LUMO rewrite announced (and other things you have missed in Chapel Hill government this summer)

Erin Crouse's picture
The Chapel Hill Town Council may still be on summer break, but staff and citizens have been busy! There are so many projects related to planning and development happening in Chapel Hill these days that it's hard to keep up:
  • The Central West Focus Area Steering Committee has been hard at work, and will put a draft plan to the public on September 10, withpossible adoption by the Council in November. 
  • This week, there was a meeting to introduce a draft plan of land use changes to the Ephesus/Fordham focus area.
  • There were a series of advisory board restructuring meetings throughout July and August to develop the charge and scope of work for each of the 5 proposed development review boards.
  • The Obey Creek Compass Committee started meeting in July. I haven't been following this closely, but the Town has a blog post about the work the committee has been doing so far.

And while all of this is going on, the Town announced the launch of the Land Use Managment Ordinance (LUMO) rewrite last week. From their press release:

The Town of Chapel Hill will host a series of LUMO Update events beginning in September. Phase 1 topic areas include: Stormwater/Resource Conservation District, Parking Lot Landscaping, Bed and Breakfasts, and the Sign Ordinance. Future focus area coding for Ephesus Church/Fordham and general reformatting/reorganization of the LUMO document are also included in Phase 1.

Sep. 11: Council Work Session: Lee Einsweiler, Principal at Code Studio and lead consultant for the LUMO Update, will present an overview of the project, highlighting key milestones and other considerations. The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. in Meeting Room B at the Chapel Hill Library, located at 100 Library Drive.

Sep. 24: LUMO Launch Event: The Town will host a kickoff event to introduce the LUMO Update project to the community. Lead consultant, Lee Einsweiler of Code Studio, will provide an overview of the project. Town staff will begin receiving public input related to the specific topic areas under review as part of Phase 1. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the Great Hall at Extraordinary Ventures, 200 S. Elliott Road in Chapel Hill. Additional meetings will be held Sept. 25-26 to provide more details and gather additional stakeholder input on the Phase 1 topic areas (see below).

Sep. 25: LUMO Topic Area Stakeholder Meetings: The Town will host a meeting to hear from stakeholders who are interested in the Stormwater/Resource Conservation District and Parking Lot Landscaping components of the LUMO. Stakeholders are any person or persons interested in these topics, including Town advisory board and commission members who may already serve the Town in a related capacity. Lead project consultant, Lee Einsweiler of Code Studio, will provide information about the LUMO Update process and key considerations for these topic areas. The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. in Meeting Room B at the Chapel Hill Library, 100 Library Drive.

Sep. 26: LUMO Topic Area Stakeholder Meetings: The Town will host a meeting to hear from stakeholders who are interested in the Sign Ordinance and Bed & Breakfast components of the LUMO. Stakeholders are any person or persons interested in these topics, including Town advisory board and commission members who may already serve the Town in a related capacity. Lead project consultant, Lee Einsweiler of Code Studio, will be on hand to provide information about the LUMO Update process and key considerations for these topic areas. The meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. in Meeting Room B at the Chapel Hill Library, 100 Library Drive. 

The press release (oddly) doesn't mention how many phases there will be, or why these topics (Stormwater/Resource Conservation District, Parking Lot Landscaping, Bed and Breakfasts, and the Sign Ordinance) are being addressed first. I am also unsure about the piecemeal approach. While amendments are made to LUMO frequently, I was under the impression that this rewrite would be more holistic. Without knowing the timeline of the process, it is difficult to tell if this process will live up to that expectation. According to this schedule, phase 1 of the LUMO rewrite is slated for possible adoption in June 2014.

That's all the information about this (very important) process that I've been able to find. Does anyone else know more? The OP Editors plan on attending these meetings, and will share what we learn with you.

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3 Comments

Ruby Sinreich's picture

My head is spinning

Thank you for posting all of this, Erin. It seems like Chapel Hill leaders are consistently sticking with the proven Chapel Hill 2020 system of making things up as they go along, and doing it as fast as possible. Sometimes I wonder whether they even want us to be able to keep up.

Jared Simmons's picture

Proactive Governance

I disagree.  The work that the Town has done this summer has revolved around one central issue: public interface.  Having attended several meetings throughout the board reorganization process, it is clear that the CHTC has put thought into their process and what they'd like to see happen.  An important part of that is engaging with the public. The subcommittee that formed the initial reforms was composed of Easthom, Pease and Czajkowski (I believe), and they had been meeting since 2010.  Because two of those aren't rerunning, there most likely will be some loss in progress on this issue, so I was very pleased with the town's efforts to engage the public and reach out for precipitation.  In regards to thinking on your feet, there are pitfalls to doing so.  We've already seen this with the increased costs of the consultants for the Central West Steering Committee and some wandering in forward progress, but the review of the land use and focus area is somewhat new in Chapel Hill, both to the town staff and to the members.  But again, the Town has been willing to focus on things that the committees deem pertinent and that the residents are passionate about.In the past year, transportation has become an issue of paramount importance, and a lot of the upcoming future issues can be addressed through the continual, consistent meetings of the focus groups to tailor their respective areas to fit 1) the residents, 2) the town as a whole and 3) connectivity in the region.  Central West centering on the Estes/MLK intersection has to take into consideration crosstown traffic.  Obey Creek is looking at Chatham traffic.  This will be the process in growing the town moving forward at least for the next few years, and no one can keep up because there is a lack of accurate information available.  I've seen little to no coverage on the Fordham Small Area Plan, Central West or Obey Creek, and if one is to change the way we do things then I believe that public engagement on all levels is necessary to do so.Frequent meetings, and open forums have demonstrated that the Town is welcome to public comment, and it is a great feeling to see a lot of these meetings full of town residents.  Overall, I am pleased with the Town's efforts in public engagement, meeting accessibility, and willingness to adjust to fiscal challenges and community desires.

ldhintz's picture

LUMO rewrite

I have an old paper copy of the 2003 LUMO which I helped worked on.  Chapel Hill has decided to rewrite the LUMO in order to make it easier to use. (Orange County did the same thing recently.) The rewrite  should not change the meaning. (But advisory boards and especially staff must look carefully and make sure the new rewrite does not leave out current regulations. This is a real danger with rewrites.)  Besides the rewrite, Council has picked 4 topics to revise. Those initial hearings were mentioned by Erin.(Stormwater/Resource Conservation District,
Parking Lot Landscaping, Bed and Breakfasts, and the Sign Ordinance). Council is also thinking about revising the rules for future Neighborhood Conservation Districts. A completely different potential change is being discussed for  Ephesus Church/Fordham. This area would have a long range plan and a special form code which would result in a different way of development. (No special use permit hearings but  there would be a community design hearing. Special  use permit is one mechanism the town uses today to obtain from developer social benefits i.e. affordable housing.) Some developers would love form code for the entire town but it sounds like Council is thinking of doing this just for one area. I have been attending all the meetings this month and will try to write more about them. This fall both before and after the election is a critical time for public feedback and council votes.Loren