The Town Responds to Broun

Cross-posted from

Mayor Foy issued a formal response (PDF) to UNC’s Ken Broun’s presentation about the new leadership advisory board on Carolina North.

Observing that the town has already formed a committee to discuss Carolina North, the Mayor and Council has referred UNC’s response to the 2004 HWCC report to the HWCC for further comment (my 1st meeting as a new member of the HWCC is Feb. 16th). Further aside: I was the 1st person in Chapel Hill to volunteer for this new UNC committee.
Following up on the Broun presentation itself, Council made several notable comments and requests for information:

  • What tasks do you wish the committee to perform?
  • What outcomes do you expect?
  • How would the work produced be different than that of the HWCC?
  • Timeline: When would the committee be appointed? Start work? End work? [Mr. Broun’s a busy guy, where will he get the time?]
  • Is the proposed committee composition the final structure? Who’s already been appointed?
  • Is UNC committed to supporting a long-range transit plan?
  • Will UNC address the fiscal equity problem? When?
  • Will UNC consider the Town’s proposals for preserving open space and the environment?
  • Is there a definite plan for the HW airport’s closure?

One question I would’ve added: How deep is the UNC Board of Trustee’s commitment to this new process?
Two other notable comments from the letter.
One, pointing out that “Mr. Broun had been assured, and strongly believed, that the University recognized the Town’s

regulatory power”, did this mean that UNC “recognizes the legitimacy of the Town’s zoning power over Carolina North and does not intend to seek relief” from that authority?
Wow! The Council wants firm confirmation and so do I.
Two, the observation that the “speedy” 1 year negotiations over OI-4 were necessitated to accommodate the influx of development on Main Campus spurred by the just passed Education Bond, no such pressure to rapidly move forward, on the Town’s part, exists now. Given that, the Town, as a sign of good faith will address these request in a timely fashion.



A question. How does one become a member of this new committee? Does he/she have to volunteer before being considered by the CH town council?

Steve S: I have yet to see anything on the Town Council's decision to support this committee.

WillR: Wouldn't a more accurate title for this be "The Town Responds to UNC" or "The Town Responds to Chancellor?" As the Mayor's letter indicates, he was responding to a December 28, 2005 letter from the Chancellor, the Town's January 12th planning retreat discussion, and Ken Braun's January 23d presentation. Why is this important? The process will need many things to help it along and accuracy has to be one of them. Also, Ken Braun is just not the focus or the decision maker; I see him as a guy who volunteered his time and energy to facilitate the process.

Thanks for clarifying, Fred. From WillR's statement above about being "the 1st person in CH to volunteer for the committee," I assumed he was already a member. Hopefully, if the CH town council does decide to support the committee and select folks, they'll pick people who don't come across as negative about the process before it's even begun.

Steve, once I found out about the composition in the HeraldSun, I fired off an email to Council volunteering to be on the committee.

I guess you believe critical evaluation is the same as being negative. Unfortunate.

I guess it would be easier to populate the group with UNC "Yes" folks, Steve, if the purpose is to create the appearance of solidarity but I don't think that's what UNC wants this time around.

I'll bring to this effort a critical eye and some extensive research into both the current Master Plan deployment and UNC's previous proposals for Carolina North. I'm not the only citizen with such a background but, as was recently noted elsewhere, having some creative tension at the table can make for a much stronger end product. We don't need the same old "usual suspects", with the same old glad-handling of this project.

From what the Chancellor and his proxies have written and said, UNC seems to want to make a fresh, positive start on Carolina North.

If you read my editorial then you should understand that I agree and view this as a positive step.

Fred, Broun rhymes with Town.

Will, who might these "UNC 'Yes' folks" and "the same old 'usual suspects', with the same old glad-handling of this project" that our Council might appoint? Do you have the courage to tell us who you put in this category and why? If not, why not?

WillR -

Forgive me for being so blunt but I find it difficult to understand how you could claim to be a potential "positive force" on the above-mentioned committee. Regardless of your extensive knowledge and research, in my experience I've always found that anyone who continually harps on the negative rather than searching for the positive is NOT someone I'd want to work with. Perhaps if you presented a more optimistic outlook about the process I'd feel a bit differently. But until then...

