Cam Hill | Candidate Questionnaires | Indy Week
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Cam Hill 

Candidate for Chapel Hill Town Council

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Name as it appears on the ballot: Cam Hill
Full legal name, if different: Charles Cameron Hill
Date of birth: 2/25/53
Home address: 412 East Rosemary St., Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Mailing address, if different from home:
Campaign Web site: CamHillforCouncil.org
Occupation & employer: Self employed
Home phone: 919-929-2545
Work phone: 919-260-6059
Cell phone: 919-260-6059
E-mail: hillcc@nc.rr.com



1. What is there in your public record or other experience that demonstrates your ability to be an effective leader? Please be specific about your public and community service background.

I’ve owned an operated my own business(es) since I was twenty one. These business have employed as many as 65 employees. I was Vice President of the Carolinas Branch of the Architectural Woodwork Institute (a woodworking trade group) from 1988-90 and President from 1990-92.

I ran for mayor of Chapel Hill in 2001. This was my entry into town politics, I eventually withdrew from the race and endorsed the winner, Kevin Foy. I believe I influenced the conversation during that campaign a great deal.

Between 2001 and 2003 I was appointed totwo different Carolina Norh Committees. The first was when I was the council’s representative to UNC’s committee and then was a representative on the Horace Williams Citizen’s committee.

I ran for council in 2003 and was elected, finishing third among twelve candidates. I have served on the council for the last four years. During this time I have chaired the Pay Plan Review committee and the Downtown Parking Committee. Both of these committees were instituted at my suggestion. I have also served on numerous council committees including but not limited to: Budget Review Committee, Inclusionary Zoning Task Force, Council Retreat Committee, LAC, etc.

I coached soccer for Rainbow and the Chatham Soccer League. I am currently the coach of the Chapel Hill rec department’s 11-12 year old football team. Coaching children is far more challenging than all my council work (more fun, too).

2. How do you define yourself politically and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?

I am a registered Democrat but mostly am left of this party’s stated positions. In NC I have been on the losing side of virtually every important statewide vote that there has been in my lifetime with the exception of liquor by the drink. I am a stone liberal and I am proud of it.

I have spoken in the past and continue to speak of valuing the environment and quality of life over economic development. I want to preserve what is special about Chapel Hill, no matter how it clashes with the vision that the legislature and the board of trustees has for UNC. While we can’t stop growth, we can sure manage it better.

I support issues that improve the quality of life (and paychecks) for the full economic range of residents of Chapel Hill.

I believe that Chapel Hill’s quality of life is its primary economic development tool. We have to maintain that at all costs.

3. Identify a principled stand you might be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.

My stance on panhandling runs at cross purposes to the popular viewpoint in town. I believe we have enough laws in place to deal with the issue. I worry that the laws we have may not be constitutional. I also believe our police have better things to do than harass panhandlers.

My work with downtown parking has proven way more controversial than I could have imagined. The progressive view on parking is not popular with downtown merchants or many citizens. Speaking in favor of raising on street parking rates and expanding the hours that they are charged has not made me many friends.

I was in support of the renaming of Airport Rd. from the beginning. I did not need a committee to tell me that it was a good idea.

4.The Independent’s mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to office help further that goal?

I am a single father with three children living downtown. I was born in this town and have been here pretty much my entire life. I am a high school graduate who works in the construction trade. I own my life, my circumstances are of my own making, and I love who I am and the life I live.

I want to help return Chapel Hill to the value system that I grew up with. Where ideas were valued more than property, where people’s struggles with freedom and independence were supported. I grew up in a town with room for all types of people. I want to see our town return to and retain that principle.

I hate that Chapel Hill is fast becoming a bedroom community that imports all of its working people. We are fast becoming a boutique community.

In the last four years I have worked to support policies that have supported these ideals. Renaming Airport Rd., wage increases for town employees and strengthening the town’s immigration policy are just three of these issues.

I have worked very hard to support affordable housing in our town. I have been on the inclusionary zoning task force for the last two years. This issue is terribly important to low income families in our town.

5. Carolina North could transform the look of Chapel Hill, as well as set precedents in town-gown relations. What zoning regulations and building standards should the city implement on the project? Explain the optimal process by which the town could work with UNC on this and future projects.

The Horace Williams Citizen Committee report, which I helped write, is a wonderful document that is a very complete outline for developing CN. This report has been adopted as town policy. The town should not waver in using this report, the results of the Chapel Hill Transit Master Plan and the fiscal equity study as guiding principles in the development of a zone for CN.

UNC is not an ordinary developer. Its purposes and impacts far outweigh those that any other developer would have. While UNC deserves special treatment, it also has greater responsibility to the town. IF the University accepts and honors that responsibility, there is no reason that the town should not partner with UNC in aiding their future growth.

The HWCC report Principle #3 states: “Both the Town and the University need to recognize that there could very well be a point when the cumulative impacts of University and Town growth on our natural resources and our public facilities are such that no amount of mitigation would be possible and still retain the charm of the Town and the quality of life which both the citizens of the Town and the State of North Carolina expect from Chapel Hill.”

At this point UNC has not commented on this principle; I feel that it needs to recognize the ideals embodied in this principle.

6. Along those development lines, growth in northwest Chapel Hill is an issue important to the town’s citizens. What is your plan for growth in that sector? How will it be achieved?

The Northwest sector of Chapel Hill is growing quickly and not necessarily in a manner consistent with the town’s vision. The Council has enacted a moratorium to give us time to develop a plan for this area. The Northern Area Task Force developed a report with recommendations for future development. Using this report as a guide we will attempt to influence the future growth in a way that leads to greater density and more transit-oriented development.

