UNC ignores town committee

I loved this article in the DTH last week. It says that UNC administrators will not review or respond to any of the reports of the Chapel Hill's Horace Williams Citizens Committee. The HWCC (of which I am a member) is the Town's opportunity to develop our own vision fo rthe prpoerty that will someday be the home of Carolina North. We just finished laboring over a point-by-point analysis of the latest hints we have from UNC (they have not submitted a plan to the Town). We compared UNC's concepts to our previous report (PDF), which laid out the Town's objectives for the Horace Williams property in great detail.

Now I can understand the University not wanting to respond to this. After all, there's no formal channel for communication about this, and there's no requirement for them to pay any attention to us. But it's sure hypocritical when they keep complaining that the Town won't do the same thing for them!

UNC never misses a chance to complain that the Council directed the Town's staff not to meet with UNC to discuss plans that have not been presented to the Town. "We were disappointed that the town of Chapel Hill didn't allow its planners to sit down with us," [Vice Chancellor Tony] Waldrop said.

Now why would the Town do that, when UNC won't even read the reports that citizens work so hard on? How can the University complain that the Town is being obstructionist, when they continually pass up such easy opportunities for collaboration? Could it be that they are not really interested in the long-term health and welfare of our community? I certainly don't think that kind of attitude is benficial to the University or the community, but it seems to be the approach UNC has chosen for the last 5 years.



Perhaps it's just a swipe back at the town for refusing to discuss UNC's "plan." These are the actions upon which cooperation is built.

To what "plan" are you referring, Ed? The Council has only directed the town staff not to spend their limited time working with UNC staff on ideas that have not been formally presented to the Town. I think the Town Council would gladly receive information about what UNC is planning. The Council (and the HWCC as advisors to the Council) has spent quite a lot of time considering UNC's ideas for Carolina North, but there has still been no plan presented for two-way discussion.

The current HWCC analysis is based on a powerpoint presentation and verbal remarks by Vice Chancellor Waldroup from 5 months ago. We have asked UNC for a written plan, and they say there is nothing concrete that they can share. We are literally scraping information together wherever we can get it, and yet we have assembled two reports to try to proactively engage in a discussion about how Carolina North can be an asset to the community instead of a burden.

This is the situation in which the community's trust is eroded. (And has been for several years now.)

In today's Herald: "Vice Chancellor Tony Waldrop, a leader of the planning for Carolina North, said that he looked carefully at the Horace Williams committee's comments. He said in part that UNC had put out more information than just the presentation that the committee cited, pointing to reports that were sent to UNC's four Carolina North subcommittees as an example."

So there's more information, but it hasn't been presented to the Town? Are we supposed to be citizen detectives now too?

I was referring to the same "plan" you were, on UNC's website and presented at various public meetings. I quote the word plan because it is not a plan, but a series of conceptual drawings. You know, the one they call "Draft Master Plan." Oh yeah, but the buildings shown may or may not be the ones they build. Instead of plan, you could insert the words "Trial Balloon."

I wonder if that quote from Waldorf in the Herald is accurate. Could he be referring to four reports at http://carolinanorth.unc.edu/ from UNC's advisory groups? They are under the Planning link.


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