Pioneering the Innovation District

Credit the JOBS Act for two recent Carolina grads stepping off a clear path to success and choosing to pioneer Chapel Hill’s fledgling Innovation District. Then-President Obama signed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups legislation in 2012 to remove some obstacles to success for entrepreneurs. The Securities and Exchange Commission’s new regulations were finally enacted in […]

Conflicting Priorities

Bonnie Hauser, founder of Orange County Voice, shares her insight into factors that affect housing affordability: Last month the N.C. General Assembly (NCGA) took away Orange County’s authority to collect impact fees on new home construction. It was a low blow by Raleigh politicians but brings new insights into the important topic of affordability. Thirty […]

Light Rail at Our Own Risk

Alex Cabanes, the founder of SmartTransitFuture.org, has done in-depth analysis of the proposed Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit project and has explored its implications and transit alternatives. He shares his insight into the latest plot twist of the DOLRT saga. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) approved moving the 17.7-mile light-rail project into the engineering phase — […]

How we got DOLRT debt

I pay off my credit card debt in full every month. Those in the credit card industry refer to my ilk as “deadbeats” because the credit card company reaps no interest from me, only the 3% fee from merchants. I’m fiscally conservative, and it will take more than name-calling to convince me to pay usury-level […]

A sense of place

Talk about your humble pie. I’ve long joined the throngs dissing Cary for its Stepford wives design standard ordinances and over-regulation of how development should look. Then I made a field trip to Waverly Place, a shopping center at the intersection of Kildaire Farm and Tryon roads. I realized that at least in this redevelopment […]

Walk to ride

Let’s say you live in Phoenix Place, near the intersection of Rogers Road and Purefoy, and you wanted to ride Chapel Hill’s prepaid buses into town. Maybe you don’t have a car or you embrace the walkable community ideal we hear Town Council members and developers talk about. Because bus service along Rogers Road is […]

Golf lessons

While on vacation last week, I spent quite a bit of time on mini-golf courses, where I had ample opportunity to observe how parents and grandparents dealt with children who could not putt a ball into a hole if their life depended on it. Time after time, adults would use their own club or their […]

What defines character?

Red flags went up for me when I got the email about a meeting to introduce an initiative called “Neighborhood Character Standards.” Not so much because of its title that evoked right-wing conservative ideology, and not because of anything in the standards themselves. What caught my attention was that the email, in a chipper tone, […]

New faces in town races

Last week I put my money where my mouth is — $5, to be exact. I filed to run for a seat on Town Council. For the six years I’ve been writing Chapel Hill Watch, I’ve tuned in every Monday night during Town Council season and sat on my couch cheering on various council and […]

Parks ahead? Slow down

So many Orange County commissioners may show up for a tour of potential park sites on Millhouse Road and Twin Creeks on New Year’s Eve that the photo op has been deemed a special commissioners’ meeting. If a majority of commissioners attend an event, state law considers it an official meeting and must give the […]