Name as it appears on the ballot: Adam W. Jones
Party affiliation, if any: Republican
Campaign website: www.adamjonesfortowncouncil.com
Occupation & employer: Real Estate, Owner of Mill House Properties in Chapel Hill
Years lived in Chapel Hill: 30 years
1) Given the current direction of the Chapel Hill city government, would you say things are generally on the right course? If not, what specific, major changes you will advocate if elected?
I think town is being run well on a day-to-day basis, however I think we need to reel in the urban sprawl. I would slow down and grow smart, not go grow for the sake of growth.
2) Please identify the three most pressing issues the city faces and how you will address them.
1. Stop the urban sprawl. Be much more selective in approving developments and the size of developments. 2. Revitalize the downtown corridor. New development in town and elsewhere are sucking the energy out of downtown. We need to refocus on our core, make it more accessible (i.e., better parking) and make it more family friendly. 3. Homeless shelter and panhandling. The men’s shelter is finally moving, however the free bus system will bring them right back downtown. We need to enforce the current laws that regulate panhandling and vagrancy.
3) What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be effective as mayor or as a member of the Council? If you’ve identified specific issues above, what in your record has prepared you to be an effective advocate for them?
I have no political experience, which I think is a positive. I am a small businessman with common sense and I will vote for the greater good, not for any specific group or cause.
4) Please give one specific example of something you think the Town Council has done wrong or that you would have rather done differently in the last year. Also, please tell us the single best thing the city’s done during that span.
The Town Council has approved too many large developments in the past several years, including the recently approved Obey Creek. I would not have voted for Obey Creek as it was presented. I think continuing to expand the Bolin Creek Greenway is one of the best moves lately and it should continue.
5) How do you identify yourself to others in terms of your political philosophy? For example, do you tell people you’re a conservative, a moderate, a progressive, a libertarian?
I am a moderate conservative. Fiscally conservative and socially liberal.
6) The INDY’s mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. If elected, how will your service in office help further that goal?
I think what makes the Triangle so attractive is the uniqueness of each community… Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill. I don’t think Chapel Hill needs to compete with the other Triangle cities, but strive to keep Chapel Hill a unique town that has other things to offer. That will allow for the most diversity in the Triangle from bars, eateries, the arts, sports, etc.
7) Small businesses, particularly those on Franklin Street, continue to open and close at an alarming rate. Please give one new idea that you believe will help small business owners steady their operations.
The rents are too high for small businesses to survive. I think the landlords need to open their eyes and see that a bit less rent will allow businesses to thrive and stay long-term. Also, the university could “back” certain businesses on Franklin Street rather than offering a similar service on campus. That would bring the students to Franklin Street for something other than beer and give the landlord peace of mind with a University backed lease. Also, better parking would allow for better accessibility.
8) Between the Ephesus-Fordham district redevelopment and the newly approved Obey Creek development, Chapel Hill has seen a bevy of high-density, mixed-use proposals move forward in recent years. How do you balance such development with lingering environmental concerns such as protecting local creeks and limiting stormwater runoff?
Stop the urban sprawl … enough said.
9) Affordable housing is likely among the top priorities for any candidate in Chapel Hill. We've seen a lot of proposals, task forces and campaign speeches, but middling results. Please give your fresh ideas for tackling this decades-old problem.
I think we need to do the best job we can to have some affordable housing, but we also need to accept who we are…a bucolic college town where it is expensive to buy or rent. We can’t be all things to all people, but we can try to be the best Chapel Hill we can be and that includes having adequate affordable housing.
10) In Chapel Hill, the university provides a prosperous retail base, fuel for a feisty cultural scene and a pipeline for local leadership. But its presence also contributes a great deal to Chapel Hill's housing problem. What could the university do better with regard to local housing needs? How would you work to foster such agreements?
The university needs to get out of the housing business and concentrate on education. UNC shut down several dorms this year because they could not be filled. They need to stop building dorms that sit empty and stop building luxury suites that compete with the private sector.
11) Certain Chapel Hill neighborhoods have objected to the light rail line that is currently being planned. They are concerned that the rail line will create dangerous traffic problems and otherwise disrupt their quality of life. What do you believe the city can or should do to address their concerns?
I do not believe we are ready for or can afford the proposed light rail project. I prefer that the Triangle towns try HOA lanes on I-40, 15-501 and other major connector highways. The bus ridership is still too low to justify spending billions on a light rail line that will be used by a small percentage of the population.
12) Chapel Hill touts itself for its diversity. Yet, its population is among the most homogeneous in North Carolina. How do you encourage diversity in the town and create policies that increase the town's accessibility?
Diversity is not the color of your skin, it is the abundance of ideas, social outlets and the arts.