Ken Broun to lead new Carolina North committee

Why are the University's community relations people so tight-lipped about their new Carolina North committee? The town's Horace Williams Citizens Committee (HWCC) first learned about it in the paper in October. But at our last several meetings we have asked our University representative, Linda Convissor (UNC Director of Local Relations) for any news and she had none. When I ran into Jonathan Howes (UNC Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Local Affairs) he asked me why we keep hounding Linda for information.

Perhaps it's because we can't collaborate with a partner that doesn't share critical information? It's also because "UNC news" is a standing item on the HWCC's agenda, and we can't do much of anything without it.

The chairman of a new "leadership advisory committee" being set up by UNC to get input on Carolina North planning will be Kenneth Broun, a former mayor of Chapel Hill and former dean of the UNC School of Law.

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."

The idea is for the advisory committee to address issues such as fiscal equity, housing, transportation and zoning, and to include representatives from the university, the local communities and the state, Moeser stated, adding that all the meetings would be public.

A Town Council-appointed group -- the Horace Williams Citizens Committee -- already has spent more than a year crafting a set of principles that could guide Carolina North, and the council has adopted a modified version of that committee's recommendations as its own position.
- Chapel Hill Herald, 12/30/05: Broun to head Carolina North committee



Ruby, as I noted here on New Year's eve, I was disappointed that, once again, UNC has shown poor faith in the community by: one, not contacting those interested parties that have repeatedly sought out this information; two, appointing another committee with "representatives from...the local communities" instead of soliciting local representatives (any chance Diana Steele would be asked?) ; three, burying the announcement in the classic news doldrums (kind of like their evaporation of three planned dorms during mid-summer) and; four, their continuing attempt to subvert a real community dialogue on UNC/North.

You can almost imagine the reaction - "Look, we've appointed another Chapel Hill Mayor to represent the community's interest, gathered together all the best local leadership, for gosh sakes what else do the citizens of Chapel Hill want?"

I'm assuming that the Chamber will also play their part - heard anything Anita?

It'll be interesting to see how sudsy the rest of the UNC crew is....

Wasn't Ken really effective in convincing the university to abandon development plans in his neighborhood just a few years ago? I'm looking for an archived story about it online, but not finding anything.

If I'm remembering this rightly, then maybe he'll be just as effective with Carolina North!


I still have much trouble sorting out this Carolina North controversy. Sometimes I think that UNC may be doing a good thing and that the problem is that local politicos can't really accept that Chapel Hill will grow (and I can't decide if it's closet elitism or simple longing for a small town lifestyle that no longer exists or fear that Chapel Hill's aesthetic character will be ruined or a feeling of powerlessness over UNC…)

What is your ‘worst nightmare' about Carolina North?

I get the sense that you do accept the inevitability of growth in this area and that you are perfectly willing to work with UNC to ensure that Carolina North incorporate “good neighbor” principles and contribute to making the town more sustainable.

But I continue to be confused about what kind of growth reasonable people find acceptable.

It seems most people really are happy with Chapel Hill/Carrboro being neither city nor country, and people rather like sprawl. Most folks I know seem perfectly happy driving in their cars to widely separated homes, work, and shopping …

Mary, won't you be skipping Ruby's boring response?

Mary, from this vantage point, it's fairly simple: The sort of growth that UNC thinks it needs, as represented in the current plans for Carolina North, is not compatible with the sort of growth that local leaders think is best for the community.

I think some of it has to do with the town's liberal elitism (though nobody around here will ever admit that because they don't realize they're part of the problem); I think part of it has to do with UNC's institutional hubris (there are legitimate concerns about Carolina North, and I think the fat cats have a hard time understanding that); from the town's perspective, I think most of it has to do with concerns about transportation and the environment; from the University's perspective, I think most of it has to do with its growing research mission and an increased reliance on federal grant money.

There are legitimate concerns that we as a community have yet to answer, and it's easy for folks on both sides to get angry with the other. UNC feels that pie-in-the-sky liberal activists are trying to derail its future, and the town thinks the Big Bad Corporate University is trying to derail its infrastructure and environment.

As in most disputes, there's an element of truth to both of those descriptions. In my eyes, the truth is somewhere in the middle. It just happens that we only get one side of the story on OP.

