Do you have a stake in Chapel Hill's future?

If you've been following the creation of Chapel Hill's new Comprehensive Plan, then you know that the Town Council has selected a 15-member (plus 2 unnamed Council Members) "Initiating Committee" which is charged with developing the process through which the CP will be envisioned and created. The next step is to create a broad committee of what the Council calls "Stakeholders" who will serve as something like a huge focus group and light weight advisory committee throughout the CP process.

Below is the Town's announcement and URL for more CP information, including a well-hidden link to the application form to become a Stakeholder (also below under More info). I get the sense that no-one with a pulse and a Chapel Hill address will be turned away, but I'm not certain about that.

Council Seeks Stakeholders for New Comprehensive Plan
Posted Date: 5/3/2011

Community VisioningIf you are a problem solver or a creative and critical thinker, the Town Council has an exciting opportunity for you. Chapel Hill's new Comprehensive Plan will be built with the help of stakeholders who are dedicated to making Chapel Hill's future the best it can be.

You are invited to sign up at and join in developing the New Comprehensive Plan that will shape Chapel Hill's future through shared vision and guidelines. Ideas will come from the people who live, work, study and play in Chapel Hill. There will be many roles and opportunities for ideas and input. When you sign up, indicate what aspects of the plan interest you most.

The current Comprehensive Plan was adopted on May 8, 2000, and has been supplemented by various small area plans and other documents to guide the vision for Chapel Hill. The community and the Town Council have asked for a new Comprehensive Plan to bring these documents together, to reexamine the vision and to focus together on our community's future.

The Council established an Initiating Committee, a panel of individuals to help plan the process to create the new Comprehensive Plan. The logistical committee will help set the project calendar, identify key roles in the planning process, and assist in recruiting stakeholders. The Initiating Committee comprises the following residents: Kathy Atwater, Elliott Bennett Guerro, Gordon Merklein, David Knowles, Lee Storrow, Jason Baker, Jim Curis, Julie Brenman, Allison DeMarco, Joy Steinberg, Jim Merritt, Rob Maitland, Scott Beavers, Anita Badrock and Doug MacLean. They are scheduled to meet from 5 to 8 p.m. on May 17, May 31, June 9 and June 21, in the conference room of the Chapel Hill Public Library. We look forward to sharing the project schedule and more information after the Initiating Committee concludes their work.

Derek Okubo, senior vice president for the National Civic League, and Matt Leighninger, executive director of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, are assisting the Town of Chapel Hill in its process of community collaboration. They will guide the committee through the process of setting a schedule and identifying roles for the stakeholders.

For more information on the New Comprehensive Plan, visit,  email or call the Town of Chapel Hill Planning Department at 919-968-2728.




Depending on how well input from this group is incorporated, this could be a great example of getting broad feedback on the plans.  I like how the town has attempted to reach out and actively solicit feedback recently (the library in the mall, for example).  Bravo for trying here, double Bravo if they can pull it off well.

As I said at a Council worksession about the CP process, this whole endeavor is an opportunity for Chapel Hill to really innovate and experiment with new and creative ways to connect with residents. This could be a great experiment to learn more about what kind of outreach strategies work well in our community.

I think the Council and Town Staff are trying hard to reach out and connect with citizens.  What will be important now is whether citizens reciprocate and get involved - and I mean citizens in addition to the usual voices and faces that are so often head from or seen.


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