46 thoughts on “Community propserity and engagement

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  13. Debbie Mozgala says:

    I am interested in saving as much land as possible and maintaining natural water resources. I am in favor of the Obey Creek development project as a community performing arts center. The footprint of land used is less than all other development choices and the park and ride lot across the street could be used during evenings and weekends. Having a state of the art 1000 seat theater could truly be an asset to the Town of Chapel Hill.

    I also am in favor of the Parks and Recreation Department constructing indoor Tennis courts. We have none except for one private club in town. I know money is tight, but can we at least write it into the Comp Plan as a desired goal.

  14. I was at the Feb 16 meeting where groups discussed future development along several corriodors. I was in the 15-501 N group and would like to see a reporting out of what the other groups came up with regard to future growth and development. As per my perspective, 15-501 N is quite well developed already for commercial use and would benefit more from improved connectivity and traffic circulation within and between shopping centers in the Estes, Elliot, Garret,Moriah triagle. I am not quite sure about the nexus between the need for increasing the tax base from commercial and mixed use redevelopment. Is there a market demand for both. I would love to see the studies supporting the need for the future redevelopment. Finally, I would like to see a more aesthetic and design focused approach to future development along the corridors. Driving on 15-501N is a visual and sensory assault, in terms of the scale of highway, the behemoth buildings and shopping plazas and their access roads. Convenient, Yes. Pleasant to visit, No.

  15. Lynne Kane says:

    After attending the Feb. 15 & 16 area-development information and group conversations (I focused on the 15-501 EphesusRd-FordhamBlvd. small area plan near where I live, then later the MLK Blvd. North area where The Edge is planned), I find it is necessary to remind Chapel Hill residents that after paying employees this Town has spent a lot of its budget money on parks, green spaces, and the rural buffer. Just tonight someone telephoned me to ask if I’ve heard any plans to add more apartments in Chapel Hill, just as one of our group attendees asked for as part of affordable workforce housing. We must get away from knee-jerk reactions that any town projects other than environmental vegetated zones are detrimental. We have many parks and green spaces, plus the NC Botanical Gardens and UNC Arboretum, but we do not have an adequate economic base. Both relate to our need for density of population areas if we are to be able to have ridership to justify and maintain a fuller and more frequent public transit system. Our group is especially headed toward this kind of a return to balance in Chapel Hill’s sustainability.

  16. Lynne Kane says:

    Chapel Hill 2020 Comprehensive Plan Suggestions: from Lynne Kane [I’m getting this onto Economic Sustainability Blog, copied from my comment elsewhere.]

    The Co-Chairs, Group Leaders, and Town Manager’s liaison have done a huge amount of excellent work summarizing so many meetings and resident comments collected during Chapel Hill 2020.

    I am pleased that the “vision” statements have evolved into more goal-like statements. This will help us avoid sacrificing the good for the perfect. We must also hold in mind that Reform delayed is Reform denied.

    My suggestion as a general goal is:

    “Chapel Hill will respect environmental, socially equitable, and economic sustainability while also respecting the similar efforts of the University as the intellectual and economic driver of our community. To reach these goals we will improve connectivity of roads and bicycle-pedestrian greenway paths to the extent possible. At this time we acknowledge the need and plan to incorporate life-skills programs into our homeless shelters as well as adequate parking near all businesses and Town venues. Public transit should evolve with consideration of our increasing population being dense enough or not to use expensive new types like rapid transit buses or light rail. Transparency and accountability will include the names of Yes and No voters on Town Council and all Boards and Commissions except when votes are unanimous.”

    Permit Process:
    Chapel Hill’s permitting process requires rational rezoning with less dual zoning within small areas, to eliminate the need for Special Use Permits in most instances. The permit process should be complete in two years, the timeframe most businesses will give to their expensive efforts to get a permit.

