Chapel Hill eNews

Post Date:04/26/2017 4:58 PM
Chapel Hill eNews

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Up Front


Northside Festival Saturday


Celebrate spring and make community connections at the Northside Festival, from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, April 29. A new neighborhood gateway in honor of Northside’s Freedom Fighters will be dedicated during the festival. Read more.

From Town Hall

Town-Sponsored Events

Town Services





Up Front



TOWNweek has been posted!





Things to do in Chapel Hill

Feature from the Chapel Hill/Orange CountyVisitors Bureau

20th Annual Community Dinner

1-3 p.m. Sunday, April 30
McDougle Middle School, 900 Old Fayetteville Road, Carrboro (919) 969-3006 

The Friends of the Carrboro Branch Libraries is a proud sponsor of this annual event. Make plans now to attend this community-building event, crossing economic, racial, religious, ethnic barriers, and presenting a wealth of wonderfully culturally diverse food and entertainment from our own community. For tickets or to donate, visit   





Town in News

Town in News – TIN Report – is a sampling of news media coverage about the Town of Chapel Hill compiled by the Communications and Public Affairs Department. This listing includes articles and columns that are available on the web, and may not necessarily contain all stories in the print edition of the papers or on televised broadcasts.

Links access online stories that are posted for a limited time. Some media organizations require registration or a subscription.

For information, contact us at


Durham County Commissioners approve revised Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit cost-sharing agreement

Durham County approved a revised cost-sharing agreement for the Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit project on Monday that would shrink both Durham and Orange counties’ share of the $3.3 billion project and push it one step closer to reality. Read more:


Orange County Commissioners Prepare for Light Rail Vote

After years of debate, the Orange County Transit Plan could be approved at Thursday night’s County Commissioners meeting. The main piece of the plan is the much-debated Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit line. The 17.7-mile light rail line has a total projected cost of $3.3 billion, including financing, and has split public opinion. Read more:


Orange County Cost Share of DOLRT Drops After Negotiation But Questions Remain

The first in a series of votes on whether the proposed Durham-Orange Light Rail line will move forward is scheduled for Monday night. Some Orange County Commissioners appear to be more comfortable with a renegotiated cost-sharing plan with Durham County regarding the project. Read more:


Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Orange County schools seek $9.7M more in local money

Orange County’s school boards are asking for nearly $10 million more next year in local money to educate children and continue increasing teacher and staff pay. Read more:



Northside Festival will celebrate community this Saturday

From gospel choirs to old-fashioned field games and free food, the Northside Festival will have something for everyone. Read more:


Overflow Parking Established During Porthole Alley Construction

A minor alley on Franklin Street in the heart of downtown Chapel Hill is receiving major attention during a construction project that will continue through June. Read more:


Orange County residents weigh in last time before light rail vote

The $3.3 billion Durham-Orange light-rail financial plan continues to be revised, but Orange County’s share of local costs could be shrinking. Read more:


Approval Process Begins for Chapel Hill High School Expansion

The academic year is winding down at Chapel Hill High School, but town officials are gearing up to consider the demolition and expansion of buildings on its campus. Read more:


House votes to end Orange impact fees

Orange County would no longer have the power to charge development fees to fund school construction under a bill that passed the N.C. House on Tuesday. Tuesday’s 80-40 vote sends the proposal to the Senate. Read more:


Chapel Hill High School proposing renovation plans for school buildings

Chapel Hill High School has proposed plans to remodel with a 163,000 sq. ft. expansion, which would include demolishing current academic buildings and constructing two entirely new buildings. Read more:


Chapel Hill flooding leads to downed trees and power outages across town

Since Sunday afternoon, more than 5.25 inches of rain fell in Chapel Hill, leading to downed trees, power outages and flooding across town. Read more:


3-day deluge leaves Durham drenched, but relatively unscathed

A three-day deluge finally let up shortly before noon Tuesday. Read more:




From Town Hall




Council Meeting Summary

The Chapel Hill Town Council met on Monday, April 24, and considered an agenda, that includes these highlights.

