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On Wednesday evening (6/20), the Chapel Hill Town Council will discuss Chapel Hill’s future.

They’re not talking about next week or next year, they’re talking about Chapel Hill 2049

Dreaming big about what we want and what we need in 30+ years is exciting and daunting, and planning for it now is necessary.

Frankly, we don’t have to imagine 30 years out to anticipate the new realities we will face, just look at what we are already experiencing:

  • Head south on 15-501 along what was intended to be a bucolic ride into rural Chatham County and, as you cross the Chatham County Line, you are immediately greeted with development and a Walmart. Chatham development is rapidly accelerating, they are already outpacing us in home sales and median home price, and ultimately Chatham Park will be an entirely new city, absorbed by Pittsboro and larger than Chapel Hill plus Carrboro and another Carrboro combined.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
  • Speaking of neighboring counties, Durham is on fire. Just head north on 15-501 to the Durham City/County Line and you are greeted with several retail centers. What does that mean for Orange County?  Millions. Orange County residents are some of the wealthiest in the state, but we spend 30% of our nearly one billion purchase power outside our county (according to NCDOC). If more options were offered in-county, we could retain millions more in sales tax (which could help fund our school district, which is rated one of the best in the state but is also $300 million behind in infrastructure upgrades. Ouch.)
This evening, the Mayor and Council will receive a draft of its future land use map. It is marked with six focus areas labelled A, B, C, D, E, and F. These areas were designated based on thinking from nearly 10 years ago.
The Chamber and the Home Builders have come together through a series of very thoughtful discussions and assembled joint recommendations on this map and the focus areas.
Bottom line: we are encouraging the town and our elected officials to recognize the realities we are already facing and will face in 30+ years and expand the focus areas accordingly.

By expanding the focus areas, we are not making decisions about what will happen in those areas, we are simply saying these areas are in need of considered and constructive community-wide conversations.
Review the Chamber and Home Builder’s joint recommendations, which will be discussed this evening at the Chapel Hill Public Hearing.
Hope to see you there!

Katie R. Loovis
Vice President for External Affairs
Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce
m: 919.696.0781
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