NCDEQ to share draft Brownfields agreement, open public comment period for 828 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. site

The Town of Chapel Hill is considering a redevelopment plan for Town-owned land at 828 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., the current site of the Chapel Hill Police Department headquarters. Photo courtesy Town of Chapel Hill.

GOVERNMENT; ENVIRONMENT

Compiled By Michelle Cassell
Managing Editor 

The coal ash site located at 828 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. is being considered for development now that the EPA has said it will not pursue the area as a Superfund site. As reported by TLR, Sandra Bramble, site assessment manager in the Restoration and Site Evaluation Section (RSES) of the Superfund and Emergency Management Division at the EPA, Region 4 said in her report in May, “Since The Town of Chapel Hill anticipates that a draft of the agreement (BPA) will be available for public comment in spring 2024. As a result, the EPA recommends that future activities at the site be conducted under the purview of the North Carolina Brownsfields Program.” This statement put to rest any EPA investigation to make it a Superfund site.

The Town of Chapel Hill put out a press release to explain how they will continue the process: “We’re entering the last stages of finalizing a Brownfields agreement for the 828 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. site. This will specify what future uses the NC Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) will allow on the property, as well as remediation measures for those uses.

“We expect that North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) will host a public comment period from July 1 – 30. During this time, you’ll be able to view and comment on the draft agreement. The NCDEQ will soon share details about how to access the draft online and via hard copy. NCDEQ will also host a public meeting, which will take place 30 – 60 days after the public comment period.”

The agreement doesn’t make any decisions about the future of the property – that’s what Council, staff, and community will do together once the agreement is finalized. We expect to enter the final agreement in October or November.

The Town of Chapel Hill is considering a redevelopment plan for Town-owned land at 828 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., the current site of the Chapel Hill Police Department headquarters.

This was the site of coal ash and construction debris infill from the 1960s and 1970s, before the Town took ownership of the property through eminent domain. When the Town discovered the materials in late 2013, we acted quickly to notify the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NC DEQ—named NC DENR at the time). We are committed to following all environmental laws and standards to ensure the health and safety of our community.

Current Updates

June 2024

The town is entering the last stages of finalizing a Brownfields agreement for the 828 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. site. This agreement will specify what future uses the NC Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) will allow on the property and the remediation measures for those uses.

NCDEQ expects to host a public comment period from July 1 – 30. During this time, community members can view and comment on the draft agreement. The NCDEQ will soon share details about accessing the draft online and via hard copy. NCDEQ will also host a public meeting, which will take place 30 – 60 days after the public comment period.

The agreement doesn’t make any decisions about the future of the property – that’s what Council, staff, and community will do together once the agreement is finalized. We expect to enter the final agreement in October or November.

Past Updates

On September 13, 2023, the Council adopted a resolution authorizing the Town Manager to proceed with leasing space for the Police Department while staff continues working with the State Brownfields program for 828 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.

As of August 2023, staff continues to work with NC DEQ on a potential Brownfields agreement.  Once a draft agreement is finalized, more information about timing of next steps will be available.

Recent Steps

At its March 8, 2023, meeting, Chapel Hill Town Council authorized Town staff to develop a concept plan for the site and fund any current costs with general funds, which will be later reimbursed by bond funds. A concept plan is a first draft of a development that could be built on the site.


Michelle Cassell is a seasoned reporter who has covered everything from crime to hurricanes and local politics to human interest over the course of 35 years. As managing editor, she hopes to encourage writers of a wide range of backgrounds and interests in TLR’s coverage of Southern Orange County news. 
This reporter can be reached at Info@TheLocalReporter.press

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2 Comments on "NCDEQ to share draft Brownfields agreement, open public comment period for 828 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. site"

  1. It is important to set policy standards that acknowledge and remediate environmental damage done by poor, or willfully non-compliant, development practices.
    Chapel Hill residents should share their opinions and provide input during the July 1-30 public comment period.

  2. To build housing on top of coal ash and old building debris is setting the stage for future cancer clusters and various illnesses for the unfortunate individuals that will live there…. Does “Poe Hall” or Camp Lejeune ring any bells to you people?? SMH

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