Oh well, that was quick. Now that the Chapel Hill development ordinance has been updated to reflect that fact the town has regulatory power over non-building development (eg: parking lots) on UNC property, the legislature may change their mind again.

The N.C. Senate has voted to repeal a 9-month-old law that gave Chapel Hill and other communities more power to control the development of state property.

The repeal measure, which passed the Senate last week on a 44-6 vote, is moving through the General Assembly at the request of the UNC system's Board of Governors, legislators and system officials said.

"All 16 campuses are very supportive of this," system lobbyist Mark Fleming said, adding that the initial request for a repeal drive came from officials at UNC Chapel Hill and N.C. State University.

Wednesday's vote targeted a two-sentence provision that state Sen. Dan Clodfelter, D-Mecklenburg, had inserted into a "technical corrections bill" that passed late in the 2004 session of the General Assembly.
- Chapel Hill Herald, 6/5/05


The repeal is interesting both in its local impact and the wider context of the successful political maneuvering and legislative muscle flexing orchestrated by the UNC system's lobbyist Mark Fleming.

I know Mayor Foy and others have concentrated on the power of regulating development of parking lots, which makes a lot of sense in light of the Town's desire to retain trees, reduce impermeable surface areas, to have a consistent process of siting transportation transfer nodes and to try to control the flow of traffic throughout town but with HWA redevelopment on the horizon, the inability to regulate road development might be more keenly missed. The current UNC/North plan shows some real jiggering of roads currently on state property (I think Airport Dr. and Estes Ext. are notable) and some problematic siting of entrances. Sally Greene made an excellent point about internal campus traffic flows and siting of roads affecting the wider community at the recent UNC dog-n-pony, so it's not just a matter of "don't worry, it's on our property". With this provision, the Town would've had a means to enforce a reasonable solution if UNC, through that new community out-reach process we've all heard about, couldn't reach a suitable agreement or compromise.

Hey, maybe it's the free tickets, but Mr. Fleming seems to be piling up a quite a few legislative successes lately. While his continuing expertise to get what the UNC system wants doesn't necessarily bode well for local municipalities like ours or Ms. Cowell's, I'll take solace in the apparent fact that he's quite adept at earning his taxpayer provided salary.


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