All posts in category Economic development

Making the most of Ephesus-Fordham

Last week, someone using the name Jon Miller wrote to Town Council, concerned that proposed changes to the Ephesus-Fordham form-based code would weaken it. I responded that the modifications would strengthen it — taxpayers have a $10 million loan to repay from increased net tax revenue, and the four projects planned or underway won’t generate […]

Walking the talk

Every once in a while an insight emerges from those early-morning meetings that makes them worth getting up for. Take the Community Prosperity Committee meeting last Friday morning (8 a.m., first Friday of every month, in Room C at the library; public is welcome). We’ve been working on strategies to attract more commercial development to […]

What we do best

Decades ago, a running coach told me, “The only way to run faster is to run faster.” Pre-empting Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan by nearly a generation, the coach’s advice has proved useful in all sorts of situations in my life. Now it appears I can apply it to Town Council work. The town has […]

New beginnings

New year, new mayor, new council. New ideas, new dynamics, new proposals. With all of these new beginnings, Town Council will evaluate new development applications. Chapel Hill has only a handful of large parcels of land that would be suitable for the high-revenue commercial space we need to shift the property tax burden homeowners bear. […]

The Council Show

At the election night party I attended last week, the wife of a supporter mentioned that she’d gotten so caught up in the excitement of the campaign that she might even tune into what she called “The Council Show.” Certainly campaign and post-election coverage in the popular press loads expectation that episodes of The Council […]

The big money at stake

This election boils down to economic theory. One theory, held by the incumbents and a challenger who as an advisory board member voted in lockstep with them, aims to add enough luxury housing filled with high-wealth individuals that national chain stores will open branches in town. This group is banking on sales tax revenue and […]

Ask, and get real answers

Someone needs to tell the town’s Planning Department staff that Chapel Hill already has an ordinance that governs bed-and-breakfasts. Oh, wait. Someone already has. Several someones, in fact — the former director of planning, the town attorney and multiple people in the community, including Chapel Hill Watch — going back more than 15 years. And […]

How about yours?

Community members at last Monday’s Town Council meeting turned the “not in my backyard” philosophy on its head, asking instead, “Why not your backyard?” At the Sept. 21 meeting, developers presented their proposed plan for Amity Station, a tall apartment building on West Rosemary Street where Breadman’s sits now. The parcel is in the Northside […]

Putting B&B’s to rest

When I read town staff’s original proposal for an ordinance to allow bed-and-breakfasts in the historic district, my first thought was: We’re eating our seed corn. In August, town staff unveiled a plan to allow homes in the historic district to convert to B&B’s of up to 12 bedrooms and as many as 25 guests […]

Not just a numbers game

For all the talk about the rigorous approval process in Chapel Hill quashing development, the town sure has grown prodigiously in the past 20 years. Drawing on U.S. Census Bureau figures from 1990 and 2010, public policy strategist John Quinterno pointed out that the town’s population has increased by almost 50% and the number of […]