October 6th – Meeting Summary Draft Vision and Themes

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On October 6, 2011, more than 210 Chapel Hill community members gathered at the East Chapel Hill High School Auditorium to review and react to the compilation of ideas from the September 27 meeting.

Until 7:30, meeting attendees mingled and viewed word clouds and statements of six thematic areas, four vision statements, and five principles that will shape the work of committees going forward.  They picked up their ‘clickers’ for voting and moved into the auditorium.

At 7:35, Mayor Pro Tem, Jim Ward, welcomed the crowd and thanked them for attendance.  He specified the purpose of the meeting was to let staff know whether they had properly captured the ideas from the first meeting. Fundamentally, the process will include input from a diverse group of ages, races, ethnicity, and backgrounds.

Following Jim’s welcome, George Cianciolo provided background on the project to date. He emphasized that everything posted on display is a draft and open to community feedback both through this blog, the Town of Chapel Hill website, and via feedback forms.

Rosemary Waldorf then introduced the individuals who will be eventually be theme group leaders, people who represent a broad cross section of the community. She also gave everyone a quick overview of the evening’s purpose – to check in on how well the draft statements reflected the discussions on the 27th – and the importance of moving this information forward into the key theme groups where content and depth will be added.

George then announced the next opportunity for input on October 22, from 11 AM – 3 PM, at University Mall. The event will be a community open house, coinciding with the opening of the Chapel Hill Public Library temporary location in University Mall. He also introduced the facilitator for the evening, John Stephens, professor at the University of North Carolina School of Government.

John walked the audience through the voting on draft visions and theme, which was interesting – and the results will be posted here shortly so you can see for yourself.  However, as people expressed their levels of support – ranging from “I fully support” to “I have significant concerns, and do not support” – there was no way to hear exactly which part of a vision or theme people did or did not support.  After the voting, everyone moved out to the lobby to write down their suggestions, new phrases, or ideas that they didn’t think were fully covered.

Participants were able to place post-it notes onto large printouts of the visions and themes and sign up for theme group committees.  The key theme groups will beging working on October 27th, at 4:30 pm.  Check the schedule for details.

We’ll continue to gather comments here, through our outreach efforts and bring new information to our first community open house, October 22, 2011, 11 AM – 3 PM at University Mall.

If you didn’t get a chance to join us, you can click here to take survey.

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3 thoughts on “October 6th – Meeting Summary Draft Vision and Themes

  1. Pingback: October 27: Theme Groups Meeting 1: What a Night! |

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

  3. jeanne brown says:

    Let me begin by saying that I am glad that Town Council has chosen to set the wheels in motion for the creation of a new Comprehensive Plan and am happy to be a part of the plan’s creation.

    As a stakeholder who has participated in the first two meetings, I have to say that last week’s Draft Vision Statements, Themes and voting exercises raised questions and concerns for me. Reading through the draft statements I found a few themes that resonated with me and many that did not. Because the voting process required us to vote on an entire statement there was no way to indicate concerns.
    Since the October 6 meeting I have spent time reflecting on the process and have come to the conclusion that focusing on a Vision Statement, at this point, puts blinders on the process.

    While the visioning exercise during the first meeting generated a long list of ideas, I am certain that there are other ideas which were not presented during that short one-hour group exercise. As is to be expected, the list contained concepts that most stakeholders can easily embrace such as “sustainability” but also presented topics such as “mixed use” that will require debate.
    In the absence of a discussion or an exercise to rank the various ideas, how did the consultants and leaders come up with the Draft Vision Statements presented?

    To date, the process has been based solely on hopes and personal priorities. There has been no information (current data, future projections) provided to allow us to understand our options and evaluate the tradeoffs that come with each choice.

    This process must be grounded in informed discussion and analysis to ensure creation of a Vision Statement and Comprehensive Plan that will represent the values and goals of our citizens for the next ten years.

    I believe that, as theme group discussions progress, various aspects of the Vision Statement will come into focus. In the meantime, I hope that the leadership will reconsider posting the Draft Vision Statements at the upcoming Community Open House. Let’s use the time to listen to how Chapel Hillians envision their town and to educate them about the choices that we need to make.

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