Growth & Development

It's not the size, it's how you use it

When it was being built, some neighbors complained about the new 4-story building at 605 West Main Street. So much so that Carrboro is now developing stricter standards for downtown development. A similar building that is now almost finished at the corner of Merritt Mill and West Rosemary Street is a great illustration that a building that size can be very attractive and complimentary to its environment without costing a whole lot. I'd love to hear some discussion of why one looks so much better than then other (besides the obvious: bricks are nicer than vinyl siding).

Also, the Chapel Hill Town Council will have a work session today to continue developing designs for redevelopment of two downtown parking lots. That starts at 5:30 at the Town Hall at 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Reasons not to shop at Wal-Mart

Chapel Hill Herald, Saturday July 30, 2005

The prospect of a Wal-Mart in northern Chatham County provides an opportunity to reflect on questions of economics, workers rights and the future of our society. Most importantly, it allows us to contemplate our own ethical responsibilities.

Consider the following: Sexist discrimination is business as usual at Fortune's "most admired corporation." In her book "Selling Women Short," Liza Featherstone documents rampant sexism at Wal-Mart, denial of promotion opportunities to women, underpayment of female employees and the prevalence of exclusive, men-only meetings.

Rather than pay a living wage, Wal-Mart encourages its employees to make ends meet via public assistance programs. Along with their paltry paychecks, Wal-Mart employees receive instruction on how to apply for food stamps, state health insurance for the poor and other welfare programs.

A congressional report found that a 200-employee Wal-Mart costs federal taxpayers $420,000 a year, an average of $2,103 per employee.

A Concept Plan for Carolina North

Guest Post by James Carnahan

A Concept Plan for Carolina North, the June 29 presentation by the Village project, will be re-broadcast Monday, August 1, 7 to 9pm on local cable channel 18 in Carrboro & Chapel Hill. This concept plan represents a year-long, unfunded effort by the local non-profit walkable community advocacy group to offer an alternative view of how UNC's Horace Williams property might be developed.

Not meant to be definitive, the presentation is primarily intended to answer the question, "what would Carolina North look like if citizen input were incorporated?" and to encourage the University to utilize a facilitated collaborative process to further develop its plans for the new campus. Key differences are a multi-modal transportation approach making possible greatly reduced parking and dependence on the automobile, 4 times the housing proposed in the Ayers/Saint/Gross plan, and a half-mile long reservoir for holding rainfall harvested from rooftops, that doubles as a outdoor recreation space.

James Carnahan is the Chair of The Village Project.

The Big Show in Chatham

Perhaps I'm the first back from the packed house at Dock side so I'll get the ball rolling.

What impressed me most was the strong group of progressive activists assembled from Chatham County. These folks are committed to achieving the kind of sustainable land-use planning and economic development strategies that progressive orangepolitics would surely endorse.

Based on last year's election, we can see that real change is coming to Chatham. Allies in Orange should acknowledge their leadership on their own turf (as was the case tonight) and work in solidarity where possible.

Some tidbits:
Wasn't expecting Kevin Foy who apparently carpooled with Bill Strom, Cam Hill, and Mark Chilton. The way my brain works, I noted that they comprised a group of Town Council members elected in 1995, 1997, 1999, and 2003 and a mayor to fill in the missing year of 2001 if you count Foy twice. I guess Alderman Chilton counts twice too.

Nearby was a table with Joe Capowski, Terri Buckner, Laurin Easthom, Alex Zaffron, and Mary Rabinowitz. Now there's a fivesome Roy might balk at coaching!

Up Against the Wal

From Mark Barroso:

I would like to remind everyone of the citizen-organized meeting about a possible Wal-Mart in north Chatham on Thursday, 7/28 at 7 pm at the Dockside Restaurant in Cole Park Plaza. Former Chatham Commission Chair Gary Phillips will moderate the discussion. The Chatham County Planning Director and at least one commissioner will attend and answer questions.

Several presenters will explain the process and issues, we will organize our opposition and begin the fight to keep the godzilla of retail from stomping on our community.

Please come early and buy dinner at Dockside, in support of the owner who has opened his doors to us without charge.

For those who don't know, Lee-Moore Oil Co is planning a retail center with a Walmart, two restaurants and yet another gas station on the land between ALR and the new UNC park and ride. Here's a map of the area (cool new Google map feature learned at yesterday's Blogging Teach-In)



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