I am writing in response to the recent guest column by Chapel Hill Planning Commission Vice Chair Amy Ryan (CHN, bit.ly/1AD3RqC). I think Ms. Ryan has a compelling vision of what Obey Creek could be and how it could benefit local residents. While I support development at Obey, I do not support the plan as it is currently proposed.
I hope to see the planning process focus on creating a development that better mirrors Southern Village. I also feel strongly that size, in terms of height and density, need to be considered at the outset. Recent analyses project traffic increases that would result in significant queuing issues on sides streets including Dogwood Acres, Culbreth Road and Market Street, if the current development plan is realized. As a Southern Village resident, this will affect me and my family several times a day and it is not a trade-off that I am willing to make.
With thoughtful consideration of the scale of this project, I believe we can achieve a result that better minimizes traffic impacts and ensures a good complement to Southern Village while still achieving Ms. Ryan’s overall vision.
What’s holding us back?
This coming weekend, my husband, my son and I are heading to Greenville, S.C. for a soccer tournament. Typically, this is not how I want to spend my entire weekend. But I have to admit I’m excited about this trip. Greenville has become a favorite place to visit for my family.
I believe Greenville should serve as a guide for the Chapel Hill and Carrboro communities. Greenville has followed a specific plan for bettering their community, specifically their downtown area, and it’s working.
Greenville’s successful alliances with public/private investments have led to ongoing revitalization efforts. And now when you visit Greenville’s downtown, you experience a vibrant, fun, engaging area that is chock full of shops, restaurants and beautifully renovated historic buildings. Last spring, when we were in Greenville for another soccer tournament, the downtown was bustling with people due to an outdoor festival. The festival included multiple food vendors (playing nicely with the existing restaurants … and both were seeing lots of customers), adult beverage vendors and a fabulous band that played for hours. My understanding from the locals was that this takes place on a regular basis.
It made me wonder why it’s taking so long for us to foster this kind of environment in our own community? What is holding us back? Greenville’s government attributes their success to “a plan and a commitment by public and private partners to sustain an environment which creates dynamic opportunities for office, entertainment, dining, residential and retail.”
I encourage our local governments and citizens to come together and collaborate on ways we might emulate this type of “community” in our own backyard.
Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce board member
Regarding David Schwartz’s guest column “Growth machine on full throttle,” (CHN, bit.ly/1u1rllJ)
The growth-machine idea is to analyze how capitalist development actually works in local places, especially U.S. cities and towns. This provides insights about how to structure the debates and evaluate the trade-offs so as to maximize social and environmental concerns. Of course, if local leaders and citizens have no interest in social, economic, and environmental justice, there is NO reason to study Molotch, or read the essay in the Chapel Hill News.
Altha Jane Cravey
Regarding David Schwartz’s guest column “Growth machine on full throttle,” (CHN, http://bit.ly/1u1rllJ)
Development and change are tough issues. I offer only that I’m fond of Glen Lennox Shopping Center. As a student in the ’70s, I enjoyed visits to the Colonial Store there, and, I believe, the Gulf Station. During my senior year, Jonas Kessing, son of Adm. Kessing who ran a WWII naval program at UNC, owned the Glen-Lennox Dairy Bar and let me run a tab – which was much appreciated.
New narrative needed
Given the recurrent athletic and academic scandals, UNC-Chapel Hill has become the butt-of-a-joke across the state. How do you change this narrative?
Remember the Tylenol scare and Johnson & Johnson’s response to it. They created a new narrative by doing something courageous and right. It’s up to you now, UNC-Chapel Hill, to do something that replaces the current negative narrative with a positive one.”
Michael H. Hoppe