And that's fine. It's Ruby's blog.

You go, Chris. I believe that UNC will in large part do whatever they want to. I hope they at least get SOME input from the towns.

I graduated from University of Va. in Charlottesville back in 1982. It was a small towm with some spotty growth north of town then.

I had occasion to go back in the mid-90's. Boy, what a difference. The old Hwy 250 exit was lined with high rise buildings etc etc. And North of town was a whole 'nother beast.

It would be interesting to see what parallels could be drawn between the two towns, and to see if UNC could learn anything from UVa's experience. I hope that this sort of thing will be part of the process.


I think I agree with you Chris, and Will, I have no good retort...

In general, are both towns afraid that UNC will simply do 'dense' on all their land holdings and preserve no open space? Do the UNC so-called 'fat cats' not really believe in sustainability? Do they not use their own UNCCH planners---who I assume believe in the latest, best thinking on growth?

And the transportation thing confuses me. Does UNC want lots of parking and rail, while the Town wants no parking and no rail--- it comes across that way...

And, is New Urbanism a dirty word in progressive circles? If so, why (other than it loses Sierra Club endorsements and elections)?

BTW, I'm exaggerating above.

Wait a sec. I thought the Town wanted rail. Doesn't it? How can it want no rail and no parking? Are people just supposed to beam themselves there?

(I'm eager to hear, incidentally, how rail supporters hope to get the Carolina-North-serving trains across Seawell School Road during prime commute times without completely gumming up the morning and afternoon access to the three public schools that depend on that road for access.)

Chris C,

You stated "from the University’s perspective, I think most of it has to do with its growing research mission and an increased reliance on federal grant money."

But if their (the University's) growth projections are based on expectations of increased Federal funding, are those expectations realistic?

From the American Association for the Advancement of Science website: "The final National Institutes of Health (NIH) appropriation for 2006 sticks closely to the President’s request, but an across-the-board cut contained in another spending bill leaves NIH with a budget of $28.6 billion, down 0.1 percent for the first NIH budget cut since 1970. After adjusting for inflation, NIH has a smaller budget in 2006 than it did in 2003, erasing the small gains of the last two years."

Given our mounting Federal budget deficits, it is highly unlikely that NIH budgets will increase anytime soon. And although UNC has performed very competively in obtaining NIH grant dollars, to base a plan for significant growth and expansion based on an expectation that Federally-funded research will continue to grow seems hard to justify at this point.

Mary, maybe if you weren't tuning me out so often, you'd know the answers to your questions. My primary complaint, as stated in the post above is that UNC is not dealing with the community in an honest and open way. We repeatedly subjected to misleading and deceptive words and actions, which make it difficult to collaborate at all.

A new process intended to build trust on both "sides" is badly needed, but UNC declaring their own commitee in the paper wasn't a good way to do that.

Mary, how can you ask "Does UNC want lots of parking and rail?" when their latest plans include space for 17,000 cars? Maybe you're not just tuning me out, but all discussion of this in the last 2-3 years. Sorry if I sound impatient, but I do get the feeling of banging my head against a brick wall, and I don't have time to teach UNC 101 today of all days.

As to your question about my worst fear, it's that this will be built in spite of the community instead of conjunction with it. Not only am I not anti-growth, I am personally looking forward to a denser, more urbanized Chapel Hill. Carolina North needs to be transit- and pedestrian-oriented, otherwise it will be a disaster for all of us.

Since Dole and Burr have abandoned trying to save federal funding for TTA rail, does that mean a Carolina North rail is dead too? I think locals would have pushed for shuttle buses anyway...

Dole and Burr don't mean shit. It's not a question of IF we get regional rail, it's a question of HOW and WHEN. I'm sure that if we wait long enough we can make sprawl out enough to make sure transit doesn't work, but a time will come when we need it to, like it or not.

On the trust issue, I just want to add this link to a timeline I created of the various UNC and town committees on this topic in the past decade. Feel free to add to it...

I'm going to a funeral now. Don't miss my crankyness too much...

I'll save my response for a better day.

Just one question though, and anyone can answer it: Do you really think UNC is being secretive because they plan to do parking and clear-cutting as they want, and they won't compromise? That's all I really want to know... and how does UNC respond when these fears are openly discussed?

