points-of-order

A look at the week ahead: June 20, 2022

The local governing bodies are winding down their work before the summer recess, but there are still a few key items taking place this week, June 20-24, 2022. Two annual budgets are on track to be approved, and the Chapel Hill Town Council is getting an update about one of its many ongoing planning projects.

Chapel Hill Town Council

The Chapel Hill Town Council’s last regular meeting took place last week, as the budget has been adopted and there are no urgent requests for development approval on the horizon. But Council does have a special workshop coming up this Tuesday (June 19) at 4:30 pm, and it’s an important one—it’s the Council’s first official briefing about the new “Complete Communities” study that recently kicked off.

To be clear, this is not the long-delayed rewrite of the Land Use Management Ordinance (LUMO)—that’s a separate project taking place now. It’s also not the Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) study examining development around future stations along the future North-South Bus Rapid Transit (NS BRT) line; that’s a separate project that’s being conducted jointly with the LUMO rewrite effort. Instead, this is a third planning project that is intended to help the Town build complete communities. The draft presentation that was prepared for the workshop emphasizes the possibility for “transformative” change, and that the project is intended to help build consensus about where and how to build communities, and to identify a viable pilot project.

How does the Complete Communities study relate to the LUMO rewrite and the TOD study, and how are these different from the Charting Our Future project which updated the Town’s Future Land Use Map (originally established as part of the adoption of Chapel Hill 2020, the Town’s comprehensive plan). Great question! We at Triangle Blog Blog are still trying to figure out how all the moving pieces relate. We’re working to put together some materials to help make sense of it all.

You can view the agenda for this virtual meeting, access the Zoom here to watch, and it’s also streamed on the Town’s YouTube channel. But remember, the meeting is prerecorded and there’s no public comment. Thus, we recommend that on Tuesday afternoon you sign up for and join us for Next’s A Conversation on Housing with Jenny Schuetz, author of Fixer-Upper: How to Repair America’s Broken Housing Systems. This event starts on Tuesday at 5 pm. Register here for the talk and you can purchase the book at Epilogue Books.

Carrboro Town Council

The Carrboro Town Council has scheduled what likely will be its last meeting of the spring on Tuesday, June 21 at 7 pm in person at Carrboro Town Hall, although you can also stream the meeting on YouTube. The agenda (also see agenda packet, and agenda link) includes one very big item—discussion and potential approval of the Town’s Fiscal Year 2022-23 budget. The Council will also:

Orange County

Orange County is holding two meetings this week. The first is a business meeting that takes place on Tuesday, June 21 in the Whitted Meeting Room at 300 West Tyron Street in Hillsborough; it can be streamed as well. As with Carrboro, the key item on the agenda is adoption of the County’s Fiscal Year 2022-23 budget. The commissioners are also expected to:

  • Accept the proposed ten-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) and approve $40 million in CIP projects for the next fiscal year.
  • Revise the agreement with North State Communications that is intended to deploy fiber optic broadband to unserved locations in the county. You’ll be stunned to know that the good guys at Spectrum Communications claimed that many of the “unserved” locations were actually served by Spectrum, and thus the grant funds could not be used to compete with Spectrum’s diligent efforts to provide quality service to residents of the county. Of course, the only way to determine whether addresses are “served” by Spectrum is to individually search for them on Spectrum’s website, one-by-one. Anyhow, county, Spectrum, and North State staff did the work and determined that 3,528 addresses were in fact served, reducing the number of households who will be helped by the project from 9,898 to 6,370. So, the contract is amended to reflect that fact, but also expands the service area beyond the preexisting set of households determined to be “unserved” so that those additional addresses will, in most cases, be automatically added to the service list as they’re discovered.

The second is the BOCC’s annual retreat, which takes place from 9 am until 4 pm on Wednesday (June 23) at the Agricultural center on Highway 70 in Hillsborough. Here’s the agenda, and if you want to watch you’ll need to drive there, as it’s apparently not being streamed or televised.