SUMMARY MINUTES OF A BUSINESS MEETING
OF THE CHAPEL HILL TOWN COUNCIL
MONDAY, APRIL 10, 2006, AT 7:00 P.M.
Mayor Kevin Foy called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
Council members present were Laurin Easthom, Sally Greene, Ed Harrison, Cam Hill, Mark Kleinschmidt, Bill Strom, Bill Thorpe, and Jim Ward.
Staff members present were Town Manager Cal Horton, Deputy Town Manager Florentine Miller, Assistant Town Manager Bruce Heflin, Town Attorney Ralph Karpinos, Town Information Officer Catherine Lazorko, Parks and Recreation Director Kathryn Spatz, Assistant Parks and Recreation Director Bill Webster, Planning Director J. B. Culpepper, Senior Transportation Planner David Bonk, Police Chief Gregg Jarvies, Traffic Engineer Kumar Neppalli, and Town Clerk Sabrina Oliver.
Item 1 – Ceremonies: None.
Item 2 – Public Hearings
2a. Potential Legislative Initiatives for the 2006 Session of the North Carolina General Assembly.
Mayor Foy noted that the 2006 Session of the General Assembly would begin in the first part of May. He noted the Council had discussed these issues, and there were no citizens signed up to speak. There was no comment from the Council.
The Council closed the public hearing by consensus.
2b. Naming the Old Post Office Plaza and Honoring Joe and Lucy Straley and Charlotte Adams.
Dianna McDuffee provided the Council with background on how this request came about. She described the work and commitment of the Joe and Lucy Straley and Charlotte Adams, noting the many hours they had spent at the Post Office Plaza, collecting signatures and holding demonstrations and vigils.
Ms. McDuffee said when the Naming Committee had discussed naming the plaza and then placing a plaque there to honor community members on an ongoing basis, she had first thought it was a good idea. But, she said, when she thought more about it she remembered that these three individuals had spent four decades in front of the post office performing their work. Ms. McDuffee suggested naming the plaza the Adams-Straley Peace Plaza, which was put forth by Lucy Straley, or perhaps naming it the Adams-Straley Free Speech Plaza.
Ms. McDuffee said once the plaza was named, then a plaque could be added that would honor future members of the community who deserved recognition.
COUNCIL MEMBER WARD MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER KLEINSCHMIDT, TO RECEIVE AND REFER COMMENTS TO THE NAMING COMMITTEE AND THE MANAGER, AND TO CLOSE THE PUBLIC HEARING. THE MOTION WAS ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY (9-0).
Item 3 – Petitions
3a(1). Interfaith Council for Social Services regarding Request for Appointment to Work Groups.
Michael McGee distributed a letter that petitioned the Council to participate in exploring the effectiveness of IFC services to the homeless population and addressing immediate concerns related to the safety of clients residing at Project Homestart. He provided an overview of his concerns.
Mayor Foy suggested placing the appointment on the next regular business agenda, and referring it to the Manager. He asked the Council to let him know if they were interested in serving on either of these two work groups. Mayor Foy suggested receiving and referring Mr. McGee’s letter as a petition as well.
COUNCIL MEMBER THORPE, MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER WARD, TO RECEIVE AND REFER BOTH PETITIONS TO THE MANAGER, AND TO SCHEDULE APPOINTMENTS TO THE WORK GROUP FOR THE NEXT REGULAR BUSINESS MEETING. THE MOTION WAS ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY (9-0).
3a(2). Pauline Grissom regarding Traffic Congestion Related to Pittsboro Street.
Pauline Grissom, representing the Westside Neighborhood Association, petitioned the Council to designate all of her neighborhood streets as “No Thru Trucks” streets, noting that McCauley Street already carried that designation. She said the request was prompted by increased traffic caused by the closing of Pittsboro Street.
MAYOR PRO TEM STROM MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER GREENE, TO RECEIVE AND REFER THE PETITION TO THE MANAGER FOR A RESPONSE AT THE NEXT MEETING. THE MOTION WAS ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY (9-0).
3a(3). Janet Kagan regarding the Streetscape Master Plan Committee Process for Franklin Street.
Janet Kagan, Chair of the Chapel Hill Public Arts Commission, requested that the Council engage the Arts Commission in a more formal way to initiate and direct a comprehensive master plan for Franklin Street and Rosemary Street. She read portions of the printed petition, and urged the Council to follow the recommendations of the Streetscape Master Plan Committee, which they endorsed. Ms. Kagan read the specifics of the petition, and asked that the Council consider involving them as they moved forward.
Mayor pro tem Strom said the Council was awaiting a report from the Manager regarding the Streetscape Master Plan Committee report. Mr. Horton said that was correct. Mayor pro tem Strom asked if this petition could be considered along with that report. Mr. Horton responded he would be happy to include that.
MAYOR PRO TEM STROM MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER GREENE, TO RECEIVE AND REFER THE PETITION TO THE MANAGER TO BE CONSIDERED AS PART OF THE STREETSCAPE MASTER PLAN COMMITTEE REPORT. THE MOTION WAS ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY (9-0).
13a(2). Status of the Technology and Horace Williams Citizens Committees.
Mayor Foy said with the Council’s consent, this item would be moved forward to this point in the agenda. There was no objection from the Council, and the item was moved by consensus.
Will Raymond noted that advisory boards had been created to assist the Town Council make fair, decent, researched, debated, focused decisions. He said he was confused by the suggestion that these two committees should be concluded because their missions were accomplished. Mr. Raymond said there was still much work to be done, and described some of the projects these committees should participate in. He said it was also important to remember that the members of these committees had constitutional memories, and that many of them had been on these and other boards for some time.
Mr. Raymond said the tasks of these boards were not done, and that they represented a good way for citizen’s voices to be heard. He asked, if the boards were abolished now, who would pick up the slack? Mr. Raymond said the original missions might be accomplished, but the work was far from finished.
Mayor Foy said his perspective on each of these boards was different. He stated that the Horace Williams Citizens Committee was established in 2002, not as a standing committee but as a committee to assist the Council in establishing principles regarding development of Carolina North.
Mayor Foy said the chair and vice chair had met with him recently and asked how they might provide further assistance. He said his response was that a primary task would be to advise the Council on how to protect the natural resources on that parcel. Mayor Foy said he had thought that June 30 was the appropriate date for that committee to be abolished because work on that task would be completed by that time. He said he did not believe it was fair to the Committee or to the Council to make work for a committee that had completed its work.
Mayor Foy said that when a new committee was established it would be very different from the committee established in 2002, and would have a completely different charge. He said a lot would have changed since 2002, and he would like a new committee to be specifically charged with whatever the Council deemed appropriate at that time and to come forward and be energized with fresh ideas. Mayor Foy said he believed it was appropriate to thank this committee for its work and go forward.
Regarding the Technology Committee, Mayor Foy said he believed the Council should restructure this committee. He said it was the Council’s responsibility to employ the efforts of citizens in a way that respected their time and skills, and he believed it had been recognized for some time that this committee was not properly structured and was not giving the Council the type of policy guidance it needed in order to move forward and accomplish some of its goals. Mayor Foy said, as a result, they needed to take a step back and restructure the committee into something else, which might take several months, and it was unfair to have the committee members sitting idle during that time.
MAYOR PRO TEM STROM MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER THORPE, ADOPTION OF RESOLUTION R-10.
