Hoo boy. It’s going to be a long night and we’re going to be here for all. of. it. Hold onto your hats! It’s time for a Triangle Blog Blog Live Live Blog Blog. We’re rotating hosts but Mel is up first.

It’s 6:38 and people are trickling in. Looks like it’s going to be a really fun night! Why is everyone looking so glum?

We’ll be back at 7pm sharp!

(If you’re just joining us, we’re discussing missing middle housing.)

I should have worn a pocket square. (I feel like there should be a red carpet and someone asking ‘Who are you wearing?’ Everyone is very well dressed. Except your blogging host, who is wearing Old Navy casual leggings and a Triangle Blog Blog shirt.)

Five public hearings this evening. Budget, public hearing on housing choices, Eastowne Medical, Barbee Chapel, Glen Lenox. Advisory boards.

Proclamations first: Public Works up first. It’s Public Works Week in Chapel Hill! It’s Period Poverty Awareness Week. Here’s what the Diaper Bank of NC is doing.Consider donating to the Diaper Bank. It’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Month.  It’s also National Tap Dance Day, tomorrow.

They are not tap-dancing, just accepting the proclamation. This is a great disappointment for those of us who thought we were able to see dance. We are encouraged to tap dance tomorrow.

Standing ovation for the tap dancers. Still. No. Tapping.

Updates from state legislator: Mayor now talking about a state bill to take away etj authority (which was dialed back this afternoon). Downtown mobility plan meeting tomorrow! Pride parade. Gun violence rally. Council will meet on June 2 at the library for economic chat.

David Adams: talking about Legion property. Wants to preserve pond. Upset that the council hasn’t done anything to land yet. (They voted in December.) (The dam in the pond could kill someone.)

NC Teens for Abortion Access – encourage participation and social action for Carolina Abortion Fund.

Bill Brashear: Also pond. (Here’s the report on the dam that says it’s super duper dangerous!)

Consent agenda. Bam! 2 seconds. Moving on.

Opening budget hearing for FY2024. Interim Town Manager Chris Blue. Beautiful black and white slides. Simple. Complex. Nicely done. Has provided answers to 43 detailed questions from Council. Wants to bring budget back on June 2.

Laura Wells: Speaking on behalf of Orange County Affordable Housing Coalition. Lot of complex needs in community. Coalition wants to thank Council for part of budget for 1 penny on tax rate for affordable housing. Coalition wants to increase to 2 cents. (See recent housing market assessment!)

Rick Cherry: Firefighter. Is appreciative of council and their funding decisions for firefighting (staffing, equipment, positions.)

Danielle Berman: Thanks council for support of CHT: https://communityhometrust.org/

Searing doesn’t like the budget. Doesn’t like tax increases. Seems to be making a speech. Complaining about length of agenda. Complaining. Complaining.

Amy Ryan: Recession in 2008. Austere budget. Inflation. A lot of shocks. Five year budget strategy is going to help with longer term needs. Keep values in mind.

Mayor Pam: Did a great job spending APRA funds to do some one-time projects. We are looking long term.

Camille Berry: Went to fire department today. Talked about a recent accident where two people died in which equipment was not sufficient. We have been frugal, with good reason. We have opportunity to turn and address hemorrhaging and what we’re suffering. We cannot continue to tax our staff by not taxing what we need to from our residents. This is not irresponsible investment.

Jess: Take exception to repeated mantra that we’ve been irresponsible from Searing. We can fall prey to simple messages that sound scary. We are not the highest tax county in the SE: that’s Falls Church.  Taking a kernel of truth and scaring people is offensive. It’s happening here. It’s happening across the country. It’s old tactics.

We’re onto housing choices. Mayor Pam says: This is not the only way to communicate. You can email. You can connect with them in many ways.

Anya and Tas from Planning are up. They’ve done like 10,000 neighborhood and council meetings, and they’ve done an excellent job. They are discussing all of their outreach. It’s a lot! (Our write-up of what they’re discussing.) Searing completely ignored the presentation, which was really rude!

We’re hearing people are bailing because the parking lot is full.

Mayor mentions that the state legislation allows for ADUs of any size, as long as it’s one sq. foot smaller. (This bill passed 103-6 in the house.)

