Wednesday, January 12, 2000
Aldermen OK Proposal
For Affordable Housing
By Jason Owens
Assistant City Editor
Carrboro took a step forward in the
constant struggle to provide affordable
housing last night when the Board of
Aldermen passed a bill easing the
process of low-income development
The ordinance created the single
room occupancy classification (SRO),
which set regulations for residential
units that consist of one room, usually
with cooking units and common bath
Alderman Allen Spalt identified the
need for more affordable housing in the
area as the primary reason for the ordi
“We have a shortage of inexpensive
housing,” he said. “The IFC does a phe
nomenal job (of providing housing) with
the shelter, but demand exceeds supply.
People can’t stay in the shelter (perma
The focus of the location of the SROs
is downtown, supporting Carrboro’s
plan to reduce urban sprawl by pro
moting living and commerce in the cen
ter of town.
Spalt said the ordinance would not
only encourage affordable housing but
would also regulate it to maintain safety.
“Just because it’s low income, doesn’t
mean it shouldn’t be unsafe,” he said.
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Alderman Jacquelyn Gist identified
the need for this type of housing due to
the abundance of single people who do
not need more than one room.
“You might not be able to afford an
apartment, but you can afford a room,”
Though the ordinance passed
through the board unanimously, it was
not met without opposition.
Adam Searing, acting chairman of
the Carrboro Planning Board, said he
supported the idea of the ordinance but
thought some changes needed to be
made. He said the ordinance did not
support forms of affordable housing out
side of SROs.
“Our thought was not to discourage
SROs,” Searing said. “We want more
affordable housing. Their proposal is
The ordinance encourages affordable
housing by changing zoning require
ments, such as reducing the number of
parking spaces required for a building,
resulting in less cost for the builders.
The zoning exceptions would only
apply to buildings meeting the defini
tion of an SRO. Carrboro documents
define an SRO as a multi-family, resi
dential use in which each dwelling unit
includes no more than 450 feet.
The City Editor can be reached
Council Thwarts Gas Station Plans
Mayor Rosemary Waldorf
says anew convenience
store will not constitute
rewriting a town ordinance.
By Kevin Krasnow
The Chapel Hill Town Council put
the brakes on a proposal that would
have allowed a gas station to demolish
an existing service station and build a
new convenience mart and fuel pumps.
The council voted unanimously
Monday night against granting the BP
Gas Station, located at the corner of
Airport Road and Critz Drive, a Special
Use Permit Modification.
In order to receive the permit, the
convenience store and fuel pumps
would have to maintain or promote the
Traffic Plan Stalled by Road Block
Some residents argued that
permanent traffic diverters
were a hazard while others
felt they were necessary.
By Kevin Krasnow
Chapel Hill residents hoping to
improve the safety of their streets hit a
red light as the Town Council turned
down a proposal to install permanent
traffic diverters on Rogerson Drive.
In a 5-4 vote Monday night, Mayor
Rosemary Waldorf, along with council
members Edith Wiggins, Lee Pavao, Pat
Evans, and newly elected member Jim
Ward defeated a measure which would
have placed construction barrels on
Rogerson Drive to limit cut-through traf
fic from N.C. 54.
Council member Lee Pavao said he
wanted a broader study conducted
before granting permanent diverters.
“I feel we should do an in-depth
study,” he said. “I’m not in favor of
I I I a I
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general welfare of the town, which coun
cil members did not find to be the case.
Council member Flicka Bateman said
there were already enough convenience
stores in the area, something that is reg
ulated by an existing town ordinance.
“There are already two convenience
stores near there,” she said. “The ordi
nance says you can’t have anew conve
nience store there.”
While Mayor Rosemary Waldorf said
she thought the BP Station would do a
good job building a convenience store,
she was also against granting the permit.
“The welfare of this town would be
better served by not modifying the town
ordinance,” she said.
Council members were also con
cerned because if the convenience store
was built, the intersection near the ser
vice station would have needed to be
reconfigured, said Town Manager Cal
blocking it off because then every neigh
borhood would ask for limiting cut
The primary traffic problem stems
from drivers using Rogerson Drive as a
short-cut from N.C. 54 to Interstate 40.
Residents complained about the speed
of the street’s traffic.
Council member Flicka Bateman,
who was in favor of the measure, said
the street was so narrow that diverters
were needed. “It is a very narrow street
that needs to be protected from a multi
lane highway,” she said.
Residents at the meeting were
angered because they were scheduled to
speak before the vote, but the council
voted before hearing their views.
Waldorf apologized for the mistake and
then allowed them to speak.
Bateman said that Waldorf made a
mistake, but the residents had previous
ly voiced their opinions to the council at
Many residents near the street
voiced their displeasure that the divert
ers were not being made permanent.
Paula Davis, of 32 Oakwood Drive, said
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between the con
venience store and
would not meet
dards,” he said.
BP owner M.L.
Barnes said he
would still convert
the service station
into a conve
nience store, but
was upset a better
one could not
have been built.
council recognizes by law that 1 have a
right to operate a convenience store,” he
said. “This convenience store could
have been fine, but now it will be sec
Barnes was also angered because
that if diverters
were not in place,
would speed down
roads," she said.
“The driver does
n’t even realize
they are speeding.
So we had hoped
that you would
make them per
Beth Kell, of 29 Rogerson Drive, was
upset that the council members voted
down the measure after pledging in their
campaigns to make streets more pedes
trian friendly. “During Ihe recent cam
paign, everyone pledged to work for
safe streets and walkable sidewalks,” she
said. “You can’t do that by turning these
streets into high-volume thoroughfares.”
Other residents were angered that the
diverters were being left up temporarily.
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after BP delivered their presentation, the
council members made a few comments
and then voted against granting the per
Barnes was further upset because he
claimed the town staff had told him the
vote would not be held for months.
However, Horton said no such promis
es were made.
A public hearing was held on Nov. 15
on the issue and the issue was reopened
at Monday night’s council meeting.
Despite Barnes’ criticisms, Bateman
was confident the council made the right
“We need a convenience store on
Airport Road just like we need $ fissure
down the center lane,” she said.
“We simply do not need another
The City Editor can be reached
m r> - iSi
said there was no
need for anew
Jeremy Firestone, of 2 Oakwood Drive,
said the diverters posed a safety threat.
“They are very dangerous, especial
ly when trying to make a right-hand
turn,” he said. “It would be a mistake to
On Nov. 22, the council had voted 5-
4 in favor of permanent diverters, but
the ordinance failed because a two
thirds majority is needed on the first
vote. On the second vote, only five votes
are needed. However, two of the five
council members who voted for the res
olution, Joe Capowski and Julie
McClintock, are no longer on the coun
cil, and newly elected member Jim
Ward’s vote defeated the measure.
Madeleine Jefferson, who ran unsuc
cessfully for Town Council and lives at
34 Whitley Drive, said her mother was
almost involved in an accident because
of the barriers.
“They are an accident waiting to
happen,” she said. “People forget that a
street is a street - it is meant for cars.”
The City Editor can be reached
said the proposal
would spur more
5:30 p.m. - The National
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4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. - The
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Items of Interest
■ Conversation Partner applica
tions for the spring semester are avail
able at the International Center, which
is located in Union 116.
English-speaking volunteers meet
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For more information, call 962-5661.
■ Class of ’3B Summer Fellowship
Abroad applications are available at
the International Center, which is locat
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Five awards of $3,000 each are avail
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