I'm eager to hear, incidentally, how rail supporters hope to get the Carolina-North-serving trains across Seawell School Road during prime commute times without completely gumming up the morning and afternoon access to the three public schools that depend on that road for access.

The length of trains crossing this intersection will not be very long, and they would probably be moving at 30-40 mph across the road. Assuming 15 minute service in both directions, you could theoretically consider 8 interruptions of traffic flow per hour, 30 seconds each in length.

The Hiawatha Light Rail in Minneapolis runs at twice the frequency (16 crossings/hour)over a two-lane road (and subsequently into that road's median) with greater traffic, and when I used the train and got off to monitor the intersection in Dec 2004, I didn't see much in the way of queueing that failed to clear quickly.

Here's a photo of the grade crossing in question. The flashing light/gate is out of the photo to the right.

Minnesota Grade Crossing

Eric, assuming that there will be rail service to Carolina North, thus requiring trains to cross Seawell School Road, this will be no different than the usual life of a school bus stopping for red light and stop signs all over town. Why should a rail crossing be any different? If there is actually commuter rail, I assume there will be gates that will come down and go back up and the delay will be lo longer than most stop lights in town. These are not 100-car freight trains.

In any case, if rail gets some traffic OFF the roads to Carolina North, then this should help the school busses AVOID whatever auto traffic is diverted.

Chris, I think UNC is increasingly capturing private research funds and in fact that % is growing much more rapidly than the federal grant money. There are other research parks in the country (and internationally) that are prototypes (in the loose sense of the word) for the kind of project UNC envisions Carolina North becoming. I have heard Moeser state that every one dollar of grant money, public or private, generates more than three dollars of local economic activity. You'll have to ask him about his sources for that information.

There are many reasons to be suspicious and skeptical about UNC's approach to CN . . . and Ruby hits on most of them. My larger concern, though, it that any version of CN I've seen is compromised by mediocrity. Except for flashes of brilliance shown in the Village Project approach, CN appears to be mired in a boring sameness of any run-of-the-mill commercial project.

I call on UNC to upgrade their thinking about CN and aspire to true excellence . . . especially on three core dimensions:

1. Energy and environmental considerations.
2. Full integration into the Towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro so that CN becomes community space in the most progressive sense of the word.
3. Advanced transportation planning.

I know this all might sound a bit too much like the "vision" thing, but that seems to me to be the thing most lacking right now.

Patrick, thanks for the info.

Gerry, it's not just bus traffic; it's also a major flow of car traffic, especially to the high school. And parents dropping off and picking up at the middle school. (In any event, I'm sure that if a rail solution were proposed, there'd be all sorts of traffic studies first, right? So I suppose I shouldn't be worrying about this anyway.)

Jim, could you elaborate a bit on what you mean by "community space in the most progressive sense of the word?"

Mary, the current UNC administration feels they can do what they want, when they want, wherever they want....the taxpayers of NC bedamned. To the current administration, prying public eyes are a nuissance. Their "community events" continue to be more whitewash that dialog.

Further, this current administration has made it clear that their plans are their own.

Small problem. Their plans aren't their own. We're both Chapel Hillians and NC taxpayers. As a NC taxpayer, I'm not prepared to fund another boondoggle akin to the Global Transpark, Centennial Campus or even, to a lesser extent, the current Master Campus buildouts. As a NC taxpayer, I have every right to expect and demand an open process, subject to the widest public review, to ensure a decent outcome.

I suggest you review the recent Master Campus buildouts (the cost overruns, mistakes, etc.), the "quiet" Master Plan modifications (evaporating residence halls plus some wavering on a "bed for every head" [or as Fred Brooks pointed out - a plate for every mouth]) and the second end-run in less than a year of the Town's community review process to get a sense of the current administration's recent history.

As Ruby suggests, review the last couple years of OP to see how the current UNC administration sometimes functions as a "bad actor" (Mason Farm Rd. is an excellent example). Review Moeser's actions over the last 6 years - do you think his administration has generally acted in good faith? Heck, I asked Moeser, directly (and publicly), over a year ago, to "redline" the HWCC report so we can move on - why hasn't he done that? And where's the solid financial projections for the ROI of UNC/North? There's been a lot of handwaving on this aspect - probably one of the major reasons UNC/North continues to feel more like one man's vanity project instead of a real force for constructive change.

