Commentary, quick thoughts, and reactions from the OrangePolitics editors.

Chapel Hill has open data - Now what?

The latest column published in the Chapel Hill News by OrangePolitics editors Jason Baker and Molly De Marco plus Josh Mayo asks: "Now that Chapel Hill is providing access to their data, what are we going to do with it?" Read more here and share your thoughts below:

On Jan. 14, Chapel Hill’s town staff held an event at the public library to introduce the town’s new open data portal to the community, and gather feedback about where to take it going forward.

If you haven’t yet seen the portal, we encourage you to visit www.chapelhillopendata.org. Launched last summer, the portal is a platform for sharing the data the town collects and manages so that citizens can use this information, that is essentially ours in the first place, to help make our community a better place.

Are Mobile Homes Affordable Housing We Want to Promote?

The latest column in the Chapel Hill News by OrangePolitics Editor Molly De Marco asks whether mobile homes should be a part of the affordable housing solution in Orange County. What do you think? Read the column below:

Mobile home

 

 

 

 

Are mobile homes the (partial) answer to affordable housing in Orange County? Or maybe a better question, should mobile homes be part of the affordable-housing solution in our communities?

The Freedom to Bike and Walk

A new column in the Chapel Hill News by OP Editors Molly De Marco and Travis Crayton and Seth LaJeunesse calls for improved bike and pedestrian infrastructure that prioritizes people over cars. Read the column below:

 

Bike lane on Rosemary Street

Recently, each of us has had opportunities to travel to other cities and get a feel for how people move through different environments to get from place to place. All of us recently used Capital Bikeshare in Washington, D.C., and one of us also used bikeshare programs in New York City and Denver.

Through these experiences, one thing became clear: You learn more about traffic and safety from a bicycle seat – or as a pedestrian, for that matter – than you do from the seat of a car.

What will the election mean for our communities?

The Mayors of Carrboro, Hillsborough and Chapel Hill and the Chair of the Orange County Board of Commissioners put out a joint statement to the community on the 2016 Presidential Election. The text of their letter is below.

Just what the election means for our community is yet to be fully known and may not for some time, but local efforts are underway to anticipate issues before they arise and respond.

For example, El Centro Hispano-Carrboro will be holding a community forum on Tuesday, November 22nd at 6:30 pm to discuss what the election might mean for immigrant communities. The location is to be determined. We will post the location in the thread when it is announced.

Know of other community activities being planned in response to the election? Please comment and share it.

Post Date: 11/14/2016 10:49 AM

 

An Open Letter to Orange County Residents:

 

Like many, since Election Day we have reflected on what our country’s presidential election will mean for our communities.

 

The Real Reason Chapel Hill Keeps Growing

{Cross Posted from Chapelboro.com}

Chapel Hill resident, Matt Bailey, is back. This time he's rejecting the notion that Chapel Hill should or even can stay the same. Check out his thoughts below. Do you agree?

A while back, I read an opinion piece about how Chapel Hill was so much better back in the good old days. How Chapel Hill used to be smaller. How Chapel Hill used to have more charm. How all these new places for people to live have ruined our sense of place.

These sentiments aren’t merely one person’s opinion. Seems you only have to be in Chapel Hill for fifteen minutes before someone tells you how great it was back in some bygone era.

It’s true that Chapel Hill was a whole lot smaller years ago. In 1960, 12,573 lived here. Today, 59,568 do. However, have you ever stopped to ask yourself why Chapel Hill has grown so much?

White House Calls for Increased Density to Address Housing Affordability

The latest column in the Chapel Hill News by OrangePolitics Editors Travis Crayton and Molly De Marco cites recent releases from the White House calling for increased density in urban development to address the chronic national problem of housing affordability. These are just the type of strategies that we have been supporting on this blog for Orange County.

Chapel Hill Town Council Receives Update on Bias in Policing

Back in June, the Orange County Bias Free Policing Coalition submitted a petition to the Chapel Hill Town Council with eleven recommendations for addressing racial bias in policing. You may have been wondering what ever happened to that petition. We were. We found out last night.

Listening to the People

{Cross Posted from Chapelboro.com}

With our elected bodies coming back into session any day now, it's timely to think about how Orange County residents are being engaged in the decisions our elected officials make on our behalf. A post here on OrangePolitics got Chapel Hill resident, Matt Bailey, thinking about ways to engage residents that do not require them to come out in the evening and sit for hours waiting for their three minutes. So, he shared his ideas over on Chapelboro.com (below). What do you think of these ideas? What ideas do you have? Where should elected offical go to hear from constituents? Post your thoughts.

“Town leaders aren’t listening to the people.”

 

We heard that claim repeatedly from several candidates running for public office in Chapel Hill last fall.  With the promise they would listen to the people, several of those candidates have now been elected officials for almost a year.

 

GoTriangle (Route 405) comes to Carrboro

For the first time, Carrboro will be getting transit service from GoTriangle. Starting on Monday, August 8th the 405 Route will have two stops in Carrboro, one on Jones Ferry Road at the Collins Crossing Apartments and the other on E. Main Street at Weaver Street Realty.

Join Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle, Carrboro Alderperson Damon Seils, other Orange County officials, GoTriangle staff, Carrboro notables, and transit advocates as we celebrate this milestone on Monday at the E. Main Street stop to board the 8:14 am departure. GoTriangle will be providing local coffee, doughnuts, and complimentary day passes for anyone who boards at the E. Main Street stop.

See the GoTriangle press release for more information and the new route:

For Immediate Release

Contact: Brad Schulz, 919-485-7434 or Mike Charbonneau, 919-485-7413

 

Carrboro to Durham Transit Service Begins Next Week

Research Triangle Park, NC (August 3, 2016) - Carrboro residents will have weekday transit service to Durham beginning on Monday, August 8th. 

Neighborhood Conservation Districts: Chapel Hill Frozen in Time

A common complaint in Chapel Hill is that homeowners bear too great a tax burden because the town lacks a significant commercial tax base to offset it. The town’s onerous development process limits the amount of commercial space that can be built while also limiting the construction of new, different, and denser housing that is affordable to a wider range of people. At the same time, through the Neighborhood Conservation District (NCD) process, the town further restricts the availability of some areas for redevelopment, effectively freezing large areas of Chapel Hill in time. Removing these areas from potential redevelopment results in even less land for the creation of new mixed use and less single-family detached suburban type development to shift the tax burden. If our town is serious about supporting affordability, NCDs are counterproductive, “protecting” large swaths of the town that cannot be developed into denser urban environments.

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