    Chapel Hill should consider entrance roads into the municipality as places to demonstrate the vibrancy of the community and avoid constraining these much-travelled roads for only vegetation and pretty views. More development within the entire Triangle area is bringing more vehicles through our town, and Chapel Hill can capture some sales opportunities along Routes 54 and 15-501 and 86.
    Zones must be rational, omitting zoning changes in logically connected plots so that Special Use Permits are not needed in general.

    Building Heights:
    Building heights in residential areas should not exceed 4 stories, or 3 stories plus an attic.
    Building heights in the Downtown and within commercial plazas should not exceed 4 stories along the sidewalks and not exceed 6 stories in set-back portions.

    Building & House styles:
    Building and housing styles should be determined by the developer and/or architect. Chapel Hill needs less monotony in its brick building style. Future sustainable heating and water functions may require varying styles in different spaces.

    Connectivity of roads for shorter time road trips and fuel savings and better emergency vehicle response times may require over-ruling area residents who tend to oppose new roads they will eventually use and loss of cul-de-sacs which reduce some safety needs.

    Carolina North:
    Carolina North will become a mixed-use education-research-small business-residential development with village aspects. We should acknowledge that train transportation may go through the area and that a direct vehicle exit from Route 40 is virtually inevitable.

    Sense of Community:
    Chapel Hill has many gathering places in reserved green spots and more planned within University Square renovation and our enlarged Town Library. Less emphasis on separate “neighborhoods” and greater emphasis on the good and welfare of the community as a whole must replace the divisive focus on neighborhoods while not totally omitting concern for abuttors to new construction or other changes.

    Response to Resident Petitions:
    Professional staff and/or elected officials should evaluate the underlying reasons for protest petitions and check the veracity of qualified signatures on paper and online petitions to the extent possible.

    Cultural and Intellectual Resources:
    Chapel Hill will recognize the University and its associated activities as a primary magnet for newcomers and established residents. Access and parking to all UNC venues should be an ongoing goal.

    Projected increasing population requires Police and Fire personnel adequate for our population. Our Police Department building is in poor condition, decreasing police effectiveness, so building a new Police Department building should be a top priority. Fire Department new response-truck equipment is also a priority.

    Good consistent lighting along streets in both commercial and residential areas increases safety and attendance at performances and businesses. Federal grants are available for energy-efficient public lighting. The aging of America and heavy retiree presence here makes lighting to enable older residents to drive at night a human rights issue.