Finally, Mary, many of us have lived through more than a few UNC administrations. We've seen how these administrations can be a cooperatively strong positive force in our community and we've seen how, like the current folks, they can function like a recalcitrant bullying steamroller ("sovereignty anybody?").

UNC has done some very innovative development over the last few years, some of it in a positive, cooperative fashion with the community. Why can't the current administration build on those successes instead of continuing to push this $1.5 billion turdburger on our lovely community?

That's my $0.02 on UNC for today Mary, hope it wasn't too boring ;-)

Eric, there would indeed be traffic studies. Hopefully, there would also be TDM (Transportation Demand Management) plans that would ask questions like "how many middle schoolers could take the train to get home from school" to prevent the need for many car trips that occur in this area.

Thank you Will. Good synopsis of where you're at. I suppose since I've never been to one single meeting about CN, some might prefer I not comment or judge...

Eric, thanks for asking me to clarify my point about "community space in the most progressive sense of the word."

What I mean is that UNC should be creating CN quite literally as a "commons" for southern Orange County. That the entire development should be welcoming and completely accessible to every person who wants to use it.

For example . . .

One can argue that the current campus is totally accessible to our entire community, but to me it doesn't feel that way. It is defined as an us/them space by virtue of uses, walls, roads and architecture. CN, on the other hand, promises to have a broader range of uses (retail and public space) that could be designed as a completely integrated part of Chapel Hill (and Carrboro, to a lesser extent). We the People of North Carolina are paying for the darn place, so why should it not be designed for our use as well.

The progressive element, in my view, was well represented by the water features captured in the Village Project plan. But I'd push it even farther. CN should have:

Public toilets
Public drinking water
Convenient and ubiquitous recycling containers
Generous seating
At least one fountain
Free WiFi everywhere
A playground
A locally owned coffee shop
A place for outdoor performances
Licensed street vendors

Finally, there should be at least on 'signature' building adhering to the most advanced green/LEEDS standards . . . a building that would in fact be a destination for people interested in innovative architecture.

With such blantant displays of paranoia exhibited by Will and Ruby above, it's little wonder why UNC is so reluctant to be more forthcoming and open in their preliminary planning efforts. Who wants to be called "turdburger" every time they introduce a new idea?

Give it a rest, folks, at least till UNC reveals its next revised plan for Carolina North. IMHO, you'll find a much more interactive atitude coming from those that you're now so busy badmouthing.

Charles, to clear up your misapprehension - I'm calling the latest CN plan a "turdburger". As far as blatant paranoia, easy smear but quite off base. Ruby and I (and many others) are pointing out a variety of recent historical precedents which lead us to believe the near term future holds more of the same.

I link a number of these precedents directly to the current UNC administration's leadership, that leaderships poor attitude exemplified by quite a few negative acts over the last 5 years.

Sure, maybe you'd like to think UNC is like the stock market and that "past performance is no gaurantee of future performance". Heck, I'd like to think UNC's current administration will "shed its spots" and move forward, there's certainly nothing stopping Moeser and the BOT from recrafting their relationship with the Town. Having "behind closed doors" tete-a-tete's with current and past Mayor's or sudsy "pseudo-leaders" doesn't cut it.

Since you seem to be in on UNC's plans, maybe you can elaborate on when the fresh wind will start to blow....

Oh, and since you seem close to the admin, maybe you can encourage Moeser to start the new year on a positive note and extend us the courtesy of "redlining" the 2 year-old HWCC report so that the Town can move forward.

It seems to me that the primary objective is to minimize UNC-related traffic between the two campuses and from RTP and RDU. The University can do that on its own with a small fleet of dedicated shuttle buses offering point-to-point service.

I understand about the high school traffic (I lived near the intersection of Estes Dr and the RR tracks for 5 years). My point was that whatever passengers were carried on the train would be almost that many less cars on the road. And like school buses, private passenger cars on the way to school drop off or HS students on the way to school also have to stop at traffic lights and go through intersections. The rail crossing is really no different.

And yes, I've dropped off my kids at elementary, middle, and high school car pool lines.

