Planning & Transportation

How can you protest and collaborate at the same time?

This is the question on many minds as UNC says they want to work together with the town on Carolina North, while simultaneously attempting to block a pro-active initiative of the town to re-zone the Horace Williams tract to OI-2, which realistically reflects the current capacity of our public infrastructure and the lack of any formal proposal for the land from UNC.

The process of trying to zone this land in a way that allows the University to innovate, while mainataing the health of the surrounding community has a long history. In fact, the Council considered re-zoning this land to OI-2 back in 1994, and spent subsequent years trying to develop a custom mixed-use zone for UNC, which was ultimately rejected..

Zoning and mobility at Planning Board tonight

On tonight's Chapel Hill Planning Board agenda there are a number of interesting issues including rezoning the Horace Williams tract (the future home of Carolina North), rezoning the Greenwood neighborhood to prevent redevelopment, and a report on increasing health and mobility in Northside. Since I can't be there in person, I wrote the following to my colleagues on the board:

Horace Williams Tract re-zoning.

A new challenge for town and gown

Chapel Hill Herald, Saturday, March 05, 2005

On Feb. 16, 141 nations celebrated the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, an unprecedented global response to the greatest crisis facing the world -- global warming. In one respect, Kyoto represents the culmination of a process that spanned the last century as nations worked to build the capacity to cooperate in the face of global challenges.

Unfortunately, the celebration of this historic moment is sadly diminished for Americans. Alone among the world's great powers, the United States steadfastly refuses to participate.

Reading the various reports and analyses of what one commentator called America's "monumental shame," it struck me that this was a time for local government to truly step into the breach. Symbolic measures, like our towns' occasional protests of national policy, would not be sufficient. Action was needed, the only question being what form that action should take.

Town Planning Director to retire

This just in from Chapel Hill:

Town Planning Director Roger Waldon announced today that he will retire effective June 1. Waldon will begin a new career as a private planning consultant.

“No one can match Roger's combination of intellect, creativity, and enormous work production,” said Town Manager Cal Horton. “He is both a model civil servant and a model community volunteer.”


Town Manager Horton will make a decision about interim leadership for the Planning Department within a few weeks.

Town News, 2/28/05

Here comes Briar Chapel

Last week the Chatham County Commissioners approved a project called Briar Chapel. It is being described as "another Siler City" (pop. 7,000) - and that's not counting the three shopping centers. Except of course it's nowhere near Siler City, it's over here near our neck of the woods.

Many people in Chatham County are understandably alarmed about how their schools and other public facilities will handle this rapid growth. Here's some information about the fiscal impact of this development on Chatham County, from a local blog called The Chatham Shagbark (sadly defunct of late) .

But being selfish, I have to wonder about the impact here in southern Orange County. Where are these people going to work and how are they going to get there?



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