Exhale by internationally renowned landscape architect Mikyoung Kim

Exhale -  the Town's most recent public art installation by internationally renowned landscape architect Mikyoung Kim

Enjoying the new art sculpture with colorful lighting and fog effects at downtown Chapel Hill’s new public plaza at 140 West Franklin.

“Exhale” consists of a folded and layered perforated metal skin that allows for fog to emanate through the textured surfaces of the piece. The amount of fog emanating from the sculpture is controlled by a sophisticated computerized weather station that reads the wind velocity and adjusts the amount of fog accordingly.

Artist Mikyoung Kim states: “Exhale moves beyond art as object, and suggests a point of transition, interaction, and activation – a place to observe people utilizing the various zones of the plaza, making them an active, integrated part of the art piece.”

To view the schedule of events at 140 West Plaza, visit http://www.townofchapelhill.org/140west

Public Information Meeting about Stream Buffers

Stream Buffers Public Information MeetingThe Town of Chapel Hill will hold a public information meeting and discussion about stream buffers from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, in the Council Chamber of Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Organized by the Chapel Hill Stormwater Advisory Board, the meeting will feature presentations on key issues related to buffer widths from our waterways.

The Chapel Hill Town Council is considering changes to the Land Use Management Ordinance (LUMO) that would amend the Town’s existing riparian buffer protection zone known as the Resource Conservation District (RCD).

The Town enacted the Jordan Watershed Riparian Buffer Protection ordinance, which provides 50–foot buffers along intermittent and perennial streams, lakes, ponds and reservoirs. The Town has riparian buffer protection requirements contained in the RCD provisions. In some instances, the RCD buffer widths are greater than those in the Jordan buffer regulations. The Town is considering changes to simplify implementation of all regulations that apply to stream buffers.

The public meeting will provide an opportunity to identify key issues in considering the appropriate buffer widths from waterways and to hear presentations about the science of stream buffers.

Michele Drostin of the UNC Institute for the Environment will facilitate the presentations and moderate public comment. Presentations will be made by Michael Paul, a senior scientist at Tetratech; Deanna Osmond, a soil science professor and extension leader at NC State University; and Fred Royal, managing engineer at Brown and Caldwell. Paul has worked in the field of water quality with a focus on the application of ecological tools and models to develop biological criteria to protect water quality. Osmond has focused her research on reduction of agricultural pollutants through the use of conservation practices. Royal will speak on his experience in developing Chatham County’s water quality ordinances.

For more information, contact Matt Witsil, Stormwater Advisory Board Chair, at mattwitsil@gmail.com; Julie McClintock, Stormwater Advisory Board member, at mcclintock.julie@gmail.com; or Sue Burke, Stormwater Management Engineer, sburke@townofchapelhill.org or 919-969-7266


Agenda item from the November 12, 2012 Public Hearing: http://chapelhillpublic.novusagenda.com/Bluesheet.aspx?itemid=2028&meetingid=176

Section 3.6 Land Use Management Ordinance (RCD is Section 3.6.3): http://bit.ly/108dV96

RCD Frequently Asked Questions: http://www.townofchapelhill.org/index.aspx?page=410

LUMO Section 5.18 Jordan Watershed Riparian Buffer Protection Ordinance: http://bit.ly/ZUyfWB

RCD – Information item: http://chapelhillpublic.novusagenda.com/Bluesheet.aspxitemid=2043&meetingid=178

Resource Conservation District (RCD) Supplemental Information: http://www.townofchapelhill.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=17243

Resource Conservation District (RCD) Determinations: http://www.townofchapelhill.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=17242

Land Use Management Ordinance Text Amendments for the RCD Stream Buffer Regulations: http://www.townofchapelhill.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=17241

RCD and Jordan Buffer Comparison: http://www.townofchapelhill.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=17240

Presentations from January 22, 2013 Public Information Meeting:
Deanna Osmond- “Stream Buffers”: http://www.townofchapelhill.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=17322

Michael J. Paul- “Riparian Zones- What is the right width? http://www.townofchapelhill.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=17321

Fred Royal- “Establishing and Managing Riparian Buffers in Chatham County, NC http://www.townofchapelhill.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=17320

What do you think the “MLK/Estes Drive Focus Area” should be called? And what should its boundary be? Let us know!

