2009 NRG Chapel Hill Candidate Forum

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

Thanks to Madeline Jefferson, Bob Henshaw, Julie McClintock, Janet Smith, Alan Snavely, Mickey Jo Sorrel and the rest of the membership of Neighborhoods For Responsible Growth (NRG) for both sponsoring the recent candidate forum and making the following video available to the wider community.

Also thanks to my neighbor (and former Chapel Hill Mayor) Jonathon Howes for moderating the event.



Quick technical note: the current video doesn’t support “quick search” but will start streaming right away.

Dec. 10th: The Density Discussion

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

In my application for the Council seat, I called again for Council to sponsor a thorough, wide-ranging and comprehensive community discussion on development density.

How high, how dense?

Last Spring, Council decided to end their pursuit of high density development zones. We need to restart that discussion. We should take the recent work on twisting RSSC into a palatable high density zone and start fresh with the density discussion.

Our community might not embrace high density, but if we’re going to allow high-density development to go forward civic duty demands we have a clear, honest and open discussion among not only Council and those developers wishing to use a new zone but the wider community.

We won’t have to wait on Council to initiate that discussion. Dec. 10th, Neighborhoods for Responsible Growth (NRG) is holding a forum meant to begin a community conversation on acceptable limits to density and growth.

Dear NRG neighbors and supporters:

Mark your calendars for December 10, 2008!

Chapel Hill 2020: where are we headed?

Neighborhoods for Responsible Growth will hold a public forum on growth, density, and the future vision for our community on the evening of Wednesday, December 10, 2008, in the Chapel Hill Town Council Chambers, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

As our community has grown, the need for a community-wide discussion on how we want our town to look has become acute. More and more citizens are expressing uncertainty and concern about what degree of density is most appropriate for our community, and where the best locations for it might be.

NRG believes that our region will develop best if it develops based on a comprehensive vision that is understood and endorsed by informed citizens. The goal of this forum is to kick off a community-wide discussion of these issues. NRG will be broadcasting more information as the agenda and speaker list firms up. But for now:

– Mark your calendar for this event

– Please forward this e-mail to any and all potentially interested friends and neighbors

– Please send any questions to NRG by return response to info@nrg nc.net

Thank you, and please watch for more details on this important event!

Julie McClintock and Kristina Peterson

Co-Chairs, NRG www.nrg-nc.net (email) info@nrg-nc.net

Like they say, mark your calendar for what promises to be an interesting event.

Election 2007: Neighborhoods for Responsible Growth

Saturday, October 13th, 2007

This year the NRG decided to vet the candidates via email. In 2005 they held interviews and presented the audio responses. Trying to be thorough, I went a bit overboard this year. Figuring no one would want to wade through 10 pages of answers, I tried to boil down this final response to the NRG.

In its Comprehensive Plan, Chapel Hill is committed both to denser urban development and to protection of existing neighborhoods. Do you see any conflict between these goals and what do you feel is the best way to achieve them?

There are trade-offs, thus conflicts between the goals of high density and neighborhood protection.

To start, in any discussion of density we need to establish the limits of growth. I’ve been using the concept of “carrying capacity” as a guide.

Carrying capacity is a multi-dimensional evaluation of an ecosystems ability to maintain a particular population. In biology, this usually means water, food and habitat. In Town, we need to add, for instance, the ability for to maintain a diverse and healthy socio-economic balance within our community. We all can’t live in million dollar condos or pay an extra couple hundred bucks in taxes each year.

We don’t currently assess density to that level of detail. I believe we should at least start thinking within those terms as it will help us create a more sustainable outcome.

Another general problem with our comprehensive plan is that our process for upgrading our goals as our understanding improves is broken.

We need to implement a continuous review process, as suggested by the former chair of the Planning Board, to review our goals in light of achievements to-date, successes and failures. Not only do we need to be more nimble in managing our Town’s comprehensive plan, we need to be much more inclusive in drawing upon our community’s expertise.

Three recent omissions in our planning process provide examples of where we need to improve.

(more…)

Carolina North: The Next Neighborhood For Responsible Growth Forum

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

The NRG is sponsoring a follow up forum on Carolina North August 29th, 7-8:30pm at the Chapel Hill Library.

The CHPL meeting space is quite a bit tighter so get there early.


Direct link to June NRG forum.

Dear Fellow Citizens:

Please join us for a public meeting on Carolina North Wednesday night, August 29, from 7:00-8:30, in the large meeting room downstairs at the Chapel Hill Public Library. This meeting will focus on the political and
regulatory process surrounding Carolina North, and how citizens can effectively give input.

UNC will propose a plan for Carolina North this October. Come learn how you can act to achieve the outcome that is best for our community. Our panel will include Town Manager Roger Stancil, Planning Department Head
J.B. Culpepper, a Chapel Hill Town Council member, and citizens experienced in public action.

As at our June 4 forum sponsored by NRG, we plan to reserve a large amount of time for questions and discussion.

See you there!

-Mike Collins, co-chair, Neighborhoods for Responsible Growth

The earlier forum was well-attended, as it appears Carolina North is about to get started, I hope our fellow citizens attention is as well focused.

Carolina North Forum: Another Perspective…The Video

Thursday, July 26th, 2007

June 4th, 2007, several local grassroot organizations sponsored a forum on Carolina North (Carolina North Forum: Another Perspective”).

It was an opportunity for folks within our community to ask questions and contribute suggestions on how best to address the challenges and potential rewards of UNC’s overflow campus.


Direct link to movie.

Mike Collins (pictured above with Julie McClintock), the Neighborhoods for Responsible Growth’s (NRG) “go to guy”, wrote a a nice column outlining that night’s goals for the Chapel Hill News

Imagine…

Imagine a thriving research community in the heart of Chapel Hill — a home for innovative technologies and business opportunities, a model of sustainability, self-sufficient, self-powered, a place of the future on a footprint small enough to preserve the surrounding 700 acres of woodlands and streams. One that merges seamlessly into the surrounding community, accessible by a number of transit modes, and with green spaces and amenities that draw citizens from everywhere.

Or…imagine a development the size of five Southpoint shopping malls, traditional buildings with massive parking lots, gridlock as people fill the roads on their way home to northern Orange, Alamance, and Chatham counties. Imagine more and more days with air pollution advisories. Imagine water shortages and increased taxes brought on by poor planning and lack of foresight.

I appreciate the following sponsoring organizations letting me lend a small hand to broadcast this interesting and informative forum to a wider audience.

Thank you.

Sponsors of the Carolina North forum included:

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