Council Member Easthom commented that she had been a member of the Horace Williams Citizens Committee and now served as the Council liaison to that Committee. She disagreed with abolishing this committee, noting they had been re-energized with the work on the environmental issues and they had a renewed sense of excitement. Council Member Easthom said she was not comfortable with the University’s Leadership Advisory Committee engaging in these types of discussions without benefit of the Town’s committee.
Council Member Easthom said she would prefer that the Horace Williams Citizens Committee meet at least on a quarterly basis to discuss these issues. She added that these volunteers were some of the most talented and experienced individuals the Town had in regards to issues surrounding Carolina North, as well as a history of thinking about the Town on the issues. Council Member Easthom said, in light of the University committee, it would be a shame to disband a group that had accomplished so much and had worked so well together. She suggested that after June 30, this Committee could address issues on a quarterly basis, and asked the Council to consider that.
Mayor Foy said the principles had been developed and adopted that the Council believed were in the best interest of the Town. He said he did not believe that the Leadership Advisory Committee was in any position to negotiate those principles, so he did not see what feedback the Citizens Committee could give that the Council representatives did not already have. Mayor Foy reiterated that he did not see the point of having the Committee continue because it was not a good use of anyone’s time.
Council Member Easthom said she understood that, but believed it would be helpful to have them meet on a quarterly basis. She said that Committee had taken it upon themselves to engage in the environmental study, which was important for the Council’s representatives to have in order to take information to the Leadership Advisory Committee. Council Member Easthom said that type of background work was the potential for this Committee to provide. She said to get rid of that felt uncomfortable to her.
Mayor Foy said he understood, noting he was the one that suggested they prepare the environmental report because it was one of the three fundamental principles and seemed to be the weakest. He said once that was finished, he did not know what else could be done.
Council Member Easthom said the issues that would be discussed by the Leadership Advisory Committee would be ongoing, and there may be a time when something was identified that this committee could assist with. She said that would be useful, and she sees value in retaining the committee, at least on a quarterly basis.
Council Member Hill said two years ago the Council had decided not to spend any more energy on Carolina North until the fate of the airport was determined, but had to do so anyway. He said he believed concluding the work of this committee was long overdue, but added that the resources within that committee would continue to exist and the Council could draw upon them in the future if necessary.
THE MOTION WAS ADOPTED BY A VOTE OF 8-1, WITH MAYOR FOY AND COUNCIL MEMBERS GREENE, HARRISON, HILL, KLEINSCHMIDT, STROM, THORPE, AND WARD VOTING AYE, AND COUNCIL MEMBER EASTHOM VOTING NAY.
Council Member Thorpe recommended that if we did not already do it, that the members of all boards should receive some acknowledgement of their service to the Town.
COUNCIL MEMBER KLEINSCHMIDT MOVED, SECONDED BY MAYOR PRO TEM STROM, ADOPTION OF RESOLUTION R-11. THE MOTION WAS ADOPTED BY A VOTE OF 8-1, WITH MAYOR FOY AND COUNCIL MEMBERS GREENE, HARRISON, HILL, KLEINSCHMIDT, STROM, THORPE, AND WARD VOTING AYE, AND COUNCIL MEMBER EASTHOM VOTING NAY.
3a(4). Joyce Brown regarding Noise from Boom Boxes
Joyce Brown, a resident of Ransom Street and representing the Westside Neighborhood Association, stated that her neighborhood was experiencing vehicles with boom boxes on an almost daily basis, including early morning and sometimes late in the evening. She noted that the occurrences were more frequent. Ms. Brown said boom boxes were covered under the Town’s Noise Ordinance, and asked that the Council provide enforcement of that ordinance for her neighborhood to stop the unpleasant intrusion into their neighborhood and homes.
MAYOR PRO TEM STROM MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER WARD, TO RECEIVE AND REFER THE PETITION TO THE MANAGER. THE MOTION WAS ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY (9-0).
Announcements by Council Members. None.
Item 4 – Consent Agenda
MAYOR PRO TEM STROM MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER WARD, ADOPTION OF RESOLUTION R-1. THE MOTION WAS ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY (9-0).
Item 5 – Information Reports
Mayor pro tem Strom pulled Item #5a, 2005 University of North Carolina Annual Development Plan report on Transportation Report, and Item #5b, Response to Citizen Petition: Mason Farm Road Feasibility Study.
Item #5a: 2005 University of North Carolina Annual Development Plan report on Transportation
Baird Grimson, a resident of the Westside neighborhood, noted that his neighborhood was experiencing increased traffic problems, partly due to the closing of Pittsboro Street. He requested that his neighborhood be included in discussions between the Town and the University regarding traffic calming techniques to address these problems. Mr. Grimson stated that it was their hope that the Town and the University would allow representatives from the Westside neighborhood to participate in any future discussions regarding traffic calming issues.
Joyce Brown, a resident of the Westside neighborhood, stated that the traffic problems in her neighborhood were increasing in severity, including the amount of traffic, the speed of the traffic, and the number of large vehicles using their small neighborhood streets. She said she was grateful that the University was willing to address these problems and work with the neighborhood on solutions.
Ms. Brown said on page 21 of the report, the phrase “to be considered” was used in several places. She wanted to confirm that “to be considered” meant that traffic calming measures would be implemented, not just considered in the neighborhoods mentioned. Ms. Brown said they also had no clear idea of the process to develop the actual traffic calming plan and the involvement of the neighbors in the process at an early stage. She said although they were not experts, they did have ideas about what they would like to see accomplished. Ms. Brown asked that the Town and the University keep that in mind. She added they would also like to be notified at least two weeks in advance by the University of any joint planning meetings to make sure neighborhood representatives could plan to be present.
Ms. Brown noted that the schedule for implementation was also not clear. She said a number of neighborhoods were mentioned, but no idea of determining factors for when to implement traffic calming in which neighborhood. Ms. Brown asked that this be clarified.
Ms. Brown said although they were experiencing difficulties because of the Pittsboro Street closing, her neighborhood had been experiencing increasing problems long before that. She said they were concerned that these problems would continue even after Pittsboro Street was reopened. Ms. Brown said they would like their neighborhood to be a quiet, livable neighborhood, as did other citizens of Chapel Hill.
Ms. Brown also requested that the Council require that this annual report come to the Council as a regular agenda item, rather than an information item.
Adrian Hoffman, a resident of McCauley Street, displayed photographs to demonstrate some of the traffic problems his neighborhood was experiencing. He said his neighborhood was experiencing a critical amount of cut-through traffic, due partly to the closing of Pittsboro Street. Mr. Hoffman said his neighborhood now had 17 children living within one block of Ransom Street and many more pedestrians, partly due to the installation of sidewalks for which they were very grateful. He said that had led to increasingly dangerous conditions on Ransom Street between Cameron Avenue and McCauley Street where historic structures and plantings precluded widening the sidewalk and where the volume and speed of cars, trucks, and buses had increased in recent years and exponentially in recent weeks.
Mr. Hoffman stated that they needed to see an iron-clad commitment from the University and the Town to move forward with neighborhood representatives to craft a traffic calming program for the Ransom/McCauley Street area, one that would be ready for full implementation no later than the first day of the upcoming academic year or the opening of Pittsboro Street, whichever came later.
Mr. Hoffman said a least a half dozen of his neighbors were willing to serve on a committee to work on these issues. In particular, he suggested road humps on Ransom and McCauley Streets, as well as three-way stops at Ransom and Vance Streets. Mr. Hoffman brought the following items to the Council’s attention:
Mayor pro tem Strom stated that he believed some of the elements of this discussion should be referred to the Manager for a response. He said there was a section in the Horace Williams Citizens Committee report that noted the key principles, one of which stated the belief that there was a point at which no mitigation could compensate for the negative impacts of development.
