Is anyone/group working to oppose this? I would like to participate. I attended the Town Meeting hosted by Durham last night (no OC representation). Can this be stopped???
Fleet Feet has been reluctantly considering moving their corporate headquarters and retail store out of Carrboro. This Tuesday, the Carrboro Board of Aldermen will consider an Economic Development Agreement under which Fleet Feet would stay in Carrboro and move into a new building at 300 E Main Street—putting their (greatly-expanded) national flagship store on the ground floor and their national headquarters above.
Chapel Hill hosted another lunchtime presentation Tuesday, this time to discuss development agreements. UNC School of Government professor David Owens broke down development agreements as they exist under North Carolina state law while Chapel Hill Director of Policy and Strategic Initiatives Mary Jane Nirdlinger provided a presentation on Chapel Hill's development process specifically.
I attended the presentation, and you can read my livetweets below. I found the presentation useful to better understand how the development process has changed and now operates in our town, particularly given the ongoing development processes for Glen Lennox and Obey Creek.
Development agreements are authorized under North Carolina state law (specifically, NC General Statutes §160A‑400.20 through §160A‑400.32). As written, state law gives much autonomy to municipalities to determine their own development processes and how to go about entering into development agreements. It's also worth noting that development agreements are designed for large-scale projects only (defined under state law as 25 or more developable acres).
A few other takeaways from the presentation:
- Municipalities in North Carolina have the ability to alter zoning codes as they see fit. There is no "threshold" requirement for rezoning. However, rezoning cannot be included in a development agreement, but must be carried out before approving a development agreement that necessitates a zoning change.
- Development agreements are useful because they're all-encompassing and outline very specifically the details of a proposed development. Once approved, an agreement cannot be altered without the mutual approval of both the municipality and developer.
- Beginning a development agreement process does not guarantee approval of any development agreement.
Yesterday at noon, Chapel Hill's Economic Development Officer Dwight Bassett provided a brief, one-hour presentation outlining some key facts and developments concerning retail, housing, and office space in Chapel Hill. The full presentation can be viewed here.
I attended and live-tweeted the meeting. You can see the play-by-play below.
Previously on CityBeautiful21 I talked about Informal Markets -- events that are marked by an agreed-upon time and place to sell and buy goods, but may lack features of a permanent retail establishment. When I think about the things that the town of Carrboro has going for it, our talent for finding room for Informal Markets is near the top of the list. When I began researching this post, I was not surprised to find that Carrboro has been finding a place for Informal Markets in the community for over 35 years.Like Krakow, Carrboro has nurtured an informal market into a formal one in the heart of the community- the Carrboro Farmers' Market. On their website, the Farmers' Market even refers to itself as a previously informal market!
I have no idea what the story is behind this, but I bet it's interesting. Seven months after resigning as the head of Economic Development for the Town of Chapel Hill and taking effectively the same position for the City of Raleigh, Dwight Basset has come back to his old job. I wonder how all those people who blamed his departure on Chapel Hill's supposed E.D. failings will interpret this?
Personally I hope Bassett returns with some fresh ideas about local economies and especially about citizen particpation, which is one area where Chapel Hill has a lot to learn from Raleigh.
Some highlights from the Town's announcement:
The Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership is ramping up YOUR involvement in the Chapel Hill downtown with the "Dream Up Downtown Walks." These walks are moving conversations to explore and engage in our downtown. The walks are on the first Thursday of September, October, November and December, beginning at 6 pm at the University Baptist Church Memorial Garden at the corner of Franklin Street and Columbia Street.
Tonight the County Commissioners abandoned tradition and moved swiftly forward on two issues. Despite opposition from Commissioners Alice Gordon and Barry Jacobs, they approved the unpopular rezoning of the Eno Economic Development District that Mark Marcoplos told us about. And at the urging of Commisioners Valerie Foushee and Pam Hemminger, who will both be leaving the board in December, they unanimously approved a resolution drafted on the spot to endorse and more forward the Rogers Road community center.
Where have these action-oriented Commissioners been for the last ten years? I don't want to hear another commissioner talk about how overdue something is without also mentioning how long they have been on the board of commissioners and why they didn't do something about it 5 years ago.