Platform - Democracy (restore public input to the development process)

Details

 

Citizen and advisory board recommendations have been ignored.

Despite a 2-3 year collaborative process with citizens to decide on changes to the Ephesus-Fordham (EF) area, the Town Council chose not to adopt the Advisory Board and citizen recommendations. 

Examples:

The EF plan which was approved (6-3) by the Council on May 12, 2014 permits 7 story buildings; however, the Small Area Plan that the public and staff approved in 2011 permitted nothing higher than 5 stories.  Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, Lee Storrow, Donna Bell, Sally Greene, Maria Palmer, and George Cianciolo were the yes votes.  Matt Czajkowski, Jim Ward, and Ed Harrison were the no votes.

A petition with 850 signatures asking for an improved Form Based Code (FBC) was ignored on May 12, 2014.

The Council approved the selling of 8.5 acres of Town property (worth $ 2M) for $ 100 without a public hearing.

In 2014, the Town Council restructured planning boards to increase the influence of the "Growth Machine" (special business interests who want Chapel Hill to grow at a fast rate).  They asked for everyone's resignation and rebuilt each board from scratch.

Historically Chapel Hill has had a land use plan which governs zoning.  The Town is departing from that and is now using other means for rezoning which has development agreements and Form Based Code (FBC).  The Council considers the  Special Use Permit (SUP) process as being too onerous and too time-consuming, but it had environment and energy protections along with ample public review.   Not using SUP has other negatives.

Version of Form Based Code (FBC) to be rolled out for EF lacks the SUP safety net.  It also doesn't provide for ample parking.  Click here for an example.

Current FBC reduces public feedback to just cosmetic issues and via the Community Design Commission (CDC).

 

Proposed Solutions

  1. Embrace rather than erase public input.

  2. Restore public feedback to the development process and ensure that it can address meaningful issues. 

 

 

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