Mayor pro tem Strom said this Annual Development Plan was closely tied to the OI-4 development zone on the main campus, and it was one of the key measurement tools that the Town applied to changes in development plan applications on the campus. He said based on that report, they evaluate whether intersections were performing properly or whether changes in the development plan and sifts in traffic patterns were acceptable, as well as other things. Mayor pro tem Strom said it was also one of the key tools that the Manager and planners used to decide whether changes were minor or major.
With that being said, Mayor pro tem Strom remarked, it was important to understand that this document was significant, and these traffic counts were in fact one of the key protections that the Council used to protect the community. He said when looking at the report, he was drawn to a couple of sections that lacked credibility, in that it stated that traffic counts on campus were actually declining and conditions at intersections had improved. He said that page 11 and page 14 in particular stated that. Mayor pro tem Strom said anyone traveling about the campus could attest to having to wait through multiple traffic lights before being able to proceed.
Mayor pro tem Strom asked that Town staff look at the report and bring back an analysis, and find a way to make it more accurate and more reflective of what was actually being experienced in the community.
Council Member Harrison said one thing that struck him about the Level of Service chart on page 16 was that the traffic movement study, east- and west-bound, was the same morning and evening, and odds were that the commuting direction was different morning and evening. He said it would be more informative if the report gave information on different directions morning and evening for each of the sites. Council Member Harrison said in 90 percent of the service levels noted there was a change in the level of service morning and evening, because commuting directions were different than other types of travel. He said having service levels for different routes would provide an alternate perspective and be more informative.
Mayor Foy asked the Manager what he and/or the staff would do with the report. Mr. Horton recommended that the Council refer it to the staff along with tonight’s comments with a report back to the Council that would respond to the issues the Council identified as well as any that the staff identified.
Council Member Easthom said she would like to highlight page 21 of the report mentioned by Ms. Brown, where it stated “recommended for further consideration,” noting she wanted to know what that meant, and it was realistic to assume these traffic claming measures would take place.
Council Member Greene asked if the requests by the neighbors should be treated as a petition. Mayor Foy responded all of that should be referred to the Manager and staff and included in their analysis. Mr. Horton said that would be his advice.
Council Member Harrison said the comments made by the citizens had been helpful to him, and he hoped it would be helpful to the staff. He said it was a good way to approach this.
Mayor pro tem Strom asked if there was a pending matter of changes to one of the development plans at the staff level at this point. Ms. Culpepper said yes, that Development Plan Modification #3 was scheduled to come before the Council as a Concept Plan on April 19. Mayor pro tem Strom asked if these would be the transportation figures that the staff would be using. Mr. Horton responded that for the Concept Plan they would not be making a review.
Traffic Engineer Kumar Neppalli said the traffic figures the University would use for the Development Plan Modification #3 were not the same figures supplied in the Annual Transportation Report. He said they would submit a new report for that Concept Plan hearing.
Mayor pro tem Strom asked, if a non-University applicant came in, do they use the Town’s traffic engineer and was the same procedure followed? Mr. Neppalli replied that was correct, they followed the Council’s policy throughout the life of the development.
Council Member Kleinschmidt said, regarding page 16 of the report and referring to the comments made by Council Member Harrison, he believed the report did provide information for different directions of travel. He read a portion of the text, noting it referred to an entire intersection, and noted the direction of travel that was at its worst at particular times of day. Council Member Kleinschmidt said that change was also noted elsewhere, so he believed it was reflecting different travel routes.
Council Member Harrison said he understood what Council Member Kleinschmidt was saying, but said the numbers did not relate to what he experienced when traveling those roads. He said the movements noted were puzzling.
MAYOR PRO TEM STROM MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER HILL, TO RECEIVE AND REFER THE DISCUSSION TO THE MANAGER FOR AN ANALYSIS AND RESPONSE. THE MOTION WAS ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY (9-0).
Item #5b: Response to Citizen Petition: Mason Farm Road Feasibility Study.
Mayor Foy said the report was confusing, because it stated “NCDOT staff indicated that until early 2006 the study was inactive, pending a formal letter from either the University or UNC Hospitals formally requesting and endorsing the project. In January 2006, NCDOT staff began the process to select a consultant to prepare the feasibility study, even though there was no response from the University or UNC Hospitals. Mayor Foy said he believed they should ask that the University and UNC Hospitals request not to conduct the study, and if they did want the study conducted then to inform the Town of that.
The Council agreed by consensus to proceed as the Mayor suggested, and to ask that the Manager work with the Mayor to arrange for that formal communication with the University and UNC Hospitals.
Item 6 – Update on Orange County Ten-Year Plan
to End Homelessness
Council Member Greene noted that a year ago the Council joined the other governing bodies in Orange County to create the Partnership to End Homelessness in Orange County, with the goal of creating a 10-year plan consistent with a federal initiative that invited cities and counties to participate. She said she wanted to provide the Council and the community with an update of their progress to date.
Council Member Greene stated that during February and March with the help of a consultant company named J-Quad, 19 focus groups were held throughout the County in an effort to engage the voices of a broad cross-section of citizens. She said all of the information from those focus groups was recorded and was being analyzed. Council Member Greene said the next major step in the process was an action-oriented community forum, scheduled for Thursday, April 27, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the A. L. Stanback Middle School at 3700 NC Highway 86 South in Hillsborough.
Council Member Greene said the forum would be different from past forums in that it would be specifically targeted to issues. She said there would be different groups that one could choose to join to discuss specific issues. Council Member Greene said they were fortunate to have representatives from the community assessment team present tonight that would share the results of their work so far.
Rebecca Davis introduced two of her five colleagues, Jenny Lawra and Sasha Khonowich. She noted they had been working on this project for a little over half a year, and they had been asked to bring the voice of the homeless population to the table to provide a more thorough look at the issue. She said their methodology was to understand the community by participating in volunteer work, attending community meetings, reviewing secondary data, reviewing focus group data, and conducting in-depth, one-on-one interviews about what the issues were and what needed to be addressed in this process.
Ms. Davis said they were able to conduct 32 of those interviewed, noting that 16 of those interviewed were either homeless or had formerly been homeless, 13 were service providers, and three were community members who were interested in the topic. She said they took the information from the 32 interviews and the focus groups and transcribed all of that data. Ms. Davis said they had then coded the main themes as they arose using a statistical package. She said they then analyzed the pooled data and identified prevalent issues to define the main themes.
Ms. Davis identified the top three strengths exhibited by Orange County: progressive community, abundant resources and services, and church involvement. She said this was a motivated community with motivated and talented people. She noted the identified strengths of the homeless population were: courage, resourcefulness, and resilience. Ms. Davis said that no matter what they were facing, the homeless seemed to always bounce back and be creative to get what they needed. She said these were all things that should be considered when addressing the issue of homelessness.
Ms. Davis then discussed the key domains that had been identified, beginning with Housing. She said the four key points to this issue were a low living wage, high housing costs, not enough affordable housing units, and rent subsidies needed to be increased.
Ms. Davis said the next domain was Community Engagement: Perceptions of Homelessness. She mentioned assumptions of causes/effects of homelessness, inadequate community understanding, and lack of opportunities for positive interaction. Ms. Davis said the second part of Community Engagement was Partnerships. That included formal and informal providers, and getting everyone involved to the table, she said.