If you think Will "continually harps on the negative" then you are simply not paying attention. His campaign was filled with good ideas, productively presented.

Similarly, the Town Council and the Horace Williams Citizens Committee (as well as others) have worked long and hard to make this future development the best it can be, and they do not deserve the runaround that Chancellor continues with. The integrity of the current process is being hung solely on the personal reputation of Ken Broun who has no authority over any of the decision-makers involved. I think the Council is wise to enter this process cautiously with an eye toward what the results might be.

I think the town could be described as "cautiosly optimistic" about this process, which shows a lot of patience and open-mindedness.

Ruby, could you be more specific about this "runaround that Chancellor continues with?" I remembera couple of years ago in an article by the CHH's Rob Shapard quoting me as saying that we shouldn't react to any plan or proposal until the issue of HWA is resolved. Thus, I see the "runaround" coming from further to the east.

I think it's clear from WIll's post above and from any casual observation of recent history. Regardless, Council is attempting to engage in the current process.

The DTH has just announced the UNC's picks for the new Carolina North leadership advisory board:

The 14-member group includes:

- David King, deputy secretary of transit for the N.C. Department of Transportation;
- David T. McCoy, director of the N.C. State Budget Office;

- Etta Pisano, professor in the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Engineering at UNC;
- Holden Thorp, professor and chairman of the University chemistry department;
- Douglas J. Crawford-Brown, UNC professor of environmental sciences and engineering and director of Carolina Environmental Program;

- Lisa Stuckey, chairwoman of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education;
- Anita Badrock, vice president of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce;
- Delores Bailey, executive director of Empowerment Inc.;

- Nancy Suttenfield, vice chancellor for finance and administration;
- Tony Waldrop, vice chancellor for research and economic development;
- Mark Crowell, associate vice chancellor for economic development and technology transfer;

- Roger Perry, member of the Board of Trustees;
- Bob Winston, member of the Board of Trustees.

Two trustees, three academic representatives, two folks in State government, three vice chancellors, one Chamber of Commerce representative, a local affordable housing advocate and a member of the school board.

Well, it's not clear to me and some others because Will's premise just doesn't hold water.

I would have thought you might agree with the "longer it takes to produce a plan, the better" approach to this.

The appointments answered one of the issues I raised with Mr. Broun, trustee involvement. With two BOT members, one can hope that any showstoppers for the BOT will arise early in the process.

If push came to shove, can't UNC do whatever they want? I mean, they are a State agency doing work on State land, right? Don't they have the ultimate say regardless of local government??

To quote myself from the Town's letter:

One, pointing out that "Mr. Broun had been assured, and strongly believed, that the University recognized the Town's regulatory power", did this mean that UNC "recognizes the legitimacy of the Town's zoning power over Carolina North and does not intend to seek relief" from that authority?

Depending on the answer to this question we'll know if the "sovereignty" ploy is something in play.

Will -

"...we'll know if the “sovereignty” ploy is something in play." You really don't think that sounds unnecessarily accusatory?

Do your homework Steve, it's history. Dial back the wayback machine to 2001.

From then Mayor Waldorf:

“I was surprised when the Chancellor called me four days after our meeting, on Memorial Day, to let me know that a bill had been introduced in the Legislature that would exempt the University from the Town's land-use regulations. In addition to being surprised, I was very disappointed, because the Council had been working in good faith in a collaborative process with the University.

“It seemed to me, for many reasons, that it was wrong for the University to seek exemption from all Town land-use regulation. It also seemed unnecessary, based on the good progress that we had made by working together.

This goes a long way toward demonstrating that chancellors are not unitary actors or that they are always the only one "in charge."

