June 2006

Modification #3

I just received the following e-mail from UNC local relations director Linda Convissor. Development plan modifications can range from massive to minor, and the Town is required (by the OI-4 zoning regulation) to review and approve it in 120 days - less time than a typical special use permit.

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

Many of you have expressed interest in our campus planning and the Town of Chapel Hill's review of our construction plans. I wanted to let you know that on June 12 we submitted an application for modification of the campus Development Plan to the Town. This followed the April 19 concept plan review by the Town Council.

Development Plan Modification 3 consists of several new projects while others are revisions to projects the Town has previously approved. The projects include pedestrian improvements, academic, research and office buildings, infrastructure and athletic facilities. There are three parking deck proposals that shift spaces but do not add any additional parking spaces beyond what the Town has previously approved.

The FCC comes to NC

For those of you following media politics, it has not been a good couple of weeks here in NC or in DC. The NC House moved a bill to the floor that would allow phone and cable companies to roll over communities and consumers and soon the NC Senate will do the same. Meanwhile, Congress passed a similar bill, The COPE Act, which would destroy community access television and turn the internet into a "whoever pays most, is seen most" commercial model. The death of community television and the internet? Could it get any worse?

Well, yes.

The FCC, under the leadership of Kevin Marin, from our good state, are about to change the rules about media ownership limits. Remember a couple of years ago when everyone from the NRA to Move On pulled together and stopped them? Seems they didn't hear us loud enough last time.

Manager selection sprint

One week from now, Chapel Hill may have already hired it's new top executive. The Town Council is literally speeding through the process of selecting a new town manager.

Today the candidates will be touring Chapel Hill, on Tuesday and Wednesday they will be interviewed by the search committee and individual Council members, on Wednesday they will make presentations and tale questions at a public forum at Town Hall. Then on Friday and Saturday the Council has scheduled 12 hours of meetings to decide and make an offer to one lucky white guy. (I just noticed that the Council search committee is all men as well, hmm...)

While there is certainly a big gap to fill in our current manager's shoes, we have two very capable assistant town managers who can easily keep things afloat. I don't see the point of rushing this process just to get someone fully in place before our current manager leaves in September. It seems more important to me do it right than to do it fast.

Seeking downtown leaders

I just got this by e-mail:

The Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership has two available board positions beginning July 1, 2006.

The first is a Town of Chapel Hill appointed position. It is a three year term, running July 1, 2006 – June 30, 2009. Eligible applicants are downtown property owners that contribute to the Municipal Service District Tax.

Town Council will appoint this position on June 26, 2006.

The second is a CHDP board appointed position. It is a one-year term, running July 1, 2006-June 30, 2007. Anyone can apply for this position.

The Board will appoint this position in June 28, 2006.

To apply for either position – please go to www.chapelhilldowntownpartnership.com and link onto the link at the bottom of the page for the application. The application should be sent to the Town Clerk's office ASAP.

Want to be mayor for life?

Maybe now you can in Chapel Hill.

By way of Kirk Ross of Exile on Jones Street and The Independent Weekly:

A few minutes ago the NC House passed H2324 which eliminates a term limit section on the office of Mayor of Chapel Hill from the town charter.

Anybody know anything about this?

Well I looked up H2324, and it says:

Short Title: Chapel Hill Charter Amendment.
Sponsors: Representatives Insko and Hackney (Primary Sponsors).



The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1. Section 2.1 of the Charter of the Town of Chapel Hill, being Chapter 473 of the 1975 Session Laws, as rewritten by Section 6 of Chapter 911 of the 1981 Session laws, reads as rewritten:

Earth to HeraldSun.com

If you actually want people to read the (few) articles you are publishing online, it would help to not put flashing eyesores like this on the same page as the news.

You're letting the DTH make you look bad....

Decisions decisions

A few important decisions are hapenning this week...

74 acres north of Jones Ferry Road near Old Greensboro Highway will be permanently preserved to protect University Lake's watershed. That'll make a nice viewshed, too.
-OWASA to buy 74 acres at lake, 6/20/06

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board will selecting it's newest member today at 6pm.
-School board to pick a new member, 6/21/06

And of course the Chapel Hill Town Council hopes to hire a new manager this weekend. Here's a little more information about the three white men in the running. (Thanks to the Town of Chapel Hill for photos.)

Frank Ragan
Deputy City Manager of Community Services in Aurora, CO
Roger Lane Stancil
former City Manager in Fayetteville, NC
Sean R. Stegall
Assistant City Manager in Elgin, IL

Desperately seeking democracy

I sent a slightly longer version of the following letter to the Chapel Hill Mayor and Council last week regarding the manager search, but I think that the points are pressing and critical no matter who is in charge.
. . .

In the past 15 years, technology has blossomed and sprouted many new forms of communication that we could never have imagined in the 1980's. And yet the current town practices regarding public engagement don't seem to have changed in decades.

The field of e-democracy (http://e-democracy.org/) was forged 12 years ago as a way to enable more participation and engagement in local government. This is but one of many ways the Town could enhance communication and information flow with and between residents. For a community that prides ourselves on being forward-thinking, we are way behind the times when it comes to open and accessible government.

Welcome, Manager Stancil

Mayor Foy just announced during the Chapel Hill Town Council's business meeting that Roger Stancil has been offered and accepted the position of Town Manager.

Council Rejects WiFi Committee Proposal

On June 26, the last meeting of the Chapel Hill Town Council before their summer break, Council member Laurin Easthom brought a resolution called Establishment of Special Committee to Consider Development of Wireless Communication Network. This was a revisit of an earlier petition presented to council on June 12.

Easthom explained why she thought the new committee was a good idea. But she sounded the whole time like it wasn't going t happen. Then she said someone had told her before the meeting that the council wouldn't support it. That the council had already decided against it before their meeting but hadn't even talked to her about it.

What followed was the first substantial public discussion by the Town Council concerning municipal wireless networks in Chapel Hill.



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