A look at the week ahead: May 23, 2022

Here is a look at some of the local government meetings scheduled for this week, May 23-27, 2022:

Chapel Hill Town Council

The Chapel Hill Town Council will be holding a virtual work session on Wednesday (May 25) at 6:30 pm — view the agenda hereaccess the Zoom here if you want to comment, and it’s also streamed on the Town’s YouTube channel. The agenda is light with only two items, but both are important:

  • Council will get an update from the Booker Creek Working Group. The working group was formed last May after a large number of citizens protested plans to build flood storage facilities at locations throughout the Booker Creek Watershed. (The water shed encompasses the eastern part of Chapel Hill, including the lands along the Booker Creek Trail.) These flood storage projects were the recommendation of a Subwatershed Study which was initiated in 2015 and issued its final report in 2018. While the first project under the watershed study moved ahead without much controversy (the Booker Creek Basin Park near Eastgate), residents were concerned about the impacts of this next phase on the forests in the vicinity of the Booker Creek Trail. Because of the controversy, the town charged this new working group essentially with figuring out how to reduce flooding and improve water quality in a way that minimizes the impacts that community members found objectionable. The working group’s tentative recommendations are to initiate a green infrastructure grant program, trial a habitation restoration demonstration project, develop a “cost effective flood damage reduction program,” and focus on protection of bottomland forests. Good ideas all, but it remains to be seen if they are significant enough to actually reduce flooding. Agendas and notes from prior meetings are available on the working group’s website.
  • Council members will continue discussion of the town’s proposed budget. You can read some of the public comment and council member feedback from last Wednesday’s council meeting and public hearing on the budget at our TriBlogBlog live blog (say that ten times fast).

Carrboro Town Council

The Carrboro Town Council will meet in person at Carrboro Town Hall on Tuesday (May 24) at 7 pm, and the meeting can be streamed on YouTube. Hare are the highlights of a packed agenda:

  • There will be a public hearing for the ArtsCenter’s request for a special use permit to renovate and use the building at 400 Roberson Street, right off of downtown. With the proposal for the ArtsCenter to remain in downtown Carrboro, and construction of the new library beginning shortly, downtown Carrboro is going to be the place to see and be seen.
  • The Town Manager will present the manager’s recommended budget for Fiscal Year 2022-2023 and set a public hearing for June 7. The budget will be available at this site at some point, but it’s not there yet.
  • Finally, Council will discuss plans for use of the funds distributed by the federal government through the American Rescue Plan Act.

Orange County

It will be a busy week for Orange County commissioners, who will be holding two meetings . Both will take place at the Whitted Meeting Room at 300 West Tyron Street in Hillsborough and can also be streamed online.

On Tuesday (May 24) the commissioners will be holding a business meeting. Key items on the agenda include:

  • A public hearing on an incentive program for Well Dot, Inc., a health sciences company which announced in November 2019 that it would be developing an operations center in Chapel Hill, with financial support from the state. In 2020, the Town of Chapel Hill approved an incentive agreement totaling $900,000 over eight years assuming the company hits benchmarks regarding job creation. As further incentive, Orange County is proposing leasing space that it owns in downtown Chapel Hill, at 501 and 503 West Franklin and 108 S. Roberson, and also offers Well Dot up to $2 million to “offset facility development and remodeling costs.”
  • A proposal to endorse the County-Wide Manufactured Homes Action Plan. The plan was developed in response to the increasing vulnerability facing manufactured home owners in the county, particularly those living on high-value land within Chapel Hill. Most recently, the Chapel Hill Town Council approved a development proposal to construct a self-storage facility at 1200 MLK Jr. Blvd., coupled with the developers promise to not close the manufactured housing development on part of the site. The Plan is part of a multi-jurisdictional strategy to protect and preserve existing communities and protect their residents.
  • Changes to the Longtime Homeowners Assistance program, which the commissioners reauthorized for a second year earlier this month. The program helps Orange County residents who have lived in their homes for at least 10 years, experienced a tax increase due to the tax reevaluation last year, and earn no more than 80 precent of the area median income. The proposed revisions would increase the minimum award amount, and cover more of the total tax bill for even lower-income residents.

The second meeting is a budget discussion, with Durham Tech and various county departments.

 

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