Chilton declares

I am happy to inform you (before the papers do) that Mark Chilton is officially a candidate for Mayor of Carrboro!

Here is his statement posted here on OP earlier today:

With Mike Nelson stepping down, I am officially running for Mayor of Carrboro this fall. I held a short press conference this morning at Carrboro Town Hall about this and I am sure the papers will report the details tomorrow, but here is a short synopsis of what I said this morning.

1) The Northern Small Area Plan needs to be completely re-worked. 2) We should take up the Friends of Bolin Creek's challenge to create a Bolin Creek Preserve. 3) We must take a number of steps to strike a balance between increasing our commercial tax base and protecting existing neighborhoods. And 4) we need to rewrite a number of rules related to affordable housing including the Density Bonus, downtown performance standards, and voluntary annexation standards in order to increase affordable housing development in Carrboro.

I also talked some about my view of the role of the Mayor. In short I believe that I will play three roles as a Mayor - a listener, a mediator and a leader.

Thanks to all those who attended the press conference. I would guess that there were 20 or 25 members of the public as well as 4 or 5 reporters.

Having observed Mark as both a politician and a policymaker since the beginning of his political career as a Chapel Hill Town Councilmember in 1991, I am confident that he will run a strong campaign and will make an excellent mayor!



Go Mark! Based on the way you've interacted with everyone on OP, I'd vote for you. If I lived in Carrboro, that is.

Chilton Yes!

Banners No!

I wanted to move two posts from the other thread over here (both from Mary Rabinowitz):

Post # 1
Thanks Mark,
When you get a chance, I'd like to hear about the problems you see with the current Northern Small Area Plan.

Post # 2
Mark C.,
Do you have a campaign web site?
Also, sorry, it was rude of me not to wish you well.

Mary, thanks for both questions.

I don't have a website yet, but I will have something up later this summer.

On the Northern Small Area Plan, I think the VMU zone was an important idea, but in retrospect I don't think it should have been a floating zone. It seems unlikely that it will ever be used again. Meanwhile there has been a fair amount of very, very expensive large lot development in the Northern Area. It just does not seem like that is what Carrboro voters really want. What do you think about the plan?

Thanks for your well wishes.

Here's a link to the Chapel Hill Newspaper's article:

Although, it contains one of the more outrageous misquotes I have ever seen in our local press! Higher building heights? That is definitely not something I said!


What do I think about the Northern Small Area Plan? I thought it was pretty clear that the plan pushes sustainable development and cautions against expensive, large lot, single family housing. It's not clear to me why the guidelines are only being taken seriously now. (Maybe the developments out here now were already in progress when the plan was written?)

Am I correct to assume that you think the VMU floating zone may never be used again because, in general, VMU developments built in forested areas of the Triangle have not been very successful at meeting long-term sustainability goals? (Or is your concern that there is simply not enough contiguously owned land out here to make a VMU development work?)

It seems to me that the general consensus is that most of the VMU ‘villages' that we have in the Triangle thus far, are little more than facades. The successful ‘villages' I've heard about are located in more urban areas to begin with—like Raleigh's North Hill's Mall. I am more hopeful that the proposed downtown Chapel Hill and Carrboro developments and The Village Project idea for CN will in reality live up to the goals of long-term sustainability.

I'll confess that I need to go back and read the Northern Small Area Plan again before I decide that you are right and that the plan needs complete re-working. Without knowing all the facts, I tend to think the plan may only need tweaking and updating.

Also, from what I've read, neither lenders nor developers like VMU developments. VMU developments are challenging and expensive, and it's hard to find businesses who want to lease the commercial village space. How does this figure into your belief that VMU developments are most likely not going to happen in the NTA?

I just meant that I don't foresee a developer wanting to take the risks involved. Because it is a floating zone, a developer is not going to have much confidence that the town wants to apply VMU in any one particular site. And I don't imagine that anyone (elected officials, residents or developers) would want to go through the things that happened with Winmore again.

Seems to me that if we want another VMU, then we should specify where that is or is not - the floating nature of the zone was a big reason why Winmore was upsetting to so many. I don't have a site in mind. Same issue with the office space called for the in the NSAP - the plan calls for it, but doesn't say where.

Mark--why not require that all developments over a certain size must include certain types of commercial development, like a grocery store or other necessity type businesses (medical office, vet, drug store, etc.)? I asked the developer of a new project (in the NTU) why he hadn't included commercial space in his plans and his reply was that he could but it wasn't required and would require a lot more thought. There is certainly enough of a market in those large developments to ensure that a well conceived business could thrive.


Lord forbid we make them think. I have met very few developers that could see the forest for the trees, actually there was one guy who said he didn't mind losing a million dollars by saving a giant live oak because it would raise his property sales by more than that million dollars.

But, most of the time - "Where am I? All I see are these trees everywhere?"

The Walmart story has led to very some heated listserv discussions in my neighborhood (right off Smith Level). Many of us want to shop locally and protect our local watershed. Others are also concerned about their family budgets and resent having to drive all the way to Durham for affordable shopping. Here's a report from the Smart Growth Library that I came across in my efforts to find out how other communities are dealing with this dilemma. "This report rovides information on the effect of gas prices on family budgets. The study ranks 28 metropolitan areas on their combined transportation and housing costs and recommends specific actions that governments -- federal, state and local -- can take to reduce the burden of transportation costs for families by investing in more transportation options. "

Carrboro and Chapel Hill are already looking at the relationship between housing and transportation, but the economic development piece is missing from their equation IMHO. This report doesn't go into any details about economic development but one of their recommendations is to make family budgets and regional economics a priority.

I'm still not sure what you have in mind.
Would you like to come up with a detailed master plan (no floating zones allowed) for properties such as the land that was once targeted for Winmore Phase II (Does UNC own?) and Winmore Phase III (Does Zinn own?), and other chunks of undeveloped land held by single private property owners?

I don't have anything that specific in mind, but I think we should confront the reality that if we want to see a particular type of development in the NTA (some mixed use for example) then we should have a plan that states where it is to go. Otherwise we are waiting for developers to take the risks involved in coming to ask us and subjecting residents of the NTA to a lot of uncertainty about what may crop up right next to them.

I'm not saying I know just what all that should look like; I'm saying we should put the work group back together to work that out.

Best of luck Mark. I'd vote for you (again) if I lived in


Putting the work group back together to re-evaluate where development stands sounds good.
Aggressive public dissemination of work group findings/plans would be excellent.

Thanks for answering my questions.


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