The city has a new plan that would guide future development around the Jones Franklin Road, Western Boulevard and Hillsborough Street intersections. The West Citizens Advisory Council approved the plan this week and it will go before city council for final approval in the spring.
The proposal, which was a culmination of numerous community meetings over the last six months, will categorize areas of land that are currently unclassified on the city’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan. Roberta Fox, assistant manager in the city’s Urban Design Center, said classifications are necessary to guide future development and do not make any changes to current zoning or streetscape.
“People were looking for a mixed-use environment,” Fox said. She added that the common consensus was for a compact, walkable environment with a community feel.
Under the proposal, the commercial district between Jones Franklin Road, Hunt Club Lane and Western Boulevard, along with the area north of Western Boulevard until the railroad corridor, will be classified as Community Mixed Used. This area would be allocated for larger commercial developments, like the Harris Teeter grocery store already on the site, and residential buildings up to five stories tall.
The area west of Buck Jones Road until Burton Avenue would become classified as Neighborhood Mixed Use. Small residential buildings and small businesses – like a boutique, deli or restaurant – would be permitted in this area.
A Medium Density Residential classification would be given to the current residential area between Hunt Club Lane and Carolina Avenue.
City staff also presented ideas for infrastructure changes such as bike lanes and sidewalks. Fox said the eventual hope would be to have a crossing from Hillsborough Street to Chapel Hill Road over or below the railroad corridor. The plans would take through traffic out of this central area.
“I’d like to see not an emphasis on how quickly the cars can get through the area but how efficiently at a reasonable speed,” said one resident at the meeting. “Especially if you are going to integrate all these sidewalks and bike areas.”
Residents also expressed concern with making sure these plans address storm water management, preserve and create open space and create connections to current parks.
“I think it’s good to have a plan so that we don’t get surprised somewhere down the road,” said Jeannette Moore, a 20-year Fairview Acres resident who has attended most of the meetings about the project.
“They’re definitely after a lot of input,” said her neighbor John Kaedle who has living in the area for 18 years. “I don’t think anybody has been shut out of the process.”
Kaedle explained that they have a delicate neighborhood that includes older, more established homes on larger property lots, which is why residents are very attentive to aspects of development in the area.
“It’s very neighborhood oriented at Fairview Acres,” said Moore adding that residents are often found jogging or walking their dogs along the quiet streets. “We’d like to keep it that way.”