To the extent that UNC has presented a plan, I haven't been too bothered by it. Basicly they want dense development on the site of the airport. IF you believe thier plan, it doesn't look like too many trees will be cut down. I do have a few questions though.

1) UNC started burying toxic waste on the Horace Williams tract in 1972. The EPA act was passed in 1971. Under that law, UNC was required to create and maintain records of the toxic waste they buried. No such records exist. Does UNC think they can manage land well, given this example?

2) Along the same lines, I use one woman as my dentist, another for my doctor, and a third for my lawyer. I don't ask my lawyer to clean my teeth. I don't ask my doctor to defend me in court. They all have different skill sets. Is running a world class university enough like large scale real estate development that the administration thinks it can do both well? On the other hand, given the administration preformance in the Susan Eringhaus saga, perhaps they may want to go into real estate.

3) Horace Williams died in 1941. He left 23 tracts of land to UNC to be sold. The money was to go to the philosophy department. In 1999 all but one tract had been desposed of yet no money had gone to the philosophy department. !!?!. The university agreed to give them $5 million in return for the 975 acre Horace Williams tract. In my ill-informed estamation that would be about 60 cents on the dollar of its fair market value. Presently UNC is in a $2 billion endowment drive. Do doners have any reason to believe that thier money will be spent the way they were told?... Or will UNC do them like they did Horace Williams?

4) Chapel Hill and Carrrboro residents pride them selves at the funding levels we lavish on or schools and other programs. Better then half of Carolina North construction will be residential housing. Since it's state property it's exempt from local property taxes. Many of these units while house school age childern. Of course the state is going to promise mitigation funding. I'd like to take them at thier word. In 2001 Mike Easly declared a "budget emergency". The promised money evaporated and the schools educated Odam Village residents pro bono. Can UNC promise this won't happen again? Why would we believe them if they did?

Basicly my questions boil down to ability and credibility. Unfortunatly I think I already know the answers to my questions. Time will tell but I'm not hopeful. Franky, Charles P., I can't understand why any one wouldn't be paranoid.

" plus some wavering on a “bed for every head” [or as Fred Brooks pointed out - a plate for every mouth])"

Those are actually good things to abandon.

I prefer the free market for housing, myself.

For $3630 for 10 months, I can get my own 1/2 of a 10X12 bedroom with a stranger who wakes up and goes to bed at different times than me, 1/8th of a bathroom and shower, 1/300th of a kitchen, and 1/300th of a common room, zero soundproofing, no airconditioning, no parking spot. I'm not allowed to have candles or George Foremans, they have RAs who check my room for alcohol, and they kick me out on breaks (sometimes before the last exam is even over.)

For $4190 for 10 months I can get the same deal as above plus AIR CONDITIONING. WOOHOO!

Or for $4000 for 10 months, I can get 1/2 of an 1100 sq. ft. 2-story townhouse. With a kitchen, a large private bedroom, living room, guest bathroom, walk-in closets, bathrooms, fireplace, private gym and pool, washer and dryer IN MY APARTMENT, wireless internet included, fast-responding maintenance, a parking space, soundproof apartments. I can also have candles anywhere I want, a cat, and nobody can come take my bottle of wine because my roommate is not 21. I could even save $1000 bucks a month and get most of the same amenities but live in a slightly less swanky apartment.

Apply this to the meal plans as well (I never bought a meal plan on campus - going to the dining hall is only worth it when Tom takes me) and you see the crippling inefficiency of the university in ability to provide room & board services in competition with the market.

But "Bed for every head" really only meant a bed for every NEW incoming freshman (never for all undergrads to live on-campus, no matter how bad you all want us to!). Even then I honestly believe that even freshman are going to want to start taking advantage of off-campus housing market more and more - students are demanding more, and I see an eventual relaxation in the "freshmen must live on-campus" rule (you can already get waivers, and just live where you want.)

Just because they build a bed for every head doesn't mean we'll want to sleep in them. :) Especially if those beds are farther away from "main campus" than my cheaper apartment.

What does it cost for those dorm rooms with the old AC units sticking out of each dorm room?