Jess Anderson: Can we have a design book? How long would it take?

Tas: We’re looking into that. Six months, incredibly optimistically. That could factor into effective date for changes.

Searing, despite having heard this presentation many, many times over five or six months, is asking clarifying questions because he doesn’t understand it. (This is a strategy he often uses to litigate the proceedings like he’s in a courtroom drama.)

Amy Ryan: Wants some more explanation for the report that was issued.

Tas: We can do that!

TBB: Sweet!

Public comments! LETS DO THIS. GET IN THE RING GET IN THERE GO GO GO. 42 speakers.

Naomi Slifkin: Don’t call me exclusionary. I’m opposed. I just want to exclude developers.

Kathy Kaufman: Rep’ing Sierra Club. Sierra Club supports this nationally. Sierra Club supports this locally. This is a climate issue. We cannot address carbon without addressing sprawl. Kids and teachers should be able to live here. Will save more trees with density and not sprawling outwards. Sierra Club has long been against sprawl, but they’ve changed their mind about what causes it.

David Adams, encore: Save Chapel Hill. (From who?) Thinks we’re moving too fast.

Martin Johnson: Supports it!

Don Liner: Something about a flawed study about duplexes. “Multi family near neighborhoods” Are they not part of neighborhoods!?

Tyler Curtain: Professor at UNC. Has lived in a triplex in Durham. 20 years ago, needed to find a place to live that was affordable in CH. Couldn’t find a comparable place in CH biking distance to UNC. Could only afford to live in CH once he got married. His younger colleagues can find no such housing – live in Pittsboro, Durham, Raleigh. Necessary to add for thriving community and university. Wants to see new colleagues live here now.

Edward Marshall:  1. congratulates council for dividing the community. Wants to make four points. Over time.

Michael Beauregard: Graduate student at UNC. Everything he’s learned points to this good idea. Needs walkability. Was pushed out of CH. Rents in Carrboro. Would prefer students in the future don’t have to spend all of their income. New units means less competition. Please support amendment.

Robin Langdon: Doesn’t support text amendments. Doesn’t want to be the subject of a caustic blog post. (For the record, we have never written about Robin Langdon and had to look up how to spell her name.) Wants to hire Dispute Settlement Center?

Laura Wells: Urges vote yes. Concerned CH is only the wealthy can live. Teachers commute from great distances. Gentle density helps connect communities – lets people live near walkable transit and amenities. Diversity in housing will create more diversity in who can live here.

Ken Brooks: Doesn’t think it will work. Supply and demand. Wants people to move to West Cary. Quotes Joni Mitchell.

Jon Wallace: Public health researcher. Affordable housing is a structural barrier to health and well-being.  Enthusiastically supports text amendments.

Tom Heffner: Repping Preservation Chapel Hill. They don’t like this. (Our piece on this.) Preservation Chapel Hill founded 50 years. What happened 55 years ago? https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/aboutfheo/hist

Maria Palmer: Supports. Tried to implement dual language – was turned down by schools.

Ronni Booth: Loves that council listens to feedback. Wants to bring community together. We need to solve for needs. Wants to listen to learn. Appreciates diverse perspectives. Wants to scope the project. Wants to know if we can slow it down. Phase it out.

Mei-Yen Ireland: Grew up in CH. Moved away. Came back.  Supports housing choices. Sees it as aligned with community values. Rented for first ten years. Proposal makes sure we can support small families. We live near my mom. Sees housing choices to create opportunities for multi-generational families.

Norm Rosen: 31 years lived here. Doesn’t support it. Wants to share anecdotes. “fundamental change to the character of our neighborhood.” Wants guardrails.

Clarke Martin: Attorney. Favors this amendment. Lives in historic district. Only reason lives in Chapel Hill is because she lives in a house that her family has owned for multi-generations. Two lawyers, one dog, can’t afford to live in Chapel Hill. We want to see more people like us – lesser and greater means, raising their kids here.

Ann Hartley: doesn’t question need for fulfilling housing. Thinks there will be unintended consequences.

My fingers hurt. I think we’re half way through. Please donate to the Blog Blog so we can continue to expand our work.

