#City & Town Planning
Chapel Hill Mayor Hemminger and Town Council Members
United States of America

The Mayor and Town Council plan to vote on a controversial plan that would vastly expand the definition of residential single family zoning across town by allowing duplexes, triplexes, 4-plexes, townhomes and cottage courts of up to 12 units of housing to be inserted on a single family lot.

We urge the Council to reconsider and delay this action given that; 1) The town staff has admitted that this rezoning will not address housing affordability and cannot deter developers and investors from building; 2) As written, it cannot be applied equally across neighborhoods given pre-existing covenants and HOAs that would prevent these changes in some neighborhoods; and 3) The vast impacts of residential zoning changes and who will pay for them are unknown, and this proposal has been expedited without sufficient public engagement by the Council on an unrealistic timeline.

Town of Chapel Hill Plan LINK:

Take Action and Sign This Petition to the Town Council:

Ask the Town Council to delay any action on these residential zone changes until the reasons below and other valid questions from citizens are resolved, and much more is known about the consequences of these sweeping changes in zoning.

Here are the detailed reasons:

· Presenters of this plan for re-zoning have admitted in public forum that the proposed zoning changes will not increase affordable middle and low income housing, and instead only focus on increasing the number of housing options.

· Presenters of this plan for re-zoning have admitted in public forum that there is no control over whether a homeowner or developer will buy, rent or build.

· Presenters of this plan have conceded that continued building on undeveloped tracts of land along the Martin Luther King corridor can meet the projected housing needs for low and middle income housing for the next decade and thus radical re-zoning is not actually needed to support the stated goals.

· The zoning changes will not apply to all neighborhoods equitably due to restrictive covenants and HOAs in many neighborhoods, thus impacts will not be shared equally. The neighborhoods where the Mayor and most Council Members live, will NOT be affected.

· The proposed text amendments, disguised as “cleaning up the text of the land use management ordinances” actually result in profound zoning changes for many neighborhoods without the required notice requirements to all affected residents.

· The town does not yet know exactly which neighborhoods/properties will be subject to the proposal, or the number of neighborhoods/properties that will be affected.

· The impacts on traffic, transportation, noise levels, water, sewer and electric utilities have not been studied, and are therefore not known.

· The impacts on the property tax increases needed to pay for increased town services (police, fire, garbage collection, library), and infrastructure are not known.

· A budgetary plan to meet increased demand for town services is neither known nor planned for.

· The fact that zoning provides stability to neighborhoods is known. Stability does NOT perpetuate racism or structural racism. Presenters of the plan have supported radical rezoning by stating that the existing zoning amounts to systematic and structural racism that needs to be undone, a claim that is not based on any fact except for historically restrictive covenants that have not existed in Chapel Hill for decades. It is in fact unlawful to restrict housing sales or rentals based on race, ethnicity, creed, or gender in North Carolina, effective 40 years ago via the 1983 North Carolina Fair Housing Act (c. 522, s. 1.).

· These zoning changes have been shown to lead to gentrification, corporate ownership of housing, and reduced opportunities for home ownership, which is in opposition to the town’s stated goals of a more equitable and inclusive community. “One oft-cited study of changes in New York City found that up-zoning between 2002 and 2009 led to neighborhoods becoming whiter, with more speculative development and higher property values." (Grubb, T., The News & Observer, p3A, 1/26/23). This has happened in Northside, an historic African American neighborhood.

· Chapel Hill has already suffered from similar efforts to “fast track” rapid development/housing growth under the misconception that increasing supply will increase affordable housing. A great example is the Ephesus-Fordham (Blue Hill) development: now 8 years since the permissive zoning was adopted, this has produced a net loss in available housing for low and moderate income households. (e.g., the 200 housing units, "Park Apartments", that were demolished to make way for more luxury apartments).

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The Stop! Re-Examine Plan to Increase Density in Single Family Neighborhoods petition to Chapel Hill Mayor Hemminger and Town Council Members was written by Sherry Stockton and is in the category City & Town Planning at GoPetition.