I see that at last night's council meeting there was a debate about a new development idea in Meadowmont.
Health Decisions does pharmaceutical trials and is located on Quadrangle Drive in Durham County. On about four acres along West Barbee Chapel Road in Meadowmont, the proposal calls for two floors of office space totaling 52,000 square feet, and a third floor with 11 residential units.
The question the council centered on was whether it would want the developer to build two officially "affordable" condos out of the 11 units, working with Orange Community Housing and Land Trust, or to accept a chunk of money from Rosenberg and his partners instead to go toward building affordable housing elsewhere. It's the same question that comes up with many projects in Chapel Hill.
The problem in a nutshell?
Mayor Kevin Foy suggested the council probably could go ahead and decide Monday night if Rosenberg were willing to commit to paying $150,000 toward affordable housing.
Rosenberg said he thought he had a basic understanding that a payment-in-lieu of $112,500 would be acceptable, based on an estimate from the land trust's Robert Dowling that that was the cost for 1.5 affordable units. Foy and some of the council said they still had some interest in actually seeing two units included within Castalia, or at least for Rosenberg to make a payment of $150,000 for two units.
"You're asking a difficult question, because I'd have to go back and look at the economics of this," Rosenberg said. "This may just be the straw that breaks the camel's back."
Fine. Let it break. Orange County, Chapel Hill, and Meadowmont are good locations. If you restrict it, they will build it. If not this guy, then the next. Developers have been crying foul over building restrictions in Orange County since before I was born, but it is still built out isn't it? I have lived in a number of coastal areas, where growth is accelerated, so let me give you a heads up on what is coming.
1. Sprawl until every allowable inch of ground is covered in a development.
2. Teardowns of the smallest houses and businesses to make larger houses and businesses (already happening with houses in town, go to top of the hill and see the old gas station that used to sit on that site).
3. Teardown of larger businesses to create even bigger businesses (in Daytona Beach, five story hotels were torn down to create ten story hotels, in Miami Beach, 10 story hotels were torn down to create 40 story condo highrises).
Many years ago we lost the opportunity to do something special at Eastgate and out along MLK. Now, we have this.
Instead of something like this.