    Overall Summary:
    Chapel Hill must balance its attention to issues as soon as possible, to counter prior excessive emphasis on environmental concerns.
    One point to keep in mind: most homes in Chapel Hill have been built on steep slopes up or down from our roads, apparently due to roads being carved out to maintain less steep elevations up and down.
    My comments after attending almost all the Chapel Hill 2020 meetings so far ended up on “Comment Policy,” which is fine because I have been eager to introduce a holistic approach to Chapel Hill Town Council and activists for years now. My goal-statements “vision” is there along with comments on many of our subtopics.
    I agree that writing/revising/renovating the Town Comprehensive Plan with its LUMO (Land Use Management Ordinance) is the first and ultimate goal of all these informational and resident input meetings.
    To do this, the next highest priority must be to establish our current most-needed priorities for the excellent suggestion of establishing a Priority Budget instead of plugging Town money into all the established subjects in the Town Budget.
    A growing population, no matter what projections you prefer, makes adequate Police and Fire personnel a top need along with a new, larger more adequate Police Department building. The suggestion to work with Carolina North to establish such a building there, still close to MLK Blvd., sounds reasonable to me. This would also free up the great location where the current deteriorating Police Dept. building stands.
    Related to this is the sensible idea of moving and/or consolidating several Police sub-stations which are also on valuable commercial corridors to allow revenue-producing entities to locate in those spots.
    Lighting for safety and easier after-dark movement is the next-highest priority that I see. Chapel Hill’s existing lighting is out-dated, much reduced in output from its original lumens and almost nonexistent in many areas, including residential streets. At age 60 or even before, many people cannot see or drive at night without good lighting. Lack of consistent lighting also deters many working people from taking public transportation during the dark months of the year, because they would have to walk several blocks in near-darkness. Lack of adequate lighting also keeps older residents, who have more free time, from attending some night events in Chapel Hill. Instead they prefer renovated Downtown Durham, SouthPoint, etc.
    Jobs within Chapel Hill is likely the next highest priority, achieved via UNC researchers with spin-offs and an easier, shorter, less costly permitting process for new businesses. If we achieve a broader tax base, our house prices may come down so that workers in Chapel Hill can find “workforce” housing to live and work here. “Affordable” subsidized housing through the Community Land Trust will continue, and we should support those units with enough payments-in-lieu to maintain the affordable housing units we have.
    Regional planning for Rapid Bus Transit and possibly Lite Rail both sound do-able as our population inevitably increases, so our density will increase. My one caution is that the Town must continue to provide for private vehicle travel, for a great number of reasons. We attract many retirees here for the intellectual and cultural events at UNC (as well as Duke U. and even NCSU), and that population wants to go free of schedules (at last) in the safety and comfort of a personal vehicle, door-to-door-to-garage. Most retired couples that I know and have known in 12 years in Chapel Hill have 2 cars, because the wife and husband each have differing interests and schedules, including extra medical appointments. Many younger couples I see have 3 cars, 1 a van or truck for hauling children or large items. Therefore the current plans being shown, concentrating on major corridors and incorporating some retail development with stations sounds correct, as long as no one anticipates that 40%-50% of those who live in Chapel Hill will suddenly use public transit instead of private vehicles most of the time and especially at night.
    Huge amounts of information and data have been presented and made available on Town websites. Rezoning, re-rationalizing our rules and regulations is long overdue. Reality will not wait; it is pressing in upon us, so let’s get this done after all the excellent time-consuming work of all concerned with Chapel Hill 2020. (2-10-12)

  17. I have been saying the below comment for a while now but no one seems to be listening or trying this idea throughout our great country of ours. What the Town of Chapel Hill needs (and so does every level of government) is a non-profit organization called “Friends of the Town of Chapel Hill Government”. This tax-deductible non-profit organization would have a board of directors made up of community individuals (you have to live in Chapel Hill) and the board raises money from any Chapel Hill resident/business/church/organization/etc and the organization uses the money to take pay for things in our community that the Town of Chapel Hill government, with its current tax base, doesn’t have money for. This way, we, as Chapel Hill residents, buy into the idea that we, the people, take care of our community. This is not a slap in the face towards the Chapel Hill government, but we help the Town of Chapel Hill by buying into the idea that, by living here, we are responsible for our town.

  18. Kim S. says:

    I will be sorry to miss the meeting this evening. In the last theme group meeting the question of “what does ‘foster local business’ mean?” was brought up, but the discussion went in other directions to get through the list of topics. I wanted to reinforce a view that I think is very common in Chapel Hill, and perhaps not one adequately represented in our theme group. “Foster local business,” in my opinion, means that we should cultivate the entrepreneurship of Chapel Hill residents to start new businesses of all kinds, to assist existing resident business-owners in improving their businesses, and to assist resident business-owners when pressures from outside interests threaten their survival. “Business” is not just retail-business, and it does and should take place not just in zoned-commercial space. Residents with successful home-based businesses are in a better position to pay higher property taxes and support our community, for instance. What we want to foster is a spectrum of businesses owned by town residents, and that may include an easier vetting process for development or re-development, as compared to the process for non-resident businesses wanting to locate here.

