Growth & Development

Local Builder Leaves HBA

Mark Marcoplos gave me permission to post this letter to the president of the Home Builders Association. It speaks volumes and most eloquently.

Marcoplos Construction

February 9, 2005

Dear President Burgess,

After much deliberation, I have decided not to renew my membership in the Home Builders Association.

From my perspective, the long-term viability of our communities, our economy, and our health is in danger. Our society embraces short-term profit-seeking at the expense of human needs, environmental protection, and a sustainable economic framework.

At the forefront of this short-sighted approach is the Home Builders Association. Whether the issue is building along fragile coastal areas in North Carolina, building housing developments in the Florida Everglades, or battling regulations that would help curtail urban sprawl, the HBA is consistently advocating for whatever will allow more building with less barriers and more profits.

What's Your Impact?

Great article in this week's Indy by Bob Burtman. Burtman analyzes the problems passing legislation to authorize impact fees and other mechanisms to compensate the public for the costs of accommodating growth.

The main stumbling blocks, as you might guess, are the homebuilders and realtors PACS, among the most effective promoters of self-interest in the state.

One interesting twist that Burtman reports in the homebuilders legal challenge to Durham's impact fees in which the builders claimed that they could not pass impact fees on to buyers and that the fees therefore cut into profits (cue for big crocodile tears). In the past, the argument has been the opposite, challenging the fees as a burden on homebuyers.

Read more about NC Homebuilders Association & the Sprawl Lobby or my own Chapel Hill Herald column of 8/21/2004.

Downtown plans discussed

If you live in Chapel Hill or Carrboro you may want to check out one of these forums today:

The latest plans for redevelopment of East Main Street will be presented to the Carrboro Board of Aldermen tonight at 7:30:

A parking deck could hold 500 vehicles, and a parking lot under the ArtsCenter could hold about 100 cars.

Performance Bicycle Shop would be torn down and replaced with a five-story building.

The ArtsCenter would be visible from all sides of the street and space above the ArtsCenter would be used by artists for galleries and living spaces.

That's the newest 3-D vision for the rebuilding of the 300 E. Main St. business strip, a project that could transform downtown Carrboro.

- Chapel Hill Herald, 1/11/05

Chapel Hill and Carrboro...not the same?

No they are not. That is what one developer is learning as a plan for a 164 unit apartment complex is planned on property which lies in the jurisdiction of both municipalities. This development (Merrit Mill Apartments) not only raises the issue of properties lying in two jurisdictions but also larger issues of how interconnected development between the city and the town is. Issues like how will traffic get in and out of the development? How important is it that we created connectivity for the Lloyd Street neighborhood? While they are two separate entities, the development of Chapel Hill and Carrboro is closely joined by more than just proximity. While trying to create more connected and denser communities how should Chapel Hill and Carrboro work together over that thin line which is called the town line?

Moeser Objects

In a letter to Mayor Foy, Chancellor James Moeser writes "I wish to register, in the strongest most possible terms, our objection to the action taken by the Town Council on October 11, initiating the rezoning of the University's Carolina North property to OI-2."

Moeser would prefer to "use this time to work together to further our mutual goal of building a better community and university."

So, a zone (OI-3) that allows the university to do whatever it wants without Council involvement is "working together" but a zone (OI-2) under which the Council would review university projects is not?

This strikes me as the sort of knee jerk reaction the university, or any corporation faced with new regulation, always makes: object stongly and in the huffiest terms.

Moeser also conveniently overlooks that all the Council did Monday night was ask for information on a rezoning process. There is a long way to go yet.

[Shameless self-promotion: I discuss the rezoning futher in my column in today's Chapel Hill Herald.]



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