Council meeting summaries are issued from the Communications and Public Affairs Department following most business meetings. To sign up to receive these by email, please send a request to This brief summary is sent immediately following the public meeting. It should not be viewed as official minutes.

Would you like to view the Council video? ( - this should be ready for online viewing by Tuesday afternoon). It also will be replayed throughout the week on Chapel Hill Gov-TV (

PROCLAMATIONS by the Mayor and Council – Chapel Hill celebrates National Volunteer Week April 23 - 27 Thank you all for your time, energy and abilities!  Coming this Saturday, April 29, is Community Dinner Night! Thank you to Mama Dips Kitchen and Nerys Levy for helping us celebrate our rich cultural diversity! May is Bike Month. Everyone is encouraged to use bicycles this month and every month!

Statement on DO-LRT and County Transit Plan  
The Council finalized a letter to the Orange County Board of Commissioners in which it expressed support for the Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit project and highlighted interest in the future of transit.  

Southern Village: Traffic Calming Report and Recommendations
The Council approved a report and recommendations based on the results of neighborhood-wide traffic studies in Southern Village conducted by Town staff. Recommendations include the installation of traffic-calming measures, with types and locations determined in conjunction with the residents and homeowners associations.

Town-owned Lot Donation for Affordable Housing
The Council approved the donation of a lot on Brooks Street in the Northside neighborhood to Self-Help Ventures Fund to assist in creating an affordable housing opportunity.

Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness Update
The Council received an update from the Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness on its 2016 activities and key accomplishments. The report is available at

Schools Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance 2017 Annual Technical Advisory Committee Report
The Council received the annual report from Orange County and provide any comments to be given to the Orange County Board of County Commissioners. The School Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (SAPFO) is a regulatory tool, which sets a limit on the number of additional residential units within the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools District. Access the report at

Commission Applicant Interviews
The Council interviewed applicants to the Community Design Commission and Planning Commission. Appointments to the commissions are scheduled for May 8, 2017.

Appointment to the Transportation and Connectivity Board
The Council appointed applicants to fill three vacancies on the Transportation and Connectivity Advisory Board.





Community Input Opportunity: Historic Town Hall

Residents will have an opportunity to share thoughts about a possible future use related to local history and culture for the Historic Town Hall building at a community input meeting set for 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 3 in the Board Room of the Southern Human Services Center, 2501 Homestead Road.

Organized by the Town of Chapel Hill Historic Town Hall Committee, the meeting agenda will include a brief presentation on the committee’s formation and work to-date, followed by a discussion.



Historic Town Hall at 100 West Rosemary St. was built in 1938 and is owned by the Town. The facility is currently occupied by the Inter-Faith Council for Social Services (IFC) Community Kitchen. The IFC is proceeding with plans to construct a new building for the Community Kitchen and will vacate Historic Town Hall in two to three years.

In October 2016, the Chapel Hill Town Council established a committee to consider the possibility of using the Historic Town Hall building as a visitor and/or history center. This committee’s work represents the beginning of a community dialogue about the future use of this building. This committee’s work will culminate with a report and recommendation to the Council in June. Options for the building will continue to be discussed with additional future opportunities for community involvement.


More Information

Meeting details are posted on the Town Calendar at Committee information and past meeting materials and minutes can be found at

For more information contact Megan Dale, Town staff liaison to this committee, at





Chapel Hill Celebrates Volunteers

Recognizing the value of volunteers, the Town of Chapel Hill takes the time to thank and celebrate its hundreds of volunteers in honor of Chapel Hill Volunteers Week. The Mayor and Town Council have proclaimed April 23-29 Chapel Hill Volunteers Week.

“Volunteer Week is an opportunity to shine a light on the people and causes that inspire us to serve,” said Mayor Pam Hemminger. “We honor and thank the dedicated residents of our community who give so freely of their valuable time, energy and abilities.”

During this spring’s recruitment for Town of Chapel Hill advisory boards and commissions, the Town has received 84 applications, a record number. The Town has more than 18 standing boards and commissions comprising about 180 volunteers who provide advice and input to Council and community decisions.