I'm prepared to be attacked (or called boring and overly serious), but.....appointing an ex-mayor seems like a good thing to me. "One" of the significant issues with Carolina North as Clark alludes to is tax equity (which the University promised it would address this year). Everyone can rally round the Village Project concept but keep in mind that housing 8,000 new residents, who would not under current conditions pay property taxes and who haven't been included in any of the towns projections for basic infrastructure, including water and sewer, has EXTREME implications for both towns and the county. And the Village Project was invited by the UNC Board of Trustees to present their ideas. If they were to adopt some of those principles, such as the water features Jim P likes so much, or 8,000 new residences, then don't we want to have an idea of how the finances of such a site would intersect with town and county finances? My answer is clearly yes, so I just don't see anything wrong with having someone on the board who brings an informed perspective and leadership to the negotiation of those issues.


Mark, here's the room rates info. Remember they're for only 10 month leases, and you get kicked out for most of December and a good chunk for fall and spring breaks.

"All Residence Halls

Double (or higher) Occupancy without air conditioning $1815/semester ($3630 per year)
Double (or higher) Occupancy with air conditioning $2095/semester ($4190 per year)
Single Occupancy without air conditioning $2575/semester ($5150 per year)
Single Occupancy with air conditioning $2910/semester ($5820 per year)
Graduate and Professional Student Apartments in Odum Village (August 1 – May 31)

Two bedroom furnished apartment; private bedroom sharing kitchen and bathroom with another student $3085 per semester / $6170 per year Undergraduate Apartments in Odum Village
Undergraduate Apartments in Odum Village

One bedroom furnished apartment; shared bedroom sharing kitchen and bathroom with another student $2170 per semester / $4340 per year
Two bedroom furnished apartment; private bedroom sharing kitchen and bathroom with another student $2500 per semester / $5000 per year"

They do have some housing units that vaguely try to imitate "apartment-style living". They're on campus, but still very far away, still not quite "apartment-living", and under the supervision of RA's. Not to mention they're REALLY expensive. Until they seriously evaluate the value of the kind of living spaces they offer vs. the value of what's available on the market, I hope they don't go construction-happy on residences.

Build anything you want UNC, but PLEASE can the LEED nonsense. Talk about a waste of money!!

Been there done that.

The town keeps saying they want public toilets, public drinking fountains, mixed use, etc.

A commons is all good and well, but we ALL NEED TO REMEMBER that at the end of the day, every extra dollar spent to cater to the town's -- forgive me -- often pushy suggestions is a dollar that comes from the state of North Carolina.

And please stop with the conspiracy theories (you know who you are). Chancellor Moeser doesn't sit around in his office all day thinking about how he can screw over the town with Carolina North.

Coletta hit the nail on the head earlier. There's plenty of room for improvement on both sides, but it's the town trying to tell the University what they can and can't do with their property.

And just a question: Has the town ever thought about providing some incentive that's not an edict? Why don't you just *pay* for things you want but UNC isn't willing to pony up the dough for? Seems like if you want it so badly you could just pitch in...


Private funds are, of course, also a growing part of the equation. Shouldn't have left them out. But the original point stands -- having heard countless administrators talk about Carolina North, I think we oughn't underestimate how much UNC wants this to be done to help preserve the fiscal health of the University (for right or wrong, better or worse).

Also, Cameron: I never said problems with Carolina North are the town's fault. I'm not just saying this to be diplomatic; I really am in the middle on this one, I see both sides, and I think both are in the right and in the wrong at the same time.

Clark, you make some good points. Jim, agree about the potential of CN. Will, your sentiments about a Centennial Campus in the middle of Chapel Hill are shared, and, finally, have concerns about more and more taxpayer money subsidizing the research of private industry--- where do you draw the line?

Mary, you raise a good question about taxpayers subsidizing private industry. There's another side though--how much of UNC students' education is being paid for not by the state or their tuition, by (indirectly) through grants and research funding.

Something like 50% of the funding to my school, the School of Information and Library Science, comes from the state, tuition, etc.; the rest comes from research grants. (I know there are other SILS folks here, so if Paul, Patrick, or someone else has more info, please do share.) My understanding is that schools are expected to get more and more grants and anticipate less and less funding from the university.

In the absence of fed funding, how else will research be funded? It could come through private funding only, but then the products of that research, would remain in private hands.

While this is clearly a local issue in terms of quality of life for Chapel Hill/Carrboro, the higher education and future of research implications are societal.

Mary, it seems that we iniquities have crept into the current University-business dynamic.

