Wednesday, January 16, 2013

OBEY CREEK (A WCHL Commentary)

Let’s take a survey.  If you are against the current plan for the development of the parcel known as Obey Creek, shout out, I’m Against It!  OK, I hear some of you shouting, and that’s interesting because my commentary today is about that fact that there is no current plan to be against.  In March 2010 an Initial Concept plan presented to the Town Council.  It went nowhere.  In September 2012, a 2nd Concept plan was presented to Town Council; significantly, scaling back the initial proposal to correspond to the Chapel Hill 2020 recommendations. 

The Council referred the plan back to staff to begin working on a review process.  And in November, the staff came back to Council asking for approval to initiate a Development Agreement process by hiring a consultant. The Council granted approval and stipulated that there must be further dialogue and information gathering before any formal process may begin.  Clearly, large developments attract diverse opinions, but I think it is only fair that a developer should expect guidance and direction from the Town staff and Council in a timely fashion.  Three years is not only too long, but it is also very expensive.  

 I have no opinion on any Obey Creek proposal at this point, but I do believe that we can and should do better. Somehow, other jurisdictions not only ace us out but they seem to have a development process that works and serve the interests of multiple stakeholders; why can’t we? 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Happy New Year to all!  I think it’s only natural that when the new year arrives, we look with some anticipation and even anxiety towards what’s ahead of us and if at the end of the year, we will be able to pronounce it a good year or not.   We know for sure that the new year will bring change, for change is a constant, and we hope it will be change for the better.  Since this is an odd-numbered year, we know we will have municipal election.  But before we get to them, we have some vacancies to fill.   

The Carrboro Board of Alderman must decide whether to call for a special election to fill their open seat or wait until the November election to fill it.  Holding a special election may cost around $18,000, so the decision has real consequences.  In Chapel Hill, we are nearing the deadline to apply for the open seat that the Town Council will fill, as we don’t have the same ordinance covering filling vacancies.  I am already on record saying that the decision should be driven by who is the best qualifies and not be based on gender or other demographic factors; select who can do the best job, woman or man and of any ethnic origin and skin color.   

Yes, decisions have consequences and soon we will know some of the important ones for early 2013.  I hope that each of you has a great 2013 and that our local decision makers exercise good judgment in reaching their decisions that affect us all, and help to make this the great new year we aspire to have!