I would like to chime in as new and fairly YOUNG and NOT rich resident of Chapel Hill. I live over by the Ephasus-Fordham and own a single family house and have vested interest in the outcomes here. I tend to agree with a large chunk of what the CHALT coalition is saying. I had to rescue neighbors in the flooding a few years ago. A lot of houses in our neighborhood were built back in the 60's when you could still build in the 100 year flood plain. Which should have been addressed by the form based code that was shoved down our throat by our current council. I went to many of the council meetings on this code and figured out early on the decisions had already been made and only a thin veneer applied to make it look as if they actually cared about citizen input. Meanwhile I now have a 7 story tower going up next to our neighborhood. With more impervious surface. They already have the first two floors in. Meanwhile NOTHING has been done about the storm water issues. No culverts NOTHING. All of the development currently is being driven by the residential real estate lobby. Which has been trying to turn Chapel Hill the city into a wealthy exclusive bedroom community for years on the backs of the local tax payers to their profit. In some of the first meetings on EF I had the pleasure of sitting beside the head of the local realtors association who sat and mocked most of the concerns local citizens had about HOW the development was being done. She clearly had no idea what side I was on. The one thing NOBODY seems to understand is CHALT is not against development. It is for GOOD development. Not just development for the sake of developers. The Residential real estate lobby sees in Chapel Hill a giant $$$ opportunity. They would happily boot out every person making less than 250k a year if they could figure out a way to do it and turn us into the liberal version of Preston in Cary if they could get away with it. Chapel Hill does not need more housing for wealthy urban hipsters who want a "lifestyle". (Why these fools think they are progressives is beyond my understanding as they drive a lot of URBAN problems now.) What we need are some businesses and industrial/manufacturing so people can work and live in the same town. Luxury condos with a couple of taco bells in the bottom and a Carolina ale house does not count as that. Mixed use is a huge misnomer. Mixed use really just means urban hipsters who want their chipotle downstairs so they can go there in their pajamas. It's NOT about anything useful as far as real industry commerce, or economic activity. We need things to diversify the tax base so the current residents aren't forced out to keep paying for the councils poor planning in even higher property taxes.
"Our current Mayor, council, and very importantly, town manager and staff, have made serious mistakes in backing Perry and his out of state investors over the desires of the people of Chapel Hill." I could not agree with this commenters statement more. All the trails from all the development always beat a path back to his door and his wall street and hedge fund backers. And when it is all done Roger Dodger could care less if you have a liveable town. The only reason they can mortgage city hall to pay for all these infrastructure projects legally is a loophole they found that they can exercise ONLY because City hall was flooded and damaged in the flood I mentioned. Essentially repair costs would qualify for bond status but they figured out through some bookkeeping magic they could ask for like x times over the amount and use it for something else they could not ask for in a bond.
Haha Chapel Hill is going through this right now too! In fact we are about to boot the mayor and half the council over it! Being an original resident of the Raleigh area and family going back generations I can say these are my observations about growth in the triangle.
1.) The developers will always win. Governments make rules. People follow them. Governments listen to money. They don't listen to people. Because money gets them elected, not people. They can buy people with money. And they need a retirement with cushy jobs from back scratching! No matter where they are or what party. Its a universal truth like E=MC2. Developers have money and bring higher property taxes. Once the developers have a lock on your neighborhood or town, the only way you will ever kill it is to make it unprofitable to them and your politicians. All other resistance and complaining and organizing is futile.
2.) Affordable housing ain't going to happen as long as somebody else is willing to pay more for the dirt you live on. Its baked right into our system of "property" "Fee Simple" from the English. You don't "own" squat. A deed is basically a long term rental agreement with inheritance rights from the king. Or in our case the state we live in as a Republic. Your property taxes being the Fee. The king has the right to put whoever on his land that rakes in the most cash and pays the most taxes. When you can find a politician that doesn't want money, either in bribes or to spend on some project good or bad, you will get a Nobel prize. because they have never been proven to exist! And then you can have a city with no gentrification and restricted developers who keep it nice just the way you want it. Good luck with that by the way....
