Fri 26 May 2006
Be the First to Comment
Here’s the HWCC’s (Horace Williams Citizen’s Committee) response to Chancellor Moeser’s January 25th Letter on Carolina North development.
I drafted the original response, which was further refined by myself and Joe Capowski and finally tightened up and approved by the whole of the HWCC.
SUBJECT: Comments on UNC January 25, 2006 letter and attachment from Chancellor Moeser to Mayor Foy concerning the HWCC Principles Goals and Strategies Report
The HWCC provides these general observations to the Council about the UNC response
1. The HWCC sincerely thanks Chancellor Moeser for his statement in his February 7, 2006 letter that outlined a process and charge for the Leadership Advisory Committee. “The University enters this process in good faith and with the recognition and understanding that the Town of Chapel Hill has zoning authority over the Carolina North property within its boundaries.”
2. We appreciate UNC’s response to the principles in the HWCC report. The HWCC is delighted that there is substantial agreement between HWCC principles and the UNC response.
3. The HWCC is concerned that UNC will participate in an ad-hoc building process at Carolina North, constructing buildings one at a time as funds become available, but before necessary planning, infrastructure, transit, and environmental needs have been addressed and completed. Every premature building itself imposes constraints on the Horace Williams tract and limits the Carolina North project’s ability to be a world-class center of research, education, housing and service to our university, towns, and state. An example of this ad hoc approach is the proposal for a model school site.
4. The UNC response did not comment on any of the specifics underlying the HWCC principles. We suggest that sometime during the Carolina North planning process, that the Carolina North plans be measured against the specific goals and strategies of the HWCC report.
5. The UNC response is silent on any specifics pertaining to the process of continuing engagement and cooperation for our mutual benefit. We are happy however that UNC has formed its Leadership Advisory Committee (LAC) that will further the process.
6. The HWCC report was crafted with several key assumptions. While UNC has responded to the principles developed under these assumptions, its response is silent on whether the assumptions are sound. We hope that the LAC will adopt these principles.
The HWCC provides these specific observations about the UNC response to HWCC
General Principle number 3: “Both the Town and the University need to recognize that there could very well be a point when the cumulative impacts of University and Town growth on our natural resources and our public facilities are such that no amount of mitigation would be possible and still retain the charm of the Town and the quality of life which both the citizens of the Town and the State of North Carolina expect from Chapel Hill.”
- The UNC response does not address the HWCC concern.
Development Management Principle number 1: “Manage development of Carolina North to minimize impacts on neighborhoods and the environment.”
- The response is overly general; our concerns are not acknowledged.
Neighborhood/Community Interface Principle number 1: “Planning for Carolina North shall address community needs for housing, schools, and other facilities.”
- The HWCC is happy that UNC will provide public school facilities, but is quite concerned about the ad hoc approach to building this facility. (See general observation number 3 above)
Fiscal Equity Principle number 1: “The University or State or Carolina North tenants shall bear the cost of Town services required by Carolina North so that Town residents do not subsidize those uses through their local taxes. The Carolina North development shall be either revenue positive or revenue neutral for the Town.”
- The Town needs to be reimbursed for infrastructure costs. The Town has requested that UNC as future developer pay an independent consultant to develop a fiscal equity model to estimate direct revenue and cost from the development.
Water and Sewer / Stormwater Management /Air Quality Principle number 3: “Ensure that Carolina North has no negative impact on the air quality of Chapel Hill.”
- The response is weak; no commitment is stated except to study the issue.
- Pre-development baselines should be established for air quality.
Natural Areas / Parks and Recreational Facilities principle 1: “Preserve in perpetuity the maximum amount of open space possible with a goal of preserving 75% of the Horace Williams property as stated by the University.”
- The response is weak, no commitment is stated. The ad hoc warning (general observation number 3 above) also applies here.
Natural Areas / Parks and Recreational Facilities principle 3: “Conduct and maintain an inventory of natural resources and use it as a guide for planning and development.”
- The response is somewhat weak; no commitment is made to gather this information at a level specific enough to use a baseline, or to report it.