7. While Greenbridge has been lauded as an environmentally friendly housing development, there are also concerns that it threatens adjacent lower-income neighborhoods. What do you think the town’s strategy should be in regards to gentrification?

As the town becomes denser the divisions between neighborhoods will be blurred. The reality of growth in Chapel Hill is that it all threatens the lower-income neighborhoods. As housing and land become more scarce, prices rise and the pressure to sell lower-cost housing becomes greater. This is the reality of Chapel Hill’s housing and neighborhoods. Our town’s Neighborhood Conservation District program has been successful in helping some neighborhoods deal with encroaching development. Even with an NCD in place, the housing prices in Northside (immediately adjacent to Greenbridge) have risen dramatically.

This is an issue where personal property rights clash with the public interest -- If one assumes that it is in the public interest to include lower -income people in the community. Our tools are limited in this area. The Inclusionary Zoning Task Force (of which I am a member) is working to produce an inclusionary zoning ordinance which will strengthen our already successful affordable housing program.

8. How should the town incentivize affordable housing? As for public housing, how should the town continue to manage these developments in light of reduced federal funding?

The Inclusionary Zoning Task Force (of which I am a member) is working to produce an inclusionary zoning ordinance which will strengthen our already successful affordable housing program. One of the tactics that we are considering is density bonuses. This would allow builders to produce more market rate units when they produce affordable units. This is a complex issue. Such a strategy would only be effective where higher densities are appropriate. Currently we encourage affordable housing production in exchange for rezoning or special use consideration and this has been successful.

The Bush Administration’s cuts to funding for public housing are disgraceful. Believe it or not, the federal mandates are that local public housing administrators should seek to rent their units to people who can afford to pay for them thus reducing the need for subsidies. Until these cuts are reversed, Chapel Hill needs to support its public housing with its own money.

9. The town’s comprehensive plan emphasizes regional planning and cooperation. What are the most important issues in regional planning? What results are you looking for? How would you achieve them?

Growth in adjacent jurisdictions is one of the bigger issues that our community faces. Traffic from growth in Chatham County threatens to overwhelm our roads. Durham has allowed some real crap to be built right outside our borders. Both of these entities want our help with water. Common transportation issues abound. Using TTA we can influence Durham to institute transit oriented development zoning around the proposed transit stops.

I was instrumental in starting a dialogue with Chatham. I am currently serving on their Commercial Corridor task force. More discussion with them is vital. We need joint land use planning with Chatham, especially for the Northern part of the county. Chatham is anxious to use our access to Jordan Lake. In exchange for this we can insist on a more cautious approach to development.

10. The council has debated obtaining contributions from developers to help pay for the operating costs of the town’s free bus system. What are the pros and cons of such a plan? What formulas should be used to assess the fee amounts? What transportation needs could be met with the additional funds generated by these fees?

The “pros” of developer’s contributions to our transit system is that these payments will fund our transit system. The “cons” are that this money will probably reduce funding for other items such as affordable housing or recreation.

The enabling legislation specifically allows us to charge an amount commensurate with a particular development’s impact.

We are allowed to seek funds for the transit system or transportation system in addition to capital improvements (road widening, bus stops, shelters).

11. The 10-year plan to end homelessness began earlier this month. How will the town monitor progress on the plan? What accountability measures are or should be in place? What are the hurdles to accomplishing it? How can the town overcome those obstacles?

This is a county plan that the town will play a large role in developing. My fellow council member, Sally Greene, has played an important role in the initiation of this program.

The plan will be monitored by measuring the utilization of services by the homeless population. The Department of Health and Human Services will measure indicators in an annual benchmark report. This report will measure public support and funding levels in a number of different areas including housing, law enforcement, neighborhood involvement and response by elected officials.

The major hurdles to accomplishing this goal are public support and understanding of the homelessness problem. With greater public awareness, funding and support will become easier.

Education is the key to overcoming the obstacles that are present. The Downtown Partnership’s “Spare Change for Real Change” program is a good start toward educating the public on the needs that the community has in this area.

12. What important town departments or agencies have been, in your opinion, chronically underfunded? What have been the ramifications of that shortage? If elected, where would you find the money to more fairly fund these areas? Conversely, what town departments or agencies have been overfunded?

The Parks and Recreation department has real needs that aren’t being addressed. Playing fields are in short supply and in poor shape. This is in large part to the late start that the town had in this area. When I was a child most of the town’s recreation needs were met by UNC. As the town grew, this was no longer the case and it’s been difficult for Chapel Hill to catch up. We haven’t yet.

The town needs to place greater emphasis on this department both with funding and attention. The Southern Community Park is a start. Re-allocating funds from other areas of the budget may be necessary.

I would love to explore if funds could be re-allocated from Public Works toward Parks and Rec. It always seemed to me that the budget for this department was higher than necessary for a town of our size.

13. Chapel Hill is participating in the Jordan Lake Stakeholder Project to help manage this resource, which is polluted and threatened by growth and development. What is Chapel Hill’s responsibility in mitigating these threats? What policies should Town Council enact to help protect water quality and quantity in Jordan Lake?

Chapel Hill is one of two local governments to respond positively to EMC draft rules. Our mess is our responsibility. We are obligated to clean up our “contributions” to this problem.

The exciting thing about these regulations is that they will influence our adjacent jurisdictions to adopt sensible land use policies that will help clean up their “contributions” to this problem.

This is going to take a long time and a lot of money. Chapel Hill has made a good start with our storm water program.

  • Candidate for Chapel Hill Town Council

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