Tuesday Night Live

Mark Chilton's picture

7:41 pm: Here is some live, during meeting coverage of the May 18, 2004 Carrboro Board of Aldermen by me, Alderman Mark Chilton.

Hopefully this account will be more interesting than being present in person!

The meeting began with some introductory remarks from Bo Lozoff - the man who is starting a job-training bio-diesel production facility in Orange County. The Mayor referred him to the Public Works director to discuss the town purchasing bio-diesel from his new facility.

Now we are on the Consent Agenda. This is usually an amalgam of non-controversial items. Scheduling issues, minutes, two contract awards (engineering and health insurance). We are also changing the speed limit on part of Homestead Road.

I will report more in a few minutes.

8:19 pm: Now we are talking about adopting new parking standards downtown. We are considering giving developers the ability to pay the town in lieu of creating parking for their buildings.

Jacquie Gist raised the question whether payment in lieu will expose the Town to liability if the Town never ends up using the money to build any parking. The Town Attorney says it won't be a liability problem, but that it will be incumbent upon the Board to build some parking with the money.

Now we are discussing how many parking spaces should be required per dwelling unit in dwontown developments. The proposal from the staff and advisory boards includes a requirement of 1.5 spaces/dwelling. This would be a presumptive standard and the actual requirement would depend on the details of the plan. Diana McDuffee advocated to raise the presumption to two spaces per two-bedroom dwelling unit and just one space per one-bedroom dwelling. I advocated for one space per bedroom.

Jacquie is asking if we will eventually have to go to resident-only parking permits in nearby neighborhoods.

More in a little bit.

issue: 

Total votes: 0

5 Comments

Good job Mark. Very

Good job Mark. Very ambitious goal to take live minutes of the meeting. I'm not as good at multitasking, so there probably won't be a Monday Night Live edition unless someone else does it. (Maybe I'll try it one night when we don't have a 3+ hour agenda)

Mark, thas is amazing---that

Mark, thas is amazing---that you were able to do this.

I always say that Carrboro Board of Aldermen meetings

provide the perfect cure for insomnia. This is a pretty

exciting way to follow it. No wonder it's always a degree

cooler in Carrboro!

Has anyone considered

Has anyone considered encouraging or requiring developers to unbundle rent and parking costs for downtown apartments? In order to keep parking ratios down, a renting household in a downtown apartment would pay TWO monthly bills- their living space rent and their parking space rent.

This better allows the market to deal with the costs of parking, and reduces parking requirements in general. Any household that wants to move in has the ability to make a decision about whether or not they wish to pay for "full" american-style parking (1 space per driver). Households that decide to go Car Free or more likely, become a 1 car household for a 2-person household with no children, save money on rent because they are not subsidizing parking they do not use.

The developer can then do one of two things- build more housing units to increase profits on the property, or sell excess parking spaces to businesses and other local users on a long-term or metered basis.

Of course, the best scenario would be for the developer to do a little of both. Use the requirements described above as a MAXIMUM parking scenario, and then allow the developer to reduce parking and maximize building area by unbundling the parking price from rent.

Todd Littman, one of the leading authorities on this subject in North America, estimates the reduction of spaces needed by unbundling rent and parking costs is 10-30%. Please see:

http://www.vtpi.org/tdm/tdm72.htm#_Price_Parking

On top of this approach, the town could further reduce the need for residential parking by finding a way to place a Zipcar downtown.

Both of these techniques have been successfull in Arlington County, VA in reducing the need for parking and switching more travel to foot, bicycle and transit.

Are any of these ideas in the mix? Also, please examine Littman's general "parking solutions" page for more parking strategies:

http://www.vtpi.org/tdm/tdm72.htm

Sorry I could not finish all

Sorry I could not finish all of the coverage of the meeting. My laptop battery was dying.

The BOA wound up adopting a mixture of the staff and board reccomendation. We put the requirement at 1 space for 1 bedroom dwellings and 2 spaces for 2+ bedroom units. We also capped the MAXIMUM parking per dwelling at 2 in order to avoid having excessive parking. Diana suggested the max of 2 rule. I liked the idea because it discourages developers from proposing 4 bedroom four bath housing that is targetted just at students.

The BOA also changed the rule on parking for offices from the staff's proposal of 1 space per 300 sqft to 1 space per 400 for office uses.

The provision was eventually adopted unanimously but with reservations expressed by Jackie Gist.

The Board then heard a discussion about allowing Lake Hogan Farms to take the community garden space out of their development plan. The Home Owners Association requested that they not be required to do it because the current residents don't want it and only the townhome owners need anywhere to put a garden (b/c they have no yeard). The proposed site was a mile away from the townhomes. But the fact is that the townhomes are just now being built, so we can't really kow whether townhome residents want this amenity or not. The townhome owners don't live there yet, so I think it is a bit disingenuous to say that the homeowners don't want it.

I suggested that they relocate and even downsize the community garden, but the Board voted 6-1 to allow them to drop the garden from the plans. It should be noted that the garden (as proposed) would have been in the middle of one of the few remaining pastoral vistas in the neioghborhood. That was the primary criticism of the aarden. My suggestion, however, had been to relocate the garden.

The Board heard a short presentation on the disaster preparedness of Orange County governments.

The Board also had the latest discussion of the Hangers Cleaners issue. The staff has propsoed a new rule for the B3 zone that limits the operating hours for dry cleaning equipment that is audible at the proeprty line. It would limit it to 7 am to 7 pm only, 7 days a week. A number of BOA members questioned the hours for being too early, especially on Saturday or Sunday and we instructed the staff to put in place an advertisement for the public hearing on the matter that is worded so broadly that we can monkey around with those kind of details at (or after) the hearing.

Neighbors asked the Board to hold the public hearing in August, rather than June because they felt neighbors might be out of town over the summer. I moved to hold it in August and my motion died for lack of a second. The hearing was scheduled for June 22.

The Board then held a closed session to discuss property acquisition. I am not allowed to reveal what we discussed. A closed session is where we discuss certain very limited subjects that are too sensitive to be discussed publicly. We can only talk about 1) buying and selling real estate, 2) legal strategy in court cases etc. and 3) town personnel issues. Personnel issues are REQUIRED to be discussed in closed session or else not at all. Property and legal matters we can discuss in open session or closed session in our discretion.

After the closed session, we discussed some of the financing arrangments regarding the purchase of a piece of property, particularly about getting a loan from BB&T and/or a grant from the state of North Carolina. We also discussed what kind of conservation easements we thought should go on the proeprty that we might purchase and some people favored having the entire property restricted to passive recreation only (ie no ballfields) while others felt that we should reserve 5-7 acres for possible future ballfields or transportation features. The BOA came to no conclusion on the matter and deferred it to next week.

Whew. That was a lot of typing. I apologize for the poor edting of the preceding text, but it is being reproted largely on the fly. It might be interesting to see how local reporters present these issues compared with how I saw them and described them here. Let's see what they come up with.

-Mark Chilton