August 2008

Favorite thing about ChapelBoro

Now that it is almost a year since we moved 14m miles south of ChapelBoro,  I asked my self (I do talk to myself and I am not rich): "Self, what is it you most miss about living in ChapelBoro?"  And self answered emphatically without hesitation "Why the Carrboro Farmers Market of course!"

I do go on Tuesday's to the Fearington farmers market and on Thursdays to the Pittsboro farmers market. They do not compare. For many years every Saturday at 8:00am from April to October I would head off the best farmers market in the triangle and return with the weeks fresh and tasty bounty. Eating is my second most favorite activity.

I may have to initiate a commute.  I wonder if I could talk my neighbors into starting a Saturday Carrboro Farmers Market car pool.   Hmmm...


Plagiarism avoidance:

1) Conversation with self stolen and paraphrased from Emeril Live

2) Second most favorite activity stolen and paraphrased from Woody Allen's Sleeper.

Drinking - That "Age" Old Problem

Some might revel in their underage drinking exploits, but I suspect UNC-Chapel Hill tennis player Chris Kearney never expected his life to take the detour it looks like it will take.

What's a sharrow?

Just got the following announcement from the Town of Chapel Hill:

[sharrow]The Town of Chapel Hill is installing a pilot sharrow project today (Tuesday, Aug. 19) through the week on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard from Estes Drive to North Street.   

The  sharrow, or shared-use pavement markings, is an experimental road treatment being evaluated as an  accommodation for bicyclists under certain roadway conditions.  A sharrow is a road marking to identify the shared use of a travel lane by bicyclists and passing motorists, indicating the legal and appropriate bicyclist line of travel; it cues motorists to pass bicyclists with sufficient clearance.

Didn't find the Town's press release very explanatory, so I looked it up and found the photo above.

Will the County Comprehensive Plan successfully promote sustainability?

This Monday the County Commissioners are holding what may be the final Public Hearing on the proposed Comprehensive Plan Update. The hearing begins at 7:30 pm and will be held in the downstairs courtroom at the County Courthouse in Hillsborough. At their regular meeting on October 7, the Commissioners are expected to vote whether or not to adopt the Plan.

Submitting written comments in advance of the August 25 Public Hearing and/or presenting your comments on the 25th might be your final chance to provide input on this important subject.

I encourage OP readers to review at least the first two chapters (links below) of the proposed Comprehensive Plan and judge for yourself if the chapters clearly articulate how sustainability can be achieved in Orange County over the next twenty years.

The first chapter states that “we need to act in a manner that will achieve a quality of life that is sustainable into the future”. In the second chapter one reads that “growth and development within the county should occur in a pattern, location, and density that is sustainable over the long-term”. Since this Plan is intended to be in force until 2030 it’s critical that it provides ample guidance on how “sustainability” and “sustainable growth and development” can be achieved.

In the section entitled “Toward a Sustainable Future”, the first chapter lists many “key ideas … that relate directly to the goal of achieving a sustainable future.” Ideas are presented for all seven of the Plan’s elements: Economic Development, Housing, Land Use, Natural & Cultural Systems, Services & Facilities, Parks & Recreation, and Transportation. As noted in the section’s conclusion, “these initiatives reinforce each other. Taken together, “they form a platform of sustainable practices upon which current and future generations of Orange County residents can build productive lives.”

The second chapter presents eight planning principles endorsed by the County Commissioners in 2004. As an affordable housing advocate, I am bothered that none of the principles directly concerns “social equity”, which is typically one of the three fundamental dimensions of sustainability (the other two being environmental protection and economic vitality). The second principle concerns sustainable growth and development. Principles One and Seven address public- and private-sector economic issues, respectively. The remaining five principles concern preservation and conservation.

Do these chapters clearly articulate how sustainability can be achieved? I encourage you to make your comments known to the County Commissioners as soon as possible because County staff is recommending that the Public Hearing be closed after Monday’s night meeting and the matter immediately be referred to the Planning Board (in order for their recommendations to be ready for the Commissioners’ anticipated October 7 vote). Written comments can be emailed to the County’s Comprehensive Planning supervisor at For more information consider reviewing the August 25 Public Hearing Agenda, as well as the Agenda Item Abstracts for both the May 19 and August 25 Public Hearings. (warning: abstracts are large .pdf files). The abstracts are particularly useful because they contain all the written comments presented by members of the public going back to January 2008. For the truly ambitious reader, links to all nine chapters of the Comprehensive Plan can be found by clicking here.


Monday, August 25, 2008 - 3:30pm


Battle Courtroom, Orange County Courthouse

What to do about Halloween

Garden gnome and friends, photo by forty42two Every year the Town of Chapel Hill gears up for the enormous crowds that come to Franklin Street on Halloween, whether we want them to or not. I've been participating in this ritual on and off since I was an undergrad at UNC (in other words, a long time) and I think it has value for the community. While some individuals will always take it too far, most people are engaging in a healthy type of creative expression that is rare for adults.

I think the Town has done a good job of prohibiting alcohol and trying to control traffic. I also applaud the police department for understanding that this is event is a force of nature that can be controlled (somewhat) but not stopped. I'd like to suggest that we charge admission to the area. I think this would help keep the worst elements out of the mix and help pay for the enormous cost of hosting a Halloween party for revellers from across central North Carolina.

Public Information Meeting for Glen Lennox NCD

This meeting is a part ofthe town's process for Glen Lennox residents to find out about Neighborhood Conservation Districts and help them decide how and whether to proceed with creating an NCD.



Tuesday, September 23, 2008 - 3:00pm


Chapel Hill Town Hall, Council Chambers

WCHL Annual Forum

Schedule TBD.


Thursday, April 23, 2009 - 4:00am to 1:00pm


1360 AM

Orange County Assembly of Governments meeting


Thursday, September 18, 2008 - 3:30pm



Chatham Market Place

Down here in the tiny town of Pittsboro, we have the Chatham Market Place, CM, which is in its 2nd year of operation.  WSM helped with their expertise to get CM started and they still cooperate.  While certainly a smaller operation it is a most pleasant and friendly place to shop. Clientele diversity seems to match WSM.

But one place where it really shines is the Hot Bar.  While smaller than WSM and much smaller than Whole Foods, the quality beats both hands down.  The folks at CM can cook.  With breakfast every day, an outstanding brunch on Sundays (omelets and shrimp & grits made to order) with entertainment, very tasty selections for every lunch and diner, hot sandwiches,  and special restaurant style menu on Friday evenings, the cuisine is always really tasty.  One note of warning: it is not necessarily good on the waistline.

If you are passing through you might want to give it a try.

I am a member but have no other connection to CM.

Why I'm going to Ann Arbor

As many of you know, I have had harsh words for the inter-city visits organized by the Community Leadership Council (an arm of the Chamber of Commerce).  I still believe what I said on July 11th:

I'd be willing to go under certain circumstances, but I would not pay my own money for a junket that promotes someone else's agenda. (Plus I couldn't afford it, even I wanted to pay.) If I did go, it would mostly be as a blogger so that I could get better informed and tell others what actually goes on, what is learned, etc.

It seems like one of the main benefits of these trips is better relations between the participants, who are already the connected power brokers in town from the university, government, business, and nonprofit worlds. They could certainly save money and include more people by having a conference or retreat here in NC and bringing in experts from other places.



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