Many residents volunteer in programs at the Parks and Recreation Department, Chapel Hill Public Library, Stormwater Management, and the Office of Housing and Community. The Resident Leadership Team of the Town’s Public Housing division, is comprised of public housing residents who volunteer their time and talents to help provide guidance on resident programming and services and opportunities for improving public housing neighborhoods.  The volunteer representatives of the team also serve as liaisons to their neighbors to share information and encourage community engagement. Learn more at


Voices of our Volunteers …


Amy Ryan, who serves as chair of the Planning Commission, is a book editor who holds a master’s degree in landscape architecture from the NC State University College of Design. She previously served two terms on the Community Design Commission.

“I joined a Town advisory board to pursue a design interest that I wasn’t using in my professional life,” Ryan said. “That was back in 2002, and I have continued to serve because I love working with other citizens on issues that are facing the town. I often serve as conduit back to my neighbors, explaining issues and topics of interest.”

“Chapel Hill residents are rich in expertise, but you don’t need special knowledge to serve on an advisory board,” Ryan said. “Your expertise can be in knowing your community and bringing a unique perspective. When we’re all involved, we make our community better. People forget sometimes that the government is us. Our Town is enthusiastic about bringing as many points of view to the discussion as possible.”


Paul Neebe, chair of the Transportation and Connectivity Advisory Board, said he serves to make a difference in the community for the better.

“I was teaching at a university in Bayreuth, Germany, and I thought, wouldn’t it be great if Chapel Hill had a similar connected network for bicyclists and pedestrians,” Neebe said. “I asked how I could advocate, and I thought of no better way than serving on an advisory board.”




Town-Sponsored Events






Northside Neighborhood to Host Annual Festival

The Marian Cheek Jackson Center for Saving and Making History is holding its annual spring festival in the Northside neighborhood of Chapel Hill on April 29 from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The Northside Festival, previously named May Day Festival, is moving into the streets this year and aims to connect the community through free music, food, activities for kids of all ages—including a traditional maypole dance—and dedication of the new neighborhood gateway in honor of Northside’s Freedom Fighters.

"The festival is rooted in making connections across generations," says George Barrett, associate director of the Jackson Center.  


Northside Festival

The Northside Festival will take place on the front lawn of the Jackson Center and St. Joseph Christian Methodist Episcopal (C.M.E.) Church and expand into the street space of West Rosemary between Roberson and Graham Street.

The festival is dedicated to connection among residents, local businesses, and area churches.  All are invited to contribute to the chili and sides cook-off and the neighborhood dessert drive.  The festival will feature gospel performances by choirs from St. Joseph C.M.E. and St. Paul’s A.M.E. and local legend, Mr. Prince Taylor.  It will begin with a release of doves to pay tribute to Marian Cheek Jackson, followed by the Spring Graduation of the clients and advocates of the Community Empowerment Fund and dedication of the magnificent new neighborhood gateway at the corner of Rosemary and W. Roberson. The dedication will include an invocation by Rev. Kevin Brown, comments by Mayor Pam Hemminger and Senator Valerie Foushee, testimony and spoken word performance by local leaders, and collective songs of praise and freedom.


Freedom Fighters Gateway

A signature part of the Rosemary Street Improvement Project, the Freedom Fighters Gateway proudly marks the entry to Northside and to the historic Pottersfield and Sunset neighborhoods.  Composed of hand-hewn Chatham stone, the gateway is inlaid with eight granite slabs etched with images of the civil rights struggle in Chapel Hill and related excerpts from oral histories of local leaders, all selected in a community-based, public curation process.  The images are those taken by photo journalist Jim Wallace, some of which are now preserved in the National Archive. The gateway offers what one local, civil rights leader called “a beautiful glimpse” into the Freedom Movement. It is there to let people know--loud and clear--that they have entered a unique community of people who have struggled for freedom their whole lives and to inspire similar determination. As lifetime resident, Clementine Self, said: “The battle is not over. We have not yet overcome.” 

