LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Letter to the Editor by David Kiel
“Density” has been a major issue in the municipal elections. It is an important one for all of us who live here. In my view there has been a lot of misguided and misleading talk about the alleged benefits of density (= high-rise construction/expensive apartments) and the assertion that somehow more density in Chapel Hill will address problems of climate change and affordable housing.
Without question, the main beneficiaries of the Town’s recent embrace of high-density development have been, as usual, the real estate developers and their investors, not the citizens who will have to live with the problems of congestion and pollution, not low income renters, and certainly not the environment.
The key to restoring equity to our development situation is revision of the form-based code rules enacted during the last weeks of the Kleinschmidt mayorality. This code gave too much power to the Town Manager and the developer-friendly town staff to approve projects without Council say. This has led to the problematic development in the Ephesus-Fordham area (“Blue Hill”) and may soon affect other areas of our town.
This year, fortunately, all the candidates have good things to offer. However by electing the CHALT-endorsed candidates: Pam Hemminger, Jess Anderson, Nancy Oates, Amy Ryan, and Renuka Soll, we will have the best chance –by far– of shifting the membership on the Council so it can pursue more balanced, intentional development based on the concept of a livable community.