Jenny Lawra introduced the next domain, which was Basic Necessities. The areas of concern identified were: access to a phone, the shelter address and the stereotypes associated with that, groomed appearance and appropriate clothing, documentation or identification, and adequate health care services.
Ms. Lawra said the next domain was Discharge Planning, which included a lack of appropriate places to discharge people and a lack of collaboration for re-entry. She said what was meant by this was that many times people coming from the prison system, from mental health institutions, or from hospitals don’t always have a place to go. Ms. Lawra said often these institutions did not know where to take them, so they dropped them off in front of the IFC or Homestart or Freedom House, even though there may not be room for them there. She said there needed to be some communication so when someone was discharged from one of these institutions there was someplace identified for them to go.
Ms. Lawra said next was Continuum of Services, beginning with Connecting. She said this referred to actually getting into services and reaching those who needed the services. Ms. Lawra said the next part of that domain was Successful Care, which was the program structure and case management needs. She said they had found that many times the homeless did not fit into a particular type of program structure or did not meet standardized eligibility requirements, and therefore could not qualify for services. Ms. Lawra said that there was no “cookie cutter model” that would work for everyone.
Ms. Lawra said the next domain was Employment/Education, which included the lack of education and/or skills, that a living wage was not ‘livable,” and criminal records which made it difficult to be employed or find living accommodations.
Ms. Lawra said next was Transportation, which noted that the bus system was geared to college students and traveled to destinations more suited to students, it had limited access, and limited availability after hours and between counties. She said it was noted that inadequate transportation services created a barrier to maintaining employment as well as accessing services.
Ms. Lawra said the last domain was Prevention, and they had found that ending homelessness through prevention was a big key. She stated that included identifying and serving “at risk” individuals, and making sure those individuals get the help they needed. Ms. Lawra said this domain included a system called “doubling up,” which was when a person was forced to stay with friends and moved from house to house. She said this created a volatile situation because it provided an unstable place to live. Ms. Lawra said a big part of the problem was that they had no permanent address, which resulted in not fitting into the services because they were not technically homeless, and therefore were not able to access certain services. Ms. Lawra said that more prevention strategies were needed that targeted families and individuals at risk of becoming homeless.
Council Member Greene noted that these themes came out of the focus groups, and during the Community Forum on April 27 two of these domains would be paired into five groups for discussion. She said there were many ways to be homeless and to be almost homeless, and the idea was to eventually come out of all of this with a plan that would identify existing needs and pair them with existing services, put together these services with the people who needed them, coordinate them better and try to solve some of these issues so that the Town could come to better grips with homelessness.
Council Member Ward said he did not see banking services noted, and asked if that was an issue. Ms. Davis said that was an issue that went along with Education and Employment, but had not made their “top ten” list of issues.
Item 7 – Process to Develop Measures for Improving Pedestrian
Safety on Fordham Boulevard Between Manning Drive
and Old Mason Farm Road
Traffic Engineering Kumar Neppalli said in response to a petition from a Council member they had developed a process that was similar to that used for the NC 54/Hamilton Road intersection. He said that model had proven to be both practical and productive. Mr. Neppalli said they were proposing that the Council authorize the Town Manager to:
· Solicit applications to serve on a work group and present applications for the Council’s consideration and selection of work group members.
· Negotiate a contract with Mr. Charlie Zegeer (UNC Highway Safety Research Center) and Dr. Joe Hummer (N.C. State University Transportation Engineering Department) to lead the work group in analyzing and identifying options for improving pedestrian and bicycle access, circulation and safety on Fordham Boulevard between Manning Drive and Old Mason Farm Road and return to the Council for authorization to execute the contract.
Mr. Neppalli said the staff recommendation was that the Council adopt the proposed resolution.
Loren Hintz said he fully supported the recommendation to create this work group. First, though, he suggested adding to the previous item regarding the University Transportation Report. Mr. Hintz said on page 19 where pedestrian improvements were mentioned, there was no mention of Manning Drive and Fordham Boulevard, and that intersection should be considered.
With regard to Item 7, Mr. Hintz suggested adding to the list of University representatives on the work group a representative from Family Housing or Odom Village, and possibly from the Graduate Student Association. He also suggested that because the Transportation Board and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Boards had considered this issue before, that a summary of past recommendations be requested from them and presented at the beginning of the process.
Mr. Hintz said even though the report was not scheduled to be presented to the Council until October 2006, he hoped that things would also happen immediately. He suggested placing a “Watch for Pedestrians” crossing sign west of the intersection similar to those you see at bus stops in Carrboro. Mr. Hintz suggested requesting from NCDOT a pedestrian crossing button and crosswalk at that intersection, which would be a stopgap measure until future solutions were developed. He told the Council that he intended to apply for a seat on this work group.
Council Member Harrison commented that Mr. Hintz had long served on both of the advisory boards mentioned, and that his memory was most likely better than most. He asked Mr. Hintz to share that memory with the Committee. Mr. Hintz said he would be happy to do so.
Council Member Greene said she endorsed all of Mr. Hintz’s recommendations. She said she hoped they would work on a more immediate solution as he had suggested and request a crosswalk and pedestrian-activated button for that intersection. Council Member Greene noted there was no overhead lighting at that location, and that the only light came from the stoplights and vehicles. She suggested asking the University if they were interested in providing lighting there with the Town’s participation at whatever level was appropriate.
Council Member Kleinschmidt agreed with Mr. Hintz’s suggestion regarding additional University representatives. He suggested that representatives might also be added from the Graduate Professional Students Federation, the Residence Hall Association, and the Student Body President’s Office.
Council Member Kleinschmidt said this area contained extraordinarily large residence halls as well as new ones, with nearby residential neighborhoods. He said the Council talks about the overall problems they have with creating community between students and neighbors, and this was a great opportunity to encourage cooperation and problem solving across that boundary, since they were all affected by the problems on Manning Drive.
Council Member Ward suggested adding the Director of Intramural Recreation and Sports, who he believed was Marty Pomerantz. He said he had spoken with him in the past in an attempt to get a head count of pedestrian activity at that intersection based on interest that the Botanical Garden had. Council Member Ward said he had been helpful in identifying various athletic clubs who regularly ran in that area, and the numbers were significant. For that reason, he said, it would be important to have him or some other representative on this work group.
COUNCIL MEMBER WARD MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER GREENE, ADOPTION OF RESOLUTION R-6, AMENDED TO INCLUDE REPRESENTATIVES FROM ALL OF THE GROUPS MENTIONED, AND TO FOLLOW UP ON THE SUGGESTIONS MADE BY LOREN HINTZ. THE MOTION WAS ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY (9-0)
Item 8 – Options for Operation of the Homestead Park
Skate Park and Batting Cage Facilities
Mr. Horton said it had previously been reported to the Council that because of a lapse in liability insurance the agreement with the concessionaire was terminated and Town staff assumed operation of the facility in May 2005. He said tonight the Council had options before it for consideration, to either close the facility permanently, operate it with Town staff, or operate it with a concessionaire. Mr. Horton said the staff recommendation was to operate it with a concessionaire.
Assistant Parks and Recreation Director Bill Webster asked the Council to consider operating the facility through a contract with a concessionaire. He said that arrangement certainly had costs, but it also had benefits. Mr. Webster said the benefits were positive from the standpoint of Town operations and maintenance issues on a day-to-day basis. He said they believed the concessionaire option was the best way to proceed, with the key being to find the best concessionaire to do the job.