The gateway project was a collaboration among the Town of Chapel Hill, the Jackson Center for Making and Preserving History, and St. Joseph’s C.M.E. Church.  Funding for the project was derived primarily from the Town’s Streetscape Bond funds and the Chapel Hill Percent for Art Program.


Rosemary Street Improvement Project
During the dedication ceremony, Mayor Hemminger will acknowledge the completion of the $1.6 million street improvement project on Rosemary Street between Henderson Street and S. Merritt Mill Road. The Town of Chapel Hill bond-funded project includes widened sidewalks; improved sidewalk ramps to meet ADA standards; new pedestrian level light fixtures with LED lights; improved curb and gutter sections and driveway ramps; water and electrical hubs; and a repaved street. The Mayor will recognize and thank individuals who donated right-of-way easements that made the project possible, and will thank residents and businesses for their patience during construction.


Community Support for Northside Festival

The festival is made possible by the generous support of the Town of Chapel Hill, the Chamber of Commerce, the Community Empowerment Fund, the Sonja Haynes Stone Center, the Institute for African American Research, the UNC Office of Student Life, the Campus Y, Nourish International, Herban Gardens, and all of the neighbors and friends who contributed their invaluable time, energy, vision, and expertise.


Marian Cheek Jackson Center for Saving and Making History

The Marian Cheek Jackson Center for Saving and Making History is a nonprofit that aims to renew, honor, and build community in the historically black Northside and Pine Knolls neighborhoods located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The Jackson Center's programs emphasize organizing, education, and celebration. Founded in 2008, the center now holds over 200 interviews with community members in its oral history archives. All of the Jackson Center's work is driven by the motto of its namesake, Marian Cheek Jackson: “Without the past, you have no future.”





Books Sandwiched In Meets May 3

Books Sandwiched In will meet at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 3 at the Chapel Hill Public Library, to discuss "Some Luck" by Jane Smiley. Kathy Newell will lead the discussion.

Books Sandwiched In will meet at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 3 in Meeting Room C of the Chapel Hill Public Library, 100 Library Drive, for a discussion of Some Luck by Jane Smiley. Kathy Newell will lead the discussion. 

This story chronicles the life and times of a remarkable family over three decades in America.  On their farm in Iowa, Rosanna and Walter abide by values they pass onto their five wildly different children.  Each chapter is a single year, beginning in 1920 as American soldiers like Walter return home from WWI. It goes through the 50’s at the start of enormous social and economic change.  As their children branch out, so does the story, eventually encompassing several generations, cities, and cultural movements.  Smiley has characters that take what life brings and puts them in what feels like simpler times.  This is a book said to be written with humor and affection.

Books Sandwiched In is free and open to the public.  You may bring a sandwich and share your thoughts on the book scheduled for discussion.  Sponsored by the Friends of the Chapel Hill Public Library, this group provides copies of current titles, available at the circulation desk on a first come, first served basis.  Selections for the year are chosen by the members and can be found on the Friends' web site at  We hope you will join us. 

For additional information, please contact: Martha Brunstein at or 919-402-8964.


Details at-a-Glance

Who:        Friends of the Chapel Hill Public Library

What:      Books Sandwiched In Book Club - Free and Open to the Public

Where:    Chapel Hill Public Library Meeting Room C

When:     Wednesday, May 3 – 11:30a.m.

Book:      Some Luck by Jane Smiley




Town Services




Post-flooding Update: Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Town of Chapel Hill saw more than 5.25 inches of rain fall in two and a half days beginning Sunday afternoon. The heaviest concentration (more than 2.75 inches) fell between the Monday evening and Tuesday morning rush hours causing hazardous travel conditions, especially Tuesday morning.

“We’re thankful that no one was seriously injured while Chapel Hill was inundated with rain Monday and Tuesday,” said Fire Chief Matt Sullivan. “It’s important for our residents to stay connected with us so we can get crucial safety messages to them in times like this. When hazardous conditions are present, patience and knowledge are key to staying safe.”

“We’d also like to thank all the Town and Orange County officials who braved the harsh elements to keep our community safe,” Chief Sullivan added.

