March 2006

Those poor developers

In today's N&O, Matt Dees reports the breaking news that developers think Chapel Hill is too tough on them. I think that having higher standards is what makes Chapel Hill such a nice place, which is what makes people want to build here and make money on our prosperous community.

For example, how do you think Roger Perry's East-West Partners is doing on Meadowmont, The Cedars, Downing Creek, Cobble Ridge, and Westwood Terrace? In fact, look how they brag about the sidewalks in Medowmont in their web site. The "neotraditional" or "new urbanist" style of that development was first suggested by a small area plan for the NC 54 entranceway in which the Town established the goals for the site.

Roger Perry says the mere words "Chapel Hill" are enough to turn off most developers.

SUV drives into pit at UNC

Sometime around noon an SUV drove into the Pit on the campus of UNC. It's being reported by WRAL that one five students were hit and taken away on a stretcher. Many people on campus were alerted to this event by the sound of helicopters flying overhead. Some live video is being shown of the area on WRAL's Sky 5 video.

First County Commissioner candidates forum Wednesday!

The Sierra Club is kicking off this spring's County Commissioner forum season on Wednesday night from 7-8:30 at Carrboro Town Hall. You can also tune in and watch it on channel 18. We'll try to get it reshown throughout the campaign on the People's Channel as well.

Each candidate will have a two minute introduction and conclusion and there will be about 20 minutes for audience questions (in addition to 40 minutes of prewritten questions submitted by Executive and Political Committee members.) If you'd like to submit one you can do it right here and I'll put it in the stack (they should be strictly focused on environmental issues.)

The forum along with candidate interviews and their prior record on environmental issues will be used to evaluate the candidates for the Sierra Club endorsement, which will be announced in early April.

Hope to see a lot of you out there on Wednesday night!

Hillsborough development issues

Looks like Hillsborough will be getting a Weaver Street Market, but not a light industrial area. This seems like a step in the right direction.

Plans for a Gateway Center with a branch of the market can move forward after Judge Howard Manning approved a settlement between the town and the center's developer Tuesday.

Mayor Tom Stevens said he thought some of the settlement's conditions addressed concerns raised by Board of Adjustment members who had voted against the plan for a market.
- Weaver Street Market coming to Hillsborough


A plan to bring light industry to the north side of town suffered a setback Tuesday night.

The town's Planning Board unanimously recommended that the Town Board deny a request to rezone 38.58 acres off N.C. 57 for a light industrial use.
- Panel's advice: Deny light industrial rezone

Anyone from north of I-40 care to share their thoughts?

De-Bunk Chatham County

I know this is, but your neighbor to the south wants to pollute your quality of life with more traffic, more pollution and big box goliaths sucking retail out of Carrboro and Chapel Hill. Chatham County progressives need your help to oust the men who are selling off the county to any developer who dangles promises of tax revenue in front of their frothy mouths.

We barely survived the last four years under Bunkey Morgan, the car wash king and bag man for Briar Chapel. Now is our chance to show him and his ilk the curb.

The Chatham Coalition, a PAC that succeeded two years ago in electing candidates into office, is looking north for help in making a clean sweap of politicians who engage in back-room deals with wealthy landowners, believe Cary is the economic model of our future, and turn a blind eye to our streams and rivers turning brown with silt.

Does OP help Local media?

During the past few days we've seen a lot of referrals to local media coverage in the form of links. Orange Politics also permanently links to most major local media. On the Internet links are the way "word of mouth" advertising (aka viral advertising) is driven. It's like karma. The more you give the more you get. The search engine Google recognizes linking and reciprocates with a high ranking in search results with certain keywords to sites that link often. But the fact is OP is non-commercial. OP doesn't receive money from advertising or linking. We link because we are interested in sharing stories. Our "profit" occurs when we have informed citizens.

We are fortunate that many local reporters and media professionals join in our discussions. They bring a level of detail and quality that comes with making a career of gathering news. Based on site stats we know that many more people read OP than comment on it. We know reporters use OP as a resource. It's confirmed when commercial news stories quote OP comments with and without attribution.

Desperately seeking...

Chapel Hill has established a Council committee to work on hiring our new town manager. What would you put in the job description?

The Town Council's selection subcommittee held its first meeting Thursday, charged with finding a replacement for Town Manager Cal Horton, whose retirement will be effective Sept. 1, ending a 16-year tenure in the post.

The manager holds the most powerful nonelected position in town government and implements council decisions.

"What we want to do today is begin the process as much as we can," Mayor Kevin Foy said to kick-start the meeting.

The selection subcommittee, which consists of council members Bill Thorpe, Ed Harrison and Bill Strom, as well as Foy, met with the town's director of human resources to discuss initial steps in the job search process, such as advertising the position and receiving applications.

How to deal with density

I've been thinking a lot about the evolution of our community to a more urban mode of development. I think this is generally a good thing because it allows us to continue to grow without sprawling ever-outward, and also supports more pedestrian-oriented land uses which will build the critical mass needed to support fixed-guideway (rail or dedicated busway) transit. This continued growth (at a moderate pace, of course) is essential to maintain at least a modicum of affordable housing options. We can't just close the gate behind us now that we've got ours.

But of course this doesn't mean that anything big is automatically good. Similar to Carolina North if it's done right urbanization can revolutionize our community. But if done poorly it could ruin many of the things we love about living here. So I have a growing concern that our current planning and development review process is built to manage the suburban-style growth that we have seen for the last couple of decades.

What Can the Triangle Do About the Coming Oil Peak?

As Triangle gasoline prices again top $2.50/gallon, NC Powerdown and the Duke Greening Initiative will sponsor the Triangle Conference on Peak Oil and Community Solutions on Saturday, March 25th, from 1 to 6 PM at Duke University's Love Auditorium.

Peak Oil is the time period in which the maximum production of oil (in millions of barrels per day) ever extracted from the earth occurs. Peak Oil may last for weeks, months, or even a few years. We are unlikely to know we have experienced Peak Oil until we are passed the peak. After the earth passes peak production, the gap between demand and supply will inexorably drive the price of petroleum-based products higher and higher. With 95% of America's transportation energy coming from oil products and much of our food being grown with petroleum-based fertilizers, the peaking of world oil supply has dramatic implications for the nation and the sprawling, mostly auto-dependent Triangle region.

Don't tweak it

The Orange County Commissioners will be discussing their new representation plan again tonight. Personally, I think making minor changes is a waste of time. The current plan is overly complicated and is not any more representative than the current at-large elections.

In February, the board chose a proposal for a referendum in November that would have created a five-member panel -- as it is now -- with the county divided into two districts. In a three-to-two vote, the board agreed candidates would live in the districts but be nominated and elected by voters.

Under the proposal, Chapel Hill Township would be its own district and have two board members. The rest of the county would be another district and have one board member. The other two board members would be elected at-large countywide.
- Officials may tweak district representation proposal, 3/21/06

My proposal would look something like this:



Community Guidelines

By using this site, you agree to our community guidelines. Inappropriate or disruptive behavior will result in moderation or eviction.


Content license

By contributing to OrangePolitics, you agree to license your contributions under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.

Creative Commons License

Zircon - This is a contributing Drupal Theme
Design by WeebPal.