14 thoughts on “Town & Gown

  1. 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.

  2. Judith Glasser says:

    What do we know? There will be man more 70+ year olds in town in 2020 than there are now. CCRC’s in the area already have long waiting lists. A number of colleges are building or converting building for senior living. Students work/learn through these facilities and activities already exist on campus. And it helps the school, financially as well as in terms of diversity. Sure hope Holden reads this.

  3. The Nurturing Our Community theme group has included an objective of “Partner with UNC to promote and fund fiber to the home in support of telecommuting and home businesses in order to reduce vehicular use and the need for parking.” This objective is associated with our goal of reducing the carbon footprint of the community. I would like to see the Town and Gown group include a similar objective referencing the intent of the GIG-U project under whatever goal you believe it is most closely associated with.

  4. Jan Dodds says:

    It is not clear to me what financial contributions UNC makes to the operations of the town’s systems and services. I suggest we have a straight forward presentation of those facts. Since the town houses more than half of the students enrolled at the University, I think we need more substantive goals about how we all live together. I continue to believe that students cannot live with a car at their front door–we don’t have the space. However, currently the student stores is about the only place in walking distance to get practical items. I was looking for nails on Franklin Street. The one sad hardware store was closed so I was reduced to Walgreens. I did not search them out. Unless Franklin Street has supplies for living, everyone has to have a car to get reasonable priced items. The bus system works well for classes but not for shopping. We need people at the table from UNC who are not PR people but who know about the operations of housing, feeding, and moving students particularly since half of them live among us, not on campus and there need to be several who can speak substantively about the real problems to taking particular actions.

    • Hi Jan, I’m returning to some of the comments and I saw that you requested a straight forward presentation of what financial contributions UNC makes to the operations of the town. I am interested to know if you have received an answer to that question and if so where the information is located. Thanks.

  5. Whitcomb Rummel says:

    We need to focus much of our 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 htis specific item in any documentation thus far.

  6. Pingback: November 19: Reporting Out Results |

  7. Tim Kuhn says:

    One issue we discussed was off-campus housing and the challenges it presents, especially given there does not appear to be an office of off-campus housing at UNC. I think this issue has to be handled carefully so that the students are not victimized.
    Re: the moratorium for Northside and Pine Knolls neighborhood, I think the UNC students are being blamed for the changes and although I think all neighbors should be respectful of neighbors and their property, I think this situation is complicated.
    First, someone in these neighborhoods are selling their homes and they are being bought by “developers,” not students. The buyer is then either building or renovating to accommodate multiple students (or renters).
    Perhaps criticism should be directed at either the person selling or the person buying. One may argue that the new residences are improving the neighborhood from an aesthetic and / or tax assessment perspective. Next, I think one should be careful in trying to preserve “black” neighborhoods. I can appreciate the intent, but this could be misconstrued that non-blacks are not welcome in these neighborhoods.
    We respect to affordable / workforce housing, I think we need consensus on how “affordable” and “workforce” are defined.
    I’ve talked to some who can “afford” to live in CH, but they chose to live in surrounding counties because they feel the CH property taxes are too high. So despite being able to afford to live in CH, they chose not to. This increases the tax burden on those who do live in CH. Given the CH property taxes, would CH workforce and / or UNC workforce choose to live in CH or would they choose to live in surrounding communities? I’m not sure how this information could be captured, but it does not appear that high-rise condos are too desirable for the workforce or families with children.
    Finally, perhaps the Community Land Trust initiative could be expanded to encourage more workforce housing. I understand that many graduate students (law, medical school, etc) qualify for CLT housing and although they need to live in CH too, I’m not sure that is the intent of the CLT.

