blvd, etc.
  • The East-West option uses less of the existing natural area, but does it have to have fingers jutting up north into the natural area? Human habits should be compact to allow more contiguous natural area.
  • Like E-W orientation for solar benefits; saves Crow Branch pond.
  • Pro-N-S. The more residential located close to CN development, the more walking and biking opportunities. With local policy, not to widen any roads, it's better for CN to build new roads and not use Seawell School Rd. as a connection. Could pond remain and relocate playing field near parking facility to be used at off hours? Support the residential on the edges of the development.
  • Both plans: why not remove the pond in both plans?
  • N-S plan:
    • Why surround the oldest established neighborhood (Windsor Circle)?
    • Why disturb natural areas in the north and spend time and money trying to refurbish the airport damage?
    • Why disturb topography in the north?
    • How can you justify an ecologically sound ethic/plan that damages so much pristine area?
  • Show the walking spaces circles to show the distance between green spaces.
  • The east-west option takes advantage of the existing airport and in that respect is a clear winner — but I assume we must show a N-S corridor — in reality will the area adjacent to it be developed too? Or is the answer really a compromise between the 2 schemes with both a N/S and an E/W road corridor?

Parking

  • Keep parking lots on-site away from MLK — a major entrance into site.
  • Support structured parking for park/ride at I-40 interchange.

Energy Infrastructure

  • Energy: It's a no-brainer to build in optimal solar orientation. Cogeneration sounds great, also building in flexibility to anticipate unknown technological advances.
  • Concern about central "plant" by existing neighborhoods.
  • Greenhouse gas commitments are campus-wide, which means that most of the burden will fall on Carolina North. It needs to be very good. (New building can be much more efficient that retrofit.)
  • AEI slides very hard to read/follow. Please have presenters pay attention to font size. Mike was a good presenter.
  • Life of Campus slides are excellent though hard to read.
  • Less carbon — more attractive for young researchers and just the right thing to do.
  • Why not have smaller energy plants to serve each phase rather than a large central plant to serve the whole campus? This will allow for real flexibility as new energy technologies are developed.
  • Set and maintain goals for carbon use/reduction in phased approach achievable over short a time as possible.
  • Net-zero energy buildings exist today! By designing buildings to this criteria will require minimal or no on-site generation with significant cost savings well into the future.
  • Energy: It didn't appear there is much plan yet. More buildings always cause more pollution.
  • "Sustainable" sounds nice but I fear lacks meaning in a local context.
  • The university appears to be committed to a sustainable campus — how can we be assured that their private, residential and possibly hospital partners are equally committed?

Transit, Bike, and Pedestrian Routes

  • Very sensible to see the need to "build in flexibility" regarding transit plans and to hold onto railroad corridor.
  • For bike safety would prefer not to have on-street parking.
  • Show ped and bicycle/greenway routes into the campus on overall transit plans.
  • Transit plan demonstrates utility of N-S road well.
  • Let's use the rail corridor as a busway!
  • Lots of speculation about access (ingress/egress) into CN — access and mass transit will be driven by end plan of size/use. Are there plans and stubs for additional access?
  • Interested in more detail (as feasible) on pedestrian network and phasing of it.
  • How is Transportation Demand Management (TDM) being folded into the transportation plan? Great opportunity to establish goals and policy to institute TDM.
  • Interested in projected traffic impacts to Estes b/w Greensboro and MLK.
  • Would like to see more info on transit connections to existing campus.
  • The new N-S road connecting to Weaver Dairy extension does not make sense in the E-W plan. Weaver Dairy extension is not suited for through traffic, so these cars will need to use MLK anyway to access I-40. Saving traffic on three blocks of MLK is not worth the creation of a new road.
  • Good job — and thanks for the session. I question the need for new N-S road. If needed, please calm it like crazy.
  • Rail line can't help move people in — even if funds and approval of C + W (?) — big impediments — perhaps insurmountable.
  • N-W looks more transit-friendly.
  • Good transit and few parking lots key to transit-friendly development.
  • These are insufficient plans to reduce traffic congestion.
  • Why insist on a N-S road? Still exiting on MLK and a big intersection on Homestead.
  • Conservation and sustainable interests are always present and vocal. Please remember that some researchers and many local residents demand the convenience, safety and time-savings of personal vehicles (which will necessarily be increasingly fuel-efficient and carbon-reduced). As a Chapel Hill resident, I hear many folks in Chapel Hill, Durham and Chatham County say they would not even try to attend events at UNC because of the limited parking. As one environmentally-conscious member of a progressive political (national) organization told me, "You cannot force people to take a bus!" A significant number of area residents are proud of UNC research achievements and want to visit the campus, present and future, to learn about UNC insights.
  • Transportation: Existing plans appear insufficient to accommodate cars for residents and potential car riders who work there. i.e., need strong incentives to make people change their car-focused attitude (as current campus problems show). Transit through main campus not a good solution as this one is already too congested.
  • If this project is initially a relocation of offices and facilities where are the users of these facilities coming from? What impact does the relocation have on current traffic patterns?
  • Transportation: Like the idea of keeping regional transit on MLK at first as it's already a major road. Don't build another wide N-S road yet (unless possibly like one of the well-engineered parkways in Cary, but remember bike lanes). Any buses will be more pleasant to be around if they use clean fuel rather than current TTA and CH Transit buses. (Note that I will be cycling to work if/when my office moves to CN.)

Housing

  • Housing comment: think smaller than larger — less than or equal to 3000sf.
  • Need to profile the persons buying housing in projects!
  • Need increased housing. 500 units at 1,000 sf each will have only a 10 percent impact to reduce commuting to jobs at CN. Mark Chilton is right on. 2 million sf (excluding housing) means 5,000-8,000 employees at 15-year mark, 500 employees living at CN has little impact.

General

  • Thank you for your patience and for giving us the opportunity to ask our questions and express our concerns. I am a UNC employee and homeowner near CN. I expect to be walking to work at CN in the near future.
  • Commitment to housing and retail is disappointing. Won't be transit-friendly if folks leave at lunch.
  • Excellent continuing presentations of relevance of academic research /study to need for expanded campus into CN.
  • No need for nanotech briefing with an overview like this. We can watch PBS for that!
  • Provide a copy of the presentation slides in booklet form for attendees. Note: probably best to hand out at end of meetings.
  • Very informative. You've come a long way since the 1st session. Keep it up!
  • It's still not clear how much detail will be provided in the Oct. 2007 submittal to the Town of Chapel Hill.
  • Seems like great work is going on. Thanks for the inclusiveness.
  • Overall presentation showed me that there are many, many unsolved problems with unconvincing solutions.
  • Can you describe the character of the various areas — what is it like to walk through the areas? What do you see?
  • Will there be infant/pre-school child care for those working/living at CN?
  • What is the planning connection between the Dole Campus (Kannapolis) and Carolina North (seems to be duplicative)?
  • Who will pay for CN, and what are the opportunity costs?
  • How can students in public affairs programs at UNC (public policy, planning, and public administration) get involved in CN projects?
  • Any ideas what will happen to space vacated by departments moving to CN?
  • The introduction strongly emphasizes that CN will strengthen relations with industry — for me 2 points speak against the current plan: one, why not move closer to existing industry = RTP region move west; two, corporate partners really are attracted by having a convenient airport at university.

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