We are publishing statements made during the May 24, 2023 public hearing on the Town’s housing choices proposal.

My name is Kathy Kaufman and I am representing the Orange-Chatham Group of the Sierra Club in place of our chair, Melissa McCullough, who is at the Green Tie Awards Dinner in Raleigh.

I want to remind you that Melissa sent you our more detailed letter of support for the housing choice changes to the LUMO last week, noting how national Sierra Club policy advocates for local governments to increase the supply of missing middle housing using existing urban infrastructure.

We want to emphasize how the densification of housing to allow less driving is a critical environmental and climate issue.

Climate experts point out that:

  • The largest fraction of climate pollution is from transportation
  • AND we CANNOT address driving mileage unless we fix the land use patterns that made it necessary to have a car to go anywhere, i.e. SPRAWL.

Sprawl has meant:

  • destroying forest, farmland, and habitat for roads, highways, strip malls and low-density housing
  • highways that fueled growth ever outward and which intentionally destroyed neighborhoods, and
  • separating community residents, which destroyed social capital that helps people and society thrive.

This LUMO change is a small but essential step, but also..

  • We need to pair it with good transit systems and accessible infrastructure for walking, biking, and rolling – BOTH of which are more affordable with increased density
  • Housing turnover takes time, we’ve seen that elsewhere, but we need to make places where our kids, our teachers and our town workers can afford to live.
  • And we will save more trees overall by densifying within town to prevent sprawl outward from town.

In conclusion, the Sierra Club supports the Housing Choice LUMO change to lessen Chapel Hill’s Climate footprint, build climate resilience and promote housing equity.

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