On August 28th and 29th, 2012, a Public Information Open House for the MLK/Estes Drive Focus Area was held with the purpose of providing information about the area that can be used as a starting point for community discussions.

During the Open House, the participants were asked to provide their thoughts and ideas about the following:

  1. What the process should be called
  2. What the boundary of the focus area should be

Common answers about the name of the process include the following:

  • MLK/Estes Drive Focus Area
  • Estes Drive/MLK Focus Area
  • MLK/Estes Drive Study Area
  • MLK/Estes Drive Community Focus Area
  • MLK-Carolina North-Estes Drive Focus Area
  • Mid-town Focus Area

 What do you think?

We would like to gather everyone’s thoughts about this. What do you think the focus area should be called? And what should the boundaries be? Please provide the information as a comment to this post.

A copy of the handout (which provided a tentative map of the area) provided at the Open House can be found here.

We will be gathering comments until noon on Thursday, September 13th. On the evening of Thursday, September 13th, the first in a series of three “Recommendation Meetings” will be held. This meeting will be from 7-8:30pm in the First Floor Conference Room, Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Chapel Hill. All community members are invited to attend, and the purpose of this meeting will be to develop a recommendation which can be sent to Council for their consideration.

We will post the recommendation about the name and boundary to this blog on Monday, September 17th.

For more information, please visit www.townofchapelhill.org/estesdrive

Planning for Sustaining Places

By Scott Sherrill, UNC MPA Student

In the first of two back to back presentations on January 5, available online here, Dave Godschalk, of the UNC Chapel Hill City and Regional Planning Department, delivered a lecture on sustainable comprehensive planning, and Bill Roper and Brad Wilson, of UNC Healthcare and BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina, respectively, discussed a recent healthcare collaboration.

Godschalk began his talk by stressing that planning is not just about a process, which has been much of the focus of Chapel Hill 2020 thus far, but also about a final end product.

We have described some of the principles from Dave Godschalk’s talk here, but beyond those basic principles, Godschalk also described best practices and many of the complicating issues facing communities in the 21st century: resource depletion, climate instability, energy scarcity, economic stress, social inequity, and public health. He also described the comprehensive plan as an ideal instrument for sustaining places because of their legal authority, scope to cover functions, and history of practice in the United States. Furthermore, they have a mandate to set community goals, engage citizens, establish responsibility for component parts, and achieve consensus. A good plan serves as a record of community agreement for where a community wants to go and how it wants to get there.

Godschalk posed the question “What can Chapel Hill learn from plans of other places?” A list of plans used can be found at the end of this post. The plans selected represent growing and shrinking areas, large and small, local, county, and regional plans. The plan Godschalk focused on as an apt model for Chapel Hill was that of Fort Collins, CO.

To think about sustaining places, Godschalk suggests breaking out of the traditional community planning assumptions on account of new realities and moving towards an adaptive planning model: continuous monitoring of plan, strategic changes to plan as needed to face unanticipated challenges or issues. The adaptive model combines the technical and participatory tracks of planning; develops contingencies; develops and tracks outcome measures; and has ongoing implementation. The new planning method necessitates a new format and topics to focus on multi-topical systems. The new format stems from an integrative framework that breaks out of traditional silos.

In the best cases, the comprehensive plans shape budget priorities, have clear assignment of responsibility, a metric for measuring the success of the plan, and a timeline in place for the completion of goals and objectives.

Sustaining plans typically:

  • Adopt sustainability principles
  • Integrate policies across programs
  • Consider equity, health, and wellbeing inputs
  • Act on scientific evidence
  • Address demands with limited funds
  • Implement non-traditional goals
  •  Monitor sustainability metrics
  • Link to regional plans
  • Conduct stakeholder engagement

December 1 Theme Groups working session agenda

We’re looking forward to another good discussion tomorrow at Frank Porter Graham. 

There’s been a lot of information going out these past couple of days about demographics and resource requests (here and here) and we’re looking forward to sharing more about the Town’s fiscal conditions tomorrow, at the meeting.

Please take a moment to review the draft materials posted on the main 2020 webpage and the meetings and materials page and come prepared to begin discussing goals at tomorrow’s meeting. 

