I was surprised to learn that yet another group, called "Neighborhoods for Responsible Growth," has come together in response to UNC development. I'm glad Northside is included for a change, but Timberlyne? Why not just admit that everybody in town will feel the brunt of Carolina North if/when it's built?
Although members said the group hopes to work on a range of issues that affect neighborhoods, the focus for now will be on the university's plans for the new campus. ...
The new group claims membership from neighborhoods including Elkin Hills; Mason Farm; Pinebrook Estates; Westside; Timberlyne; Gimghoul; Northside; Westwood; Colonial Heights; Homestead Village; Glen Heights; Coker Hills West; North Haven; Ironwoods; Northwoods V; and Greenwood.
The group had some initial meetings before the election last fall, [Mike] Collins said. But it's ramping up now in part because the council will take comments on March 1 on recommendations from its Horace Williams Citizens Committee on what the council should push for in reviewing plans for Carolina North. - Chapel Hill Herald, 2/25/04
(More on that March 1 hearing in another post.)
Three questions arise for me:
First, how this is different from the "Coalition of Neighbors Near Campus" that formed last fall to endorse candiates in the Town Council election? How is it different from the (I think) defunct Alliance of Neighborhoods?
Second, will they continue - as CNNC and others before them - to only speak to the narrow interests of their immediate neighbors? Or will they build a coalition with people outside their neighborhoods who share their concerns about the University's growth? There are so many people growing increasingly frustrated about UNC, but they are disperse and disorganized. They did seem to coalesce over the perceived "tough on UNC" candidates in the last election.
These 'not-so-near campus neighbors' could be tremendous allies in this struggle since their homes are not directly threatened and they can speak more convincingly for broader community interests. If the neighbors fail to make this connection, they will have to struggle with the stereotype of self-interested homeowners simply trying to protect their own investments. (Which is not unreasonable, just not as sympathetic.)
And third, could this grow into a force to advocate for the more central neighborhoods in Chapel Hill? As the suburbs grow around Chapel Hill we have seen a distinct change of our cultural climate. I think it would be great to have a voice (besides the Carrboro Board of Aldermen) to speak for those of us who are willing to go without a little space and privacy to be closer to our neighbors and to form a healthy social fabric for the center of our community.