In a recent post, I described the importance of building small connections around town to reduce our reliance on car travel and mentioned that the Planning Commission would be petitioning the Town Council to add a connection to the redeveloped Trinity Court apartments.

Encourage Council to support a new connection to Trinity Court

Details of the petition are below. I *think* Council will be voting on the Trinity Court project during its April 27 meeting (the agenda has not yet been posted but the project page suggests it will come before the Council on the 27th).

Regardless, now would be a good time to send a quick note to Council that you support the Planning Commission’s recommendation to add a connection from Trinity Court to Church and McMasters Streets.

It’s a great project overall that is worthy of support but note that the Planning Commission’s support for the project was separate from the connection discussed in the petition – it is thus important to tell Council that you A) support the overall project, and B) also support the Planning Commission’s recommendation regarding connectivity.

The Planning Commission’s Petition


 Prepared by Michael Everhart, Chair, March 8, 2022

On March 1st, 2022, the Planning Commission reviewed the proposed redevelopment of Trinity Court Apartments, and we voted 7-1 to recommend approval of the project.

In addition to our formal recommendation, the Planning Commission also recommends that the Town Council actively consider providing a pedestrian connection from Church Street to the proposed project by installing a sidewalk and staircase through the existing right-of-way. As shown in the exhibits below, such a connection would create a shorter route to Northside Elementary School, among other destinations (e.g., Hargraves Community Center). The exhibits also show examples of stairs elsewhere in town that may serve as models for what would be needed at Trinity Court due to the slope of the land where a connection would be made.

The project developer told the Planning Commission that they are amenable to the connection, were it to be provided. Given the town’s housing affordability crisis and the timeline for securing LIHTC funding for the Trinity Court development, the Planning Commission believes any costs associated with studying, designing, and constructing a proposed connection should be borne by the town, not the developer or future residents of the complex, and should not delay approval or construction of the complex.

Exhibit 1: Area parcel map with town owned land highlighted in green that could connect Trinity Court to McMasters and Church Streets

Exhibit 2: Pedestrian route and distance from Trinity Court to Northside Elementary without proposed connection to McMasters and Church Streets

Exhibit 3: Pedestrian route and distance from Trinity Court to Northside Elementary with proposed connection to McMasters and Church Streets


Exhibit 4: Example of lower-cost stairs off Tanyard Branch Trail
Exhibit 5: Example of higher-cost stairs from Booker Creek Trail to E. Franklin St.

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Stephen Whitlow lives in Chapel Hill. Trained as an urban planner at DCRP, he works for a research, evaluation, and technical assistance firm and focuses on the areas of housing affordability, fair housing,...