Letter to the editor


This is a letter from Breckany Eckhardt:

In 2017, after saving for many years, I bought my first home in an older, modest, single-family neighborhood with friendly families, tree canopies, and easy access around town. However, my free time and money end up in Raleigh/Durham because they invest tax revenue into a quality of life with a vibrant social scene including multiple parks, arts and culture, and great restaurants.

Chapel Hill has not invested in its parks and recreation, small and local business, infrastructure, transit, or environmentally sustainable buildings, but they have increased traffic congestion and costly rentals while bulldozing dwindling green spaces. Except for Adam Searing, the town council’s decisions have lacked innovation, data, and budget control.

Decisions this year include:

·       Destroying affordable housing with ‘luxury’ rentals with plans to unethically relocate affordable units to a drained pond at Legion Park and coal ash dump off the greenway.

·       Rezoning to increase density with no impact on legally protected areas where most of the council lives but skyrockets rental and first-time homebuyer costs.

·       Slamming property owners face an 11% increase with no improvements in quality of life.

·       Squandering millions on consultants when we have significant debt but cost-effective talent at UNC.

·       Neglecting community comments and petitions with over 1,000 signatures that speak against these measures.

Growth is normal, but haphazard governing results in disjointed, claustrophobic, and car-centric centers. We all lose with poor planning and a lack of data-driven decisions.

Vote for a better quality of life Nov. 7.

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7 Comments on "Letter to the editor"

  1. Local government waste and misuse of resources is endemic in this country and the only way we fight it is by getting involved and making the change we want to see. This author has excellent points and I for one hope to hear more from them in the coming months.

  2. Robin Langdon | June 30, 2023 at 10:58 am | Reply

    Breckany raises many good points. The Mayor and Town Council came close to voting on the rezoning amendments in January with no notice to those who live in impacted neighborhoods. We live in the Glendale neighborhood very close to UNC campus where there is a real risk that developers will tear down the remaining modest homes and replace them with lucrative student rentals, eliminating options for the “missing middle”. We actually did an analysis, yet somehow the Town found no time to analyze student rental demand in neighborhoods close to campus before finalizing the rezoning. Yes – change is hard, but it can be managed with analysis and data-driven decisions. It is time for less haphazard governing.

  3. Breckany’s article is timely and accurate. Chapel Hill’s Town Council lurches from one bad decision to the next. We see little or no response to protests from residents in the form of petitions and letters. Let’s vote for new leadership in November and support Adam Searing for mayor.

  4. Sherry Stockton | June 30, 2023 at 2:51 pm | Reply

    I fully support Breckany and her well made points in the article. I also bought my first home in Glen Lennox, that is older(1957), modest, single-family neighborhood with friendly families, tree canopies, and easy access around town in 2007. I agree that our Mayor and Town Council have shown reckless decision making with Taxpayer resources and in regards to the character our beloved town of Chapel Hill. In regards to the early stages of discussions regarding the “Rezoning Text Amendment”, Residents were not openly notified. Many residents learned by word of mouth about the plan to vote on this in January, and many spoke out right away. The lack of the ability of the Planning Department to give residents real facts on how the rezoning will impact our town as well as exactly which neighborhoods it will affect is still a serious issue. Many neighborhoods only defense was to hire lawyers to put restrictive covenants in place for their homes.

    I plan to fully support Adam Searing for Mayor and Breckany Eckhardt for Town Council to bring common sense back to our town government.

  5. Kathleen O’Neill | July 3, 2023 at 1:15 pm | Reply

    Breckany Eckhardt makes some monumental points about Chapel Hill’s need for leadership change. I’ve been a resident here for over 30 years, and the most growth I’ve seen is in unaffordable housing. While Raleigh and Durham continue to thrive culturally (restaurants, museums, parks, transit) – drawing visitors there. I’m looking forward to supporting Adam Searing for mayor and getting the fundamental change we need!

  6. August Leclair | July 4, 2023 at 1:21 pm | Reply

    Breckany (running for town council) and Adam (running for mayor) and David (running for town council) are upstream thinkers (anticipating problems and critical thinking and actually listening) and the only hope we have for saving this town. I don’t know what the people who voted for the current council (except Adam) were thinking, but I do know what I think about the current council and mayor who I didn’t and wouldn’t vote for. “When they go low, we go high.” For people who have a platform, they have a responsibility to go high. Leaders set the tone and we know what it is to be low. Our children are watching. Most of the current council and mayor, triangle blogblog and NEXT go so low, we really know what it is to go low. We go high. Higher begets higher. If you want to go low, go low at your kitchen table with your spouse, but in the public eye, you should go high, like Adam and Breckany and David. Let’s start going high, we are living with low. (excerpt from Michele Obama)

  7. Has this author considered that Durham is more vibrant and attracts more people and restaurants precisely because it has embraced the land use changes that she opposes? The changes that they made to their land use policies has set the stage for the current boom in Durham. Sadly, the author embraces the status quo that has kept Chapel Hill stuck in the past. There are much better choices for council that actually understand what will help Chapel Hill move forward.

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