A little big
I opened my Chapel Hill News on Sunday, saw the picture of Amity Station and thought, “Oh, good, the medical campus is getting a cool new building.”
Then I read the text to find out the building was being proposed for Rosemary Street.
Maybe it is a little big.
How else transit?
Much appreciation to Travis Clayton and Molly DeMarco for their important information about the cost advantage to municipalities of urban, multi-family development (CHN, March 21). It is critical that we understand their point. High-rise residential development is necessary to support all the new commercial we’ve been clamoring for; it is cheaper to build, cheaper to service, and delivers much greater tax revenue than the suburban variety that predominates in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.
Furthermore, an abundance of dense, multifamily residence is an essential ingredient of urban fabric that supports increased walkability and public transit availability, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The canard that no form of residential development pays for itself is brought to bear in every conversation we have about new development, in order to reduce the density and number of units. “Increasing traffic” is another club often wielded – yet, how else can we get more transit without the rooftops to sustain the cost?
Terri Buckner’s Sunday editorial laments that newer, higher-intensity development threatens the community life of its neighbors (CHN, March 21). Whether or not this is demonstrably true, so long as these kinds of arguments are used successfully we only prolong having high property taxes, our lack of affordable housing, our dependence on the automobile and our high per-capita GHG emissions.
As long as we continue to entertain the question of whether to increase density and building height we delay focusing on the very significant issue Ms. Buckner and others constantly raise. Accepting that higher density and taller buildings are the necessary instruments of the most sustainable form of human settlement – how do we go about making it livable? Form-based zoning codes might help, but apparently the ones recently created in Chapel Hill only scratch the surface of producing places we might like to live in, and next to.
Blink of an eye
I am writing to express concern about the Amity Station project (CHN, March 21). I understand the desire to continue to grow the town, but I am wondering if the pace of construction is getting a little out of hand.
140 West Franklin and the Shortbread Lofts have only recently been completed, and I thought University Square was about to be demolished any day now. It just seems the amount of change we have seen in the past five years is a relatively high multiple of the 20 before that.
I would encourage the Town Council to be thorough and pragmatic when determining the future landscape of the town. I fear very much the small-town charm will give way to a collection of high rises in the blink of an eye.
Active, caring, productive
It was nice to read commentaries by four friends in the March 15 issue of The Chapel Hill News on current issues of interest to the people of Orange County. The writers are all active, caring, productive local residents not involved for money or to serve corporate interests which are gaining much too much significance in our modern society! Instead, they truly believe citizens should have a voice in decisions affecting them and their world, and each wrote their article with the intention of exposing possible misuse of power, and suggesting more democratic remedies:
▪ Linda Haac feels outrageous grief at the recent tragic loss in our area of three promising young lives, needlessly cut short by gunpowder that is becoming more and more available in N.C. and the U.S. She suggests, as an alternative to the killings, we hold tight to the small moments of wonder the world still offers up, both natural and man-made, in hopes that awareness and appreciation will cut down on so much hatred.
▪ Bonnie Hauser reminds us the public schools are a priority for everyone in Orange County, and the county commissioners need to budget money to keep the buildings safe and well-maintained before they provide funds for offices, parks, and other non-essential projects.
▪ Ellie Kinnaird expresses extreme concern over passage of the TPP – Trans Pacific Trade Agreement – a proposed trade agreement between the U.S. and 10 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Since the project deals with imports and exports, secret negotiation, a "corporate coup d'etat"- Ellie foresees a United States of International Corporations undermining our representative government for, of, and by the people. She urges us to express dismay to our congressional representatives to avoid the dire consequences of this agreement.
▪ Julie McClintock cites recent instances when the Chapel Hill Town Council chose to represent the developer instead of the people – for example, they gave The Edge project exceptions to existing town ordinances; let the taxpayers make up the difference on needed road improvements in the project; left affordable housing up in the air. Sacrificing public interests in favor of a developer is not in the best interests of our democratic society.
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