Mr. Webster said they had searched for an appropriate concessionaire by contacting every state park operator they could find to get their recommendations, and then by conducting interviews. He said they had identified a concessionaire whom they believed was the most appropriate for the Town’s needs. Mr. Webster said John McKay, owner of Vertical Urge, the vendor the staff was recommending, was present tonight.
Mr. Webster said there were several issues outlined in the memo, one of which was the business plan provided by Vertical Urge containing an arrangement that ensured that at least some of their operating costs were paid up front. He said that would mean that if the total revenue collected by Vertical Urge in the first year of operation was $60,000 or less, the Town would make a supplemental payment of $12,000 to Vertical Urge. Mr. Webster said as revenues increased, that payment would decrease until such time that the Town began receiving revenues. Mr. Webster said they believed this was a good business model, if this park was to succeed and grow. He said with the increasing number of participants at the facility, this was a good approach.
Mr. Webster said that Town staff could continue to run the facility, and called the Council’s attention to the outline in the memo related to the Town’s operation over the last year. He noted the stagnant figures were most likely related to their inexperience in operating such a facility. Mr. Webster said there was also the option of closing the facility. He said they might realize some revenue from the sale of the batting facility, but not from the skate park.
Susan Lindholm said her son was a skateboarder and had frequented the park often until last fall. She said he did not use the facility because it was “just not working.” She said the young people operating the facility showed favoritism in that different people were charged different prices. Ms. Lindholm said there was loitering and smoking, and she believed it would be far more efficient if it were operated by a concessionaire. She encouraged the Council to adopt Resolution A to contract with a concessionaire who was experienced in operating this type of facility. Ms. Lindholm said children such as her son needed a place to go other than hanging out on the streets, and she asked the Council not to consider closing the facility.
Sara Kennedy said her teenager had been skating at the park since it had opened. She asked the Council to adopt Resolution A and allow Vertical Urge to operate the park. Ms. Kennedy said children who chose not to participate in traditional sports needed this type of outlet. She said skateboarding was growing in popularity, and children who participated in skateboarding rather than more traditional sports deserved to have the same type of well-run facilities to accommodate them.
Ms. Kennedy said Vertical Urge was well-respected and an excellent choice for a concessionaire. She said they had a vested interest in doing well and being profitable. Ms. Kennedy said their existing skate park and retail shop appeared to be successful and prosperous. She said her family had visited that park a number of times, and her teen had been treated with the utmost respect. Ms. Kennedy said she knew they would do a good job in Chapel Hill
Pam Zornick said her teenage son had chosen skateboarding as his sport. She said when the skate park was operated by the vendor her son had frequented it often, but when the Town took it over he lost interest due to its mismanagement. Ms. Zornick asked the Council to support the children and young adults in the community by providing them with a safe place to enjoy their sport. She said that Vertical Urge would be a model for youth because they support the safety aspects of skateboarding as a sport. Ms. Zornick urged the Council to adopt Resolution A.
Ryan Ogilvy urged the Council not to close the park.
Council Member Hill said he understood that about 2,100 people had frequented the park over the last year. He asked if the Town had figures from the previous years. Mr. Webster said the vendor was required to provide financial records, not attendance records.
Council Member Hill asked Vertical Urge Owner John McKay for his impression of these numbers. Mr. McKay said he believed they were extraordinarily low compared to the park they ran now. He said the first year they had sold over 22,000 session passes.
Council Member Hill asked what he would do to improve those numbers. Mr. McKay said they created a “sync,” which was what the previous vendor failed to do and what the Town lacked. He said this is a lifestyle, and that they skateboard, snowboard, surf, and wakeboard. Mr. McKay said they would conduct demonstrations and a skate school, in the summer they would have lessons on Saturdays. He said for Chapel Hill they wanted to recreate that same scene, although in a somewhat different manner since their current park was indoors.
Mr. McKay said the other important issue was that you had to provide the “goods,” and many vendors, including Chapel Hill’s former vendor, did not want to do that. He said to make this venture successful he would have to put a heavy retail investment into it, adding that it would not just be a concession stand. Mr. McKay said they could not afford to let skateboarding recede, but wanted to keep it growing. He said they were going to continue to promote it and that was how they would make a difference in Chapel Hill. Mr. McKay said he believed the Council would see a growing skateboard community coming to the park again.
Council Member Ward said he was a strong supporter of Option 1. He said they needed to revitalize this half-million dollar asset that the Town owned and to continue to offer programming to an age group that was hard to serve. Council Member Ward said he was convinced that they did not have the involvement they needed from Town youth by operating the facility themselves.
COUNCIL MEMBER WARD MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER HILL, ADOPTION OF RESOLUTION R-7a.
Council Member Kleinschmidt said he was not ready to make a decision on this at this time. He said he wanted a clear understanding of what hiring a concessionaire would provide in terms of numbers of users. Council Member Kleinschmidt said using the number of 2,100 in the last year, that amounted to 40 people a week. He said he would anticipate having more with a concessionaire, but he wanted to first see what that would be like.
Council Member Kleinschmidt said the 22,000 number quoted by Mr. McKay was not helpful because his current park was in Raleigh, which was not a comparison market. He said he was concerned about taking $30,000 from the CIP when last year they used the CIP to balance the budget. Council Member Kleinschmidt said he was totally sympathetic with the skateboarders and their culture, but that was not the issue. He said the amount of money and the use of the service needed to be better explained in clear numbers.
Council Member Kleinschmidt said he would like to delay action on this. He added he would like to see last year’s CIP, both the one proposed and the one adopted. Council Member Kleinschmidt said he wanted to know what was picked out, and what things reflected a $30,000 cost. He said if the vote were taken tonight, he would vote against it.
Mayor pro tem Strom said the Town would be spending more like $52,000 because it would be taking over $9,000 in payment-in-lieu, adding that to the $30,000, then making a $12,000 commitment to ongoing operations. He said he would like more information, because these numbers were deceptive. Mayor pro tem Strom said he wanted to know how many unique visits from Chapel Hill kids were going to this park. If it was 40 or 50 that was a $1,000 per head investment in the park to keep it open, he said. He said that kind of information was not in this report, and if the Council decided to go with the new concessionaire, he would like to have a closer reporting schedule so the Council could understand how the park was operating.
Council Member Greene agreed, noting there may be some factor in the Town’s management that was depressing some of these numbers. She said she would like to see a cost/benefit analysis, as well.
Council Member Hill said all of these concerns were well founded, but they were six or seven years too late. He asked, when the facilities were built in 1999, what made the Town think that spending $400,000 on a skate park was a good idea if only 50 people used it? Council Member Hill said that was when they let their desire to build something get ahead of their economic good sense, and closing it down would mean loosing that $400,000 investment. He said what concerned him was that they had this facility and for a relatively small amount they could keep it operating. Council Member Hill said it seemed to him that they had a significant investment that they would not recoup if they closed it down.
Mr. Horton commented he believed the Town had proven that it does not know how to operate a skate park. He said he did not believe they could learn how to operate a skate park unless they wanted to spend a lot more money. Mr. Horton said they had brought the Council the best deal they could, and he did not believe they could provide any better numbers because the numbers were speculative.
Mr. Horton said he was asking the Council to decide if it wanted to take a risk. He said that Vertical Urge was a successful contractor who had made a skate park work, and based on our discussions he believed they could do it in Chapel Hill. Mr. Horton said it was going to continue to serve a relatively small population, as did the lap pool, but it was an important service.
Mr. Horton said this program reached a group of young people that the Town did not reach with its other programs. He said he understood the desire to have better numbers and greater confidence, but they did not have the capacity to generate that. Mr. Horton said the Town did not have the knowledge and could not get it. He said the best they could do was bring the Council a calculated risk which they would endorse.
