Wed 1 Nov 2006
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From Jack Evans concerning housing at Carolina North.
At the LAC meeting on October 19, we agreed that the University would draft some thoughts for the continuation of our discussion regarding housing at Carolina North. The attached file is our response to that request. As you will see, we found a number of issues and questions that we think are worthy of further discussion within the LAC. We don’t believe that our discussions to this point have reached a stage that
would permit the formulation of consensus principles, but we hope our discussion tomorrow afternoon will move us in the direction.
This follows on Mayor Mark Chilton’s (Carrboro) discussion of Oct. 19th (documented on OrangePolitics)
The Leadership Advisory Committee on Carolina North had an interesting discussion about housing as a part of Carolina North this afternoon.
Here are some prepared comments that I presented as a way of launching the discussion:
The housing problem at Carolina North is, in short, that the new workers at Carolina North will either live at Carolina North or they will live elsewhere and need to commute to the campus. There is not a great deal of vacant housing currently available within the Chapel Hill Transit service area (although there is some), so new employees will either have to occupy housing that is to be built in the Chapel Hill Transit service area, or they will have to live outside that service area and commute. Let’s take a look at the scale of the problem…
I suggest you read the extended discussion. UNC’s issues and discussion follow:
Discussion Issues and Questions Related to
Housing at Carolina North
Prepared for the LAC discussion on November 2, 2006
We believe that housing at Carolina North is a critical aspect of attracting employees, both faculty and staff, to the University, and helping existing employees find housing closer to campus. However, we believe that many issues will require further discussion within the LAC in the process of formulating specific planning principles that will be used to guide planning related to housing.
We envision the housing at Carolina North as a mixed-income community. That is, the housing will be a mixture of market, work force, and affordable housing. We need clear understandings regarding the definitions of these three categories. And we do not yet have enough information to set percentages for these three categories, but we will commit to study the issues.
The housing planned for Carolina North must be financially feasible, financially sustainable, and market driven. Although the University will likely retain ownership of the land, we anticipate that a large portion of the housing will be privately developed, thus adding values to local tax rolls. On that premise, the housing must provide opportunities for a reasonable return to prospective developers.
While housing at Carolina North will not solve all of the housing problems of the Chapel Hill/Carrboro community, UNC-Chapel Hill has a commitment to finding the right mix of market, work force, and affordable housing that will avoid making those problems worse. In this regard the University will maintain the goal that each stage of development at Carolina North will contain some level of each of the three types of housing. It may be appropriate to think of the first stage (approximately 10 years) as a test market that will provide valuable information about housing and will inform planning for subsequent stages.
As discussed in the LAC meeting on October19, we do not anticipate undergraduate instruction at Carolina North. Consequently, we do not foresee the need to build undergraduate housing at Carolina North. We do, however, anticipate some level of housing at Carolina North for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. These groups of residents are likely to be married with children. Since housing at Carolina North is likely to be multi-family construction, this could also assist the University’s efforts to attract the best graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. For this type of housing it is possible, though not necessarily certain, that the University would be the developer and operator of the housing.
The discussion of housing during the LAC meeting of October 19 explored linking overall employment at Carolina North and the planned supply of housing. We consider it to be difficult to define and implement a linkage of this sort in advance. A number of questions deserve consideration. For example, what restrictions should apply to housing at Carolina North?. Should CN housing be primarily or exclusively for employees of the University or UNC Health Care System, or should it serve a broader population? What issues related to social and cultural diversity in CN housing should we consider? If work force and affordable housing involve some form of subsidy or constrained appreciation in the form of price caps or restrictions on sale, what issues are raised if some of this housing is occupied by non-University employees?
To the extent that University employees occupy housing at Carolina North, use of SOVs would be favorably affected. Similarly, to the extent that University employees living anywhere make use of transit (whether within the service area of the Chapel Hill transit system or not) use of SOVs would be favorably affected.
One of the inputs that we need for this and subsequent discussions is information that incorporates our best estimates, stage by stage, of the level of employment to be anticipated at Carolina North. Although we will not be able to formulate these estimates with great precision, it is important to get the order of magnitude approximately correct so that our discussions about housing, transportation, and fiscal impact will be as realistic as we can be at this stage or our work.
BTW, here’s Mr. Evan’s contact information:
John P. Evans
Executive Director, Carolina North
Hettleman Professor of Business
304 South Building, CB 4000
Chapel Hill, NC 27599