3. To the young artists and creative types. You really should quit doing the dirty work for free. You put up with the crack dealers , getting robed, and poured you hearts and souls into working long hours and creating something wonderful people would want to live near. And just about the time it;s baked, the vultures come in. Politicians looking for funding sources (property tax revenues), property speculators and developers, most with hedge fund backers, and corporate chain stores looking freeze out competition by raising real estate prices and the cost of business. You where the folks who really got the broomstick with no Vaseline. Next time consider BUYING the ghetto before renting and decorating it. You may at least then share in the created prosperity and not be forced to move all your stuff in a VW Golf TDI to a more affordable place in the Burbs.
4.) Growth. Get used to it. It ain't going anywhere. Except more of it here. If you moved here to flee New York with traffic, high prices, and taxes you may want to sell and get moving. Because it will be a lot like New York here in 20 years. High taxes, pollution, crime in some places, super expensive cost of living, crowded, and noisy, with lots of bars and even more puke.
If you don;t like whats happening seriously you should move to like Saxapahaw or something. Until that gets growing too...
People like Mr. Shumake are the problem. He doesn't even comprehend his own cognitive dissonance in claiming to be liberal but "taking the check". Buying housing as "an investment" is part of what drives the housing affordability crisis. Glad to see he's willing to "take the check" and leave everybody who used to live there holding the bag when they build a luxry condo. Dumb ass.
Time to go buy in the suburbs again. It soon will be the cheap area of choice for the artists and crazy weird people that made downtown such an interesting place now. Once they make a place nice it never fails. Commercial developers chasing a buck will build it up in luxury units (They don't know how to make anything else it seems). And politicians chasing contributions, future jobs and lobbying gigs are more than happy to help them out. Then when its an expensive corporate shill fest all the creative types will pick up and move for more affordable interesting places. lather rinse repeat. Add to this I'm not sure who is going to live in all these luxury units with all the student loan debt you have to rack up these days just to get a middle class working stiff job. Until cities quit catering to developers just out to make insane profits and devlopers figure out how to build something people can afford we are stuck with this cycle.
As a resident I can attest to the fact that the average Chapel Hill citizen is tired of having developers and the chamber of commerce coming in and trying to design our town and the life we want to have in it for us. McGurk is absolutely correct. I think because Chapel Hill looks like a nice juicy money making opportunity for folks outside the area due to our higher than average incomes, we attract a lot of vultures. These same business owners who keep complaining about all the rules and regulations and such create a lot of their own problems by trying to turn the town into the clientele they want rather than trying to serve who lives here. If these businesses want to create Cary in our downtown, instead maybe they would make more money and it would be easier to just move to Cary? Here is a good example. Chapel Hill has very little affordable housing left. One of the reasons we liked the area and moved here was the progressive political environment and that we had a mix of neighbors of all income levels. However I live off Ephesus and we currently have a pushy out of community developer trying to demolish some of the last affordable apartments in our area to put up a 7 story high rise condo complex. And this was after they evicted the families many of us knew or our kids where friends of their kids only because they were on section 8. They also don't seem to care about the traffic congestion such a major project would bring to one of the busiest and most poorly designed intersections in orange county. They do all of this without talking to any of us who live around them and are then surprised when they get a less than warm reception?? As far as the panhandlers go, its part of the downtown. Every town has them. If they bother you that much then maybe Chapel Hill isn't the place for you? I talk to many of them and find them very pleasant although troubled people. Maybe if these developers and business owners listened to what the community wants rather than trying to force unwanted business or development on us, things would turn out differently. The town exists as a community we live in. Not solely as a profit making venture for a privileged few.
Wow. So an undocumented kid here illegally is holding the sheriff "accountable" for upholding the law??? A person disobeying the law is claiming discrimination based on a law. If we use the illegal immigrants logic then we can ignore the racial profiling law becasue we don't agree with that law and arrest him anyways.See what I mean here? We set a dangerous precedent when we pick and choose which laws to obey and enforce. If these folks want to be citizens then I say bully for them. Go get in line and apply for citizenship. But I don't think trying to get the protection of the law your breaking sits well with most citizens and kind of undermines the argument of you becoming a good citizen. For starters you do not have a RIGHT to be here. It is a privilege you have to apply for unless you were born here. And this is pretty standard practice in every nation of the world.
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