    I chose this theme group, rather than the groups primarily focused on environmental issues or housing or green space, because the results of this group’s discussions have the most potential to threaten what I believe most people in Chapel Hill value in our community. (That our group output includes considering encroachment on our rural buffer speaks directly to that.) But I worry that the voices of all of those other CH2020 participants who chose to go directly to the environmental and other interest groups are NOT being heard here. I am concerned that “streamlining” and “making more predictable” and “making approvals faster” will set us up to make it easier for non-local businesses to set up shop here and threaten our resident business-owners’ interests, threaten our green space whether through encroachment on undeveloped land or noxious approaches to increasing density, burden our sparse water supply and the inverse, increasing asphalt footprint which increases damage from floods during hurricanes. I strongly believe that we could make things easier and more predictable and more supportive for local residents with good business ideas to get started and for existing local businesses to relocate, redevelop, or otherwise improve without also making it easier for businesses with no interest in the welfare of our community to cost us in these areas.

    Unfortunately, some false metrics are getting the lion’s share of attention in the financial discussions. To llustrate the need to “grow the commercial tax base” we’ve been given data mainly about the up-side in tax revenue. Of course, homeowners (and I am one) would love to “offset” our tax burden by getting “someone else to pay for it.” But we do end up paying one way or another. With locally-owned business, wages stay in the town. That means a whole lot more to Chapel Hill than any amount of sales tax. Likewise, those local owners care about our community and contribute to it in innumerable ways. To give one very small example, when collecting donations for a school PTA silent auction event recently, almost every RESIDENT-owned business our group approached was very happy to give something. For the most part, businesses owned by non-residents had such decisions made elsewhere, not by the manager, and the results have been slim. If you add up the whole calendar of participation in town events, sponsorships, donations, and community engagement from our local business owners, the results are the incredible community Chapel Hill is. The LIVABLE community: the tree-filled, art-filled, event-rich, vibrant community with the best schools in the state and the best people in the state, who have high property values but who consistently drive (though not as successfully as we’d like) toward the goal of providing affordable housing to our town workers and teachers and others who work here. This happens through a combination of factors, but a primary one is CULTIVATING LOCAL BUSINESS.

    Durham is an outstanding illustration of the pipe-dream that is attracting outside business. The widening disparity between the rich and poor, the drain of resources out of the city into the hands of distant owners, the invasion in local politics of outside money. The blatant abandonment of water-supply demands and environmental sustainability. Poor schools. The good parts of Durham are the ones the most like Chapel Hill, and the good businesses in Durham are the ones owned by people who live there. Fortunately, we are not Durham. The people in Chapel Hill choose to live in Chapel Hill. It would be easy enough to move across the border.

    As a stakeholder in this group, my point in writing this (since I cannot be at the meeting this evening) is to strongly encourage that we word our output to make it clear that “Foster local business” means fostering locally-owned business. That true prosperity is not a short-term grabbing at pipe-dreams about someone else footing the bill to make the place we live more excellent. Continuing to achieve prosperity is a long-term investment BY the people who live in Chapel Hill IN the people who live in Chapel Hill. The purpose of business is to serve the community, and the responsibility of the community is to ensure that our businesses can thrive; a symbiotic relationship. Unlike the many places we choose NOT to live, I believe that (aside from the “let’s make it faster” crowd who see business and tax revenue as an end in itself) we have a great deal of appreciation in our town residents for striking a good balance, taking personal responsibility for improving our town, keeping tree-filled neighborhoods, art, transit, improving our commitment to town staff and low-income residents, and supporting our Town Council in vetting development projects with the same care and deliberation that our town has taken since the 1700’s. It takes a long time to build a wonderful thing, not long at all to destroy it. We need to look at the financial returns, but also look at the off-the-books returns in community involvement, living wages, and development that improves our community by people who care because they live here.