The goals charts were prepared by staff from the meeting summaries from November 19th.  Each group will have a chance to add and refine those charts at the beginning of their working session. 

If you can’t make the meeting, you’ll have a chance to chime in here and at the reporting out session on December 15th.  The presentation from tonight and meeting summaries will be posted too, so check back!

See you tomorrow!

Agenda December 1, Working Session

DESIRED OUTCOMES: Share Town fiscal information; Theme groups begin discussion of goals; Report on discussion at December 15th meeting;  Continue Goals discussion at January 12th working session meeting

1. Summary of process: Rosemary/George

  • Two big rocks: demographics and fiscal conditions
  • Other resources are posted on the web/blog
  • Tonight’s theme groups will begin discussing goals, continue at January 12 working session

2. Town Fiscal Conditions Roger Stancil, Town Manager

3. Theme Group Discussion Co-chairs and support staff 

  • Capture questions about fiscal presentation 
  • Review of goals chart (based on meeting summaries) 
  • Identify missing goals
  • Begin discussing Why? (objective) and (How?) of goals in small groups
  • Recap discussion for reporting out session

Mitch Silver’s presentation about demographics in Chapel Hill is available only until December 12th – see it here!

October 27: Theme Groups Meeting 1: What a Night!

by Scott Sherrill, UNC MPA Student

The opening theme group meeting was a truly exciting event as people convened at Ephesus Elementary School from 4:30 – 6:30 PM on October 27.

Theme Group With Word Cloud

Theme Group With Word Cloud

Elements from earlier in the process made a reappearance: in each classroom where a theme group was meeting, word clouds and theme summaries, which have been displayed since they were voted upon since the October 6 meeting, but they were also accompanied by citizen comments which have come in since that meeting (see comments on the blog, point of view stories).

The facilitators really had their work cut out for them as they had two hours to work through introductions, clarifying thematic areas, and developing a list of resources to help in the decision-making process. The theme summaries and word clouds helped to provide a point of reference for some groups as they worked to develop mutual understanding of what terms meant. Town staff members were on hand to help residents develop their list of resources. Recorders were also on hand to take notes for each group to capture sentiments, compile a list of needed resources, and prepare for the November 19 meeting where the groups will report out.

The groups ranged in size from about 10 more than 30.  At the end of the evening facilitators asked participants to look around the room, note whose voice was missing, and recruit them for the next meeting, a reporting out designed to gather some common elements from the theme group meetings.  The next meeting is November 19 from  10:30 AM – 12:30 PM at Chapel Hill High School. After that conversation between the theme groups, they will meet again individually on December 1 from 4:30 – 6:30 at Frank Porter Graham Elementary School.

Reports from each theme will be posted here, on 2020buzz, shortly.

Even if you weren’t there on Thursday, It’s not too late to get involved and have your voice heard!  Come to a meeting, participate here, or ask our Outreach Committee to come to you.

Outreach – you’ve got to have Faith!

Remember those feedback forms and comment cards?

Over 100 people attending the Community Meeting, on September 27th at East Chapel Hill High School, took the time to share their thoughts on how we could reach a broader audience to get input for the Chapel Hill 2020 Community Visioning Plan.  They were probably wondering what would happen to that information – well, that’s where Faith comes in!

Faith Thomspon is our Community Outreach Coordinator for Chapel Hill 2020 and she’s been going through that information and calling you!  She’s also been working with the Chapel Hill 2020 outreach committee – a dedicated group of volunteers who are helping us get the word out.

Chapel Hill 2020 Outreach Committee


Thanks to all this work we now have contacts and meetings scheduled with various groups in our community: UNC students, seniors, youth, Veterans, foreign born and new homeowners.  We’ve translated materials, gone to your meetings and worked with the schools to share information.

And that’s not all – Faith is riding the bus, going to meetings and helping us find everyone who has something to say about Chapel Hill.  She’s going to help make our efforts real to the people who can’t make a meeting, need a little extra time or have something to say that hasn’t been said yet.  Last Saturday, you told us that there are other places in town we need to go – churches, schools and grocery stores, to name a few – be on the lookout!

 Thank you to all of you that have agreed to act as a liaison with groups that desire increased participation in the 2020 Community Visioning process.

