Council Work Session on Comprehensive Plan


Thursday, April 7, 2011 - 6:30pm


Hargraves Community Center, 216 North Roberson Street, Chapel Hill


I'm at this meeting, not sure if it's interesting enough to live blog, but I'll add a few thoughts...The Town's consultant is proposing that the Council establish an initiating committee to determine the process that will be used to develop the new Comprehensive Plan, and then field a coordinating committee (with maybe some overlapping members) that would actually guide creating of the plan. I'm happy to see the consultant is emphasizing seeking a wide variety of new and old methods for outreach and community engagement. He's talking abut exactly the kinds of things I had in mind when I wrote these suggestions for increasing engagement with the town's downtown redevelopment initiative:

By the way this meeting is being held at the Hargraves Community Center, presumably to make it more accessible to residents of the historically African American Northside community. But the only Black person here is Town Council member Donna Bell. I don't think this means they shouldn't try things like this, but it points out that much more than goegraphic convenience is needed to get people to feel invested and to get involved.

Each Council Member is going to propose about 12 names of potential committee members (by 4/12), and then the Mayor will put together a small committee of CMs who can propose a slate of members for the Initiating Committee. They also have to select 2 CMs to be on the IC. CM Donna Bell pointed out that there may be people that Council doesn't know that would be good for the IC. Since there is no public application process, please contact her (or the whole Council at if you are interested. The hope is that the committe will be finally selected by the end of April. The IC is going to be doing a lot of hard work, so think twice before suggesting yourself. ;-)  There will also be oportunities to participate in the creation of the Comprehensive Plan (CP) by serving on the Coordinating Committee (CC) and as official Stakeholders.

but it"s obscure for most people. Meanwhile there are bigger winds blowing...

You know I'm a planning geek, Mark! :-) As a blogger I get to write about what's of interest to me. The flip side is that YOU get to write about what's of interest to you. Tell us what winds are bigger than Chapel Hill's Comprehensive Plan. I'd be glad to hear about it.

The initiating committee discussed by council last night is the committee that will plan the comprehensive planning process that Chapel Hill will engage in over the next several months. Many people keep saying this is not the sexy part because this initial committee will only be dealing with process - not content. Those of us who have done program planning in the past know that the quality of the output is often connected to the quality of the planning.This committee needs people with the following characteristics:

  • problem solver
  • balanced / willing to work among diverse viewpoints and interests
  • accountable
  • excellent process skills
  • knowledge of and connection to community networks
  • knowledge of community dynamics
  • solid communication skills
  • flexible
  • willingness to work toward the broader good of Chapel Hill

I, as well as other council members, are looking to this as an opportunity to identify untapped leaders in our community. If you know anyone who sounds like the description above, please have them contact me through or 919.627.1504. They can also contact any of the other council members. We will all be submitting 12 nominated names on April 12 to be considered for this committee.Please think about folks you know and see if they wouldn't be interested in supporting the town in this very important work.


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