    Someone at the last meeting observed that we are hitting practical limits in growth and development. If we are considering annexation, or clear-cutting our rural buffer, then let’s also add to recommendations that should go into our Long Range Plan: “Determine when to halt development on undeveloped land and stop increasing density on developed land.” “Growth” can mean something entirely different than “more new buildings” or “more people living here.” Or maybe the term “growth” isn’t one we want to continue using at all. Mature things tend to stop growing physically larger, and Chapel Hill is a mature town. Perhaps “improvement” would be a better term for what we need to do in the next ten, twenty, or two-hundred years. Improving the climate for resident-owned business in order to improve economic sustainability and town prosperity.

  19. President Barack Obama, during a visit to Florida today, January 19, 2011, will give the greatest visibility ever from the White House to the travel industry’s importance as an economic engine and vital tool for diplomacy. The president will sign an Executive Order and announce new initiatives to significantly increase travel and tourism in the United States. Today’s announcement, from 12:35pm to 12:55pm, calls for a national strategy to make the United States the world’s top travel and tourism destination, as part of a comprehensive effort to spur job creation. “Every year, tens of millions of tourists from all over the world come and visit America. And the more folks who visit America, the more Americans we get back to work. We need to help businesses all across the country grow and create jobs; compete and win. That’s how we’re going to rebuild an economy where hard work pays off, where responsibility is rewarded, and where anyone can make it if they try,” said President Obama.
    In Orange County, travel and tourism generate nearly $150 million a year, employ 1700 and contribute to the tax base. Travel marketing is deemed critical by the Governor.

    • The President also pointed out that more and more visitors to the US will come from growing economies like Brazil, China and India. Visitors from these countries contributed approx. $15 billion to the US economy in 2010 and the number of visitors from India is expected to double by 2016.

      It would be great if North Carolina and the Triangle area could attract these and other visitors to make a “side trip” to its many cultural and eco-tourism destinations in the Coast, Piedmont and Mountains.

  20. Jeanne Brown says:

    I agree with Jan that it is important for CH2020 participants to understand the implications of the sale of land by BCBS to UNC Healthcare. Not only does this transaction have potential tax implications but it also has implications for our commercial real estate market if the university plans to consolidate offices that are currently renting space in other parts of town. The transaction also points out the importance of involving UNC is our discussinos in a meaningful way so that our plan is in step with their plans for growth.

  21. Jan Dodds says:

    I would like to better understand how the University and other tax exempt organizations effect the town’s revenue. For example, I read that UNC Health purchased the property at Eastowne that BCBS has vacated. My uneducated assumption is that tax producing property has now become tax exempt property. Perhaps BCBS did not have to pay taxes either so it is a zero sum action. Unless we figure out a way to designate land that will be developed with tax paying businesses, we will of necessity become a community of well to do people who can pay the property taxes needed to provide the services one expects from a municipality or else pay high user fees which will produce the same homogeneous community. If that is what is required, so be it, but let’s get the facts in front of our eyes–revenue currently generated and from where, revenue shortfall for town budget, several scenarios of future revenue sources required from property owners, business tax payers, tax exempt organizations (what they offer or can that contributes to the town like the bus system, etc.).

  22. Chapel Hill must get serious about tourism. Today the travel industry is one of the top ten employers in 49 states, plus the District of Columbia, benefiting every state and locality. (In Orange County travel and tourism is the fifth employer, generating 1,700 jobs at every skill level). Between March 2010 and July 2011, job growth in the travel industry was 84 percent faster than the rest of the economy. So far in 2011, the travel industry is responsible for 1 out of every 10 new jobs that have been created in the United States. “Every dollar we invest in attracting tourists is a dollar that comes back to us fifteen-fold,” says Governor Bev Perdue.

  23. Lennart Holmquist says:

    Tourism and Architecture
    If we are to encourage tourism in Chapel Hill (encouraged and sustained tourism could mean less taxes for residents) we need to not only preserve the architecture of quality we already have, but also encourage and require excellent architectural design of future buildings. Excellent architecture is little talked about, but it will determine the “look and feel” of the Chapel Hill in which we live in the future, and the Chapel Hill which people will want to visit.

