Playing it safe

It was a dark and stormy night for affordable housing last Monday. At the Oct. 10 Town Council meeting, we had two opportunities to take meaningful steps to increase the supply of affordable housing, and a majority on council squandered them both. Early on in the meeting, a council member put forth a resolution urging […]

A bond without a plan

When it comes to taking on the challenge of increasing the amount of affordable housing, Orange County commissioners would do well to heed the wise counsel of Yogi Berra: “When you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.” County commissioners proposed two bond referenda for the November election: $120 million to repair […]

Lessons from Boulder

If the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce aimed to scare travelers on its 2016 Inter-City Visit into thinking that height restrictions and no-build buffers would make real estate prices skyrocket, someone forgot to clue in the Boulder speakers. The chamber organized a trip for about 80 of us from Orange County – elected officials, business […]

Chapel Hill’s Arab Spring?

More than five years ago, a few weeks after the Tunisian Revolution that launched the Arab Spring, Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad told The Wall Street Journal: “When there is divergence between your policy and the people’s beliefs and interests, you will have this vacuum that creates disturbance.” I hope we won’t someday look back on […]

Powering through

Have we learned nothing? Last week a female student at UNC held a news conference to claim that a classmate, a member of the football team, raped her. She was pursuing misdemeanor charges against him because the campus police had refused to file charges, and the district attorney’s office declined as well (though after the […]

How much is that rent, really?

Trying to find an apartment in Chapel Hill affordable to your typical Chapel Hill worker takes diligence and a roommate. An apartment complex may advertise rent at one price, but by the time the management adds up all the additional mandatory fees — valet garbage pick-up, package delivery acceptance, weight room access, and Internet and […]

Don’t let Google be lonely

Google unveiled its new sign last week. The tasteful, illuminated logo on the Church Street side of 200 W. Franklin St. perhaps quelled fears that the town’s new sign ordinance would result in a wave of garishness overpowering our downtown’s charm. Chapel Hill has been Google’s home for the past decade, but few people knew […]

Think of the possibilities, then plan

How many times have we heard, usually from people who make money by developing or selling real estate, that affordable housing is not possible in Chapel Hill? That we might as well admit defeat and build only luxury apartments in town, thus forcing out the modestly paid and the middle class? Yet towns similar to […]

Best practices, best officers

In North Carolina, a barber needs 1,000 hours of training to get licensed. A law enforcement officer receives 616 hours. As society and circumstances change — think the closing of mental health facilities at the turn of this century that left law enforcement officers to intervene when a mentally ill person posed harm to the […]

What, me worry?

I’m at that age where I repeat myself. For more than a year and a half, I’ve been nagging Town Council members to fix the Ephesus-Fordham form-based code so that we can repay the $10 million loan we took out for improvements to the area. Bear in mind, we put up Town Hall as collateral. […]