Natural Areas / Parks and Recreational Facilities principle 4: “Follow sustainable site design principles and goals.”
- We applaud UNC for embracing sustainability. The HWCC has prepared a scope of work for the preparation of a baseline study of environmental resources.
Transportation and Land Use Principle number 1: “Carolina North will create minimal impact on traffic and will promote commuter safety. The Transportation Plan will be developed around a transit system including use of Chapel Hill Transit rather than single occupancy motor vehicles.”
- UNC’s participation in Chapel Hill Transit is invaluable. We hope and expect that their commitment to reducing single-occupancy car use at Carolina North equals their commitment to Chapel Hill Transit. However the UNC response here is vague, promising only to study the issue and balance it against near-term realities. We therefore anticipate a transportation plan to be in place before development plans for Carolina North are submitted. This is essential if Carolina North is in fact to be a transit-oriented development. We believe that parking must be substantially restricted to levels of the main campus or lower.
- We welcome the joint commitment by UNC, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro to launch a major transportation study of the impacts of Carolina North on northern Chapel Hill and the towns as a whole by the summer 2006 and complete it by summer, 2007.
Transportation and Land Use Principle number 3: “Retain existing zoning of OI-2 and rezone balance of property OI-2. Engage University officials in dialogue about the regulatory approach to the Horace Williams tract at the early stages of planning for Carolina North.”
[ORIGINAL MOESER LETTER] [PDF]
January 25, 2006 Kevin Foy, Mayor Town of Chapel Hill 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Chapel Hill, NC 27514-5705
I am pleased to transmit to you the University’s response to the Town’s Horace Williams Citizens Committee report, and I ask that you share it with your fellow Council members and with members of the committee. I believe we have a great deal of agreement on many of the report’s principles, not the least of which is a strong commitment to sustainability.
The HWCC report is proving useful in our planning for Carolina North. It is important to note, though, that our planning is still in the conceptual stage, so the attached document responds to the report’s general principles. I am certain that the report will be a helpful document for the leadership advisory committee that former Chapel Hill Mayor Ken Broun has agreed to chair.
I understand that community members are disappointed that we have not responded earlier to the report. Please know that our delay was not meant as disrespect. With the unsettled questions regarding the future of the Horace Williams Airport, our attention was diverted to finding an alternative for the MedAir operations of AHEC, and the details of the physical plan took a back seat to these considerations. Now that we have announced the Leadership Advisory Committee for planning Carolina North, our attention is again squarely on the Carolina North plan. The HWCC has produced a thoughtful report, and we look forward to continued dialogue on these issues.
HWCC response, pg. 2
A response to the Horace Williams Citizens Committee report Submitted January 25, 2006, to Kevin Foy, Mayor of Chapel Hill
by James Moeser, Chancellor, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
During a year-long effort ending in early 2004, the Town of Chapel Hill’s Horace Williams Citizens Committee (HWCC) did extensive work to complete its charge from the Town Council to “develop a set of Principles, including community interests and goals and objectives, to guide the Council’s deliberations with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill regarding the development” of Carolina North. In addition, the Town Council asked the HWCC to compare the principles, goals and strategies of the HWCC’s report to the University’s presentation on May 5, 2004, of its draft conceptual plan for Carolina North.
As an important step in moving forward with a cooperative and productive dialogue
between the Town and the University regarding the development of Carolina North, the
University carefully considered the HWCC’s report. First and foremost, the University
respects the time and effort put forth by citizen volunteers to analyze a project such as
Carolina North and to summarize a year-long effort into a well-organized and
The University’s primary reaction to this report is that the vast majority of the general
principles established by the HWCC are shared by the University. There are many more
areas of agreement than disagreement, and many of the points are remarkably similar to
those set forth in 2003 by the Carolina North advisory committee and its subcommittees,
which included a broad and diverse range of participants from inside and outside the
University. (Final reports from the subcommittees are available online at
The intent of the University’s Draft Conceptual Master Plan for Carolina North was not
to advance the specifics of infrastructure development but to express a vision that would
serve as a basis for thoughtful discussion and more detailed planning. In December 2005,
Kenneth S. Broun, a long-time member of the Chapel Hill community and a former
mayor, agreed to chair a leadership advisory committee. That committee will seek broad
community input for the planning for Carolina North, and guiding principles for
development, representing stakeholder interests, will emerge from this process. In the
meantime, the University provides the following brief discussion of the key principles in
the HWCC Report.
