Chapel Hill residents enjoy our town’s vitality, diversity, good schools, natural beauty, college town character, and livable scale. It’s a good place to live, raise a family, and be in business. But Chapel Hill’s good qualities are threatened by new development that is not being managed to benefit the whole community.
Unless town government improves its guidance of development, we will be at risk for paralyzing traffic congestion, overcrowded schools, loss of affordable housing and shopping, and escalating taxes. We need a new direction to assure the livability of our town. CHALT invites you to work with us to put into practice the principles outlined by this platform.
CHALT aims to protect and improve what we love about our town, and serve as an unbiased resource for information on issues of importance to our community. We advocate for policies and leadership that will sustain and enhance the qualities that make Chapel Hill a wonderful place to live.
Protect and Improve What We Value About Our Town
1. Support the high quality of Chapel Hill schools, among the town’s most important assets. Assure that growth does not outpace the availability of quality school buildings and teachers.
2. Protect and enhance the quality of our streams, natural landscapes, parks, recreational trails and wildlife habitats.
3. Protect the quality of life in Chapel Hill’s residential neighborhoods, where we live and raise our children.
4. Make it easier for citizens to get information about town government. Heed the considered advice of town-appointed boards and advisory groups.
5. Keep faithful to our character as a tree-lined university town with a diversity of residents, locally owned businesses and buildings at a comfortable human scale.
Solve Traffic and Transit Problems
1. Increase affordable public transit, e.g. bus service through out the county and region.
2. Ensure that new development does not worsen traffic congestion by building in needed infrastructure.
3. Use traffic models to project the town-wide traffic impacts of development, instead of piecemeal planning.
4. Provide safe routes to bike and walk. Implement the bike plan.
5. Include the cost of associated traffic and transit improvements in the benefit-cost evaluation of proposed developments.
6. Improve access to parking and bus transit to make Chapel Hill more convenient for residents and more economically attractive.
Maintain High Standards for New Development
1. Require new development to pay its own way. Favor development that strengthens town finances by generating more tax revenues than taxpayer costs. Use an economic model to estimate the costs new development will impose on the town and the new tax revenues it will generate.
2. Require new development to follow principles of good urban design in order to create a coherent, attractive, and vital public realm. Solicit design guidelines from local experts and advisory boards.
3. Conduct future-conditions floodplain mapping as practiced by other N.C. cities to assure that new development does not make flooding problems worse.
Promote Housing, Work, and Shopping for Residents of All Income Levels
1. Create effective incentives and requirements to maintain and increase the town’s stock of housing for those who work in Chapel Hill and for those with moderate incomes.
2. Change current policies and zoning, which are causing rapid elimination of housing for moderate income families.
3. Recruit commercial, research and light industrial enterprises that can provide a range of employment opportunities and new tax revenues greater than the accompanying increases in town costs.
4. Assure that the town’s retail mix includes stores that provide everyday necessities at moderate prices, rather than the current trend toward upscale retail.
5. Protect thriving, locally owned businesses from being driven out.
Spend Our Money Wisely
1. Make provision of basic services and maintenance of infrastructure the highest town spending priority.
2. Begin annual funding for town obligations and necessary services, such as retired employee health costs and replacement of old buses, rather than pushing these costs off into the future.
3. Re-examine and reverse town funding of expensive and open-ended consultant contracts and of costly new administrative positions.
4. Work with UNC to minimize further removal of property from the town’s tax base and to maintain an appropriate level of in-lieu-of tax payments for town services to the university.
5. Hold budget workshops to improve citizen understanding of and participation in budget decisions.
Note: The CHALT platform was developed and finalized in December 2014 by interested citizens in numerous meetings which reached a consensus. The platform will evolve as issues arise and new people join our cause.