Are you interested in learning more about the Central West Focus Area process? Want to know what goes on during the Central West Steering Commmitee meetings? We invite you to read the meeting summary notes! The following are the notes from the May 30, 2013 meeting.
The next Steering Committee meeting will be this afternoon, Tuesday, June 4th from 4:30-6:30pm in the meeting room at the Chapel Hill Public Library. The meeting summary notes from this meeting will also be posted on this blog.
Thanks for reading!
Central West Focus Area
May 30, 2013, Steering Committee Meeting
By: Michael Parker & Amy Ryan, Co-Chairs, Central West Steering Committee
The Central West Steering Committee met on May 30th at the Hotel Siena from 6:30 to 10:00 PM. Copies of all meeting materials can be found at www.townofchapelhill.org/centralwest
1. Communications Issues: The co-chairs began by airing concerns they had about improving the accuracy and extent of the committee’s communications with the public and making sure all of our work is carried out in a manner that is transparent and easily accessible to the entire community.
The committee decided that the co-chairs would begin to produce a summary report for each meeting, to be distributed through the town’s Central West website, e-mail lists, and neighborhood listservs. This will provide the community with an accessible and accurate record of the committee’s actions.
Also discussed was committee members’ participation on community listservs. As long as open meeting laws are observed (three or more committee members should not engage in discussion with one another about committee matters in any forum outside of our public meetings), posting information or comments to a listserv and reading the comments of others is fine. Committee members were reminded that these listservs are not always easily accessible to the community at large and are not read by all committee members, so they are not an optimal means of communication about Central West issues for the committee. We feel it’s preferable that our discussions be held in committee meetings so that all members can participate and all community members can be aware of their content.
The committee reiterated its policy that official statements from the committee to the press should be made through staff or the committee co-chairs. Members are free to share their personal opinions with reporters but should make clear they are speaking as private citizens, not on behalf of the committee.
2. Debrief of May 18 workshop logistics: Eighty-two people attended our Saturday workshop at the Chapel Hill Public Library, 63 who lived in the Central West area, 7 who worked there, 5 who both lived and worked there, and 7 from outside the area. Our booth at the University Mall Farmers Market had 10 visitors who filled out comment cards; 2 people identified themselves as living in the CW area, and 1 was a YMCA member.
Ideas from the committee on how we could improve future workshops included providing childcare (the town can’t provide babysitting for liability reasons, but we are contacting the babysitting group at the YMCA to see if they can provide coverage in the future); finding mechanisms that enable those who can’t attend a workshop to submit their comments in some other way (staff is working on plans to mount displays of our work at different venues through town to capture such comments and to reach out to the larger community); a wish that there had been more time to consider the proposed bike/ped improvements; a suggestion that we find a way to break workshops into shorter activities, so those who can’t attend for an entire morning can still participate; concerns that our work was focused tightly on the planning area (centered on the MLK and Estes intersection) and should be extended across the broader Estes/MLK corridor (where our charge is to suggest transportation/circulation improvements); and thinking about how we can consider our recommendations in light of other plans for development in the rest of Chapel Hill.
3. Consultant’s comments on concept development: Deana Rhodeside, the CW planning consultant, submitted a list of key areas of change—based on feedback from the committee, the May 18th workshop, and other sources—that will be incorporated into the set of new concept plans her firm is working on to present at the steering committee’s June 4 meeting. This list is available on the town’s CW website.
In response to an inquiry about using a neutral facilitator for the June 4th meeting, the committee voted (12–4) to continue to use Deana Rhodeside of Rhodeside-Harwell to facilitate the meeting.
4. Work on refining the CW planning objectives: The greater part of the meeting was spent in discussing the list of more than 130 draft objectives presented at the May 18 workshop. Committee members were provided with voting tallies on each objective from the earlier steering committee Survey Monkey exercise and the community’s responses to the red dot/green dot exercise at the workshop. The committee broke into three small groups, each responsible for reviewing a part of the material, identifying objectives that had strong support, combining objectives that had similar content, and eliminating those that had been covered elsewhere, that were deemed to addressed through Town regulations/ordinances, or for which, after consideration, there was little support.
The group reconvened to report out their work and discuss further changes. A subcommittee then volunteered (Lucy Carol Davis, Julie McClintock, Sarah McIntee, Abby Parcell, Michael Parker, and Amy Ryan) to edit and wordsmith the list and produce a final draft of the objectives, to be distributed to the committee via e-mail for review in mid-June and then submitted to Council on June 24.
5. Proposed additional principle on fiscal considerations: Because of time constraints, presentation and discussion of this topic was tabled until a future meeting.
The committee meets again on June 4 (4:30–6:30 PM at the Chapel Hill Public Library). Our planning consultant, Rhodeside-Harwell, will be presenting a new set of concept plan, and the committee will be reviewing the plans in detail, identifying revisions required before our interim report to Council on June 24. Revisions, changes, etc. will be brought back to the group at our June 11 meeting.
We’d like to thank the members of the community who attended the meeting and all of the committee members who put in a very long night of thoughtful and productive work.