HWCC response, pg. 3
Principle 1: Carolina North shall adhere to sustainability principles as defined by the
Sustainable Development Task Force in its October 1998 Report.
The University fully embraces the principle that Carolina North should be a sustainable
project in the truest sense of the word. The University expects Carolina North to be a
model of sustainability, and we have begun examining principles that will help us meet
that goal. We have tried very hard to implement principles of sustainability on the Main
Campus and believe we have had success in many respects. In the Carolina North
Infrastructure Report of May 2003, the major recommendations of the subcommittee
included 11 sustainability principles for conserving natural resources (pg. 7). Social and
economic sustainability also are significant priorities. With this in mind, the University
has conducted an economic-impact study, available on the Carolina North website. We
need continually to reassess our efforts in planning for the future. We hope that the
leadership advisory committee will assist us in developing principles, specifically
applicable to Carolina North, that would include fiscal equity and other factors related to
long-term social and economic sustainability.
Principle 2: Development of the Horace Williams property shall benefit the University,
the towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, Orange County, and the surrounding areas, as
well as the State of North Carolina. The planning and execution of Carolina North shall
be a model of cooperation and mutual benefit of all stakeholders.
The University endorses this principle and looks to the leadership advisory committee
chaired by Ken Broun to initiate an open process in which the stakeholders will work
toward this common goal.
Principle 3: Both the Town and the University need to recognize that there could very
well be a point when the cumulative impacts of University and Town growth on our
natural resources and our public facilities are such that no amount of mitigation would
be possible and still retain the charm of the Town and the quality of life which both the
citizens of the Town and the State of North Carolina expect from Chapel Hill.
The University understands the charm of Carrboro and Chapel Hill, and the quality of life
here helps attract students, employees, alumni and visitors to UNC. The University has
always made a substantial contribution to this quality of life, and that contribution will
continue. Sustainability principles will help guide responsible development, enabling us
to balance this goal with our obligation to advance the University’s mission of teaching,
research and public service.
HWCC response, pg. 4
Development Management Principles
Principle 1: Manage development of Carolina North to minimize impacts on
neighborhoods and the environment.
This is an essential principle that can and should be considered in every aspect of the
planning for Carolina North. Of critical importance to both the University and the
community is establishing a reliable and understandable review system for the project
and its implementation. The leadership advisory committee established by Chancellor
Moeser will develop a process for moving forward with the planning and development of
Carolina North with this principle in mind.
Neighborhood / Community Interface
Principle 1. Planning for Carolina North shall address community needs for housing,
schools and other facilities.
While the primary purpose of Carolina North is to support the University’s mission of
teaching, research and service, a key to its long-term success will be the creation of a
setting that blends academic activities with housing, schools, businesses, retail services
and civic uses. The University has agreed to two school sites on the Carolina North
property, and one of the first projects envisioned for the property will be the innovative
First School, which will embody principles of early childhood education developed at
UNC. Carolina North will not house everyone who works there; nor will it solve all of
the housing problems in Carrboro and Chapel Hill. But it will help meet our employees’
need for housing—a large component of the community need.
Principle 2. Create a campus facility that is open, welcoming and part of the community
fabric while at the same time respecting the privacy and integrity of adjoining
The University fully supports this principle and will make every effort to embody it at
Principle 1. The University or State or Carolina North tenants shall bear the costs of
Town services required by Carolina North so that Town residents do not subsidize those
uses through their local taxes. The Carolina North development shall either be revenue
positive or revenue neutral for the Town.
