Lullwater Park Chapel Hill housing, retail, green space plan
A developer’s revised plan would add several hundred apartments and townhouses to a strip of land along the south side of Interstate 40 in North Chapel Hill, where two plans were proposed last year.
Georgia-based Novare Group and Fickling & Co., developers of the Lullwater concept plan reviewed last year, are now applying to develop the entire 45-acre site, which stretches from Adair Drive behind Harris Teeter and Chapel Hill North, to the Community of Carol Woods.
Community Design Commission and Stormwater Utility Management Consulting Virtual Commission hearings are scheduled for August 23. The city council could consider the concept plan for Lullwater Park on September 28. The virtual meeting begins at 7 p.m.
A concept plan is not a formal application. Rather, it gives the advisory councils and council the opportunity to provide feedback on the plans before they are submitted with a formal application.
The latest version of Lullwater Park has 394 apartments, 47 townhouses and 48 carriage-style houses, along with some retail and 724 surface and covered parking spaces. Less than 20 acres of the site is buildable due to watercourse buffers and utility easements, the concept plan says.
Developer offers 36 apartments and carriage houses at affordable rent for someone earning up to 60% of the area’s median income – someone earning up to $36,300 a year or a couple earning up to $41,520 .
The average rent could be $1,186 a month, serving firefighters, police, teachers and healthcare workers, the developer said. Federal Section 8 and local housing vouchers would be accepted.
Neighborhood hubs, leisure
Lullwater Park is designed with three distinct areas, including “The Hub” at the western end, with a cafe, courtyard, open green space and nearby dog park. Surrounding buildings could be up to four stories tall with a swimming pool, depending on the plan.
At the eastern end, “The Green” would have three-story buildings, a second pool, and an outdoor lounge area with seating and a fire pit.
Approximately one-third of the development would remain forested, including an area of watercourse buffers and utility easements at the core of the site. A linear park linking The Hub, The Green and a central ‘natural park’ area would run along the southern boundary. The natural park area could have three-storey apartments and townhouses.
The new proposal replaces two earlier concept plans that had 620 apartments and townhouses, as well as several hundred parking spaces. Aspen Heights Partners had proposed a separate development for the eastern part of the site, but that project is no longer part of the concept plan.
This could require conditional rezoning, giving council, the public and the developer time to raise concerns and negotiate terms, such as stormwater control, traffic improvements and affordable housing.
Traffic, storm water, long term plans
Traffic and pedestrian safety will be key issues, as Weaver Dairy Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard have multiple high-speed traffic lanes and difficult crosswalks.
Lullwater Park would be within walking distance of two shopping malls, two bus routes and a planned stop on the future North-South rapid transit line.
Other issues could include stormwater, environmental effects, and how the last major forested tract in the city’s North Chapel Hill area is developed.
A subdivision approved about 30 years ago for the site was never built, in part because of utility, highway and stormwater constraints, officials said.
Interest in the 45-acre site has been revived in recent years after a developer proposed to build apartments on 10 acres immediately to the south. The land includes the five-acre Lakeview Mobile Home Park on Weaver Dairy Road.
In 2018, the council worked with staff to draft a plan for the 45-acre lot which included up to 300 apartments, 174 townhouses, 20,000 square feet of retail and 60,000 square feet of office space. The council never adopted the plan or rezoned the land to allow these uses, so Lullwater Park would need conditional rezoning approval to move forward.
The conditional rezoning process gives council more opportunity to negotiate stormwater controls, traffic improvements, affordable housing and other terms.