View Videos/Photos
Multiple images were taken around town the morning of April 25. View them on our Facebook page at

Road Closures
A number of Town streets were closed due to flooding, including Old Mason Farm Road, Rogerson Drive, the 200 block of South Estes Drive and Cleland Drive. All streets have been reopened at this time.

Transit Detours
Chapel Hill Transit CL, D, DX, F and HU routes began Tuesday morning on detoured schedules due to fallen trees and flooded roads. The HU route remained detoured on Tuesday evening from Finley Golf Course Road. The other routes were returned to normal schedules by 9:15 a.m.

Downed Trees
Two large trees fell on Tuesday because of the saturated ground. The first happened before 6:45 a.m. in the 900 block of East Franklin Street (between Estes Drive and Boundary Street) which forced Franklin Street down to one lane. Chapel Hill Police assisted motor vehicles until the road was reopened a little after 9 a.m. The second tree was on a neighborhood road, Wesley Drive, near Umstead Drive. The tree completely blocked the road, which—thankfully—has a second outlet. Two trees fell overnight, one at around 1 a.m. on Barclay Road near Bradley Road, the other on Finley Golf Course Road.

Motor-vehicle Accidents
In all, 15 motor-vehicle accidents were reported since 7:46 a.m. Tuesday; only one reported weather as a contributing factor. However, one water rescue was attempted Tuesday morning, only to find out that the driver had already successfully vacated the vehicle. Chapel Hill Police responded to two other vehicles that were stuck after driving on flooded streets.

An accident in the northbound lane of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard (toward downtown) between Umstead Drive and Longview Street caused major delays during the morning commute. A subsequent accident occurred on the northbound side of the road. Both accidents were cleared around 8:45 a.m.

Other Information
There were no reports to Town officials of flooded structures or residences. No serious injuries were reported.

Stay Informed
To sign up for emailed news notices from the Town of Chapel Hill, send an email to or visit For more safety information, visit, and download the ReadyNC app on your iPhone or Android smartphone. On Twitter follow @ChapelHillGov, @ChapelHillEM, @ChapelHillFD, @ChapelHillPD, and @OCNCEmergency.

Are you signed up to receive OC Alerts? They’re customizable to receive the important safety messages you want on the devices you want (email, text message, phone call). Visit to sign up now.

Responding to Flooding in Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill has flood-prone areas. They exist due to topography, building in areas that are flood prone, and decades without stormwater regulation. The Town of Chapel Hill addresses flooding today by planning the best uses for public funds including the construction of new infrastructure. We can expect some improvements from our efforts. Unfortunately, there will still be flooding. We work to educate the public to the hazards, and prepare for emergencies. To view a map of Chapel Hill with the floodplains highlighted, view Chapel Hill Floodplain Map.









New Colorful Signal Boxes

A newly painted signal box at Rosemary and Roberson streets exudes the vibrancy of color and life on the equator; bright colors and optimism abound.  

Artist Daniel LeClaire will soon be painting another signal box at Rosemary and Henderson streets.  He was commissioned to paint the signal boxes through the Creative Projects Program sponsored by the Town of Chapel Hill’s Parks and Recreation Department in collaboration with Traffic Engineering and Public Works.  It is part of the overall effort to enliven the Rosemary Streetscape. 

After recently having returned to the United States after 15 years of living and working in South East Asia, LeClaire’s work explores color and shape to create emotion, movement and as a reminder of the magical world that surrounds us.  His geometric shapes and juxtaposed natural line create movement and expression. The paintings represent mystical journeys, expressing human connection to the rhythmic energies of the cosmos.

Do you walk, bike, run and wheel around Chapel Hill? The Town of Chapel Hill is busy with projects to improve your travel safety and experience with sidewalks, streets, trails and greenways, traffic calming and public art.  The Town of Chapel Hill's focus on “complete streets” includes traffic slowing measures, public transit, and safe walkways and bike lanes.

