I signed a new housing lease about a month ago in mid-October – a lease that won’t start until June of next year. This is how competitive student off-campus housing is in Chapel Hill, and the ever-high demand for student housing in Chapel Hill continues to negatively affect non-student renters.
Niche.com estimates that 90 percent of houses near campus fill up by October. From my experience, students looking to rent an affordable house (as opposed to a townhouse or apartment) begin the search as early as September. Every year this fight to find the closest, nicest and most affordable home puts additional stress on UNC students, and our desperation to sign a lease as soon as possible pits students against each other, increasing competition and driving prices up.
According to a 2010 report prepared by Development Concepts Inc., students make up about a third of all rented units in Chapel Hill (and rented housing comprises over half of all housing in Chapel Hill). We are a huge market for property owners and developers – on-campus housing can only accommodate 9,700 students, so the remaining 9,000 or so undergrads must find off-campus places.
After reading about changes made in Watauga County, I was prompted to write a letter to the Orange County Board of Elections after several constituents voiced concerns about decision making in other counties. Below is that letter.
Dear Members of the Orange County Board of Elections,
writing in response to concerns voiced to me by constituents in the
Orange County community after actions taken by the Watauga County Board
of Elections and the Pasquotank County Board of Elections.
week the Watauga County Board of Elections took action, which
consolidated three precincts into one large precinct numbering nearly
10,000 voters and where the polling place has only 35 parking spaces.
They then took action to reduce early voting to four days and eliminated
early voting at the Appalachian State University campus. All of these
actions were made in secret and not shared with the Democratic member of
the Board, yet the Watauga County GOP chairwoman was fully aware of the
coming actions. To add insult to injury, the Board did not allow verbal
comment from the public, instead opting for written comment only.
Starting tomorrow - just a few hours too late to help revellers tonight - you might actually want to take a cab in Chapel Hill! In the past, their fees were so exorbitant that cabs were only for the very desperate. But the Town Council has reformed the system in response to a request from UNC students. The change will also help regional commuters (like me) who can get a bus back from Durham or Raleigh after 7pm, but then are stuck walking the last mile to get home.
This event is always a good time and a great way to meet your neighbors (if you live in Northside) and community leaders (if you live anywhere). From Facebook:
The GNI Neighborhood Night Out and Block Party is an annual community event and opportunity to build strong, healthy connections between student and non-student residents of neighborhoods surrounding Downtown Chapel Hill and UNC. The event is free, and includes food (BUNS!, Ben & Jerry's, McAlisters), music, games and prizes for all ages. This event is sponsored by the Town of Chapel Hill, UNC-Chapel Hill, the Carolina Union Activities Board (CUAB), Empowerment, Inc., and the Downtown Partnership.
Thursday, September 13, 2012 -
5:00pm to 9:00pm
Hargraves Community Center, 216 North Robertson Street, Chapel Hill, NC
The Town of Chapel Hill Special Topics sessions return to the
community with a presentation on student housing at noon Wednesday, Aug.
15, in the Council Chamber of Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr.
Blvd. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend.
The Special Topics series began during the Chapel Hill 2020
comprehensive planning process as a way to share information with
interested residents who want to know more about issues, trends and
studies that affect the future. For past topics, see http://bit.ly/zi4gLo
Winston Crisp, vice chancellor for student affairs at the University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and co-presenters Christopher Payne,
associate vice chancellor for student affairs, and Larry Hicks, director
of housing and residential education, will provide an overview of the
current on-campus student housing options provided by the University and
plans for future renovation and construction.
They will share information about campus housing and recent student
surveys for the factors that influence where students live as well as
the resources available to students who move off campus. They will also
discuss the University’s business model for campus housing including
factors such as market rates, safety and security and retention.
The presentation will be followed by a question and answer session.
Crisp is a 1989 graduate of Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte and
a 1992 graduate of the UNC School of Law. He began his career at UNC
after his graduation in 1992 working as the school’s first full-time
assistant dean for student affairs and the first associate dean for
student services. He moved to Student Affairs as the assistant vice
chancellor in 2005.
Payne has served in a variety of higher education positions including
assistant director of residence life at the University of Nebraska at
Kearney, director of operations for the department of residence at the
University of Denver and director of housing and residential education
Hicks previously served as associate director of administrative services in the department of housing and residential education.
The public event will be aired live on Chapel Hill Government TV-18 and streamed on the Town of Chapel Hill website at www.townofchapelhill.org/index.aspx?page=1850. For more information about the special topic series, contact Catherine Lazorko at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-969-5055. For more information about the presenters, contact Susan Hudson at email@example.com or 919-962-8415.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012 -
12:00pm to 1:00pm
Council Chamber, Chapel Hill Town Hall
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