Horace Williams Citizens Committee

Town Council Process for Development of Carolina North

On Thursday evening September 25th, at 7 PM, the Chapel Hill Town Council held a special meeting at the Friday Center.  In addition to all of the Council members (except Councilman Bill Thorpe who is absent due to medical issues) the Council Members were joined by UNC representatives Roger Perry (Chair, Board of Trustees), Bob Winston (trustee, Chair of the Building Committee) and Jack Evans, who is is chair of the Carolina North project for the University.

One of the important points that was made early by Roger Perry was that he and Bob Winston speak for the trustees and he gave assurances that anything that they agreed to in principle would be supported by the Trustees.  Another important issue was that of timing.  Roger pointed out that in July there will be 6 new trustees (out of 13) and that these new trustees would come in with little or no background.  Thus he urged the Council to consider a timetable that would complete by the Council's summer recess the necessary steps (e.g., rezoning, development agreement?) to allow Carolina North to go forward.

Chapel Hill may disband two boards

I was pretty shocked to read today that Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy has written a memo to the Town Council proposing that they should end the Horace Williams Citizen's Committee (old web site, new web site). Just a few months ago, I helped to draft a plan for how the HWCC would proceed in the next year or two to study some of the issues surrounding Carolina North and to make recommendations on them to the Town Council.

In all of the discussion of Ken Broun's new committee to advise UNC's leaders, it has always been made clear that the HWCC would still exist to advise Chapel Hill's leaders. I have not seen any change in situation that would mean we don't need this service any longer. This decision would be a major reversal and it deserves more explanation than the Mayor has given.

Ken Broun to lead new Carolina North committee

Why are the University's community relations people so tight-lipped about their new Carolina North committee? The town's Horace Williams Citizens Committee (HWCC) first learned about it in the paper in October. But at our last several meetings we have asked our University representative, Linda Convissor (UNC Director of Local Relations) for any news and she had none. When I ran into Jonathan Howes (UNC Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Local Affairs) he asked me why we keep hounding Linda for information.

Perhaps it's because we can't collaborate with a partner that doesn't share critical information? It's also because "UNC news" is a standing item on the HWCC's agenda, and we can't do much of anything without it.

The chairman of a new "leadership advisory committee" being set up by UNC to get input on Carolina North planning will be Kenneth Broun, a former mayor of Chapel Hill and former dean of the UNC School of Law.


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