Letters to the Editor

09/13 – What you’re saying about Chapel Hill’s ‘Blue Hill’: Terri Buckner, Gerry Cohen, Maria Tadd, Henry Lister, Amanda Ashley, Steven Silverleaf, Julie McClintock, and Jen Richmond-Bryant

The mixed-use project The Berkshire (formerly The Alexan) is in Blue Hill, the new name for the Ephesus-Fordham redevelopment district in Chapel Hill.
The mixed-use project The Berkshire (formerly The Alexan) is in Blue Hill, the new name for the Ephesus-Fordham redevelopment district in Chapel Hill. The Herald-Sun

You can read and comment on more local news on editor Mark Schultz’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/mark.schultz.94043

On Sept. 3 and Aug. 26, Mark posted links to recent stories on the town of Chapel Hill seeking more input on design guidelines, and on the rebranding of the Ephesus Fordham redevelopment district as Blue Hill, with a request for comments “pro, con and conflicted.” Here is what some of you said:

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Terri Buckner: I find this corporate branding of an entire section of town discouraging. And while some are going to say it's the corporate right, I think the newspaper should have reported on what the residents in that section of town feel about this action which was done with town government support. We've watched this community lose any semblance of affordability over the past 20 years. This is just the next step in a new section of town losing it's existing affordable housing IMHO.

Gerry Cohen: I prefer "Far East Carrboro" as it actually conveys some location information

Maria Tadd: I think people need to go back to the drawing board. This building is an eyesore and has a very low occupancy rate. What is the appeal to live there when one's only view is a street or parking lot? It is a known fact that people need nature in order to relax and destress.

Henry Lister: More of the Canyons of Commerce. When will it end? Isn't there something more creative out there?

Diane Robertson: Not about a name. There seems to be no sense of place, concern for design or commitment to sustaining a diverse and livable community. This is about developers not community

Henry Lister: More of the Canyons of Commerce. When will it end? Isn't there something more creative out there?

Amanda Ashley: Appears to be another "you come, you shop, you buy, you scram" commercial desert. Where is the park or green space? Where can people mix and mingle without buying anything? Where is the place one may talk slowly with friends or read the newspaper or a book in a social setting? Nothing presented here seems to do anything to cultivate true community. For that, please go visit the Weaver Street Market lawn and see what is the absolute base-line of what need be replicated in this new zone in order to create community.

Julie McClintock: What if the Town’s Economic Director had sponsored a competition to name the district and consulted retail owners and affected residents? To me, this business marketing effort by the property owners to improve the rental rates of the high priced apartments draws attention away from the need to fix the many flaws in the underlying zoning code. The Town instead should redirect its resources toward clarifying an overall vision of the district, and addressing the height and massing standards, as well as the lack of shared parking, reasonably priced housing and pleasant places to hang out or stroll.

Steven Silverleaf: I would love to see the building four times higher taking up 1/4 the footprint the other 3/4 being left green, ike a park

Jen Richmond-Bryant: Although I like urban design and don't think large buildings are necessarily a bad thing, this development is not very attractive, and it's in a location where there is not a lot of incentive to walk. I hope that changes, but I don't think this will do anything to drag Chapel Hill out of its suburban, car-centric mindset.

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