Ephesus Church /Fordham Focus Area Information Session

The Town of Chapel Hill invites the community to participate in a public information session at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 4 to discuss proposed changes to land use regulations in the Ephesus Church Road/Fordham Boulevard area.

The event is one of many public outreach opportunities of DESIGN Chapel Hill 2020, the title given to the implementation phase of the Chapel Hill 2020 comprehensive plan. The information session will be held at Extraordinary Ventures, located at 200 South Elliott Road in Chapel Hill.

The information session was scheduled in response to feedback from residents who requested another opportunity to ask questions and understand how the proposed regulations fit into the overall implementation of the Ephesus Church Road/Fordham Boulevard small area plan. Consultant Lee Einsweiler of Code Studio will explain the proposed regulatory changes and how this component of the Chapel Hill 2020 Comprehensive Plan will be implemented for the Ephesus Church Road/Fordham Boulevard area. To view the proposed regulations for the Ephesus Church Road/Fordham Boulevard area, visit: http://www.townofchapelhill.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=20118.

The Ephesus Church Road/Fordham Boulevard focus area encompasses the area surrounding Ram’s Plaza near the intersection of Ephesus Church Road and Fordham Boulevard from South Elliott Road to the Chapel Hill Memorial Cemetery. The Town Council adopted a small area plan in June 2011 for the Ephesus Church Road/Fordham Boulevard area.

Led by the Town’s Economic Development Division, the small area plan defined future land uses and offered solutions to the transportation network to encourage reinvestment. Community members identified the Ephesus Church Road/Fordham Boulevard as an area likely to change in the future due to vacant land, underdeveloped sites, and its location along transportation and transit corridors. To learn more about the adopted plan, visit: www.townofchapelhill.org/index.aspx?page=1518.

Ephesus Church/Fordham is within Area 5: North 15-501, one of six future focus areas outlined in the Chapel Hill 2020 Comprehensive Plan and the adopted small area plan. Future focus areas are portions of Chapel Hill most likely to change in the future due to vacant land, underdeveloped sites, and their locations along transportation and transit corridors. In total, these areas represent about 24 percent of the land in Chapel Hill, and they do not include the predominately single-family areas and neighborhoods of Chapel Hill.

The Town’s other focus areas are Area 1: Downtown Chapel Hill; Area 2: North Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard/I-40; Area 3: South Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard/Homestead Road to Estes Drive; Area 4: Highway 54; and Area 6: South 15-501.

To be added to the email distribution list for the Ephesus Church Road-Fordham Boulevard Focus Area or to submit questions, contact lumo@townofchapelhill.org or 919-968-2728. To find more information, visit www.townofchapelhill.org/ephesusfordham. More information about Lee Einsweiler and Code Studio is available at www.code-studio.com.

Register Now for Community Input Sessions on Proposed Advisory Boards

As an outgrowth of Chapel Hill 2020, the Council Committee on Boards and Commissions has proposed a system of five advisory boards to support the Town’s development process. The Town Council invites advisory board members and interested community members to learn about and comment on this proposal in a series of community input sessions. These sessions will be held at the Chapel Hill Public Library every Monday evening from July 8 to Aug. 12, 2013 at 6:30 p.m.

The series will begin with an overview session describing the structure and goals of the subsequent community input sessions. Each of the following sessions will focus on creating a charge and scope of work for one of the five proposed advisory boards; Transportation and Connectivity Advisory Board, Community Design Advisory Board, Environmental Stewardship Advisory Board, Community Housing Advisory Board and Planning Board. For more information on which advisory board will be addressed at each session, please see the table below.

If you are interested in attending these sessions either in person or online, please register at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NKQNLMQ

The time, dedication and hard work of advisory board members help build a successful community. These sessions are your opportunity to help design a focused, effective system for participation.

