Monday, June 04, 2007

NRG Community Forum on Carolina North

Neighborhoods for Responsible Growth hosted an informative forum tonight on Carolina North. "This forum is an example of democracy in action," said Mike Collins as it got under way. It was great to see so many folks out to express their interests. We elected leaders need to work with citizens to articulate what it is that we need to further the town's interest as the the process of developing this huge section our community goes forward.

Held less than a week after UNC's latest public information meetings on the development, this session was important because it allowed citizens to talk to each other about what the town's goals should be for a development on 1,000 acres in the middle of Chapel Hill.

Over two hours of discussion, several themes emerged, as summarized by Collins:

Citizens need to be out ahead. They can lead this effort by giving their input to their local government leaders.

UNC has its vision, but we have to articulate through our governments what we want.

The time line that the UNC Board of Trustees has proposed, with a concept plan coming to the Chapel Hill Town Council in October 2007, is dubious. We have to decide as a community if that schedule works for us. Studies on fiscal equity, transit, etc. need to be completed before we move forward.

This will be a lengthy process if the town goes through its normal paces and takes the proper amount of time. Cutting corners is not in the interest of our community.

The uncertainty that many citizens feel about what it is that we want is an issue. We must think about what we want for the town.

Many thanks to NRG for sponsoring this conversation. Collins' other point was very true: Two hours is a good start, but not nearly enough time to flesh out the complexities of what's before us. I hope there will be more community conversations like this.

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