The Chapel Hill-based service and experience design consultancy The Service Design Group created this page as an information service to serve Chapel Hill citizens and Town Council.
The information presented on this web page comes from content, documents and materials on the Obey Creek webpage of Chapel Hill's Town Council website.
This page presents only fact-based, unbiased information. Any omission or error will be corrected appropriately. Send requests to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Service Design Group's founder has followed this topic off-and-on. Whenever he looks for Obey Creek information, all he finds is content, emotions and opinions.
This factual and consumable presentation of information intends to make negotiations, discussions and decision-making more transparent and productive.
Obey Creek sits in Southern Chapel Hill, across 15-501 from Southern Village. The 120 acre site resides within the Jordan Lake watershed, includes 40 acres of Resource Conservation District (RCD), and has some floodplain areas along Wilson Creek, as there are in Southern Village (note: no development is proposed within the floodplain). Obey Creek Ventures/Caves Valley Partners, from Towson, MD, bought the land between 2007 and 2009. East West Partners initiated development efforts in 2010. The site's current R1 zoning permits single family residences on 1 acre minimum lots (~79 - 124 homes). In November 2012, Chapel Hill Town Council voted to create a Development Agreement process for Obey Creek. Compared to traditional rezoning processes, Development Agreements allow greater flexibility in establishing land use and development plans.
Square footage includes buildings but not structured parking decks, surface parking lots, streets or access roads.
(Each square = 10,000 sqft)
Uses at Obey Creek - Proposed Minimums and Maximums - Page 2
The proposed development agreement allows the developer to determine the exact mix of uses, with proposed minimums and maximums per category.
As a result, what is actually built could be largely commercial or primarily multi-family residential.
The maximum size of the buildings would be 1.6 million sqft, not counting structured parking.
Uses at Obey Creek - Proposed Minimums and Maximums - Page 2
Under current zoning, +/- 80 acres of 120 acres is available for development as single-family homes.
The current plan proposes development on 34 acres west of the creek and conserving all land east of the creek.
(Building footprint views are for comparison and are of the same scale)
Methodology = drop pin on Google Map, default scale of 200ft; do not adjust scale; screen capture - pan as needed and stitch together images as needed; trace building outlines.
Buildings at main entrance (15-501 & Market) will be 4 stories.
Buildings further from 15-501 could be as tall as 8 stories.
(This graphic does not account for change in elevation.)
See content starting on p.13.
Smaller block sizes are an essential component of human-scale design.
Generally, blocks over 400 ft support walkability less than smaller blocks, while blocks under 250 ft result in less efficient use of land.*
The current development agreement does not specify minimum and maximum block lengths.
Block sizes provided at 3/25/15 meeting.
Obey Creek will add 15,858 new trips per day to adjacent streets
Peak hour traffic at 15-501 & Market St. will increase by 41%.
For total new trips added to adjacent roads see p.14.
For AM, Noon, and PM peak flows in all directions of the intersection, see Figure 4A (p.41), 4B (p.42), 8A (p.48), and 8B (p.49).
Intersections will exceed capacity by 2022 with or without development.
Obey Creek will add additional volume and delays to area intersections.
Traffic mitigation solutions exist for some, but not all, intersections.
For AM peak flow, Northbound, see p.114-Culbreth NET; p.120-Market St. NBT; p.124-Smith Level NET; p.130-Manning EBT; p.140-Finley EBT
For per vehicle delay, see p.28, rows 10, 12, 15, 20 and 23.
For information on mitigations, see p.28, 31-36, & 56-60.
Currently available fiscal analysis looks at two development scenarios.
Both produce a positive recurring profit.
Fiscal analysis PDF from 1/8/2015 meeting
Chapel Hill citizens and Town Council hold differing opinions on "what's right" for Obey Creek / Chapel Hill. While it's improbable to develop a solution that completely fulfills the desires of all groups, it is possible to...
The Obey Creek proposal provides additional retail options for citizens. The current plan specifies total retail space may be anywhere from 200,000 to 475,000 square feet.
The proposal leaves many transportation topics unanswered, including walkability, interconnectivity, bike access, public transit, greenways and traffic mitigation.
The plan has not considered alternate sizes, conducted a cost/benefit analysis, or performed sensitivity/confidence testing on assumptions.
Weigh the +/-'s of different land uses and intensities to produce optimal results for the town (e.g. balance building uses against traffic generation)
The current plan reflects significantly taller buildings and larger footprints, more comparable to the UNC Hospital campus than to recommendations in the Compass Committee report.
It's unclear the extent to which this property will increase the commercial tax base, given the wide range of possible development mixes and significant residential allowance.
It's unclear whether revenue from this project will outweigh costs or if the costs will erode any potential profit for the town.
The current plan addresses the desire for additional affordable housing and sets aside units specifically for affordable housing.
Primary focus of engineers to date has been on maintaining traffic flows along 15-501. Plans do not address how ped-bike paths connect to broader bicycle and greenways plan.
While the current plan creates a southern gateway to Chapel Hill, details for phasing requirements, the urban/suburban boulevard, block size and walkability remain unclear.
About this site: The Chapel Hill-based service and experience design consultancy The Service Design Group created this web page as an information service to serve the citizens and town council in the presentation and distribution of information related to Obey Creek. No compensation or incentives, monetary or other, were provided or received in relation to this effort and neither The Service Design Group nor its officers have a financial or business interest in Obey Creek. In developing this resource, every attempt has been made to find fact-based information and present it free of bias – any omission or error will be corrected appropriately. The Service Design Group believes consumable, well-designed, fact-based, and thoughtful presentation of information can help any cause and leads to greater participation, dialogue and transparency for all parties. The Service Design Group LLC is owned and operated by Patrick McGowan.