Comment Policy

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10 thoughts on “Comment Policy

  1. Lynne Kane says:

    Chapel Hill 2020 Comprehensive Plan Suggestions: from Lynne Kane

    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.

    Zoning:
    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:
    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.

    Safety:
    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.

    Lighting:
    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.

  2. Joy Preslar says:

    I have been part of this process since the first, and look forward to seeing this through to a working plan. I hope more citizens in the community take the time to come to the varied meetings that led to and will lead to a shared discourse. This has been very inclusive, and everyone gets a chance to offer suggestions. We need that as a community, to share ideas and concerns and feel that we are given a forum. Glad to continue!

  3. Alex says:

    I understand that this comment will generate mixed feelings from residents, but I feel that Chapel Hill will need to plan for more dense and affordable housing. Currently many working class individuals have to live outside of Chapel hill. This taxes our roads, public transportation, and reduces the tax base. We need dense affordable housing for families working in Chapel Hill. This includes rentals and homes for purchase. I know that there are many people who would like to keep Chapel Hill a small town, but that is an impossible goal for a growing city. We need to prepare to be a properly planned out city. In the end this will save us from many of the issues of suburban sprawling, which is already a big issue in Chapel Hill.

  4. We’ve actually been getting a reasonable amount of traffic, although not everyone comments. Yesterday, for example, about 150 people visited the blog. On October 6th, we had nearly 450 visitors. The visits closely track our posts and comments seem to be focused on interesting material, so we’ll keep posting and see what happens! Thanks for reading 2020buzz.

  5. Del Snow says:

    I wish there was more activity on this blog! So far there have been 27 comments, including links, technical questions, thank yous, and only a smattering of visioning discussion.
    The various areas listed for comment are confusing, because sometimes one comment may cover a number of different aspects. It may be better to just list all comments chronologically. That said, in all honesty, I don’t have a
    good idea for increasing traffic. There certainly has been a lot of “buzz” about the blog, so I know that you are trying.
    Is there any way to find out WHY people are not posting comments?

  6. Heather Albrecht says:

    I have an idea have the next meeting at Chapel Hill High Scool or better yet Phillips Middle Scool. The future is NOW.

  7. Dear Chapel Hill,
    congratulations to another wonderful Festifall!
    It does provide an insight into how a vibrant inner Downtown area could look like in a growing city of Chapel Hill in the future. With some planning to reroute 15/501 Business and allow for delivery and access to the Franklin Hotel parking garage the section of Franklin Street used for Festifall could be permanently closed off and made a pedestrian zone as you find in many other large towns and cities in the rest of the world and increasingly in the US (e.g. Asheville, NC)

    The benefits would be multiple:
    – Outdoor seating for restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, etc.
    – More room for outdoor display of merchandize for shops
    – improved down town parking – this may sound counter intuitive, but while many people complain about parking in down town the Wallace deck is not full most of the time. That is because people want to park as close to there destination they can drive to as possible. On street parking on Franklin will always be insufficient for that. If on the other hand traffic doesn’t flow to Franklin street anymore but to Rosemary and Cameron and right to bigger parking structures already in place or planned there people will accept parking they drive by. The perception will be improved.
    – More foot traffic to Rosemary St. which then allows for infill development and expand a vibrant down town to more than just the current ‘wild west’/one main street kind of a feel.
    – Addition of 2nd or 3rd floors for office space and apartments which will support more local business and better infill but not add to traffic problems in that part of down town – cause it’s traffic free and people can walk everywhere ;-)

    To illustrate the benefits of this I’ve attached an areal view of a block in my home town Sindelfingen, Germany where they did exactly that:
    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Untere+Vorstadt,+Sindelfingen,+Germany&hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=48.707883,9.000472&spn=0.00172,0.002127&sll=35.884082,-79.067509&sspn=0.016898,0.017016&vpsrc=6&hnear=Untere+Vorstadt,+71063+Sindelfingen,+B%C3%B6blingen,+Baden-W%C3%BCrttemberg,+Germany&t=h&z=19
    Sindelfingen – which is about the size of Chapel Hill and Carrboro combined – had lost a lot of it’s Restaurant and Bar/Cafe business to the neighboring town Boeblingen after Boeblingen had revitalized their Downtown area. Just as Chapel Hill is losing some of Restaurant business to the Brightleaf Square and American Tobacco District in Durham which are both beautifully car free areas that are very pleasant to go for an evening out.
    The town then closed ‘Untere Vorstadt’ and ‘Untere’ Torgasse to traffic (the block you see in the link above) and redirected traffic onto other roads. The results is a vibrant revitalized Downtown area with lots of artisan restaurants, cafes, boutique shops, and offices and apartments in the upper floors of the buildings bringing much of the business lost to the neighboring town back to Sindelfingen. It’s become the favorite meeting place and hang out to just run into old friends whenever we’re home visiting. Before there was no such gathering place in town.
    Delivery trucks can still reach the buildings from the parallel streets and alley ways to the back of the building as would be possible for the business on Frankin St.

    I used this example to illustrate that pedestrian zones work well in communities similar in size to Chapel Hill, not just in large cities. This is but one of many examples I’ve experienced in many towns I’ve lived in.

    just my 2 cents from experience with many highly successful pedestrian zones in towns and cities I’ve lived in.

  8. George Cianciolo says:

    Great start everyone. Surely 400+. Sorry for those folks who didn’t get packets but you can go to the website to get info regarding the schedule of meetings, etc.
    http://www.townofchapelhill.org/index.aspx?page=1656
    We need to keep up the good work. At the next meeting on October 6th we’ll try to finalize (for now) a draft vision statement and whittle down the list of key theme areas that you, the stakeholders, want to begin working on in key theme groups. We’re working on a new site for next week’s meeting given the great attendance last evening and our request that you bring family members, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances with you on the 6th.
    George C.

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