Chapel Hill voters authorized $16.2 million in bonds funds in 2015 to repair, connect and construct sidewalks and bike lanes to improve connectivity and safety, and $5 million for construction of new trails and greenways. Learn more at

For more information on the public art project, contact Town of Chapel Hill Public and Cultural Arts Administrator Jeff York at




Chapel Hill Transit Logo

Chapel Hill Transit Safe Rides End April 29

Chapel Hill Transit Safe Rides will end on Saturday, April 29, 2017, due to the University of North Carolina summer break schedule and will resume on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017.

Safe Ride is a service funded by the UNC-Chapel Hill Student Government for the safety of students.

Chapel Hill Transit is the public transportation provider that serves Chapel Hill, Carrboro and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. For complete information about Chapel Hill Transit services, schedules, route changes or directions to the nearest stop, visit us at , email, or call a customer service representative at 919-485-7433.





Lane Closures: Franklin Street and Church Street

One westbound (toward downtown Chapel Hill) motor-vehicle lane and the sidewalk on East Franklin Street in front of the Sherwin Williams Paint Store (north of Estes Drive) will be closed daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. until Wednesday, May 3. A contractor will be working on the new Dunkin Donuts development project next to Sherwin Williams Paint.

One lane of Church Street between Caldwell and Brooks streets will be closed from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, April 21, for a sewer connection. A flagger will direct traffic, and two-way traffic will be maintained.

One westbound (toward Carrboro) lane of West Franklin Street will be closed in front of the Carolina Square development project (between Mallette and Columbia streets) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 25, through Thursday, April 27.

Delays to motor-vehicle traffic should be expected during these closures.

Looking for more Traffic News?
Visit Did you know that traffic advisories may be sent directly to your email? Visit to sign up and check the box "Traffic Advisories." For assistance, contact us at

Do you walk, bike, run and wheel around Chapel Hill? The Town of Chapel Hill is busy with projects to improve your travel safety and convenience – including sidewalks, streets, trails and greenways, traffic calming and more. For more information, visit And, for a weekly digest of all Town news, sign up for Chapel Hill eNews at or by sending a request to

Are you on Twitter? Follow @ChapelHillGov@ChapelHillPD and #CHTraffic for the latest traffic news.





May Is Bike Month

The Town of Chapel Hill and Go Chapel Hill-UNC-Carrboro support special events during the month of May to celebrate Bike Month.

Do you walk, bike, run and wheel around Chapel Hill? The Town of Chapel Hill is busy with projects to improve your travel safety and convenience – including sidewalks, streets, trails and greenways, traffic calming and more.  The Town of Chapel Hill's focus on “complete streets” includes traffic slowing measures, public transit, and safe walkways and bike lanes.

Chapel Hill voters authorized $16.2 million in bonds funds in 2015 to repair, connect and construct sidewalks and bike lanes to improve connectivity and safety, and $5 million for construction of new trails and greenways. Learn more about projects underway and coming up at Town of Chapel Hill Getting Around.  

To access resources for people who bike and walk—including a wikimap—visit The wikimap offers residents an opportunity to provide comments to the Town of Chapel Hill about problem areas and routes they would like to ride and request additional bike parking.



May 3

Gearing Up for Bike Month
11 a.m.-1 p.m., Berryhill Hall, UNC Campus


May 5

Cycle de Mayo Bicycle Fiesta Night
6–9 p.m. The Plaza at 140 West Franklin St.
Fiesta with music by Ellis Dyson & The Shambles, giveaways, contests, dance and bike info


May 6

Go Chapel Hill Bike on Bus Workshop
9 a.m.–Noon, University Place


May 10

International Bike to School Day
Chapel Hill-Carrboro and St Thomas More Schools


May 13

Carrboro Bike on Bus Workshop
9 a.m.-Noon, Carrboro Town Commons

Bike Bonanza
11 a.m.-2 p.m., Back Alley Bikes


May 16

Carrboro Bike Breakfast
7-10 a.m., Libba Cotton Trail


May 19

National Bike to Work Day
Spring Roll Cruiser Community Ride
7 p.m.
For more information, contact


May 20

Bicycle Story Event
10:30–11 a.m., Chapel Hill Public Library


For more information or to become involved, contact Len Cone at or go to


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