The University is committed to working with the Town toward the goal of Carolina North
being revenue neutral for the Town. A key element of the planning effort must be
working cooperatively to identify the real costs and benefits and to ensure that they are
allocated fairly to all parties involved.
HWCC response, pg. 5
Water and Sewer / Stormwater Management / Air Quality
Principle 1. Assume a leadership position in sustainable water management and waste
water treatment and reuse.
The University’s commitment to be a model of sustainability embodies this principle.
The University expects to build upon its successes and improvements on the Main
Campus to help ensure this principle is realized at Carolina North.
Principle 2: Ensure that development of Carolina North results in no net increase in
stormwater discharge. Establish the stormwater requirements that were adopted for the
main campus by the Town Council on July 2, 2001, as the minimum standards for the
development of Carolina North.
The University expects to meet these objectives. In the Carolina North Infrastructure
Report of May 2003, one of the major recommendations of the subcommittee was to
“allow no net increase in volume of runoff” (pg. 7).
Principle 3: Ensure that Carolina North has no negative impact on the air quality of
The University’s commitment to be a model of sustainability will result in pursuing
various techniques to control and mitigate air-quality impacts from Carolina North. In the
Fall of 2005, the Town and University agreed to join together in the Community Carbon
Reduction program (CRed). As part of this program, UNC students and faculty are
developing an inventory of carbon dioxide releases from University operations and will
use this inventory to develop short, medium and long-term strategies for carbon
emissions reductions. These projects are being conducted under the guidance of the Vice
Chancellor’s Sustainability Advisory Committee, and they draw on the extensive work
the University has already done in bringing principles of sustainability and air-quality
management to the campus.
Natural Areas / Parks and Recreational Facilities
Principle 1. Preserve in perpetuity the maximum amount of open space possible with a
goal of preserving 75% of the Horace Williams property as stated by the University.
The University believes that open space and parks should be a part of any plan for
Carolina North. The University also has pledged to work with the State to protect
environmentally sensitive areas of Carolina North in perpetuity. However, we believe
that it is inappropriate to set a specific target percentage at this time.
Principle 2. Develop and maintain a network of trails and greenways at Carolina North.
The University is committed to this goal at Carolina North.
HWCC response, pg. 6
Principle 3. Conduct and maintain an inventory of natural resources and use it as a
guide for planning and development.
As the planning moves forward and achieves greater detail, the University agrees that this
information is essential. This principle is consistent with a recommendation of the
Carolina North Infrastructure Report (pg. 20).
Principle 4. Follow sustainable site design principles and goals.
The University agrees that this is an essential principle to make Carolina North a model
of sustainability. As part of its responsibilities, the leadership advisory committee will
consider and integrate sustainability as it recommends principles.
Transportation and Land Use Principles
Principle 1. Carolina North will create minimal impact on traffic and will promote
commuter safety. The Transportation Plan will be developed around a transit system
including the use of Chapel Hill transit rather than single occupancy motor vehicles.
As a majority partner in the Chapel Hill transit system, the University is fully committed
to working with the town, the region and the state to realize success in appropriate
transportation. The University now pays a substantial share of the operating costs of the
transit system, which serves Carrboro as well as Chapel Hill and UNC. We have reduced
the use of single-occupancy vehicles by initiating fare-free transit, van pools, and other
measures. We will build on this successful experience at Carolina North, which is
conceived of as a transit-friendly, walkable community with a multi-mode strategy for
transportation. The plan for Carolina North must balance near-term realities with longterm
achievable objectives. As the town and region become more transit-oriented, so will
Principle 2. Carolina North will comply with the town’s Comprehensive Plan.
The leadership advisory committee, which will include Town representatives, will help
ensure that principles outlined in the Comprehensive Plan inform the planning for
Principle 3. Retain existing zoning of OI-2 and re-zone balance of property OI-2. Engage
University officials in dialogue about the regulatory approach to the Horace Williams
tract of the early stage of planning for Carolina North.
A significant responsibility of the leadership advisory committee will be to gather
community input and relevant information about appropriate zoning for Carolina North.