All posts in category Land Use

Our chance at the gold — gone

Chapel Hill should bid on hosting a Winter Olympics. Sure, we’d need to build a couple of ski slopes, one with fancy rails and jumps. We would have to retrofit the Dean Dome into an ice-skating rink. And we’d need to build a housing complex for the athletes, though we could repurpose it into affordable […]

At what price?

When has Chapel Hill ever forced an entire neighborhood to pack up and move away? When has the town ever told more than 100 of its residents they must leave their homes en masse and find other housing? It sure looks like that’s about to happen to the Lakeview mobile home community in north Chapel […]

What’s worth preserving

Would a time traveler from the turn of the 19th century into the 20th, walking through one of Chapel Hill’s historic districts, recognize the neighborhood? Amber Kidd, a preservationist with the N.C. Historic Preservation Office who advises local governments on how to set up and run a Historic District Commission, put that question to Chapel […]

Happier New Year

We started a new tradition this New Year’s Eve – we wrote all the bad things that happened in 2017 on little slips of paper, then tossed them into the fireplace. It was not as big of a bonfire as I expected, given the national politics and ripples into global and state affairs. And it […]

Park, Housing: Not an Either-Or

In 2003, as a taxpayer I voted against spending more than $16 million to expand and renovate the Chapel Hill Public Library. The town had a small but functional library, surrounded by the woods and trails of Pritchard Park, and while the demand would only grow as the town grew, it seemed to me we […]

Will we always have Paris?

Maybe Town Council’s next intercity visit should be to Paris, a city that Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane cited as her favorite because of its low buildings. At council’s Nov. 15 meeting, we reviewed a concept plan for a 5-story building of apartments, offices and retail, with 68 parking spaces on less than 4 acres at […]

Growth on what conditions

For 10 years before becoming Chapel Hill’s planning director, Ben Hitchings held the comparable role in Morrisville. There, he used a process called “conditional zoning” to develop and redevelop parcels to spur growth. At council’s Nov. 15 meeting, we heard a staff proposal to add conditional zoning to our Land Use Management Ordinance. CZ makes […]

Opportunity cloaked in petulance

For 15 years, UNC has lobbied to close Horace Williams Airport, but the tiny landing strip at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Estes Drive Extension has amazing staying power. Now, with the help of a petulant board of governors, UNC may get its wish. Built in 1928 in what was then […]

Season Premiere

Some of the candidates for Town Council attended our season opener on Wednesday. I hope those who stayed through the development agreement discussion do not rue their decision to run. The Sept. 6 council meeting gave candidates an accurate picture of some of the tortuous discussions we get ourselves into. Council is beta testing holding […]

High-Rent District

I sat on the stoop of my 1940 Cape Cod and surveyed the view — one-bedroom brick-ranch duplexes and frumpy 1930s bungalows, SUVs spilling off gravel driveways onto lawns of hard-packed red clay tufted with weeds — and thought, “Wow, I’ve made it. I now live in the high-rent section of town.” According to a […]