The Central West draft plan was presented to the Planning Board last night. Given the issues the Central West steering committee had coming to an agreement on a plan, and how the committee ended up costing much more than was expected, I had low expectations for the output of the steering committee. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the draft plan. The plan is mostly multifamily residential, and not particularly tall (3-4 stories, with one 5-8 story area that is completely separate from all the other areas on the map by open space). It makes ample use of trail connectors and other infrastructure to increase bike and pedestrian safety, which will be a welcome improvement to the area.
Erin Crouse's blog
The Chapel Hill Town Council is moving forward with its advisory board restructuring process. As I described in an earlier post, the first stage of this process deals with creating a new advisory boards to oversee development review. Starting tomorrow (July 8) at 6:30PM, and continuing for the following five Mondays, there will be public input sessions at the Chapel Hill Public Library. The first session will describe what the input on this process will look like, and the next five meetings will focus on a specific board:
Transportation and Connectivity (July 15)
Community Design (July 22)
Environmental Stewardship (July 29)
Community Housing (August 5)
a restructured Planning Board (August 12)
Tonight is the first of two public information sessions regarding changes to Chapel Hill's advisory board structure. For the past several years, the Town of Chapel Hill has been in the process of reevaluating most of its operations. This includes changes in department organizational policies and procedures, employee compensation and classification, and Council guidelines for more efficient meetings. However, one area of the Town's operations that has not yet been restructured are its advisory boards. There has been a Council committee in place since 2010 (currently comprised of Council Members Gene Pease, Laurin Easthom, and Matt Czajkowski) to evaluate the advisory boards, and last Wednesday Council Member Pease presented their recommendations for board restructuring at a Council work session
Tonight, the Chapel Hill Town Council is expected to enact fees on users of their park and ride lots. This fee is in response to UNC’s decision to start charging at their own park and ride lots. Leaving Town-owned park and ride lots free would create a traffic nightmare, so the Town is trying to start their own permit program. I’m sure that the extra revenue that will be generated from this fee is also a consideration, especially in a tight budget year.
While most people (75% by CHT estimates) who use the park and ride lots are affiliated with UNC, there is a sizable minority who do not use the park and ride to travel to campus. UNC students and employees will pay for their permit through UNC (because of taxing and payroll deduction issues), and that money will then be given to the Town. Non-affiliated users will purchase their permits directly from the Town. The resolution being considered tonight sets the fee at $250/year, or about $1/weekday.
There are 11 applicants to the seat. I believe that this applicant pool is more diverse than in past appointment processes. There are 4 women, one student, one Latino candidate, one African-American applicant, one candidate who identifies (per her voter registration record) as multiracial, and a Republican. Below is a brief introduction (in alphabetical order) to each candidate:
Read OP's live coverage of Tuesday's meeting of the county commissioners.
Chapel Hill's forthcoming comprehensive plan is supposed to accomplish many things, one of which is to guide Town staff as the transition to from an incremental budgeting system to one that is priority-driven. Since the Town is beginning to use priority budgeting this year, I have been unsure as to how this will work. Last week, as part of Chapel Hill 2020, the Town hosted a budget simulation exercise called Budgetopolis to learn more about value-based budgeting. This exercise, facilitated by staff from the UNC School of Government, was held at the NC Botanical Gardens. Because of my role as an advisory board chair, I was invited to participate.