Town of Chapel Hill
I signed a new housing lease about a month ago in mid-October – a lease that won’t start until June of next year. This is how competitive student off-campus housing is in Chapel Hill, and the ever-high demand for student housing in Chapel Hill continues to negatively affect non-student renters.
Niche.com estimates that 90 percent of houses near campus fill up by October. From my experience, students looking to rent an affordable house (as opposed to a townhouse or apartment) begin the search as early as September. Every year this fight to find the closest, nicest and most affordable home puts additional stress on UNC students, and our desperation to sign a lease as soon as possible pits students against each other, increasing competition and driving prices up.
According to a 2010 report prepared by Development Concepts Inc., students make up about a third of all rented units in Chapel Hill (and rented housing comprises over half of all housing in Chapel Hill). We are a huge market for property owners and developers – on-campus housing can only accommodate 9,700 students, so the remaining 9,000 or so undergrads must find off-campus places.
The Town of Chapel Hill and the Town of Carrboro should not authorize their managers to continue with the Gig.U (aka North Carolina Next Generation Network [NCNGN]) initiative at this time. Both elected bodies should direct staff to send the request for proposals (RFP) back to the drawing board for repairs.
The primary reason to reject the current RFP is that local governments could not enforce important parts of agreements that could come from a resulting contract. Municipalities all over North Carolina have been stripped of any legal authority to franchise or regulate either cable or broadband systems. This is important because, as the current RFP is structured, this is how the towns would make sure we all have access to a new fast network.
I have no idea what the story is behind this, but I bet it's interesting. Seven months after resigning as the head of Economic Development for the Town of Chapel Hill and taking effectively the same position for the City of Raleigh, Dwight Basset has come back to his old job. I wonder how all those people who blamed his departure on Chapel Hill's supposed E.D. failings will interpret this?
Personally I hope Bassett returns with some fresh ideas about local economies and especially about citizen particpation, which is one area where Chapel Hill has a lot to learn from Raleigh.
Some highlights from the Town's announcement:
Dwight Bassett will return to the Town of Chapel Hill as Economic Development Officer (EDO) and part of the Town team devoted to policy and strategic initiatives supporting the goals of Chapel Hill 2020, Town Manager Roger Stancil announced today (Monday, Oct. 15).
In a fairly crowded business meeting tonight, the Chapel Hill Town Council member heard from more than 30 members of the public on Chapel Hill Transit's current bus advertising policy. Contraversy around the ad was sparked by the placement of an ad by the Church of the Reconciliation urging the end of U.S. military aid to Israel. Speakers included several members of the Church of the Reconciliation, the director of the N.C. ACLU and local Jewish leaders among others.
The central question on the issue was whether the transit system consitituted a "public forum." This is important because under Supreme Court precedent regulations on speech in public forums are subject to greater scrutiny than regulations on speech in non-public forums.
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