 If you have information on how we can reach other segments of our community, please contact Faith M. Thompson, at fthompson@townofchapelhill.org or by calling 919.969.5068

First Meeting of All Theme Groups is Thursday

Reminder – we’re meeting tomorrow at Ephesus Elementary School tomorrow to talk about the components of the Themes.

Ephesus Elem School Map

Time: 4:30-6:30 PM

If you haven’t signed up for a theme group, that’s fine – just join us and we’ll find you a place to share your ideas and interests.

There will be refreshments from the School’s PTA, child care by the YMCA Teens and plenty of ideas to share.

Outcome of session: 

  • Identify components for each theme (big picture; aspirational)
  • Identify information needed to begin theme discussion on goals

 Agenda Actions:         

  • Review the process
  • Clarify roles and responsibilities of leaders and members
  •  Identify components for theme (based on community data)
  •   Identify areas in common with other themes
  •  Identify resources for group (staff, data)
  • Have discussion on decisions in the theme group

We hope to see you tomorrow.

October 22: Open House at University Mall was a Blast!

by Scott Sherrill, UNC MPA Student

On October 22 from 11 AM until 3 PM, town staff and volunteers gathered at University Mall to interact with the public on the themes for Chapel Hill 2020 and to encourage participation in the process.  The central areas of University mall were filled with activities for kids, information about specific programs and services and areas for contributing to the Town’s vision for Chapel Hill 2020.

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The Open House was a fun and light-hearted occasion involving the opening of the temporary library location, a fire safety puppet show, town vehicles on display, including fire trucks, police cars, water rescue equipment, a Chapel Hill Transit bus, one of the green trucks used to collect parking meters, some heavy public works equipment including solid waste collection vehicles, a bucket truck, a garbage truck, a storm water pumper, and numerous other pieces of equipment. Operators of each vehicle were close by to answer any questions and also to supervise any young visitors who might have wanted to climb up into the cockpit of some of their favorite equipment.

Some also had the opportunity to do some creative diagramming at a table near Southern Season to create some visual and word depictions for what they wanted Chapel Hill to look like.

A Vision of Chapel Hill

Of course, the day was not just fun and games. Volunteers actively worked to recruit committee members for each of the six theme areas, solicited feedback on the themes, and surveyed attendees to determine what had drawn them out to the event.

Refining the Themes

The next meeting will  be October 27, from 4:30-6:30 at Ephesus Elementary Schools, and will be the first time all the key theme working groups meet.  No matter what your interest, we hope you’ll join us there!

What is a Theme? (and yes, you need to be there on the 27th!)

Themes – they’re the building blocks of the plan.  And all the theme groups start working on the 27th!

If you haven’t signed up for a theme yet, that’s okay – you can still come to Ephesus Elementary and pick one.

Worried that you’ll miss something in one of the other groups?  Don’t be.  All the theme groups will meet together at the reporting-out sessions so you’ll have a chance to hear what everyone’s doing, chime in and help us bring all the themes together into one plan.

You’ll recognize the themes from your conversations on the 27th and the 6th – with some adjustments based on your reactions:

  • Good places and new spaces: Downtown & Development (special places, downtown district, housing, development, protecting existing assets, neighborhoods)
  • Town & Gown: Learning and innovation (a center of medicine and health care, life-long learning, using intellectual/financial capital, re-thinking the status quo)
  • Getting Around:  Transportation: (transportation of all forms, regional assets, partnerships, potential for shared success)
  • Community prosperity and engagement: Fiscal Sustainability and public safety, (affordability, economic development, tourism, neighborhoods, services delivery)
  • A Place for Everyone: diversity, cultural vibrancy, & the arts (youth, teens, safe places, a welcoming community, arts, creativity, celebrations, special events, inclusion)
  • Nurturing our community: environmental sustainability: (our natural environment, open spaces, solid waste, recycling, parks, greenways, rural buffer)

This is where we start – but there will be opportunities to add to the themes and develop their content.  At the first meeting on the 27th, people will have a chance to get caught up on the discussions to-date,  learn about the overall process and begin developing some of the ideas from the community data (September 27 and October 6th) for their particular theme. 

If you’re curious about the rest of the process, please check back – we’ll have more here tomorrow!