Yet another Carolina North committee

UNC announced plans yesterday for a community and university steering committee for planning Carolina North.

I am pretty skeptical about the university's motivations here.

First, why was the Chamber's Community Leadership Council told this before the Town Council? I think it's a real slap in the face not to make the members of Council the first to know. The Chamber may be easier for UNC to work with but it doesn't need the Chamber's approval of its plans, it needs the Town Council's.

Second, why is the university creating a new committee when it still has yet to respond to the report of the Horace Williams Citizens Committee? This group made a lot of very meaningful recommendations, and several Council candidates and progressive groups have formally asked the university to make a response- we have been met with nothing but silence.

Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy said the university formed a committee during the development of its master plan that drew in residents, town leaders and university representatives. He said that although members learned a lot, he didn't think they had much influence.

"It's a good way to disseminate information," Foy said. "I don't really think that it's a really good way to affect the end product."
- News & Observer, 10/28/05

I share the Mayor's skepticism but I hope that we are proved wrong.


"James Carnahan, chairman of the Village Project, said he hopes Moeser appoints a professionally trained facilitator from outside the community.

A neutral perspective will be critical in a process that's "likely to be fairly adversarial," he said."

And, please let the Chair of the Chapel Hill Planning Board help choose the facilitator.

Thanks, Mary. ;-) But unlikely. If they try to involve me in any way, then you'll know this is another do-nothing PR show like the "Carolina North Advisory Board" UNC assembled several years ago. After Chapel Hill appointed Cam Hill and me as its citizen representatives, UNC watered the board down, added dozens more members and made sure nothing productive came of it.

After having served on various university-related committees about Carolina North and attending their "community meetings", I am prety wary about investing any more time, energy, or hopes in UNC's process.

This feels to me like just another nail in the coffin of cooperative relations between the towns and the university administrators.

One of my advisors describes the previous incarnation of the Carolina North Advisory Board as "eyewash." I hope the university gets it right this time.

I was at the meeting when this happened so let me try to put it in the actual context. As we were wrapping up, one of the co-chairs asked if all were satisfied with the upcoming meetings as scheduled . Someone suggested switching the Nov and Jan topics. UNC was on for Nov so Chancellor Moeser indicated that he hadn't had the chance to inform his entire board yet, but before the Nov meeting, he would announce the formation of some committees on Carolina North, and they would have citizen participation and an outside chair. He indicated that more info would come with the announcement and even though he couldn't go into specifics at this point, this would be a good thing to talk about at the Nov meeting.

I think it is a mistake to read more into it than what it was. I saw nothing that was intended as a slap in anyone's face; it was just about trying to provide input to resolve a scheduling question.

Speaking of Carolina North -- from the College Republicans listserve.

Come by the Pit tomorrow, 5:30-6:30PM.

Kevin Wolff, Candidate for Mayor of Chapel Hill, will be in the Pit tomorrow -- Wed (11/2) between 5:30PM and 6:30PM -- to meet and greet voters, answer questions, and to listen to any ideas, thoughts or concerns you may have. Kevin is an experienced and accomplished leader in the worlds of business, technology and law and he now wants to "give back" to the Chapel Hill community by devoting himself to public service. One of Kevin's many goals as Mayor is to fully support UNC's "Carolina North" development project. He believes there is a great potential benefit to our community in bringing a new, world-class research and development facility to Chapel Hill.

We look forward to seeing you there!
Dan Cote
Chairman, Orange County GOP"

From today's misguided pay-walled HS

UNC Chancellor James Moeser notified officials from Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Orange County this week that Broun had agreed to serve in that role for the new committee. Moeser said the committee will "review major issues concerning Carolina North to develop principles that reflect our commitment to sustainability. These principles would then be used by the university to develop a master plan for Carolina North."

Seems like being a former mayor is a good career move.

Now that the other shoe has dropped, I wonder what the Council will do with HWCC's recent organizational requests?


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