Council Member Ward said those who had expressed opposition to Option 1 were looking for better numbers, and they would be estimates that the Town could not be 100 percent sure of. He said he did not believe they would have 20,000 people out there, nor did he put stock in the existing use of the facility. Council Member Ward said the 2,100 users over the last year did not tell much, given the Manager’s confirmation that they did not know how to operate a skate park. He said a group of kids were poorly served because of the lack of programming that interested them. Council Member Ward asked the Council to support Option 1.
Council Member Kleinschmidt stated he could not vote on this tonight, but said he was persuadable. He said he would withdraw his request for the CIP comparisons, but he would like to have a higher degree of confidence in the numbers. Council Member Kleinschmidt said in response to the Manager’s comments, he understood the difficulties, but perhaps they needed more public input. He said he would appreciate the staff’s best guess on the numbers based on revenues of the prior concessionaire, and based on the Town’s best good faith estimate from its prospective contractor. Council Member Kleinschmidt said that with that information and further input from citizens, he could be persuaded.
Council Member Harrison stated that the only times he had seen this facility in operation were before the Town took over the operation. He said seeing it then was what convinced him, because he did not know they had any place in their park system that was so heavily utilized. Council Member Harrison said the place was maxed out by a lot of people having a lot of fun, apparently under what was not the best concessionaire they could have had.
Council Member Harrison asked if they had any numbers available from the previous concessionaire. Mr. Horton said they had past information regarding the financials, but did not believe they had dependable information.
Mayor Foy said he did not want guesstimates at this point, but that information needed to be sent to the Manager.
Mike Hartley stated that when the previous concessionaire experienced a health issue, the concessionaire asked him and his wife to operate the park on his behalf. Mr. Hartley said they did so for about five days in the peak of the summer. He said the park revenue was in the neighborhood of $800-$900 in that period.
Mr. Hartley said they had also operated the park when the concessionaire took a vacation, and again the park did the same amount of business. He commented that the concessionaire had not paid the Town anywhere near what should have been paid. Mr. Hartley said he could assure the Council that while that concessionaire was operating the park, the numbers were three to four times higher than what was reported to the Town. He said at times there were so many people there that there was no room to skate and people would leave.
Mr. Hartley said the batting cages did so much business that people had to wait in line, particularly during the season. He said he knew first hand that the park made good money and had the potential to make good money again. Mr. Hartley said he knew what the cash flow had been, and stood fully behind Vertical Urge as the appropriate concessionaire to run this facility.
Council Member Kleinschmidt asked, if there was $900 collected over five days, how much were the tickets for entry? Mr. Hartley said his memory was that non-residents were charged $8.00, and residents were charged $6.00. He added that Chapel Hill’s park was a wonderful facility, noting it was one of the best in the State. Mr. Hartley said because of its “flow,” more people could skate per square foot than at most other parks. He said it would be ridiculous not to continue to operate the park.
Council Member Greene said she was impressed by Council Member Hill’s comments regarding the investment in the facility, and, at this point, she did not feel that she had enough information to make a decision. She said she did not know if they could get it, but she would rather this go to a public hearing and hear from citizens before she made up her mind.
MAYOR PRO TEM STROM OFFERED A SUBSTITUTE MOTION TO DEFER THE MATTER TO THE APRIL 27 MEETING AND TO REQUEST THAT STAFF BRING BACK ANY ADDITIONAL INFORMATION THAT MIGHT BE AVAILABLE, AND THAT WE GET AN UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT CONTROLS WOULD BE IN PLACE TO MONITOR THE OPERATION OF THE CONCESSIONAIRE. THE SUBSTITUTE MOTION WAS SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER KLEINSCHMIDT. THE MOTION TO SUBSTITUTE THE MAIN MOTION WAS ADOPTED BY A VOTE OF 6-3, WITH MAYOR FOY AND COUNCIL MEMBERS EASTHOM, GREENE, KLEINSCHMIDT, STROM, AND THORPE VOTING AYE, AND COUNCIL MEMBERS HARRISON, HILL, AND WARD VOTING NAY.
The substitute motion was adopted and became the main motion.
Council Member Hill said he was not invested in this vote either way, but he believed what the vote was about was whether they wanted to use the facility for skateboarding or whether they wanted to close it down. He said he was in favor of putting some controls in place. Council Member Hill said this was an up or down issue about skateboarding.
Council Member Ward asked if there was a downside to delaying action on this item until April 27. He asked if the delay would affect their discussions with Vertical Urge. Mr. McKay responded not at this point, but if they were going to get the contract then they wanted to be able to implement it before school recessed for the summer. He said a two-week delay would not be a problem, because it only took them three weeks to be ready to operate the facility.
Council Member Ward said as long as we were not jeopardizing their potential contract with Vertical Urge, he would agree with getting the additional information. But, he agreed the question was, do they want to continue to provide this service or not?
THE MAIN MOTION WAS ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY (9-0).
Item 9 – Recommended 2006-2007 Capital Fund Program
for Public Housing Renovations and Resident Services
Mr. Horton said the Council was familiar with this issue and had held a public hearing on the matter. He said tonight they recommend that the Council adopt the resolution to approve a 2006-2007 Annual Statement for the Capital Fund Program.
COUNCIL MEMBER WARD MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER KLEINSCHMIDT, ADOPTION OF RESOLUTION R-8. THE MOTION WAS ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY (9-0).
Item 10 – Apple Chill Street Fair Plan Report
Police Chief Gregg Jarvies said Apple Chill was scheduled for April 26 from 1 to 6 p.m., and would extend on Franklin Street from Raleigh Street to Graham Street. He said the street would be closed around 8:30 or 9 a.m. and believed traffic would again begin to flow somewhere around 8 to 9 p.m. Chief Jarvies said side streets would also be closed for the duration of the event, open for local traffic only. He said they anticipated approximately 200 vendors in the closed area between Raleigh Street and Church Street, and in an area from Church Street to Graham Street on West Franklin Street would include a space for approximately 1,000 motorcyclists to participate in the motorcycle show that would take place during the event. Chief Jarvies said they did anticipate hundreds more that would not be able to get into the closed area.
Chief Jarvies said, based on the number of criminal acts they had experienced over the past couple of years in all of the major crowd events, as well as an increase in the observed activity related to gangs from local areas and based on the ongoing problems experienced with traffic flow and parking for these major events, they felt it prudent to increase the police presence from 135 last year to 230 this year.
Chief Jarvies said other changes were:
· the addition of highway lights positioned throughout the event area;
· nearby property owners had been requested to grant authorization if needed to control access to their property; and
· with the extra officers they would have greater ability to patrol outlying areas, particularly neighborhoods adjacent to the downtown, in order to control loitering, nuisance acts, and parking problems.
Chief Jarvies said this year they would clear the area as soon as the event was completed, and would work with Public Works to clean the streets and get them opened for traffic as quickly as possible. He said they did expect some traffic congestion once the streets were reopened due to “cruising” along Franklin Street for several hours after the event. Chief Jarvies said it was their intent to have the event entirely shut down by 11 p.m.
Chief Jarvies said they had overseen many events such as this and had done a good job, but events with these types of crowds always had potential for problems. He said they had put together a plan that they believed would manage the crowd, allow visitors to have a good time, allow vendors to be successful, and allow the motorcyclists to have a good experience, but it was flexible enough that should things escalate they would be as prepared as possible to handle it.
