Does a mid-rise building with 273 apartments belong between Booker Creek and Fordham Boulevard?
That’s the question Chapel Hill’s Community Design Commission will consider Tuesday night when Ballentine Associates and Ram Realty Advisers bring the revised Fordham Boulevard Apartments plan to Town Hall. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m.
The 3.9-acre site is in the town’s Ephesus-Fordham district, where projects are guided by a form-based code. The CDC and the town manager approve Ephesus-Fordham projects; they do not get a Town Council hearing.
Ram Realty wants to replace a Days Inn hotel and a vacant lot at the corner of South Elliott Road. If approved, a single building bisected by a motor courtyard and pedestrian walkway would be built on the 400-foot-wide site.
The southern wing – across Elliott Road from Burger King – would be six stories. The northern wing would be five stories wrapped around three sides of a parking deck.
The plan includes studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, a club room and fitness center, with two courtyards overlooking Booker Creek.
The public walkway through the central court would lead to a creekside pocket park and connect with a future greenway along the creek.
The land is in the creek’s 100-year floodplain and partly in its floodway, draining to the culvert under Elliott Road. Construction could more than double the impervious surfaces – such as roofs and pavement – generating additional stormwater runoff.
The developer has been developing a stormwater plan, which could include a filter and detention system, plus pervious pavement that filters water to the soil below. The site is next to the town’s planned stormwater storage area behind the Village Plaza shops.
Ephesus-Fordham district projects must not increase the existing runoff volume and must limit how much silt and other debris enters waterways. The Federal Emergency Management Agency allows construction in a floodplain if it meets flood-resistant materials and elevation requirements.
The project’s proposed foundation is a mix of concrete, cement and masonry, sitting at least two feet above the floodplain, according to the plan. Retaining walls are planned along Booker Creek.
The Community Design Commission will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 25, in the Town Hall Council Chamber, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Learn more about the Fordham Boulevard Apartments at bit.ly/2eIyPL8.