Community Input Opportunities for Phase 1: Development Review

Date  Registration Start Time  Meeting Title
Monday, July 8 N/A 6:30 p.m. Public Information Session: Overview of Community Input Process
Monday, July 15  6 p.m. 6:30 p.m. Community Input Session 1 Transportation and Connectivity Advisory Board
Monday, July 22  6 p.m. 6:30 p.m. Community Input Session 2 Community Design Advisory Board
Monday, July 29  6 p.m. 6:30 p.m. Community Input Session 3 Environmental Stewardship Advisory Board
Monday, Aug 5  6 p.m. 6:30 p.m. Community Input Session 4 Community Housing Advisory Board
Monday, Aug 12  6 p.m.   Community Input Session 5 Planning Board

For additional information about this project, please visit www.townofchapelhill.org/design

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

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

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

MLK/Estes Drive Focus Area: How should the Steering Committee be structured? And what should its purpose be? Give us your thoughts!

On Wednesday, September 19th, the community will be gathering to discuss the Steering Committee structure, purpose, and application process for the MLK/Estes Drive Focus Area (recommended name: Central West Focus Area). This meeting will be held from 5:00-6:30pm in the HR Training Room, second floor, Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Chapel Hill.

In order to prepare for Wednesday’s meeting, a survey has been developed with the purpose of collecting information in advance of the meeting. Please complete this survey and provide us with your thoughts!

The survey can be found at the following link: Steering Committee Survey

The information from this survey will be compiled and will be a part of the discussion during the Wednesday, September 19th Recommendation Meeting #2.

Please complete the survey by noon on Wednesday, September 19th. The responses from the survey will be published on this blog by Friday, September 21st.

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

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

2020 Business – a post from a theme group co-chair

2020 Business, by Jan Bolick, theme group co-chair

Do we do good business in Chapel Hill?

What would make it better?

What would make it fabulous?

If you run  a business in Chapel Hill:

  • What  bugs you about doing business in Chapel Hill?
  • What would help you do better business?
  • Think ahead to 2020.  If  all your dreams came true, what would your business be like?  What would the business community be like?

If you work in Chapel Hill:

  • What do you like about working in Chapel Hill?
  • What would make it better?
  • Think ahead to 2020 – if all your dreams came true, what would your work life be like?

As a Chapel Hill  consumer:

  • What do you love about shopping in Chapel Hill?
  • What gets in your way?
  • What do you wish for?

Compared to other places you have lived or done business in, what is missing?

If you were the CEO of the Chapel Hill business community, what would you do to make Chapel Hill a better place to live, work and play?

Your answers to such questions could make a significant difference in Vision 2020, the plan for Chapel Hill’s future.   The next meeting will be Thursday, December 1, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Frank Porter Graham Elementary.

The agenda includes reports on ideas shared  by citizens so far. Topics  include:

  • Downtown district
  • Economic development
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Fiscal responsibility
  • Housing
  • Town & gown
  • Transportation
  • Tourism
  • Neighborhoods
  • Services delivery
  • Diversity
  • Cultural vibrancy
  • The arts
  • Community engagement

Last Saturday we heard reports from those who have been working on these important topics.  You can read the summaries and join us again this Thursday, December 1st for the next theme group meeting.

Listen with an ear for business.  Listen with an ear for life.

Listen to what is being said.  And not said.

And then speak up. Join in.  Get involved.  It’s a wonderful opportunity to make a difference – for your business and for the entire community.

If you cannot attend, there are still plenty of ways to contribute to the plan:

  • Share your ideas in Comments section below
  • Send comments to me:  Jan@BusinessClassInc.com and I will pass them to the appropriate groups that are working to craft Chapel Hill’s vision for 2020.
  • schedule a 2020 Vision speaker to attend your club or group’s next neighborhood meeting or luncheon by contacting  compplan@townofchapelhill.org or 919-969-5068.

And just in case you feel like it won’t matter – that your  voice is too small to make a difference – take a look at this favorite quote.

What Chapel Hill Means to Me

What Chapel Hill Means to MeA Police Perspective

Every week or so, we’ll post personal stories from Chapel Hill residents about what living in this town means to them. This story is the third in the series.

After graduating from UNC, Chris Blue considered pursuing a career in radio, television, or motion pictures. But his love for this town inspired him to go in another direction.

Chris Blue is now the chief of police for the town of Chapel Hill, and he is determined to keep the community safe amid budget cuts that threaten the government’s potential to provide services.

