Planning & Transportation

Trying to Sum It All Up

It’s tough trying to boil multiple-hour meetings into a news story.  Local media outlets have recapped the public hearing where the Obey Creek development agreement was approved after a nearly six year process (read more here and here). I tried futilely to capture what Council said in 140 characters (see Storifys from the May 11, May 18, June 8, and June 15 meetings that discussed Obey Creek). 

Town Council Delays Vote on Obey Creek

At their meeting last night, the Chapel Hill Town Council took public comment and discussed the Obey Creek development agreement, but delayed a vote on the proposal until next Monday.

The Council also discussed and enacted the 2015-16 budget and approved a revised personnel ordinance.

Public comment on Obey Creek centered around the issues that have long dominated the discussion: traffic, transit, and the size of the development. Council members seemed interested in delaying their vote a week due to new staff information, including smaller development scenario outcomes, that the Council received last Friday.

Tweets recapping last night's meeting are captured in the Storify below. Have thoughts about Obey Creek or the other items discussed? Add them in the comments.

What We're Reading: June 5

We read a lot of articles about local government, public sector innovation, open government, urban planning, and social justice. Since we often relate these articles to things happening locally here in Orange County and the Triangle, we thought we'd start sharing them from time to time. Here's what we read this week:

Tour of the Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit Corridor

[Cross-posted from damonseils.org.]

Today I took a tour of the Durham-Orange light rail transit (LRT) corridor, courtesy of Triangle Transit staff. We started at Triangle Transit headquarters in RTP, picked up a helpful if bulky set of maps and other materials, and made our way to the proposed western terminus of the LRT project in Chapel Hill. I used the event as opportunity to live-tweet the tour for local politics blog OrangePolitics (where this entry is cross-posted).

Below is an archive of my tweets from today's tour.

Do you have questions about the Durham-Orange LRT project? The next couple of public meetings will take place on June 4 (4:00-7:00 pm, Durham Station) and June 6 (2:00-5:00 pm, John Avery Boys & Girls Club). Attend a forum and/or find more information at ourtransitfuture.org.

Affordable Housing: Policy Tools & Best Practices

In its ongoing series on affordable housing, the Town of Chapel Hill hosted Michelle Winters, senior visiting fellow at the Urban Land Institute’s Terwilliger Center for Housing last Tuesday to talk about the policy tools and best practices for affordable and workforce housing.

Winters began her presentation discussing housing trends nationwide and specifically talked about the recent surge in renter households that is expected to continue into the future. The most important takeaway: Half of all renter households are at least moderately cost burdened, meaning they spend at least 30% of their income on rent. This statistic highlights why housing professionals have broadened their discussion of what affordable means in recent years to include a range, all the way from homelessness to just below market rate. As the town’s executive director for housing and community development, Loryn Clark, put it: housing needs to be affordable for everybody.

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