JD Xerri: Attorney in Chapel Hill. Quotes a nice quote about neighbors. Lot of postulating about what Chapel Hill is. The people make it. Not the bricks, not the mortar. So many people who fall in love with this place cannot live here. Wants to share joy of Chapel Hill with others. Let’s actively seek more neighbors.

Sean Murphy: Chair of Historic District Commssion. Doesn’t want this. (Our coverage of this: https://triangleblogblog.com/2023/05/12/housing-for-thee-maybe-but-not-for-me-the-historic-district-commission-weighs-in-on-missing-middle/) Apparently chairs of commissions don’t have time limits! This is long! (It was also submitted as a lengthy letter!)

Christian Matthaeus: Has young kids. Two of his children are lifelong residents of CH. Strong support for text amendments. Shares personal story. Wants to build homes in Chapel Hill that strengthen bonds and town.

Susan Smith: Lived here for 34 years. Could afford home in 1989. Thinks it’s important how long people have lived in Chapel Hill. Wants council to find tracts of land to contribute to infill.

David Anderson: Supports it. Wants his kids to be able to afford to live near them. Chapel Hill doesn’t give that to them. People with JDs MDs and PhDs can’t afford to live here.

Stephanie Greenberg: Wants green space. Hates high prices. Unfair to her community. Not safe. Her grandchildren walk to school?

Sue Hunter: Thanks for considering. Supports text amendments. Wants to see barriers removed. Wants opportunities to create housing on her property. Thanks them for time and service.

Breckany Eckhardt: Doesnt like new apartments. She’s counted units. Has done a lot of counting. Doesn’t like property tax increases. She is sitting in traffic all day?

Anne Gordon: Spring Glen, mixed age and community. Few could afford to live here if it didn’t exist. Exclusionary zoning affects all. People who work in our community can’t afford to live here. Catastrophic driving shortages for school buses.

Erin: Lives in Spring Glen. Loves being able to walk and bike, uses buses. We are excited about raising kids here. Voice support for wider variety of housing types.

Lauren Rosenfeld: Fresh eyes on Chapel Hill. Wonderful neighborhood. Neighborhood is not economically and racially diverse. Inequity is a result of unjust policies. We fix inequity by fixing our policies. Asking policies to stay the same is asking for more of the same.

Margaret Olsen: Lived in Cedar Hills for 8 years. Vegetable garden lead for Estes Hills. Family is a foster family. Deeply invested in Chapel Hill. All of those inform what I’m saying. I want my kids teaechers to be able to bike to school like we can. Housing should not be another burden. I am not afraid of duplexes in my neighborhood. I welcome them. My house has doubled in price since we moved here eight years ago. That’s not a good things. I don’t want live in a community where my family barely made it in the door before we close the gates.

Abby Parcell: Cannot afford home here. Grateful for gentle density. I rent a duplex. That has made it possible for me to live here.

Patrick Hemming: Grew up in town with diverse economic backgrounds. Loves his neighborhood. People who want to move here are moving far away from here. This is a big national problem. This text amendment squares with our community values.

Kristie Mather: How does allowing others to live with us have an impact on is? Disturbed by language “people we want to attract to Chapel Hill.” I’m a single mom. None of the reasons given are reasons for continuing inaction. Do it.

Dan Levine: Colony Woods, where I live, is sprawl. Built in 60s and 70s. Developer set minimum sizes. Calls on council to make good policy decisions. Do it.

Courtney Sears: Lives in Colony Woods. Teacher. Lives where I work. Living where you work strengthens communities. Do it.

Mark Foskey: Grew up here. Heard unintended consequences. We’re currently living with those unintended consequences from decades ago. We need to change those policies. We’re one of the slowest growing towns in the Triangle. Do it.

Stephen Whitlow: Loves mid-century modern design. Supports proposal.  (We’re going to reprint Stephen’s comments tomorrow.) Do it.

Theodore Nollert: Likes the proposal.  (We’ll reprint his comments.) Do it.

Jasmine Davidson: Do it. Long commutes are awful. Allowing more housing will allow more people to live closer to work.

Carolyn Klamm: In support of this policy. Must remove restrictions. Sustainable. Do it.

Aaron Nelson: Chamber of Commerce. (Summary: Do it.)

we’re going to end it here. (There’s a lot more of this meeting to go but we need a break.) See you tomorrow for our summary!

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