  8. Tim Kuhn says:

    At one of the earlier CH2020 programs, it was mentioned that K-12 schools would be considered in the Town and Gown Theme. I’m not sure if this is still the intent and I think there will be some overlap, perhaps with the “Place for Everyone” theme. Regardless, I thought I would share some comments.
    I’m very supportive of K-12 education and that is one of the reasons I moved to CH. I wanted to live in a community that prioritizes education and I wanted to live in a community with families where parents take a genuine interest in their children’s education.
    I live in CH and pay CH Taxes, Orange County Taxes, and CH-Carr school taxes. I am happy to contribute to CH/Carr School tax.
    I know of families who live in CH (ie, pay CH-Carr school taxes) who choose to send their children to private schools or who choose to home-school their children. Many CH residents do not have children.
    Every CH resident should have to help support the schools, but support should also be provided by anyone taking advantage of the schools who don’t pay the CH-Carr school tax or who don’t pay CH property taxes.
    I take the bus to campus everyday and I notice that there are many school children boarding school buses at apartment complexes. This is at the time of day when elementary school children are boarding the school buses. I understand from others that high school students whose families live in apartment complexes are also boarding school buses.
    Are landlords of apartment complexes contributing to the schools, and if yes, is an appropriate amount from apartment complexes contributing to the public school system?
    Next, approximately 50% of my property taxes for Orange County goes toward education. Given I live in CH and pay CH-Carr school tax, it is not clear why I am also paying Orange County education taxes.
    Finally, how do the funds from the NC Education Lottery get distributed to CH-Carr schools?

  9. Tim Kuhn says:

    The CH property tax bill includes Orange County taxes, CH/Carr School tax, and CH tax. I have friends with CH mailing addresses, but they live in either Orange, Durham, or Chatham counties. I understand that only one-fifth of people with CH mailing addresses live in CH (and pay CH property taxes).
    It is not clear to me how folks who have CH mailing addresses but who do not pay CH property taxes contribute to the services provided by CH, if in fact they are provided CH services given that they have a CH mailing address.
    Perhaps, CH should consider annexing some of the areas that have CH mailing addresses but who don’t pay CH property taxes. I’m not sure if this refers to expanding the “rural buffer” but I think this should be considered. It is not sustainable for CH residents who pay property taxes to subsidize all the services provided by CH when they are being used by others.
    It is also not clear how the Orange County taxes that are paid by CH residents are different from the CH taxes, especially with respect to education and services. It appears that there are duplication of services and this is not efficient, especially in these economic times. This may be naïve, but I have asked friends and no one appears to know. I think if people appreciated what services they are paying for, that this would help the CH2020 initiative decide which initiatives should be prioritized and how these will be paid for.
    Finally, we discussed this at the meeting, but it is not clear how UNC contributes to the costs of the services provided by CH including safety, fire, transportation, parks and recreation, and environment and development. I think this information will be shared during the CH2020 process.

  10. Tim Kuhn says:

    We discussed the transit system, but I thought I would share some additional comments.
    First, I would like to say how much I appreciate the wonderful bus service. I take the bus daily to campus. I live in CH and pay CH property taxes and I am happy to contribute to the service.
    While riding the bus, in addition to students, there are people that mention that they live in Durham and/or Raleigh and drive to a park and ride lot to catch the bus to campus. In addition, I have colleagues at work who live in the Pittsboro area and they take the bus to campus too.
    I think CH residents need to appreciate how the surrounding counties are assisting with the operating expenses for the bus service. Given the number of riders from surrounding counties, I think it is important to ensure that there is an appropriate amount contributed to the service. If not, an alternative approach would be to charge non-CH residents a nominal fee for the service. This approach did not work for the library, but I think CH needs to be more insistent that those people who do not pay CH property taxes assist with funding the services provided by CH.
    Finally, my bus route stops at several apartment complexes. Many people get on the bus that are not UNC students. Are landlords of apartment complexes contributing to the bus service through their property taxes, and if yes, is an appropriate amount being contributed to assist with the operating expenses of the bus service.

  11. Tim Kuhn says:

    I think the minutes reflect the discussion that took place while I was in attendance. With respect to Comment/Discussion #6, I don’t understand the comment re: good off-campus housing.
    After reviewing the minutes of some of the other Theme groups, it appears that there may be some overlap with the Town and Gown remit I don’t think this is a surprise, but I think it is critical that all ensure that there is communication across Themes to minimize duplication of effort and to manage expectations.
    I look forward to the list of collaborations between UNC and CH. Next, we can look to see if there are deliverables and timelines that are consistent with the CH2020 initiative. I understand that there is a Director of University Relations (Linda Convissor). Perhaps she or someone from her team would like to assist with the Town and Gown Theme.
    I know of recent examples of positive collaborations between the Town and CH including but not limited to the Community Garden with input from the NC Botanical Garden; the events coordinated between Playmakers, Wilson Library, the Ackland, and the Varsity Theatre to heighten the issues and history surrounding the Parchman Hour and the Freedom Riders; and the Wells-Fargo marathon collaboration between CH, UNC, and Endurance magazine.
    I’m sure that there are many more examples. These should be highlighted as we identify other opportunities for positive collaborations between the Town and UNC.

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