public information

NRG Forum on Growth and Density

With the rollout of Raleigh's plan for future development and identification of areas for transit and denser development, this topic is as timely as ever for our communities. NRG is seeking to initiate a public discussion about a comprehensive vision for the future of Chapel Hill.  We are hoping to engage citizens to learn more about this issue and to equip them to weigh in with their elected officials on how they want to see their community grow.

I hope OP readers will join us and lend their opinions, questions, and experience. While the forum addresses primarily Chapel Hill, this issue is not confined to one town - we hope to attract attendees from our wider community to bring their expertise and perspectives. For details on when and where, please see the invitation below.

Chapel Hill 2020: A Forum on the Future of Density and Growth in Chapel Hill

Wednesday, December 10, 7 – 9 pm  

The Public in Public Hearings

I am responding to various comments I've noticed here and there about public involvement in governance. The primary stimulus was David Beck's post Is the 300 East Main proposal worth supporting?, in which he stated, "It seems there is a surprisingly low amount of public focus on a project that will undoubtedly reshape Carrboro," which was followed by some comments about the frequency and openness of the public hearings (here, here, here, and here). Similar sentiments can be found in the posts Increase Citizen Input and Desperately seeking Democracy.

My question is this: By what means are citizens made aware of significant events in our local politics?

Consultants give us county info

Have y'all seen the web site that the County's consultant set up about the new site search process? At the Orange County Transfer Station Siting Website, visitors can find background, details on the siting criteria, and upcoming meetings.. This is a good start and represents an improvement on the amount of information previously available.

My wishes are that:

  1. They would provide a syndicated feed so that we can follow updates to the site without having to visit each page every day to see whether there's something new.
  2. The COUNTY ought to provide this kind of information on it's own website, since this is the people's information, and should do this for more projects. Of course, the Towns should do this as well.

"Extreme"-ly dubious makeover

I'm having trouble getting excited about the fact that Chapel Hill won an "extreme web makeover" from a company in Kansas called Civic Plus. Just because it's free doesn't make it a good deal. Would you take a free makeover from Tammy Faye?

Based on their own website and on their portfolio, I don't really think Civic Plus has much to brag about in the design area. What's worse, this "prize" locks the town into a proprietary hosting and content management system. Will we be able to export this information in the future when we inevitably want to change change platforms?

I think a better long-term solution will be to host and manage the site with local expertise. There are only dozens of companies in the city limits (not to mention the Triangle area) that would be willing and able to do this work. So will we be able to move from Kansas to Chapel Hill gracefully, inexpensively, and on our own volition?


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