Tom Jensen's blog

Chapel Hillians on Growth

Most voters in Chapel Hill are happy with the rate at which the community is growing.

57% of respondents on our recent poll said that it is growing at 'about the right pace' while 37% think it is growing too fast and only 3% think it is growing too slow.

Interestingly this does not seem to have been an issue that created a big split among voters in the Mayoral contest.  59% of Czajkowski voters said the current rate of growth is fine, as did 54% of Kleinschmidt supporters.

Conservatives were more likely than liberals or moderates to say the community is growing too fast, a finding at odds with the usual assumptions about who supports higher rates of growth.

Most of those polled would like the community to stay roughly at its current size.  41% of respondents said that 25 years from now they would still like the town's population to be between 50-60,000.  25% said they'd like to see modest growth to the 60-70,000 range and 15% said they'd like to see it contract to the 40-50,000 range.  10% would like to see the population expand to 70,000 or more and 9% would like to see it drop even further back to the 30-40,000 range. 

More from the Chapel Hill poll

With the election mercifully in the rear view mirror Chapel Hill political observers will now shift their focus to the appointment of a replacement for Bill Strom.

Our poll found voters in town evenly divided on whether one of the losing candidates in yesterday's election should be appointed to fill the Strom seat- 38% in favor, 38% opposed, and 24% unsure.

Trumping that finding with the loss of Jim Merritt though is probably the question we asked about whether Chapel Hillians thought it was important to have an African American on the Town Council.  57% of voters said yes to that with just 28% dissenting, and I imagine given the strong support from the community that's the direction the Council will now go in with the appointment.

Two other key findings from the poll, neither of which is particularly surprising given the returns.  51% of Chapel Hill voters support publicly financed elections with only 31% opposed.  Given Mark Kleinschmidt's win and Penny Rich's first place finish it's clear there was no backlash from that and it's even possible the opposite was true.

Chapel Hill Election Poll Results

The race to be Chapel Hill's next Mayor is too close to call. Matt Czajkowski leads Mark Kleinschmidt 45-44, a difference that suffice it to say is within the margin of error.

The key finding in the poll underscoring how divided the community is headed into election day is that 49% of voters think the town is headed in the right direction while 51% think it's off on the wrong track. That should make for closely contested races both for Mayor and Town Council.

Sierra Club Endorsements

Laurin Easthom has posted the list of Sierra Club endorsees on her blog.

They are:

-Mark Kleinschmidt for Mayor

-Laurin, Ed Harrison, Penny Rich, and Jim Merritt for Town Council.

Indy Endorsements

The endorsees in Chapel Hill are Kevin Foy for Mayor, and Sally Greene, Cam Hill, Bill Strom, and Jim Ward for Town Council. In the endorsement the Indy states:

They are successfully steering Chapel Hill through this critical period of rapid growth, and intelligently steering the town's development: they've pushed for strong environmental, land use, and future zoning standards at Carolina North, established a temporary moratorium on building in the northwest study area, advocated for the Rogers Road neighborhood, supported downtown projects, and set strong affordable housing standards.



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