Growth & Development

Question tourism

I really enjoyed this recent letter to the editor in the Chapel Hill News:

What a shame to foretell "gloom and doom" during hurricane season, but I must add my 2-cents worth to the intention of Laurie Paolicelli, executive director of the Chapel Hill-Orange County Visitors Bureau, and Daniel Wallace, gifted novelist, to put Carrboro on the national map via feature articles and testimonials in national publications. What could these people be thinking of?

Remember what Money magazine and other national coverage (that rated the best places to live in the United States) did for Chapel Hill? Did this type of coverage entice visitors? No. Droves of people moved here to live fore the duration. They were not tourists. And now we have four-lane highways where we used to have two-lane roads. And schools? No matter how many new schools are built, there are never enough to go around for long. And let's not do more than mention the deforestation.

So what makes the bureau think its publicity will attract only its stated audience-tourists?

Breaking down the Residences at Grove Park (425 Hillsborough St.)

As published in the Chapel Hill Herald on September 23rd, 2006

In recent years there has been no proposed development in Chapel Hill that I have more mixed feelings about than the Residences at Grove Park, which would replace the current Town House Apartments on Hillsborough Street with a number of relatively up-scale condos.

On one hand this kind of development fits in perfectly with the direction Chapel Hill's downtown needs to go in. We want more people living near the city's core. This certainly accomplishes that goal.

Beyond that, the Town House Apartments are not particularly nice. This would be a step forward in terms of aesthetics.

On the other hand, this poses a major problem in the sense that it will remove a large amount of student housing near campus. Already the local housing supply is having trouble keeping up with the university's expansion and causing students to choose places to live further and further away from Chapel Hill.

UNC changing campus development plan

The following is an announcement I got this weekend from Linda Convissor in UNC's Local Relations department. The Development Plan was a 300+ page document outlining the next 10 years of development on campus. Under the terms of the OI-4 zone created in 2001 for UNC, the University submits these plans to the town in return for the removal of a cap that had limited them to 14 million square feet on development on the main campus.

Under the terms of OI-4, the Town will have 4 months to review and approve the plan modifications, which range into hundreds of pages, plus maps, and the inevitable corrections and clarifications.

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

On Wednesday, September 13, 2006, the Town of Chapel Hill will hold a public information meeting on the University's application to amend its campus Development Plan. The meeting will be at 5 p.m. at the Chapel Hill Town Hall. The Town has mailed notice to property owners within 1,000 feet of campus.

N. Chatham Big Box (Wal-Mart?) A Step Closer

From the Chatham chatlist:

Lee-Moore Oil Co. requests rezoning of a 63.3 acre tract at the Chatham/Orange County line into a 29.4 acre conditional use B-1 business district and a 33.9 acre RA-40 residential district.

A separate request for the 29.4 acres is for a "home improvement center" and additional retail and shops. Of course once they get the permit for the "home improvement center" it doesn't matter what big box goes in.

Public Hearing September 18.

Lame duck Chatham Commissioners ain't done yet

Just in case any of our neighbors in Chatham County had any shreds of a doubt about whether Bunkey Morgan is the head of a power-hungry cabal with no concern for ethics or democracy, not to mention smart growth...

Late Monday night following a public hearing, the Chatham Commissioners voted 3-2 to redraw election districts. The change means Patrick Barnes shares a district with newly elected commissioner George Lucier and will not be allowed to run for re-election when his term expires in 2008. He instead will have to wait until 2010 to file to run office again.
The county now is divided into five districts. Commissioners must live in the district they represent, but all voters elect all commissioners.

At a meeting last month, commission Chairman Bunkey Morgan proposed redistricting and district representation, saying he was prompted by county Republicans to suggest the change.

During Monday night's public hearing, supporters and opponents argued their cases before the commissioners.



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