Growth & Development

UNC on the offensive

A few weeks ago, the Chancellor appointed yet another administrative honcho to lead UNC's efforts to build Carolina North. Gone is the language of listening and visioning that we heard about the Ken Broun committee. In the Chapel Hill News, the Chancellor is clearly taking sides calling Jack Evans a "quarterback" for Carolina North: "Moeser said Evans should be adept at reading the defense, i.e. the community leaders and residents who are wary of the massive project."

It's interesting to watch UNC cycle through it's various PR phases. First we're supposed to be buddies, acting as partners, sharing the same goals for the community, etc. But next thing you know we're on opposing teams, lobbing bombs, and trying to advance our goals at any cost.

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.

You might as well move back to Cary

More threats of bix box development looming on our borders:

When M. Travis Blake first pitched the idea of Williams Corners -- a 500,000-square-foot, mixed-use development off U.S. 15-501 and Lystra Road -- residents in adjoining neighborhoods helped him persuade the Chatham County Commissioners to give their approval.

Now Blake is saying a Target or a Kohl's might be among the tenants when the development opens in late 2007. In an e-mail sent this week to residents of Wilders Ridge, an adjacent subdivision, Blake described changes that could be submitted soon for county approval...

Jamie Nunnelly, who received the e-mail, said Thursday she thinks Blake might have engaged in a bait-and-switch maneuver to gain local support.

"One of the things he said to us was, 'Would you rather work with me or would you like to see a big box development?' " Nunnelly said. "He said that to us more than once."
- Chatham big box store plan surfaces, 6/9/06

Sounds like a threat as well - as a false choice - to me. The article continues:

Oops, they did it again

What an interesting week for UNC-watchers! On Wednesday, the Board of Trustees (BOT) came out firing against the Chancellor's Leadership Advisory Committee, specifically the local elected officials who were invited to be members.

Seems the BOT does not share the Chancellor's faith in Chair Ken Broun's leadership, as they are complaining that too much time is being spent on process and not enough on developing plans. That's funny because according to UNC's own press release, plans were never a part of the committee's, um, plan:

The committee's purpose is to get community input on Carolina North from as broad a range of interests as possible. The committee is being asked to develop principles that will guide the university in preparing plans for submission to the local governing bodies as part of the regulatory process.
- OP: Broun Committee on TV, 2/28/06

Conservation and evolution

At their meeting tonight, the Chapel Hill Town Council will be considering 4 possible Neighborhood Conservation Districts, covering Coker Hills, Greenwood, King's Mill, and Pine Knolls. Tomorrow the Planning Board will discuss the NCD process in light of the fact that at least two more neighborhoods are requesting them.

I've written before about the many concerns I have about this process. What is the best way to preserve the character of our beautiful older neighborhoods, while still allowing a moderate amount of well-managed change that is necessary to keep our community healthy and affordable as we grow?



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