The Elon Town Council voted during the Aug. 9 regular meeting to unanimously approve the rezoning and conditional zoning request by GreenHawk development to allow the creation of Parc Northwest. This vote occurred after months of discussion between town staff, council, residents and the developers.
Lori Oakley, Elon planning director, shared updated conditions made by the developers since the last meeting. These conditions focus on the entry points into the neighboring development Cable Square and clarifying language around the creation of a pedestrian walkway connecting Parc Northwest to Elon University.
Oakley said the connection point on Ralston D has been updated to only be a pedestrian connection to allow less traffic into Cable Square. The other connection point on substreet Old Towne Drive was updated to no longer have any speed bumps and will also not be an open point of access during the construction of Parc Northwest.
Oakley said the condition regarding the creation of a sidewalk to connect to the university is now written in more flexible terms, and the developers will still need to work with the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
“The developer will provide a five-foot concrete sidewalk pedestrian connection between the parking Northwest development and Elon University property leading downtown on either the western or the eastern side of Williamson Avenue,” Oakley said. “The project shall be subject to review and, of course, approval by DOT.”
Council Member Quinn Ray said that while not every person is able to agree on every aspect of the development, the growth occurring within the town of Elon has made it necessary.
“This is probably one of the best moves we can do,” Ray said. “We've negotiated and talked and made sure that this fits Elon. We want to keep that feel of Elon. We have a university — it’s no longer Elon College. We have a university that is constantly growing to the point where we need to lean into what we are.”
After a presentation on the creation of a social district given by Jill Weston, Elon’s downtown development director, the council voted to include a public hearing on this subject at the next meeting, Sept. 13.
Weston said beginning Aug. 15, people will no longer be able to consume alcohol in any public areas, prompting the idea for the social district. Weston said she has spoken with administration within Elon University who support the proposal.
“Social district is a designated area in which you allow the consumption of alcohol to be in outdoor dining areas,” Weston said. “We’ve been allowed to have this during COVID. I think for the most part everybody in our town has enjoyed having that flexibility.”
The council also approved a budget amendment to allow a grant from the Alamance-Burlington School System for a new school resource officer. Police Chief Kelly Blackwelder, who presented this item, said the Elon police has a strong working relationship with ABSS and will be working with them to find out what specifically they are looking for with the officer.
The council also voted to approve two new members to the Downtown Advisory Board, both who have property or businesses in downtown Elon, and voted to approve an art piece being donated to the downtown area.
The Elon Town Council will meet next on Sept. 13, as the Aug. 22 work session meeting was canceled. The council also plans on having three different neighborhood meetings in September. Dates have yet to be finalized, but Town Manager Rich Roedner said these meetings would take place in public locations with the goal to seek input from the town on how it could improve.