Will, in every single year since I was 14, (and that's 46 of them) I have held one or more leadership positions. I learned a lot from the vastly different experiences in peer leadership, senior-subordinate leadership, collegial leadership, and consultancy leadership. But there are some truisms that run consistently throughout. One is don't throw out public characterizations of people and events that you aren't willing to stand by and defend. Another is that first reports of most things rarely are completely accurate. A third is that where you stand is many times a function of where you're sitting at that point in time, and your "chair" changes, like it or not. A fourth key is that perceptions matter.

A thing that I've also observed over time is that it is difficult to lead when those you are leading don't see you as fair or consistent. They react when you personalize differences, ascribe unfounded motives, and stray from seeking common interests that will further the goals that you are supposed to be working toward. Most of our best public servants who are considered successful leaders have mastered the art of motivating people with positive leadership to do what they might not have chosen to do on their own. Not only do these leaders understand the mission, but they can articulate a vision. Their self-knowledge, commitment, and willingness to work hard is what separates them from the pack. And that they can work well through others and hold the trust of others seals the deal.

FRed, wish I could have expressed it that eloquently. That's what I was TRYING to relay above.

And Will, hopefully you'll take this to heart and use your knowledge and experience to help lead the way rather than create barriers. Believe it or not, my hopes and dreams for what happens with Carolina North are very similar to yours.

Steve and Fred, how do you arrive at the notion that serving on a committee is a leadership position? It was not, in my experience, true of either Board I served on, nor is it necessary in this instance, IMHO.

Carolina North is a difficult issue precisely because there are a number of different constituencies with different priorities. For any real common ground to be found, all of those constituencies will need to be represented. If any are not, the disaffected will seek to impact any solution by other means.

Bill, I do not believe serving on the committee is a leadership position at all. It's my opinion that they seem to be looking for people who are leaders in the broadest sense to be on the committee. A glance at the names of those already identified seems to make that point. Those yet to be named from the county and towns may or may not hold a formal leadership position, but I suspect that the will bring a wealth of leadership experience, know-how, and common sense to the table.

This afternoon, Chancellor Moeser sent Mayor Foy a response to the questions the Mayor had posed in his February 1 letter - the one Will posted to begin this thread.

You can see it on the Community site at

You may notice an embarrassing misspelling. It will be fixed tomorrow.

Have a chuckle on me and then root for those Heels.

Linda Convissor

I'm rooting for UNC.


Thanks Linda. It's nice to see the reaffirmation of the Town's zoning authority, the BOTs integral presence, etc.

I assume further details will follow?

Today's HS fills in a bit more, including a couple interesting "inside the beltway" comments by Mayor Foy:

"The town and the university need to deal with each other in good faith, and not as if we're two hostile countries or something," Foy said Tuesday. "I don't want to pick apart every word and phrase. I'm inclined to take the chancellor at his word, when he says the university recognizes the town's zoning authority.

"I understand the way in which you can parse words," the mayor added. "But that's not what we're engaged in here. We need to be focused on the good word and handshake, that when the university says something like this, they mean it."

I think we're beyond parsing "depends what is is" here - the letter clearly says:

The University enters this process in good faith and with the recognition and understanding that the Town of Chapel Hill has zoning authority over the Carolina North property within its boundaries.

I take the "good faith and understanding" to mean they recognize this now and forever and will stand firm if our State legislature tries to alter the Town's power. While specifying Chapel Hill, I also imagine his and UNC's response covers similar concerns in Carrboro.

The HS link.

Hey Rob or Neil - why does the HS continue to "chop its nose off to spite its face" when aging articles out behind a paywall?

You guys could be the frickin' paper of public record without this poorly thought out policy!

Here's a hint, Will: Link to the printer-friendly version of the story. That doesn't expire. And do some research before attacking people.

Thank you Ray.

Just wanted to let everyone know the time/date/place of the first meeting of the Leadership Advisory Committee.

It is scheduled for Thursday, March 2 at 5 p.m. in the Dogwood Room of the Friday Center.

I think everyone knows that you are all welcome to attend.

I'll post the agenda and any materials in advance of the meeting.

Linda Convissor

Thanks for the info, Linda. BTW, do you know if the proceddings will be televised on local cable?

We're trying to work out the broadcasting details and I'll let you know as soon as it's figured out.


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