Good news, bad news

Last night’s Town Council meeting (which didn’t end until early this morning) yielded good news and bad news.

The good news: Council passed all three resolutions and all three ordinances to tighten development restrictions in the Northside community.

The bad news: The town has no money to enforce them.

The Neighborhood Conservation District status put in place nearly a decade ago contained many strictures to preserve the character of the neighborhood. If the town had enforced those regulations, the neighborhood would not be in the state of development crisis it is in today. Last night the town put in place even more strident development restrictions. But if those aren’t enforced, they will be ineffective, too.

Possible solution: Town manager Roger Stancil said he wanted to keep the new ordinance simple enough that any town employee – not just a specially trained enforcement officer – could provide enforcement. We pay an arts czar and assistant about $100,000 annually for a task that takes up very little time. They could patrol the Northside and Pine Knolls neighborhoods during slow periods in their job. It’s a win/win, an example of town employees adding to their skill set to become more flexible that Stancil talked about during his budget presentation.

More good news: The town installed new technology at Town Hall, in particular, a new audio system in Council Chambers.

The bad news: It doesn’t work as well as the old system. One mike (where town employees present) has constant static. The other mike, for the public to use, is too muddy for the speaker’s words to be understandable. Council members who don’t speak into their mikes at just the right angle and distance also can’t be understood.

Final good news: The new configuration of having the public speak at a mike at the opposite end of the dais means the TV cameras show the reflection of someone’s computer screen. TV viewers can keep tabs on who is checking Facebook, watching YouTube videos or playing solitaire.

The bad news: From my perch on the couch, I couldn’t tell whose computer it was. I may have to attend a council meeting in person to find out.
– Nancy Oates

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  1. Terri Buckner

     /  January 10, 2012

    Hopefully the AV contractors who sold/installed the mikes will be asked to come back and make some adjustments. There is no excuse for how bad the audio was last night.

    I too was watching from home and at midnight, the cable channel stopped the live broadcast. I live in Time Warners Carrboro area. Thankfully those attending or watching from within Chapel Hill kept me apprised via Twitter.

  2. Ed Harrison

     /  January 10, 2012

    Constructive comments on the audio issues would be best sent to Catherine Lazorko, at Guess I could check the audio issues out on the streaming video — which is all anyone can get on my street — but after 5.5 hours at the table last night and this morning, just can’t seem to find the motivation to do so.

  3. Leroy Towns

     /  January 10, 2012

    Do you have the good news and the bad news reversed?

  4. Road Warrior

     /  January 10, 2012

    There are always issues with sound. My son is in the Theater Tech program at Chapel Hill High School and I do a lot of sound lately. They’ll get it ironed out. Getting the levels and the feeds right is more art than science. I am going to give the sound folks a break on this one. They’ll get it worked out.

    If they can’t, given the resourcefulness of the head tech guy at Chapel Hill, I’d give him a call. The guy is a miracle worker some nights with equipment.

    On another note, do we Ustream or anything for Council meetings for those of us without cable or like Terri who are in an area where it is cut off after a certain point?

  5. Nancy Oates

     /  January 10, 2012

    Yes, you can watch it live on your computer via the town’s website, Click on “council video and agendas” on the left rail. As I recall, the video screen pops up on the left half of the screen.