  24. Blair Pollock says:

    I was at the first session at East High, very lively but very hard to hear & communicate, I trust that improved.
    This community’s recycling program is top notch and part of that is due to a very clear waste reduction goal, broadly endorsed, revisited through a formal process every three years, sustainable equitable funding and a high level of community participation. Success over twenty years! We can achieve similar success in our economic development prospects partly by setting some measurable goals and getting past some of our NIMBY fears and realizing some of what we opposed as a Town e.g. Southern Village have become a great success and I have to say more in spite of public policy and because of the persistence and vision and creativity of its developers. Now we know something and should use what was learned to move us forward instead of a set of regulations that keeps us knotted up. The most recent effort to put a boutique hotel at Southern Village, which could have been a great addition to that end of TOwn, near UNC, the hospital, etc. was beaten down. Another hotel slated for Charter Woods at the North End of Town was also beaten down. Right near the freeway? Yes/ Other hotels nearby? No. Proposed by a locally based developer with a good track record? Yes? right on a major thoroughfare? Yes, boost to local economy — the developer was not even planning a restaurant stating that there were many good restaurants w/in walking distance — meaning Timberlyne or Chapel Hill North? A good vision. Seemed like it.
    There are many other types of land use than the retail/office/residential that the mixed use advocates seem to see more of in our future. There is a crying need for industrial flex space that could enable things like a greatly expanded SugarLand bakery — honestly where will she go when she is ‘forced’ off Franklin St. outgrowing it or squelched by UNC and the Town’s zoning and other policies? Raleigh? Just like Quintiles went to RTP or years ago the Bread Shop went to Pittsboro when they outgrew Franklin Street. My nephew has a very successful car painting and body repair business that is growing and may soon exceed his rented space in the outskirts of Chapel Hill. Do we want him? You want to speak of economic diversity? and working families. Most of his workers come from east of Raleigh
    Final point in relation to Carolina North, let’s upzone some of the areas nearby where there are small homes on large lots and allow those homeowners like in Glen Heights to build rental units in their backyards if UNC won’t provide the housing. This type approach could also take some pressure off NorthSide and Pine Knolls for student rental housing. Get in front of the problem, not behind it.
    In less than two years we will have no place to put our trash and that will become a very expensive trip out of town to who knows where?

  25. I think the idea of tourists and tourism has gotten a bad rap and some of it is justified. When you think of tourists you think of that loud family and their kids with ice cream all over their faces littering everywhere they go. Chapel Hill is not about tourists so much, but visitors. Visitors I think of as temporary neighbors. Friends, relatives, fans, students past and future, food lovers, foliage lovers, honeymooners. Encouraging more and more of these visitors to come here and to come back here is a serious and complicated task . . . and not without its pitfalls. There are dozens of new hotels on our county borders putting pressure on Chapel Hill to find new business. We have 30% unoccupied rooms. We have Franklin Street and other merchants in need of a boost. And we have conference attendees expecting help and resources and getting it from neighboring counties. We need to be in this business. Other cities in North Carolina have figured this out. Governor Perdue says for every $1dollar invested in tourism the state gets $17 back. And tourism creates jobs at every wage and skill level. Tourism doesn’t harm the atmosphere, distort the sense of place, or pollute.

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  27. Whit Rummel says:

    We must focus adequate attention on the importance of the Carolina North development. This will be, without doubt, the single largest project in the town’s history. How will the surrounding area change? Will there be adequate density zoned for the area to maximize its potential? How will it affect roadways to the area, most especially Estes Drive? These and many more questions require that we spend a good amount of time on the project – but I see little mention of this specific item in any documentation thus far.