“All governments are trying to figure out how to do more with less, or to do as much as we already do now with less resources,” he said. “The comprehensive plan allows us to think about the services that the community thinks are really important.”

As the town budget shrinks, its densities rise. Police need to find new ways to think about public safety in a community that is seeing taller buildings downtown and more traffic on the streets, said Blue.

“This community is going to continue to grow, there’s no question about that,” he said. “We’re going to have to think differently about policing.”

Blue said the Chapel Hill police have recently directed new resources towards a traffic unit. Seven officers in this unit have been assigned to educate the community about pedestrian and bike safety.

But Blue’s interest in the comprehensive plan expands beyond the sphere of public safety. As a long-term resident who lives just off of Estes Drive in Coker Hills, he said he is also concerned with growing costs of living.

“We have very few police officers and police department employees who live in this community,” he said, “and a lot of the reason why that’s true is that it’s very expensive to live here.”

Blue said he hopes that the diversity of the community will continue to remain a priority as the themes for the comprehensive plan develop.

“We value a diverse community where a lot of people live and interact. I’m glad to see that that’s not lost in this discussion,” he said.

To Police Chief Chris Blue, Chapel Hill is the place he was raised and the place he has chosen to raise his family. It’s a place he goes to work to protect every day. What does Chapel Hill mean to you?

Sneak Peek of October 6th – vision and themes

Things have been churning since we last met and tomorrow evening, between 7 and 9 pm, the East Chapel Hill High auditorium is your destination to check in and let us know how well you think the facilitators and staff have captured your input from the 27th.

We collected what you said, we’ve written it down, we’ve sorted and sifted and our facilitators have studied and suggested to come up with these drafts.

We hope you’ll join us tomorrow to give us your reactions, but if you can’t, never fear.  We’ll have more opportunities to hear from you here, through a survey (coming soon), or maybe you want to come to the community open house on October 22nd at University Mall, by the new library location, and talk to us then!

So, here’s some food for thought to get you going.  What do you think?

1. Draft Vision Statements

 A: “Chapel Hill will be a vibrant, connected community, a town that is accessible, affordable, sustainable, and strong. Citizens of Chapel Hill will treasure their downtown, their diversity, and their university; they will enjoy the benefits of balanced development, a quality transportation system, green housing, and healthy neighborhoods.”

B: “Chapel Hill will be a destination location. Balancing growth, density, and the environment, it will feature collaboration between the university, the town, developers and the community. It will encourage integration of students into community, and build bridges between cultures, and neighborhoods through art. Chapel Hill will be a town that is truly green.”

C: “Chapel Hill will be a bright, dynamic community that celebrates diverse populations. It will accumulate and retain intellectual, entrepreneurial, and artistic capital. Valuing its heritage while building regional partnerships, Chapel Hill will be a compact, accessible, mixed-use place of opportunity with a high quality of life.”

D: “Chapel Hill will be the best college town in America. We will integrate the aspirations of the University and its students into our community life. We will build social and physical bridges among cultures and neighborhoods. Through wise and collaborative use of resources, we will strive for an affordable and sustainable community life. We will safeguard our heritage while building a diverse tax base and regional partnerships for a prosperous future. We will be safe for all, connected, economically sound, and innovative.”

2. Draft Themes

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)

Community prosperity and engagement: Fiscal Sustainability (affordability, economic development, neighborhoods, services delivery)

Cultural & Artistic Vibrancy (arts, creativity, tourism, celebrations, special events, inclusion)

Nurturing our community: environmental sustainability (our natural environment, open spaces, solid waste, recycling, parks, greenways, rural buffer)

A place for everyone: public safety & diversity (youth, teens, safe places, a welcoming community) Our Dynamic Region: (regional assets, partnerships, potential for shared success)

3. The Principles Each work group should address how their plan supports

  • Protecting and celebrating our natural assets
  • Creating opportunities for social exchange and community capital
  • Strengthening our physical infrastructure
  • Encouraging sustainable practices and a diversified tax base
  • Supporting safe and healthy lifestyles

4. The practical framework Each work group would also frame their work around these two guiding questions:

  • How will our input inform policy decisions by elected officials?
  • How will our input inform planning and implementation by the city manager and staff?