On September 12th, the Obey Creek Compass Committee spent time diving into the Technical Team Issues Report. At the suggestion of facilitator Ken Broun, the Committee decided to focus their work on development topics, to use the Technical Team’s identification of issues to help guide discussion on the guiding principles for the area, and to come back to discussing the Committee’s process and final product at a later date. Members commented on issues they found important, including several aspects of connectivity and traffic flow. Committee members also remarked on what they felt the report was missing and what will need more clarification in the future.
On September 18th, the Compass Committee hosted a Public Forum. Ken Broun presented a summary of topics discussed by the Committee so far, including traffic, connectivity, economic development, environmental issues, design, and schools. If you are interested in the work to date summary click here.
Ken briefly discussed two of the other Committee work products, the design matrix and the visioning exercise. He invited the public to join in the headline visioning effort and “imagine what would be said about the Obey Creek Development ten years from now.” Headlines submitted were incorporated into the Committee’s list and redistributed.
The forum was an open discussion. The public asked questions and put forth their views on various topics. They discussed the importance of compliance with 15-501/Chapel Hill 2020 work, the need to mitigate traffic impacts, explore retail options, and factor in the property value impacts when determining benefits of development. Questions included:
• How do we create better paying jobs?
• Who will this area draw for shopping, living, etc.?
• How does this type of development fit into the “brand” of Chapel Hill?
For more notes on public comments or to view the video, visit the Obey Creek Compass Committee site.
On Sep 26th, the Compass Committee once again heard from the Development Team. Ben Perry gave the developer’s perspective on what they know, what they have heard and believed they learned through the process, and what they intended to present in their concepts at the public design workshop.
Ben Perry explained that they have heard in various forums that traffic is a concern and that connectivity is important. He also explained the high potential the development team sees for recreational opportunities and their understanding that market conditions are ripe in this fast growing area for various categories of retail. Some of Ben‘s reflections on what the developers have learned included:
• People are looking for a way to get across 15-501 safely and enjoyably
• There are high aspirations to improve Town finances
• Contributing to affordable housing is important
• The Committee wants architecture that reflects Chapel Hill
To hear his presentation in its entirety, visit the Obey Creek site and view the video.
This week, the Technical Team is back in town to continue their work with the Committee and Developers. The next public Forum will be held on Wednesday, October 16th.