Mayor Foy asked if they knew what the event would cost the Town. Chief Jarvies said it would be in the neighborhood of $60,000 for police costs, but that did not include other costs such as Public Works and Fire.
Council Member Ward asked how they would communicate the change in their behavior in terms of clearing the streets more quickly at the termination of the event. He said his point was not to wait until that time to let people know that, particularly since their expectation would be that things would be the same as last year. Chief Jarvies said they were working closely with the Parks and Recreation Department to communicate that not only to the vendors but through NC Divas, the organizers of the motorcycle show. He said they would use the same techniques used with other events, that is, take it slow, use loud speakers, walk the streets and tap people on the shoulder, and thank them for coming and invite them back next year. Chief Jarvies said all of that was backed up by the presence of loud trucks and Public Works crews with blowers. He added that all of the pre-event news releases would contain that information.
Modification to Payment-in-Lieu of Recreation Area
Assistant Parks and Recreation Director Bill Webster said on March 20 the Council had held a public hearing to consider changes to the method of calculating payment-in-lieu of recreation space. He said the language originally adopted had inadvertently included buildings and structures in the cost of calculating payment-in-lieu, when all previous versions had included only the land value. Mr. Webster said this was an attempt to correct that situation.
COUNCIL MEMBER WARD MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER EASTHOM, ENACTMENT OF ORDINANCE O-5. THE MOTION WAS ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY (9-0).
Item 12 – Proposal for Public Information Signage Program
Council Member Kleinschmidt said the Council Committee on Communications had discussed several times over the last six months how the Town could enhance efforts to allow citizenry to understand the way policy-making decisions of the Town and Council come about. He said one of the proposals submitted tonight for comment and referral to the Manager involved creating signage to cover two new areas, District Delineation Signs and Capital Improvement Project Signs.
Council Member Kleinschmidt said that District Delineation Signs would convey information such as “Neighborhood Conservation District,” “Chapel Hill-Orange County Joint Planning Area,” “The Rural Buffer,” and “Watershed Protection District.” He said these signs would allow citizens to see the Council’s policy actions at work.
Council Member Kleinschmidt said the same philosophy underlined the recommendation to sign Capital Improvement Projects that had been supported by citizens through bond referendums and allow citizens to see that their actions of supporting a bond had resulted in a Town-owned and maintained amenity. He said an example would be greenways, identifying open space acquisitions, Streetscape, and others.
Council Member Kleinschmidt said tonight the Committee asked for Council comment and then referral to the Manager for development of an implementation plan.
Mayor Foy said he believed this was a good idea.
Council Member Harrison said if they were going to delineate districts, then he believed they should have signs that alerted people that when you turned onto a particular street you were now in Chapel Hill. He suggested such signs could be attached to the existing street signs, and could be as simple as “Welcome to Chapel Hill.” Council Member Harrison said he believed there were enough places in Town without the standard NCDOT sign to make this worthwhile.
COUNCIL MEMBER GREENE MOVED, SECONDED BY MAYOR PRO TEM STROM, TO REFER THE ITEM TO THE MANAGER FOR DEVELOPMENT OF AN IMPLEMENTATION PLAN. THE MOTION WAS ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY (9-0).
Item 12.1 – Arts Commission Review
Mayor Foy said this item was on the agenda because the Council had referred it to themselves. He said he did not believe there was any interest in pursuing this.
Item 13 – Petitions
13a(1). Mayor Foy regarding Amendment to the Council’s Calendar.
Mayor Foy asked that the May 31 work session be cancelled. He said he wanted to attend the New Cities Conference which preceded the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting, and he would be traveling on May 31.
MAYOR PRO TEM STROM MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER WARD, ADOPTION OF RESOLUTION R-9. THE MOTION WAS ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY (9-0).
13a(2). Mayor Foy regarding Status of Technology and Horace Williams Citizens Committees.
This item was discussed earlier in the meeting.
13a(3). Council Member Hill regarding a Petition to Form a Downtown Parking Citizens Committee.
COUNCIL MEMBER GREENE MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER WARD, TO RECEIVE AND REFER THE PETITION TO THE MANAGER. THE MOTION WAS ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY (9-0).
Mayor Foy said without objection, Items #13a(4) and #13a(6) would be combined. There was no objection from the Council.
13a(4). Mayor Foy regarding a Resolution to Encourage the General Assembly to Authorize a Conservation Bond
13a(6). Council Member Harrison regarding a Resolution Supporting the N.C. Land for Tomorrow Initiative for Open Space and Land Conservation.
Mayor Foy said that Item 13a(4) was a request that the Council support a resolution that would urge the NC General Assembly to enact legislation authorizing a $1 billion bond to conserve land. He said the petition brought forward by Council Member Harrison, Item 13a(6), was the impetus for that.
Mayor Foy said, according to the NC Land for Tomorrow Coalition, North Carolina was loosing about 100,000 acres per year, or about one million per decade due to population pressures. He said Land for Tomorrow would be asking the 2006 General Assembly to approve a bond reference that would increase conservation spending by $200 million annually for five years, or $1 billion. Mayor Foy said Land for Tomorrow indicated that based on past experience, those new State funds would generate another $400 million annually in federal, local, and private funds.
Mayor Foy suggested that they strongly encourage the General Assembly to invest in Land for Tomorrow, and that they join this organization.
Council Member Harrison requested that the resolution be moved with the addition of the Be It Resolved paragraph from Item 13a(6).
MAYOR PRO TEM STROM MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER WARD, ADOPTION OF RESOLUTION R-12, AMENDED TO INCLUDE THE BE IT RESOLVED PARAGRAPH FROM ITEM #13a(6).
Council Member Kleinschmidt asked how this was different from their normal legislative agenda. Mayor Foy replied that they were taking separate action just because they chose too, and they should also repeat this to their legislative delegation.
Council Member Harrison added they were not asking for legislation for Chapel Hill, but were supporting the conservation efforts of others.
THE MOTION WAS ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY (9-0).
13a(5). Council Member Greene regarding a Request for Council Guidance on Naming Rights Policy.
Council Member Greene said the Naming Committee had been working to respond to a request from the Library Foundation on the concept of naming rights to help fund collection improvements recommended in the 2003 Library Services Master Plan. She said they had looked at the existing naming policy and realized that it did not apply to this situation.
Council Member Greene said this would be a threshold the Council would be crossing as an official policy. She said the Committee was seeking guidance from the Council because there were policy issues to weigh in choosing to allow naming rights through fundraising. Council Member Greene added she did not believe it could be settled tonight, but she wanted to begin the conversation.
Mayor Foy remarked he had not thought through a policy. He said regarding the Library he did not have a problem with naming rights but did have a problem with how it was displayed. Mayor Foy said if the Council wanted to do this then there had to be specific guidelines. For example, he said, those guidelines might be a room could not be named “The Jim Jones Room” with a big sign placed on it. Mayor Foy said a room might be named for someone with a small plaque placed in the Library or in the corner of the room.
Mayor Foy said he saw the benefit of having people participate in funding for the Library, and if this was a way that would help raise money then he did not object. He said he did object to standards that he did not think lived up to the public nature of the building. Mayor Foy said while he understood the ability of private gifts and the ability for someone to attach their name to a public facility, that action crossed a certain line. He said he did not want to cross far over and the entire Library be named for someone.
Council Member Greene said the Library Foundation recognized that there was a line, and had indicated they did not want to rename the entire Library.
Mayor Foy said then the first line was whether or not to do it at all. He said he was not willing to cross that line, but would draw a line somewhere else.