I'm an entrepreneur, I appreciate the intent but over the last decade it seems business is too much in the "catbird's seat" - to the detriment of basic research.

That said, I'm not against a research University at HWA (with some provisos - like no Class 4 "Biodefense" labs) - let's just get one that provides the best bang for our local and NC taxpaying public - one that will stand the test of time as business and research strategies evolve.

Chris Cam., the citizen's of Chapel Hill already "pony up" for a number of UNC-related services. Take a look at your property tax bill, it would be a bit lower if UNC participated in stormwater, paying realistic rates for fire protection, etc. (of course, it'd be quite a bit lower if UNC paid prop taxes!).

I am the State of North Carolina, so are you. I send a chunk of change to Raleigh every year, I'd like to see it utilized as best as possible. The current plan is not even close to the "best" on so many axes - just use the OP wayback machine to see all the discussions.

The cost delta between doing an RTP-lite or a world-class facility could be quite low. Let's encourage UNC to make our tax dollars stretch as far as possible for as many as possible.

I'd rather get multiple bangs - public space, living space for local UNC workers, a research University - for the same buck. In fact, done "right" (taking elements that Jim P. or the VillageProject or so many others have suggested), the cost differential, when amortized against all elements - social, environmental, economic, broadest public usage, etc. - over the near term development cycle - say 50 years - the "real cost" of building and sustaining the project could be quite a bit lower than the current plan.

The "Town" will be living with CN for a longtime, that's why the "Town" has sought to engage the current University administration - with mixed success. Finally, I don't know what Moeser does in his office all day (I hope its earning his salary and perks) - I'm just going on the end results - kind of a "Esse Quam Videri".


A DTHer a few years ago actually did an analysis of how the chancellor spends his time. It's pretty interesting.

He is what he seems. Does that pass the 'Esse Quam Videri' test?

I've been on a dozen committees related to the Horace
Williams tract since the early 90's, and have seen
three Carolina North proposals that have not been implemented. As a consequence, I must adopt a
wait-and-see attitude about any CN plan that doesn't come equipped with a bona fide financing plan. There is a major
disconnect between the UNC administration public stances
about corporate funding for CN buildings and the actual
uses that are proposed. We all remember about a year
ago that Tony Waldrop and Mark Crowell presented their
most recent CN plan to the CH council, discussing how
corporate UNC-related businesses would play a major part
in CN. However following their presentation were three
UNC scientists presenting their desires: Etta Pisano speaking
in favor of locating the Biomedical Research Imaging Center,
Margaret Dardess pleading for office space for School of
Public Health personnel who are scattered all over Chapel
Hill and Carrboro in rented space, and [I forget exactly
who] asking for space for the Frank Porter Graham child
development center. While all three of these needs are
bonafide, they are not corporate funded, rather they
represent yet more NIH-funded research, an expansion of
the main campus uses. They do not support Chancellor
Moeser's valid desire to diversify UNC income from the
legislature, NIH, and private gifts. I continue my concern that
UNC cannot maintain its NIH receipts at the ever-increasing
levels of the past two decades, for, should the NIH
take a hit (quite possible with Republicans in power in
Washington) or UNC researchers attracting less of the
NIH pie (less likely -- we ARE good), Chapel Hill will
face a recession.

Finally, at CN, none of the infrastructure is in place.
Before buildings can be built and research commenced, roads, energy delivery, water-sewer, and communications must be established. I've heard estaimates of these infrastructure costs as about $100M with no proposed
source for these funds.

The bottom line is that until I hear a valid, believable,
financing plan for CN to accompany the physical plans
for its development, the most prudent course for me,
based on past history, is to place myself firmly in the
middle of Missouri, Columbia perhaps.

CN has a potential to be an exquisite international model
for campus development that can be built with minimal
environmental, traffic, neighborhood and financial impact; I hope that the university can implement it.

Well said.

In a process that is full of anxiety and accusations about "inside information" and gray channels of communication, why ISN"T a public announcement in the media the fairest way to make a significant announcement about this turn of events? Is someone being cut out of the process? Seems to me, short of calling from the roof tops, that this is a forth right way to go "on the record" and make information available to EVERYONE.

