Fitting in our dreams

Chapel Hillians tend to go big or go home, and that proved true in feedback we got after Town Council authorized buying the American Legion property. When we asked residents how to use the 36-acre parcel (only about 23 acres of which are developable, due to topography, stream buffers and resource conservation regulations), we received […]

Paying our bills, and extras

You can craft a budget by starting with the money you expect to have in the coming year and determining how to spend it. Or you can envision the lifestyle you want and figure out how to afford it. Chapel Hill’s budget for Fiscal Year 2018, which starts July 1 of this year, does a […]

Building community

When the Habitat for Humanity staffer asked, “Who’s not afraid of heights?” I raised my hand. I should have thought it through. But at 8:30 Saturday morning, with the temperatures still in the 70s and standing in the shade of a large, leafy tree, I didn’t pay attention to the fact that the unroofed part […]

The Confederate flag: Whose heritage?

I have never heard any black Southerners defend the Confederate flag as a symbol of their Southern heritage. The heritage defenders seem to be an exclusively white group, often with the “I used to be somebody” mindset of people hanging onto the glory days of their ancestors. On May 20, a Saturday morning with made-to-be-outside […]

Use housing market forces to help

So much for the law of supply and demand. Council has approved a plethora of high-end market-rate apartments because a majority of council members believe that flooding the market with high-rent units will saturate housing demand and eventually inhibit rent hikes. These council members ignore the fact that in Chapel Hill, as in most cities, […]

Classic decision-making

The world would be better off if we had more classics majors. This past weekend, with so many universities in the Triangle showcasing their accomplished faculty and alumni as part of commencement celebrations, I couldn’t help but notice that innovation and entrepreneurship took the spotlight. Applied sciences got the glory, along with the plethora of […]

Trumped in Orange County

The Trump Era has pierced Chapel Hill’s bubble. Last week five of the seven Orange County Commissioners voted for taxpayers to take responsibility for 18% of the Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit costs not covered by federal and state governments, plus 18.5% of the debt service, on top of 20% of the regular maintenance costs of […]

Historic professionalism

Days after the Historic District Commission meeting last week, the unsettling exchanges have stayed with me. Once again — and this happens routinely — an applicant requesting a Certificate of Approval treated the commissioners with disdain, as though they were something that must be scraped off the bottom of a shoe. I’ve been to meetings […]

If we build it, they will park

We walked to our downtown E. Franklin Street church Easter morning to avoid a lengthy search for parking. The Morehead lot fills up quickly, as does Lot 2 on the corner of E. Rosemary and Columbia streets on a typical Sunday morning. Sometimes the Wallace Deck has no room, either. Bub O’Malley’s gravel lot used […]

Chapel Hill’s Central Park?

Dream first; set your sights; then figure out what you have to do to get there. That philosophy has worked for me over the years, and town staff used it, too, last Saturday by hosting a charrette to find out what value taxpayers believe the 36-acre parcel we bought from the American Legion could add […]