Starting next week, I'll be hosting a series of four Town Hall events that each focus on a different issue in our community: downtown Chapel Hill, social and environmental justice, economic development and working together in Orange County.
I want these events to be an opportunity for residents to engage and take an active role in shaping the future of our town. All you need to bring is an open mind and ideas for how we can build a more vibrant, livable community. Here's the schedule:
Last week, Chapel Hill’s economic development officer, Dwight Bassett, presented some data on Chapel Hill’s housing market to a reasonably-sized crowd at Town Hall. Bassett’s presentation followed a brief talk from Robert Hickey of the National Housing Conference about what’s happening in housing trends around the country.
Parking, like traffic, is a recurring theme in local conversation about growth and development. We often hear from some community members that there is nowhere to park in downtown Chapel Hill/Carrboro, that a lack of parking is hurting local businesses, and that the parking minimums required for the Ephesus-Fordham renewal district are insufficient.
But the facts simply don’t support these claims. The reality is that providing more parking – especially surface parking – is fundamentally incompatible with urban land uses.*
Whenever there’s a new development proposal pending before a local governing board, the center of the conversation always seems to gravitate toward traffic. Given this tendency, I think it’s important we understand historic traffic changes in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.
More than 40 people came out to Carrboro Town Hall earlier last night to give the Board of Alderman their thoughts about a proposed Carrboro Arts and Innovation Center downtown. The project, a joint effort of The ArtsCenter and Kidzu, would consist of a center with three performing arts center and kids museum located at at the intersection of Main and Roberson Streets.
Researchers at the UNC School of Government recently released the results of a survey (PDF) they conducted about Chapel Hill’s Central West Small Area Plan process. You might have seen some press and spin about this survey and the comments participants provided in the survey. But before we start extrapolating from these data, it’s important to make sure we understand who provided feedback on the Central West process and how those individuals compare to our community at large.
The Town of Chapel Hill has approved Vilage Plaza Apartments, the first development proposed under the new form-based code implemented in the Ephesus-Fordham District.
Village Plaza Apartments will be constructed on the vacant site located between the Whole Foods shopping center and the ABC Store on South Elliot Rd. The development will bring 265 apartments, ground-floor retail space, a parking deck, greenway improvements, and roadway improvements. Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment will be approximately $1,150/month while a 2-bedroom apartment will rent for about $1,600/month.
Walkable, dense neighborhoods are good for us. That’s what this recent CityLab article concludes, citing numerous peer-reviewed research studies. And not only are these kinds of neighborhoods good for us, they’re good for the sustainability of our communities long term. For example: