UNC's Neighbors Getting Organized... Again

Ruby Sinreich's picture

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.

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7 Comments

We have jets landing at HWA

We have jets landing at HWA but they have to meet certain requirements to use HWA.

There is a "tringle of constraints: a runway of 4,005 ft, a takeoff weight of 12,500 lbs, and a noise limit of 85 decibels that limits the type of jets that are allowed.

For larger jets to be allowed at HWA, one or more of these constraints would have to be changed.

I recently heard a rumor and

I recently heard a rumor and wanted to see if anyone else out there has heard about it. . . Apparently UNC has alternative plans in place for its Carolina North project in the event the state legislature won’t let them close the Horace Williams airport. It seems they plan on keeping the project similar in size but shifting its location slightly (thereby using up more undeveloped land) and also expanding the airport’s capabilities to include larger jet aircraft. This would supposedly help attract corporate partners and also keep important wealthy alumni happy who like to fly in for UNC games. Anyone heard anything about this besides me?

Laurin, I think that there

Laurin,

I think that there may be a lot of people who agree with and support the goals of your petition. Most understand a petition as something asked for or requested. When you write, "we demand that any Carolina North plan for the Horace Williams Tract have ...," maybe it's the "demand" language that is causing some to not sign it. Doesn't provide much room for conversation.

don't let the wordage get

don't let the wordage get you hung up e-p-u. This is not a legally binding contract only a request.

The school board has been publicly begging for a school site for years on this tract and publicly said they would work with UNC to do whatever they wanted to meet the "mission".

The superintendent was on a UNC/ carolina north committee and begged too.

what wordage would you use when well known elected officials and bodies are ignored.

Should it be change to" pretty please with a cherry on top"?

By the way, this got me

By the way, this got me thinking back to the petition that Laurin Easthom started in late December. I thought it was pretty well-written in that it reflected a town-wide perspective, even though Laurin lives near the Horace Williams tract.

It's up to 187 names now. Not bad, but I bet some concerted organizing could yield hundreds more.

Petition: http://www.petitiononline.com/carnorth/petition.html

Discussion: http://www.orangepolitics.org/archives/000114.html

Hundreds of more signatures

Hundreds of more signatures would be very valuable to the petititon, indeed. Here lies an actual written RECORD of people that have voiced their concerns about Carolina North and UNC's intentions. How else can we have a record of what we feel? We want a commitment from UNC that they will designate a school site somewhere on the tract. We want the 75% of undeveloped land preserved permanently. We want a reduction in parking spaces and less emphasis on auto-commuting. We want protection of our neighborhoods, unlike what we have seen along Mason Farm Road. We, the citizens of Chapel Hill and Carrboro are SPEAKING through our signatures of the petition. Is UNC LISTENING?