Ordinance Writing is Expensive and Getting More So!

Daniel Goldberg wrote in this morning's CHH about the decision by the Chapel Hill Town Council to devote not to exceed $10,000 more for a consultant to help write the Inclusionary Zoning ordinance.

As I watched this last night, I was struck by Sally Greene's explanation of why more money was needed to be added to the original $25,000: the a draft ordinance submitted by consultant Mark White was not what the Inclusionary Zoning task force expected. The reason: the out-of-town consultant didn't capture the concerns of the task force because he was working at a distance and not at the table with the task force. The new consultant will have to meet with the task force personally.

You can watch the discussion on the meeting video at 1:34:56 if you're interested. Hopefully, whatever the task force and the consultant craft and the Council approves will be able to withstand any legal challenges.

Stay tuned!



I watched this meeting last night as well, and I also noticed this conversation.  I vaguely remember Mark White from his work in 2001 as a consultant drafting revision of the Land Use Management Ordinance (LUMO). I found his work at that time both unimpresive (many grammatical and typographical errors) as well as unresponsive to the direction he was being given from the Council and the Planning Board.

It doesn't surprise me a bit that his work was once again unnsatisfactory. My only questions are: 1. Why was he hired again after the last experience? and 2. Is Roger Waldon a ringer in the bidding for a new LOCAL consultant?

Why is the consultant done and able to collect his paycheck if the IZ Task Force feels that he didn't do what they hired him to do? Perhaps I'm missing something here, but it sounds like the task force was asking him to take the ordinance they drafted (which I remember reading in draft form over a year ago), and to make it work with LUMO, and instead he came back with something else that included a number of things they didn't ask for.
I wonder why so much is farmed out to consultants. Why can't the town's staff do this work? It looks like it would have saved time & money.
I'll put in my two cents worth as a drafter.  There are a number of technical subjects that in house drafters (be the municipal attorneys or legislative staff) simply do not have the expertise to handle. Some of them are highly technical and there are complex regulatory issues and case law (court opinions) to consider.  At the same time, there are consultants who may have a lot of technical expertise in the area, and it makes good sense to use someone else's experience.  The problem is that the outsider may not really understand the question, so the answer winds up being to a different problem.

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