Seeking Common Ground on Prof. Williams' Land
In 1999, then-Chancellor Michael Hooker ' 69 asked the UNC conunu- nity what it would do if it had another
whole campus worth of open land - actu-
ally a tract bigger than the existing campus.
A biomedical research park. Bike trails
and recreation fields. Residence halls. Space
for relocation ofacademic units. Parking.
Something that would produce revenue.
Jack Kasarda ' 71 (PhD), director of the
Kenan Institute for Private Enterprise, said
it should be used as a center for research
and development and exploitation of new
technologies, something that would distin-
guish the University from its competitors.
It's safe to say others were thinking along
the same lines, what with other universities
- among them N.c. State - having suc-
cess with research/business partnerships.
And, of course, UNC really did have that
land, almost 1,000 acres ofit.
Seven years later, the University's leader-
ship is way past the what-do-you-want stage
and deep into what it believes it must have
on the Horace Williams property more than
a mile from the main campus. "Carolina
North is crucial to the university's future,"
Chancellor James Moeser wrote in The
Chapel Hill Herald in January. "We urgently
need space for new academic buildings,
business partnerships, and public outreach."
At the dawn of 2006, after a land-use
plan, an architect's conceptual plan (and an
update ofsame), an engineering and planning firm's conceptual plan, an economic
inlpact analysis - on which UNC has spent
about 1.2 million - plus intense commu-
nity scrutiny of the University's plans and
intentions, and years of negotiations with the
N.C. General Assembly over permission to
get the town's airport out of the way, the
process of putting the site to UNC's use
essentially has gone back to square one.
"As much as possible, let's set the clock
back. At least for the time being, take the
plans off the table." That's what Ken Browl,
Henry Brandis professor of law and a 38-
year faculty member, told Tony Waldrop ' 74
when he took the chair ofa new 29-mem-
ber committee of UNC, Chapel Hill, Carr-
boro and Orange County officials that is
chartered to take a fresh look at me pro-
posed satellite can1pus called Carolina N orth.
"It's certainly a start-over" in ternlS of
establishing standards the towns of Chapel
Hill and Carrboro and the University can
agree on, said Waldrop, vice chancellor for
research and economic development.
"From everybody involved it was obvious
we needed to sit down together and talk."
Historically, the town of Chapel Hill has
not held sway over the development of the
main campus to nearly the degree that it
can and apparently will with Carolina
N orth. The town controls the zoning and
the development standards, and it is known
throughout the region for being a bear
with land developers, particularly on la
The conceptual plan done by Ayers
Saint Gross of Baltimore (the same firm
that guided the present main campus mas-
These artist's renderings show
an Airport Road entry, at top,
and a commercial area, above.
On opposite page, a residential
square and park are depicted,
but anything could change in
the new round of town·gown
May /Jun.e 2006