What You Can Do, As Advertised

As many of you know, the Chapel Hill 2020  planning process is getting underway. This new Comprehensive Plan for Chapel Hill will affect you—the roads you drive on, the places you work, the parks you visit, etc. so it’s important that you share your perspective to help the town craft the best vision possible. The more perspectives included in the plan, the more accurately the plan will reflect our community’s diversity, so be sure to contribute!

The town has already publicized seven different ways to get involved. You shouldn’t feel limited by this list, but it serves as a great jumping off point:

  1. Become a stakeholder. The town is looking for people who want to become more involved with the project in through outreach, logistics and/or research. If you live, work, play, study, invest or visit Chapel Hill you can signup to be a stakeholder here.
  2. Join a working group. In the next month or so, the stakeholders will identify key themes. A working group will be formed for each theme. The group will then hold community meetings to determine short- and long-term goals for that theme. Check back for details on when and where to sign up for a group!
  3. Subscribe to the mailing list. It’s often said that knowledge is power, so signup for the town’s weekly eNewsletter here to stay informed as the process develops.
  4. Take a survey. Later in the process, the town will be distributing surveys to help get a better understanding of what people are thinking. Take one!
  5.  Attend a meeting. Large community meetings will be held throughout the process. The first is a visioning meeting next Tuesday at 6 p.m. East Chapel Hill High School. A project open house will be held immediately before at 5 p.m.
  6. Help the town help us. If you know of a person or group who needs more info or you think should be more involved, email info@townofchapelhill.org.
  7. Pass it on. The Chapel Hill 2020 site has a bunch of materials you can share through social media, newsletters, bulletin boards or other means. Don’t forget to share your ideas about the plan and the planning process on Orange Politics!

While this is a good start, there’s one problem with the general direction of these tactics: people have to go to the town instead of the other way around. True public participation involves planners going out into communities, meeting people first hand and using a variety of different means to help them understand the planning process so that they can provide meaningful input.

Whatever form the public participation for Chapel Hill 2020 eventually takes, the only way for your voice to be heard is to raise it, so speak up and help make Chapel Hill as great as it can possibly be! Keep checking back here for more ways to get involved; I’ll be reporting on the process at least through the end of the year using the tag  Our Chapel Hill 2020.

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