Elon’s town council has given its blessing to a new open-air pavilion at the Sklut Hillel Center – Elon University’s branch of the well-known international Jewish student organization.
The council voted 5-to-0 in favor of the university’s plans for this project on Monday, clearing the way for the development of this 1,766-square foot structure on the Hillel Center’s grounds near the intersection of North Antioch and East College avenues.
The council ultimately signed off on the pavilion’s construction despite opposition from Jean Lowe, a neighboring homeowner who has objected to this proposed gathering spot’s proximity to her own property.
Lowe had originally shared her concerns with the council during a public hearing on the evening of June 13. In response, the council asked the university’s representatives to work out an accommodation with the homeowner before the project’s plans came back up for a vote at their next regularly-scheduled meeting.
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On Monday, the university’s representatives returned with a number of adjustments to their original proposal. Although they had balked at completely relocating the pavilion as per the neighbor’s suggestion, they had agreed to increase the width of the buffer along Lowe’s property line from 15 to 30 feet. The university’s representatives also promised to forest the buffer with10-foot evergreens that Lowe would be allowed to select, and they pledged to give Lowe advanced notice about dinners, receptions, and other events that are scheduled to take place at the pavilion.
In the end, the council saw no reason to block the pavilion’s construction – particularly as the structure’s development is already permitted under the property’s zoning.
“This is one I do struggle with,” councilman Monti Allision said, as he addressed the project’s reluctant neighbor prior to Monday’s 5-to-0 decision. “If I was in your place and someone put a big pavilion behind my home, I also would be concerned…But they basically have the right to do this…and I just hope that, moving forward, they’re mindful of you.”