And if the community is screaming for change...change in the process, change in attitudes and a change for the CN plan...then why is UNC being hit in the head with a brick for announcing a new program to address these concerns? Sure...its THEIR idea...but, darn, at least hear 'em out!

And since I am at the key board...fair is fair on leveling criticism and holding an institution accountable for its history, but inventing emotional motivation for UNC's actions is, honestly, not doing anyone any favors.

"They" (UNC) are trying to move a program from point A to Point B, to Point C, and so on. "We" (the Community) have a hundred or a thousand issues and concerns that cut cross ways through that program and, even in the best of cases, put friction on the "lateral" goal of moving the program forward (no matter how good it is already). Folks...there is nothing sinister in the fact that the interests of "applicant" and the interests of "community" are served differently by different aspects of the matter how the process is tailored. No matter how lofty the goals of either "side", the nature of the situation is each party has to sit on opposite sides of the table. Structurally, the idea that the interests of the two sides can become one just can't happen...we have different rolls to play. Its OK. Honest.

But that doesn't mean we want to keep spitting on each other. If you don't have something constructive to say...then YOU are adding to the problem. Disagree, challenge, critique, use your political leverage; all that contributes to the process..but stop short of being nasty for the sake of being'll thank yourself for it someday.

And since I am at the key board…

Glen, are you on this new Broun board? Care to share the rest of the membership list?


That was my first reaction too but then I realized he was probably referring to his computer key board.

That makes sense on rereading....

Will just called and suggested I post the Chancellor's letter announcing Ken Broun's role in Carolina North both here and on the website. Thanks for the call and suggestion, Will. I will paste the letter in below; it will take a little longer to get on the web site.
Linda Convissor

December 28, 2005

Kevin Foy, Mayor
Town of Chapel Hill
405 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Mark Chilton, Mayor
Town of Carrboro
301 West Main Street
Carrboro, NC 27510

Barry Jacobs, Chair
Orange County Commissioners
2105 Moorefields Road
Hillsborough, NC 27278

Dear Mayors Foy and Chilton and Chair Jacobs:

I am pleased to tell you that Kenneth S. Broun, a long-time member of this community, a former Chapel Hill mayor and distinguished faculty member and former dean of the Law School, has agreed to serve as chair of a leadership advisory committee that will seek broad community input on planning for Carolina North.

Some months ago, we began to envision a collaborative process in which the University and local communities could engage productively to advance our vision for Carolina North and, at the same time, respect the goals and values of the local communities. We sketched out a potential process, and it immediately became clear that the leader of the process would have to be – first and foremost – a member of this community. Someone who is respected. Someone who can get all the parties around the table talking constructively. And someone who can build consensus among stakeholder groups. It soon became clear that Ken Broun was that person.

The process we are considering would be guided by the leadership advisory committee. This committee would 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.

Foy/Chilton/Jacobs – Page 2

The advisory committee would address issues such as fiscal equity, housing, transportation and zoning. In addition, the advisory committee may elect to form sub-committees to deal with such specific issues.

The process would include broad representation from the university, the local communities and the state, and all meetings would be open to the public. The Chapel Hill Horace Williams Citizens' Committee and the Carrboro Horace Williams Advisory Committee have done good work, and we would ask the advisory committee to consider their recommendations and build upon them. The committee would also consider engaging a facilitator to ensure that the process is open, inclusive, comprehensive and meaningful.

We welcome your suggestions as we work with Ken Broun to detail this process. To that end, Ken has asked me to let you know that he will be calling to arrange a time to discuss the overall approach with you and get your input.


James Moeser

cc: Carrboro Aldermen
Chapel Hill Town Council
Orange County Commissioners
Board of Trustees Chair Nelson Schwab
Ken Broun

Here's something I've been meaning to bring up for a while: If you ask most of our elected officials, they will tell you that the relationship between the University and local government is better than it's been in a while -- and certainly better than it was during the Chiller Plant Incident.

Now, I'm not an insider, and I know public declarations don't always tell the full story. Many folks did, in fact, grouse privately about UNC to me during the campaign.

But if we're to take our local governments at face value, the relationship between UNC and the towns/county is improving on a regular basis, and much of what we grouse about here is much ado about nothing.

I'd love to examine this formally as a reporter, and maybe I will later this semester. For now, I'll just throw it out there.



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