What is OUR TOWN?
Our blog advocates for a future that will honor and protect Chapel Hill’s small town character, longstanding values of inclusion and environmental stewardship, and commitment to our public schools and quality of life.
The OUR TOWN Blog grew out of Chapel Hill citizens’ frustrating experiences during the process of trying to craft a new Comprehensive Plan for the Town in June 2012. Despite the Town government’s broad outreach effort, the final plan, “Chapel Hill 2020,” did not incorporate the vision and action steps endorsed by the majority of town citizens who attended most of the planning meetings.
Our trust in our staff and Town leaders diminished further during subsequent Town-led planning efforts for Central West, Ephesus-Fordham and Obey Creek. In each of these planning processes, we witnessed instances where citizens’ well-researched recommendations were ignored. Town leaders and staff consistently promoted an urban model of high-rise, high-density development opposed by most citizens. Yet they have not articulated how the town as a whole will benefit. Adding millions of square feet of new buildings will bring worse traffic to our already-congested roads and overwhelm our impaired streams and inadequate stormwater facilities. The alleged fiscal benefits of high-density development are also doubtful, as every cost benefit analysis conducted by the Town has shown that the costs associated with new growth—especially residential growth—will exceed the new revenues growth may generate.
Citizen Action Recent actions taken by citizens