Growth & Development

Development Rights Taskforce

The Orange County Board of Commissioners is recruiting citizen volunteers for the Orange County Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) Taskforce. This taskforce will evaluate the feasibility of establishing a TDR program in all or portions of the county. The taskforce will address: Sustainably balancing rural and urban areas, directing growth and development away from important natural and cultural resources and toward areas with municipal service potential and able to support urban densities, providing working farms with an alternative income potential, and developing policies to accommodate the sending and receiving areas of housing density and economic development to be added to the Comprehensive Plan. The County has hired a consultant to help in this endeavor.


Oh well, that was quick. Now that the Chapel Hill development ordinance has been updated to reflect that fact the town has regulatory power over non-building development (eg: parking lots) on UNC property, the legislature may change their mind again.

The N.C. Senate has voted to repeal a 9-month-old law that gave Chapel Hill and other communities more power to control the development of state property.

The repeal measure, which passed the Senate last week on a 44-6 vote, is moving through the General Assembly at the request of the UNC system's Board of Governors, legislators and system officials said.

"All 16 campuses are very supportive of this," system lobbyist Mark Fleming said, adding that the initial request for a repeal drive came from officials at UNC Chapel Hill and N.C. State University.

Umstead Act Should Not be Weakened

Well, the go-go-growth crowd is not as monolithic as I recently suggested. Sometimes competition can split even the most steadfast of allies. The Herald today reported that a

113-6 vote in the House endorsed an amendment to the state Umstead Act to allow the UNC system's 16 campuses to sell goods and services in competition with the private sector when doing so would further the teaching, research and service mission of the university.

Hackney and Insko voted in favor. Bill Faison voted against thereby joining the "anti-university" crowd that for the moment also includes Aaron Nelson. From the Herald report:

Will Efland's day come?

This Monday (May 23) the Orange County Commission will be holding a public hearing on a proposal to downzone most or all of the land in its planning jurisdiction. The purpose of this initiative is to stop suburban sprawl from overtaking the rural areas of the County. And I think we should all be in support of that goal. Preserving the remaining farm land in our community is not merely an aesthetic issue, it is also a national and regional security issue. (What will happen to the availability of food as the price of shipping our food across the globe increases?)

However, the County is missing the boat on one important issue. While we do need to find more sustainable ways to grow, we also need to ensure that we will have areas where we can grow sustainably. Rather than eliminating the possibility of new residences in the unincorporated areas of the County, we could be transferring the presently allowed density into a few, well-chosen sites. That is, we should keep the dwellings, but have them be in appropriate locations (where there is potential sewer-access, low-impact on streams, potential access to public transportation etc.)

Town-gown forum misses the mark

Chapel Hill Herald, Saturday April 23, 2005

It's not often that the mayor of Chapel Hill, the chancellor of UNC, a key UNC trustee, an outspoken councilman and several prominent residents address town-gown relations at a public event. That's just what happened last Thursday during the first panel of WCHL's "Building Bridges" community forum.

You might have expected the following to have been discussed: the pending rezoning of part of the Horace Williams property, the also pending modifications to the OI-4 zone of the main campus, the town's stellar job hosting the celebration of UNC's men's basketball championship and the mysterious delay in the agreed-upon improvements to South Columbia Street, a delay that panelist Bill Strom recently laid squarely at the feet of the university.

But if you expected the forum to have much to do with what's actually going on, you were surely disappointed.



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