All posts in category Land Use

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 […]

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. […]

The Deciders

Recently I asked the town manager for an organizational flow chart of town staff that would show who was in charge of what. I received 18 pages of charts in response, most of which broke out the hierarchy of positions in each department. The collection led off, however, with a master chart of management levels. […]

Discretionary Zoning

Listen to Raleigh’s city attorney, Tom McCormick: “It is important to remember that when making a zoning decision, the council must consider all potential uses in a proposed district and cannot make a decision based on one specific use.” McCormick said council members have “wide discretion” in deciding whether to rezone a property for a […]

What makes a house historic?

Last week, the Historic District Commission reluctantly pulled the plug on a house in the Gimghoul Historic District by approving a request by the owners of 704 Gimghoul to demolish the home. The couple had purchased the house in March 2015 and had come to the HDC with a plan to make it live better […]

Horsetrading at the Council Corral

Two weeks ago, Chapel Hill hired a new planning director, Ben Hitchings, who came to the April 11 Town Council meeting. Much to my surprise, he did not resign immediately; in fact, he participated in our work session two days later. That says he’s a man undaunted by challenges. In a nutshell — we embarrassed […]

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 […]

Aging in town

We know we won’t live forever, But most of us believe we’ll stay spry until our last day on earth. We convince ourselves that if we take a brisk walk daily, there won’t come a time when we can’t take that walk, that if we live a healthy lifestyle, we won’t ever have to battle […]

Council retreat

I suppose I’d be opening up fresh wounds if I proposed that before people weigh in on the icy sidewalk problem they first go see The Martian. The movie captures one of my core philosophies of life: the notion of chipping away. In the face of futility, continue to live your life. Stay true to […]