TO:                  Mayor and Town Council


FROM:            Ralph D. Karpinos, Town Attorney


SUBJECT:       Legislative Forum


DATE:             March 24, 2004



Tonight’s public forum on legislation is scheduled to receive public comment on potential  legislative requests considered by the Town Council this past Monday, March 22.


A copy of the agenda memorandum from March 22, identifying possible legislative issues, is attached.








TO:                  Mayor and Town Council


FROM:            Ralph D. Karpinos, Town Attorney


SUBJECT:       Calling Public Forum on Potential Legislative Initiatives


DATE:             March 22, 2004



The attached resolution would call a public forum for March 24 to hear public comment on proposed Town legislative initiatives for the 2004 Session of the North Carolina General Assembly.   Following receipt of public comment, the Council will have an opportunity at an upcoming meeting to consider adopting a legislative program and sending the Town’s legislative requests to our local Legislative Delegation. 




Early each calendar year the Town Council goes through a process to develop a list of policy positions and requests to submit to the Town’s Legislative Delegation at the beginning of the annual session of the North Carolina General Assembly.


So far this year the Council has:


1.      Held a Public Forum on February 2, 2004, on potential legislative requests.


2.      Considered a list of potential legislative requests, on February 9, 2004, that had been identified by Council members and citizens over the past several months.


3.      Met with members of the local Legislative Delegation, on February 20, 2004, to discuss the upcoming session of the General Assembly and issues of interest to the Town Council.




The Council usually includes in its process for development of a legislative program a public forum on the specific items identified by the Town Council as issues it wishes to consider for local legislation. 


A number of potential local legislative initiatives were mentioned to the Council on February 9, 2004, including:



  1. A bill to authorize a local public campaign financing program.


  1. A bill to authorize the expenditure of open space bond funds outside of the Town’s extra-territorial jurisdiction.


  1. A bill to authorize transfer of development rights into the Town’s urban area in association with conservation easements purchased in rural areas of Orange County. 


  1. A bill to allow the Town to enact zoning regulations pertaining to the ratio of bedrooms to bathrooms in residential development.


  1. A bill to extend the time period, established by local act last year, that a special use permit development can be delayed if the property has been identified as a potential school site. 


  1. Enhanced financial support for the provision of Town fire protection services on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


  1. Bills pertaining to local and regional transportation organizational and funding issues.


On February 9, 2004, the Council did not indicate an interest in discussing items 1 through 5 with local legislators.  Of those items involving local legislation considered by the Council on February 9, the transportation and fire protection issues were discussed with the legislators at the February 20, 2004, breakfast.  There may be other issues, not yet identified, that the Council would wish to consider for potential local legislation, some of which could have implications for the Town’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year, now being developed.  One possible additional issue could be the Town’s request, last year, for legislation to allow the creation of special tax districts levy a tax of up to $1.00 per month on residential electric customers and $5.00 per month on commercial electric customers to generate funds to put electric lines underground. This bill was introduced and referred to a committee in the House.  No further action on the bill occurred.


We believe that it would be timely for the Council to consider identifying such issues this evening and conducting a public forum so that those matters can be considered as budget preparations continue.


Other policy issues pertaining to the upcoming session of the General Assembly can be considered by the Council and the Council will have an opportunity to take a position on those issues pertaining to proposed or pending State-wide legislation at a later date.  The Council will also have an opportunity to formally adopt a legislative program that includes any local legislative requests at that time.




We recommend that the Council adopt the attached resolution, inserting those proposals the Council wishes to receive public comment on as potential local legislative requests.



BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Town of Chapel Hill that the Council calls a public forum for March 24, 2004, at 7 p.m., to receive public comment on the following items for consideration as possible subjects for local legislation in the upcoming session of the North Carolina General Assembly:


(Items to be included)



This the 22nd day of March, 2004.