UNC Play Nice? Nope.

The Chapel Hill Town Council asked for more time to adequately review proposals. They asked for concept plans before receiving the official modification request. What was UNC's response? F--k you.

"We did take a serious look at that request," said Nancy Suttenfield, UNC vice chancellor for finance and administration. "But it's neither fiscally responsible nor practical."- Daily Tarheel, 3/16/04

(More on the specific changes proposed in today's Chapel Hill Herald.)

Coming through loud and clear, Nancy. Just don't be suprised if the Town Council doesn't have enough time in your 90-day lighting review to get the information it needs in to make a responsible decision and has to turn the application down. What you seem to think is cheaper, could end up costing UNC (and the state/taxpayers) a lot more.

Issues: 

Total votes: 250

Comments

http://www.chapelhillnews.com/opinion/story/1085736p-7161222c.html

Roses to the Chapel Hill News for writing that UNC's changes don't go nearly far enough in thinking about how the entire project will impact and be a part of the surrounding community. BUT rasberries for them objecting to Bill Strom's analysis that the proposal is "a lot of spin." I think he's exactly right about that, and I was very glad to see him say so.

Actually, my computer has been infected with viruses for about a week now. My apologies to those who have clicked on my name and inadvertently ended up at porn sites. I'll try to remedy the problem as soon as possible.

Sorry y'all, I hadn't noticed the porn links. I'll take those out. I've never heard of a virus doing that!

Thank you Mark, I couldn't have said it better. The fact that the NCGA refuses to follow sounds policies doesn't mean we have to do the same. In fact, all the more reason we shouldn't!

Mike,

Oh that. Well, if it was the gun at your head you are worried about, you should have said so to begin with. I wouldn't have engaged you in this thread. Ignoring good policy because someone is threatening you can't properly be called a negotiation, a contract, an agreement, an understanding or anything of the kind. To borrow your (mis)characterization of this as a Contract, you should know that contracts entered into under duress are voidable and not enforceable.

(also, you should be careful with links you put under your name when you post. Is the porno a mistake, or are you doing that trick that increases the google rating of your favorite sites.)

Mark, My genuine concern here also is to expedite and advance important public policy concerns. To be blunt, I do not want to see the Council take missteps that would lead to losing its zoning authority. Taking that route is irreversible and would jeopardize a whole field of important public policy concerns--far more valuable than a few more weeks of review is worth. You know better than I do that North Carolina's public policy values do not match Chapel Hill's values, and the Council has the important responsibility of harmonizing a foreign set of values in the heart of Chapel Hill. Let's keep it that way.

Mike,

The extended time for review is being discussed to give time to 1) staff, 2) advisory boards, and 3) council. As I understand the current 90 day period does not allow sufficient time for the advisory boards to review plans. Since the advisory boards are the citizen volunteers, I think their input is critical and heartily endorse any revisions that will generate more (informed) citizen involvement.

Yeah, Mike. I guess you are being naive and quick to the trigger.

You were a Council watcher last year when the D-plan modification came through. You saw how the 90day process left out review by bds and commissions and left the Council with about a week to digest the proposal. I'd think by now you would be aware that the process takes time -- significant time in the case of regular development applications. (But, again, no one is asking for a new process that would string this out to necessarily resemble a typical development application.) At the core, the commitment is to expediting the process to advance real public policy concerns the importance of which are not being rejected by any party. What we have here is a situation where other important policy concerns are being jeopardized by the speed of the process. Even UNC's response seems to reflect an understanding of this.

Throwing around "unilateral" like you do is odd. Also, you're throwing "legal contract" in here where it doesn't belong. OI-4 is part of LUMO. It's a very special zoning regulation that was developed to assist the University's development goals. Yes, it was a negotiated plan, but it's not a contract -- it's a zoning regulation. No offer, no acceptance, no consideration. Using rhetoric like that misleads the reader. I believe the only kind of lawsuit that could arise would be one where the Town refuses to allow something that is permitted by the zoning. That kind of event isn't contemplated within any of these discussions.

Good points Mark. You touched on alot of my concerns. I'm happy to hear that the town and university could find an equitable way to accommodate the modifications.

The way you portray the need to revisit the 90 day review period is rational and, well, makes sense. There is a slight difference though between changing a document like LUMO that was created by the council and changing a provision in a legal agreement that amounts to a binding contract between two parties. I'm not suggesting that the town has broken its commitment; nevertheless, it's funny to me that one party unilaterally wants to change the agreement meanwhile calling the other an abuser.

http://www.orangepolitics.org/archives/000184.html

On the topic of "the crucible of Town Hearings," if the point of changing the 90-day review period is genuinely to work out serious details, then I think extending the period could be useful. Maybe it's naive of me, but I cannot see why these details even need 90 days to figure out.

IF, however, the point of extending this period is to give CNC more time to organize against everything UNC does, then I would find this to be abusive of the town. I'm not saying that this is the case, I am just saying that the only legitimate reason for extending the review period (as I see it) is if the town has a genuine need to spend more time on the details. As of yet, I haven't seen that need demonstrated.

Mike,

Yes, the 90 day review was part of the passage of the 2001 development plan. The interest in rethinking this was sparked by the reality that the 90 day review failed both parties last summer. See, http://www.orangepolitics.org/archives/000184.html#002711

Is this that different than Council's rethinking of some of the LUMO provisions? LUMO included a number of good ideas that needed tweaking once they were tried the first time. During LUMO's first year the town catalogued a number of items worthy of some editing and then just last month made a series of amendments to LUMO. What's the big idea with rethinking this one? Neither I, nor any other Council member has argued that each development plan modification be subject to the lengthy process of a typical application. In fact, I see the 90 day provision as an expression of both parties' interest in preventing undue delay for D-Plan modifications. No commitment has been broken in this regard, there is still a commitment to the underlying premise for an expedited review of D-plan modification proposals. I don't think that interest is necessarily compromised, nor is any commitment broken just because we realize that 90 days may be too short for some kinds of modification proposals. It's a shame that this has been characterized as a "broken commitment." As I said in my referenced post -- Last year's original vote almost ended in a rejection of the proposed modification. Imagine the fiscal difficulties and impracticability that would have resulted if the 90 day provision had been adhered to last summer. OUCH!

Unless of course, if the argument is that Council should not subject modification proposals to the crucible of Town Hearings, review and debate (which by definition are things that have never been discussed by the public because they are CHANGES to the D-plan and were not included in the 2001 discussion) than we do have a fundamental disagreement.

Although UNC recently (this week) submitted a new modification, it appears they are willing to look past 90days for the projects on the perimeter and projects that will change circulation patterns. We are and will be working together on this. I think commentators and editorials could stand to rethink some of their positions about Council firing shots at UNC and creating a hostile climate.

Ruby,

Didn't the town agree through legal negotiations about the 90-day review period? I doubt it'd be on the books if it wasn't. Shouldn't the town uphold their commitments too?

Disclaimer: no hostile tones are in my questions! they're just questions that need answers.

As I understand it, UNC agreed to submit concept plans for future development and they agreed to a longer review time for perimeter development. They did, however, ask the town to work within the 90-day review on changes to construction internal to campus boundaries. It seems like an acceptable compromise to me.

I think UNC's response of F--k you is appropriate given the climate.

Well of course. Given that the current "climate" is one in which UNC gives the Town the finger on a regular basis, you could say that it's perfectly "appropriate" to continue.

But is it effective? I thought you would be against bloated government spending, Todd.

 

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