Compare and contrast... Young black men with guns at After Chill vs. young white man with gun at East Chapel Hill High. What's the difference?

Many people have complained of Apple Chill's $100,000 price tag as a drain on the town. But no-one batted an eye at the $681,000 cost of the Council's acquiesence to the Dogwood Acres neighborhood at the same meeting on Monday night. When Southern Village was being built a decade ago, Dogwood Acres vehemently fought any physcial connection to their new neighbor. After it was done they had a change of heart.

Now that the town is building the Southern Community Park on their doorstep, again Dogwood Acres wants to innoculate itself from the change. It seems to me that these folks are pretty lucky getting access to so many amenities within walking distance of their lovely neighborhood, but they fight these improvements like they are a stinking landfill! That is, until they are built.


Did you blink? If so, you might have missed the Chapel Hill Town Council's entire discussion and approval of rezoning a neighborhood near campus. This is intended to effectively immobilize any development of any kind there.

This is ostensibly temporary while a Neighborhood Conservation District is developed for the Mason Farm neighborhood. I voted against this down-zoning on the Planning Board because I believe zoning is a long-range tool that is being applied here in a short-term way.

Fighting "McMansions" and other elusive beasts

I have become increasingly disillusioned with Neighborhood Conservation Districts, Chapel Hill's attempt to manage change in our delicate, older neighborhoods. I have always seen them as way to protect the character of neighborhoods as they evolve over time. I'm afraid they are being used more as a tool to stop any change or growth in the areas entirely. In my opinion, this is neither healthy nor fair.

So I was intrigued to learn that Carrboro has taken a different approach to this problem:

The Board of Aldermen sat down Tuesday in another bid to hash out its architectural standards. But there was little agreement other than the idea that they must preserve the town's individual character without allowing in mega-developments with McMansions.
- Carrboro building standards elusive

Community Municipal Networks: One Size Does Not Fit All

Equal access to the Internet and technical literacy is recognized by many to be a key to success in the Twenty-first century. We use these resources to obtain a good education, find a job, conduct business, be creative, obtain news, socialize, be civically involved, communicate globally, and more. This isn't to say that traditional methods of doing these things are useless or that the Internet is a magic elixir. It's just that technology can really help us.

There are many ways to provide equal access to the Internet. Each holds its advantages. The trouble is each method, by itself, can not serve everyone equally. We all have unique needs and use the Internet differently.

Here are some use examples:

How to deal with density

I've been thinking a lot about the evolution of our community to a more urban mode of development. I think this is generally a good thing because it allows us to continue to grow without sprawling ever-outward, and also supports more pedestrian-oriented land uses which will build the critical mass needed to support fixed-guideway (rail or dedicated busway) transit. This continued growth (at a moderate pace, of course) is essential to maintain at least a modicum of affordable housing options. We can't just close the gate behind us now that we've got ours.

But of course this doesn't mean that anything big is automatically good. Similar to Carolina North if it's done right urbanization can revolutionize our community. But if done poorly it could ruin many of the things we love about living here. So I have a growing concern that our current planning and development review process is built to manage the suburban-style growth that we have seen for the last couple of decades.



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