Maps and the Plan

At Tuesday’s Theme Group Meeting, George Cianciolo shared some thoughts about maps in the Comprehensive Plan. We’re reposting this information here to answer some recent, similar questions.

“Some stakeholders have expressed concerns about including maps in this Plan. They seem to be concerned that maps used as references to identify areas within Town that might be areas for future growth will eventually come to be accepted as identifying such areas as designated for future growth. That is not the intent and that will be made clear as we progress to develop this document. When we put maps and illustrations in the document, they help us have a common understanding of what the plan recommends. We’ve agreed that the Future Focus maps won’t be included in the document, but some illustrations will be necessary. The June document won’t contain irrevocable decisions. However, it will provide enough information in the Plan to give guidance as the Council requested– guidance to the citizens of Chapel Hill, to its elected officials and the Town’s staff, to potential developers and/or business owners, and to people interested in moving here. It needs to give guidance as to how to answers questions about much we expect or want to grow, where we think growth might or should occur, and what we would like such growth to look like. We will be working on these illustrative maps for the subsequent drafts of the Plan.”

Nearly all the information for our maps is available through the Town’s GIS site, but capturing it in the plan, with accompanying definitions and keys, will complement the words. Our working list is below with some of the draft maps in this image gallery:

  • Location map (shows where Chapel Hill is in the region)
  • Surrounding jurisdictions (Carrboro, ETJ, Rural Buffer, counties)
  • Stream Buffers
  • Floodplains
  • Topography (steep slopes)
  • Connections: roads, bike facilities, greenways, sidewalks
  • Historic Districts 
  • Town-owned property (facilities, parks)
  • University owned property
  • The Land Use Plan – land use categories and special areas.

The Land Use Plan deserves a little clarification since it seems to be the focus of most recent conversations. The Land Use Categories will not be changed. The Special Areas layer of the plan can be updated to show where the policy recommendations apply. For example, when we say Estes Drive should be studied, we can put a dashed line on Estes Drive to illustrate that step. These additions to the land use plan will help clarify where the next steps are. These layers of information will add information and guidance useful to the community and the Town Council.

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