Council Member Kleinschmidt said the way it was proposed it appeared to be open to name conference rooms, collections, or other items without limitation as to whether it was named for a person. He said he would be very much against a policy that allowed a corporate entity to purchase naming rights for a room or even a brick. Council Member Kleinschmidt said he did not think a public facility was an appropriate billboard for a for-profit business. He stated that it appeared that could be contemplated given the materials provided to the Council, and that would be an absolute no for him.
Council Member Kleinschmidt said other areas where he was less absolute about but leaned towards no was naming something for people who were large donors. He said they see spaces dedicated and they know that the person bought the dedication. Council Member Kleinschmidt said that was not the same, for instance, as naming the Post Office Plaza in honor of someone, because the community would be doing it to honor that person or persons.
Council Member Kleinschmidt said when you walk through a facility and see rooms or books or chairs purchased by someone, he believed that sent an undemocratic message that you could purchase a facility that was supposed to be owned by a community. He said that struck him as wrong. Council Member Kleinschmidt said he was as solid in his objection to that as he was to the corporate entity idea.
Council Member Kleinschmidt said he had a problem with someone being able to purchase the honor. He said the discussion earlier tonight regarding the Post Office Plaza was a discussion of the entire community embracing the memory and honoring the Straley’s and Charlotte Adams and the gifts they had given to the community. Council Member Kleinschmidt said allowing someone to purchase that honor was a stark contrast.
Council Member Harrison quoted a paragraph from page four of the Library Foundations letter to the Council: “It would be premature for the Foundation to present a “naming rights plan” to the Town Council at this point because the floor plan for the building expansion has not yet been designed. Also, we recognize that the Town Council may want to use some spaces within the Library to honor community members who do not have the resources to purchase naming rights.”
Council Member Harrison said that paragraph was admitting that there was some possibility of the scenario posed by Council Member Kleinschmidt. Council Member Kleinschmidt agreed that was what the language implied.
Council Member Hill said he had never seen a situation where this sort of policy had been adopted and he had thought it was an improvement to have a personal or corporate name on a facility. He said they might do much better just selling small plaques and having a “donor wall” for them, rather than selling naming rights to rooms or other things. Council Member Hill said this was the Library, and if someone wanted to contribute to it only if something was named for them, then he did not have much sympathy for that. He said those were his personal opinions, and basically he was opposed to it.
Council Member Ward said it was his understanding that the Library Foundation’s petition was not descriptive of what they needed. He said they came to the Council to discover if any tools lay in this area that might assist them while they were attempting to raise money to assist the community. Council Member Ward said they were asking for guidance regarding accepting donations from individuals or a corporation and recognizing them in some physical way. He said the Library Foundation indicated they would be able to raise more money if they had such a tool.
Council Member Ward said he wanted to make it clear that they were not being at all dogmatic about what they end up allowing, if anything. He said he was ambivalent in that he could see both sides of the issue, and realized the benefit of television programs when at the end they scroll through a list of contributors that allowed him to see a program that he presumably may not see as many of or at all. Council Member Ward said on the other hand he did not want to sell the Town or the Library to a commercial for-profit organization that may or may not in some future time have their name besmirched in such a way as to cause embarrassment for the Town. He said this topic deserved conversation beyond this evening.
Council Member Greene thanked Council Member Hill for expressing the Library Foundation’s position on this, which she believed was entirely right and reasonable. She said they all want the Library to succeed, noting it was not a question of the Foundation raising funds but of how much they could raise.
Council Member Greene said for her that was squarely a policy issue. She said it was the difference between what they could raise the old fashion way, and what they could raise if donors knew they would have their name on something. Council Member Greene said the question was, is that difference large enough to cross that threshold? She said, even if it was names on small plaques, it opened the door to other kinds of larger naming rights. Council Member Greene said they could all look at the University and see names on everything, but bear in mind that the amount of public money the University received compared to its total budget was less than 25 percent. She said the University had already crossed all sorts of thresholds in terms of public/private interests, but to her the Library belonged to the public
Mayor Foy said he did not see how accepting private donations changed things. For instance, he said, they already had the Love Trust which was private money that they used to help fund the Library. Mayor Foy said he did not see what the problem was in acknowledging that. He noted that Andrew Carnegie had given money for libraries all over the country in the last century, and there were many plaques honoring those gifts. Mayor Foy said he did not believe that had besmirched those communities, rather it had opened up public libraries to be accessed by more people.
Mayor Foy said he could see where a plaque that said donations to fund the collection were received from the following individuals might be placed in the lobby or somewhere appropriate, and that might be as far as they want to go. But, he said, he was not sure that the purity of not acknowledging private assistance was so clear.
Mayor pro tem Strom said he had not heard Council Member Kleinschmidt make a distinction between private individuals and corporations.
Mayor Foy said he agreed with Council Member Kleinschmidt in that he was not interested in corporations.
Council Member Hill said naming rights as opposed to donor recognition through a plaque were two different things and theoretically would be okay.
Council Member Greene responded if that was not a naming right, then she could possibly support that.
Council Member Hill commented that in the Ronald McDonald House there were many plaques recognizing contributions. Council Member Greene said she would not call that a fair comparison because the Town was not structured like Ronald McDonald House.
Council Member Kleinschmidt said he did not object to a plaque recognizing people who gave money at the entrance of the building, but did not think a particular item should carry a name.
Mayor Foy said you could also have a plaque in a room that said the room was made possible through a generous grant from someone. Council Member Greene responded that was different from a generic plaque placed in the lobby that contained a list of donors. Mayor Foy said he did not object to that.
Mayor pro tem Strom said there was a unique element to that. He said the public had supported bonds and the funds were available to build the Library. Mayor pro tem Strom stated this request was for books and other elements, so the request was you name a room for a donation but the donation went for materials for the Library.
Council Member Greene said she would be in favor of placing small labels in the front of books to acknowledge contributions.
Council Member Kleinschmidt said what Mayor pro tem Strom was saying was that this Library was brought to the Town by the people of Chapel Hill, not by an individual.
Mayor pro tem Strom said this request was to piggyback on the public investment. It said it was not as if the building would not be there if they did not cross this threshold
Council Member Greene said that made it easier, because money was not being given for a room. Mayor Foy asked, what if someone did give money for a room? Council Member Greene said the request was for books.
Council Member Kleinschmidt said the facility was coming from the bond sale. Mayor Foy said he would be happy to accept donations rather than issuing the bonds.
Council Member Kleinschmidt said he would go back to his original argument that it was undemocratic. He said if you were so gracious as to give an amount of money that would allow the building of a room, he did not believe it was community-oriented to be able to say, “This is my room.” Council Member Kleinschmidt said he found that offensive, because one would be giving money to the public for a public space, and could not own it.
Council Member Thorpe commented that the land for the Pritchard Park next to the Library was donated to the Town. He said he would be against naming parts of the Library for people who were more financially well-off than others. Council Member Thorpe said he agreed there was a difference between honoring individuals for their service to the community and allowing someone to purchase that right.
Mayor Foy suggested that the Naming Committee review the comments made tonight, and bring back to the Council options to consider. He said one could be no, and one or two could be modifications of what to do. Mayor Foy said that might include calling a public hearing
Comments by Council:
Council Member Kleinschmidt congratulated the UNC Women’s Basketball Team on their performance in the recent NCAA Tournament, noting they had made it to the Final Four and their game against Tennessee was “great.”
The meeting was adjourned at 9:55 p.m.