Office-retail only

Ellie Kinnaird’s voice was drowned out during her final years in the N.C. Senate by affluent colleagues who, having reached a high level of creature comfort, put in place policies that closed off that path to others. After several years of advocating for laws that made life better for residents in all socio-economic classes, Kinnaird […]

Hometown brand

Driving home from Raleigh one spring night with my car windows rolled down, I stopped at a traffic light. A car pulled up beside me, and the driver hollered out, “You must be going to Chapel Hill. I can tell by your bumper stickers.” Chapel Hill used to be known as an enclave for liberals: […]

Public-private = win-win

Chapel Hill needs a Stuyvesant Town, a large-scale complex of safe, well-built, no-frills apartments with rents affordable to your average working stiff. For some years during my New York days I lived in Stuy Town, an 11,000-unit complex built on 80 acres of what used to house leaky gas storage tanks and businesses and apartments […]

Plans vs. promises

At its March 10 meeting, Town Council passed an Affordable Rental Housing Strategy that was such a foregone conclusion it should have been on the Consent Agenda. But without the fanfare of a staff-narrated PowerPoint and a time for public comment, council members and town staff would have been deprived of a feel-good moment. And […]

Hounding town staff

Town planning director J.B. Culpepper and I* went to see “The Great Gatsby” at the library, rather than attend the Planning Board meeting taking place at the same time. Culpepper evidently had confidence, as did I, that town planning department staff would do their job in presenting the revised plan for Timber Hollow to the […]

Brass tacks, not bronze plaques

Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed by deadlines, I’ll make a list of all I have to do, then slip in something that’s so easy to do it’s almost a given. “Wash hair,” I might write, or “check email.” I do that first, then I can feel like I’ve accomplished something, and I’ve managed to procrastinate […]

To our health

At the Feb. 24 Town Council meeting, a community member asked council members to pass a resolution urging Gov. Pat McCrory and the General Assembly to accept the opportunity to expand Medicaid, an option made available by the Affordable Care Act. The cost would be paid for by federal taxpayers, 100% for the first three […]

Senior special

A concept plan for a dense subdivision on the agenda at last week’s council meeting drew not a single resident to protest. Maybe this developer knew to schedule his presentation at the exact same time as a UNC men’s basketball game, or maybe this developer offered something that many of us have been waiting years […]

Snow day

“Work from home,” Gov. Pat McCrory told North Carolinians, in a well-meaning entreaty to keep people from traveling on icy roads last week. And the governor and I did work from home, and maybe you did, too. But what about the people who work at grocery stores or fast-food places or who rely on tips […]

6,200 and counting

Some town leaders have had it with this hick town and want to take Chapel Hill to the next level of cityhood. Town Council approved the redevelopment of Central West. Obey Creek is on track to sail through intact as the developer wants it. And council is poised to allow developers carte blanche in the […]