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  29. Pat Carstensen says:

    I’ve been struggling with how to measure “community engagement” and push engagement beyond participation in boards and the usual suspects who make comments at council meetings. I think some of the ill-temper that shows up in the Tea Party, for example, is from people who can’t see how to get engaged to do something about the problems they see in their community. How can we extend the neighbor-to-neighbor community-building we get with Block Watch, and at the same time, meet some our financial challenges by heading off problems early? For example, one of my favorite stretches of street has landscaping the goes across several yards and does a good job of keeping stormwater where it falls; we spend a lot for engineers and big engineered solutions for stormwater when smarter landscaping, some rain barrels and a few rain gardens might make a big dent in the problem.

  30. Fred Lampe previously posted detailed additions to the meeting summary from his meeting notes. I just went back to reread them and see that his comment on the Blog is missing. Where can I find it?

  31. Community engagement. As I was thinking about the school district’s creation of a calendar for 2012-13 (a tough job because of changes by the NC GA), it came to me that I don’t believe we have a way for all “community organizations” to share information. Our local media is sometimes helpful in this regards, but the schools (for example) make decisions about their calendar in a vacuum and how do they even communicate that to all who might also need to plan in advance? For example — the schools are currently considering whether to plan for Saturday weather make-up days (because there are few holidays left in the spring calendar). If they decided a particular day was a good candidate for going to school, I’m sure it would be helpful to everyone else (sports organizations, church youth groups, town events planners) to know that’s a day to steer clear of (or at least have contingency around). To have a successfully engaged community (this theme), I think we need better communication between disparate community organizations, particularly around calendars and planning.

  32. Theme Groups – Chapel Hill 2020 Comprehensive Plan

    On October 27, 2011, stakeholders met in their theme groups to identify components for each theme and the information needed to begin theme discussion on goals. I participated in the Community prosperity and engagement: Fiscal Sustainability and public safety groups and a summary of the concerns and comments are listed below:

    The guiding principals of the Community Prosperity and Engagement Theme were: keeping our community and social capital local – no one should have to leave Chapel Hill – and maintaining Chapel Hill’s heterogeneity.

    A great deal of discussion focused on fiscal sustainability, particularly on the importance of affordable housing for all incomes groups. Strategies included mortgage subsidies, property tax reduction, diversification of the tax base, TDR and also the possibility of revisiting the rural buffer to expand housing and schools.

    Given the contiguous nature of Carrboro and Chapel Hill, shared services, police, fire, were raised as a fiscal sustainability issue. Other fiscal sustainability issues included: Data on town budget projections for 2020 and a breakdown of town allocations per dollar

    With regard commercial businesses and offices, the discussion focused on support for start up businesses including home based and other, non-commercial businesses and the need for data on commercial space vacancies.

    While Chapel Hill is a tourist destination with all the related costs of services and parking, plus the tax benefits, there are relatively few bed and breakfasts and heritage tourism efforts and programs.

    Chapel Hill also has few public gathering places, European style piazzas. However, balancing closed off streets or non-traffic shopping areas could be an impediment to retail as Americans drive to places to see and shop (example, the State Street in Chicago came back to retail life once the street was reopened to two way traffic).

    Historic neighborhood revitalization, incentives for historic preservation can help to address expand the overall housing pool including affordable housing. New preservation ordinances or landmark programs to protect structures outside of historic districts would serve to highlight the Chapel Hill’s heritage tourism attractions.

    Safe access to all parts of the town with a supportive transportation infrastructure was raised as key to the core value of social and community capital and equity. Lack of public transit access to the eastside commercial shopping districts is an example.

    Participants made requests for data – business location, commercial vacancy, dollar breakdown, fiscal projections, housing and development types, the Eastgate small area plan – and professional expertise to provide context and in-depth knowledge of the thematic issues. Going forward, supportive documents and expertise at hand will be key to informed discussion and successful plan development.
    The next meeting of Chapel Hill 2020 will be a “reporting out meeting” to be held from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, at Chapel Hill High School, 1709 High School Road. At this meeting, the theme groups will report out to each other, sharing their findings and identifying any areas for discussion and synthesis

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