small business

Are we un-friendly to business?

A few months ago, I recorded some commentaries for WCHL. Since they were based on comments I had previously written here, I didn't bother re-posting them. But the accusation that Chapel Hill's development review process is overly burdensome to businesses has come up again on the thread on creating green-collar jobs, and this is one of my biggest peeves in local politics. Here's what I said about it on the radio:

I often hear leaders of the Chamber of Commerce complain that Chapel Hill is too hostile to economic development. That we are putting too many restrictions on development, raising taxes too much, or just generally being anti-business. I beg to differ. 

Businesses are clamoring to get into our community, even in spite of these supposedly-onerous restrictions people like to complain about. Businesses are already very attracted to Chapel Hill because of there are so many potential customers here.  It's no accident that people with resources – people who have lots of options – choose to be in Orange County.  It's largely because of the Town governments' work to make sure that development is done in a way that serves the long-term interests of the community (and not just the short-term interests of businesses), that so many people want to live, work, study and therefore spend money here.

Critiquing local businesses

I feel very strongly that it is important to support our local businesses. I go out of my way to do this because without them we would be forced to shop at larger, less personable chains where our local dollars are shipped out to their corporate headquarters. Once there the money would be spent on national advertising as well as the development of other big-box stores with their sprawling parking lots and filled with the same, foreign made crap that I could buy in their other stores across the country.

By spending my money in my home town I have learned that the local businesses have a different variety of products, and that the owners are competing for my business. So they are happy to make minor accommodations to keep me as a customer. Furthermore, if I want to know where something came from all I have to do is ask the clerk or owner of the business.

Taco trucks in jeopardy?

I was very distressed to read in the Carrboro Citizen that the town development review administrator is trying to shut down the taco trucks that serve food in the parking lots at Fitch's Lumber, Cliff's Meat Market and Johnny's Sporting Goods -- in response to one anonymous complaint. They have until tomorrow to shut down. They can appeal the decision, but that process will cost $250 a pop. You can read the full article here.

I have loved the taco trucks. I love the food. I love that the food is cheap and quick and fresh. I love their salsa. And what I really love (almost as much as their salsa, and the fact that they serve tripe, which I never have the nerve to try) is that they are some of the most diverse dining establishments in town.

Is there anything hungry citizens can do to save the taco trucks??




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