Homeless shelter’s Good Neighbor Plan: A Better Site representatives are participating in the meetings, but IFC won’t allow the proceedings to be recorded. A Better Site wants teeth to the plan, consequences if the tenets are violated; a shelter advocate wants a plank that specifies no crosses will be burned on the shelter’s lawn. The lion may be lying down with the lamb, but as Woody Allen says, the lamb isn’t getting much sleep.
Development downtown: The bills are beginning to come in for the cost of cleaning up the toxic material on the 140 West site. What will this do to Roger Stancil’s every-penny-accounted-for budget?
Development on the edge: The Edge, a proposed commercial development north of I-40 and west of N.C. 86, will likely take shape in the coming year. Rams Plaza has a new owner, and another developer already has approached the town with plans to upgrade nearby low-income housing. And don’t expect Roger Perry to give up so easily on plans for a high-density, mixed-use development in Obey Creek.
Yates Building takeover report: Some in Chapel Hill were shocked by police carrying assault rifles to clear a building on West Franklin Street and arrest miscreants who broke into it. The town is investigating. Look for a report early in the year.
Water works: OWASA will finalize the planning for moving from a Level I to Level II Jordan Lake allocation as the back-up water source for times of drought. The board also will undertake a rate study and review OWASA’s salary structure this year.
CH2020: What do we want Chapel Hill to look like in 10, make that 8, years? The vision of some concerned residents will be unveiled.
New comprehensive plan: What does Town Council want Chapel Hill to look like in, oh, the future? Council members will begin hashing out their vision this year.
Cell phone ban: The National Transportation Safety Board has been urging states to ban hand-held and hands-free cell phones while driving. North Carolina is considering the ban. But Penny Rich wants Chapel Hill to be first; thus, she’s proposing an ordinance that police say they can’t enforce. Oh, and she wants to exempt hands-free phones (what’s in her SUV?) and calls between parents and children, and spouses (a slap in the face to those who can’t legally marry).
Meet or tweet: While Rich recognizes the distraction some cell phones pose to some drivers, she and Donna Bell see nothing wrong with tweeting during council meetings when they should be participating in the meeting. Let’s hope they leave their cell phones at home during council meetings this year and pay attention to what we’re paying them to pay attention to.
Howard Lee’s charter school: Council doesn’t have a say in this, but because anything that happens in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system could affect housing demand, taxpayers will want to pay attention. Former Chapel Hill Mayor Lee has started an education foundation and has stepped in to help people frustrated by the slow pace of closing the achievement gap between blacks and whites. A charter school, to be named for him, would attract under-performing students, many of whom are minorities, thus draining racial diversity from the public schools.
– Nancy Oates