Chapel Hill Town Council to Open Budget Process at Feb. 15 Meeting


By Terry E. Cohen,

Among a number of items for its meeting Feb. 15 at 7 p.m., the Chapel Hill Town Council will hold its initial public forum on the 2023-2024 Town budget, which includes everything from services for police and fire to capital projects to grant funding.

The months-long process, during which time the public can send comments and questions to council members, will include an April 19 public forum on the use of Community Development and Block Grant (CDBG) funds. Also scheduled is a public hearing on May 24 on the recommended budget, public transportation grants, the 15-year capital program and the Downtown Service District program.

In addition to the budget, Kevin Bigalke from the SRF Consulting Group will be on hand to present an overview and recommendations for changes to the LUMO stormwater component, with a request to council members for feedback. Stormwater management regulations have not been rewritten since 2003,  according to the Town staff document submitted for the meeting.

Allison Mouch of Orion Planning & Design will join Town staff to present an update on the LUMO audit, including the roles of Transit-Oriented Design (TOD) and of the Future Land Use Map (FLUM). The consultant will share findings and recommendations that can result in changes to the LUMO text that cover anything from zoning, density and setback revisions to community gardens and greenway planning, to name just a few of the possible changes.

As with the stormwater presentation, the consulting firm and Town staff will be looking for feedback from the council.

The planning staff also will present the council with its intended procedural changes to handling Concept Plan and Conditional Zoning applications. The staff proposal is to eliminate involvement of some advisory boards that currently have a role in processing these applications, but are not required by the Land Use Management Ordinance to do so. Therefore, no legislative action is required or requested, just council feedback.

The in-person meeting will be held at Town Hall in Council Chambers, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. The public can also watch the meeting both live streamed and later via the video link found for the Feb. 15, 2023, Town Council meeting, seen at the right of the screen in the list.

Terry E. Cohen is the editor of The Local Reporter. She also writes articles for a global media firm on topics related to Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) in business and industry.

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