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Public Participation for Carolina North

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Our goals for public participation with Carolina North are to help policy-makers and community members work cooperatively to reach common goals, be open, encourage participation and foster a sense of community and cooperation with residents and other groups in Chapel Hill. The goal of the Town of Chapel Hill Communications Strategy, adopted by the Council in January 2011, is to build our community relations through the highest standards of openness and participation. The Communication Strategy's goals and objectives set the course for excellent public communications for Carolina North, as well as all other important community conversations.

On January 11, 2010, the Town Council received a plan for public participation for the implementation of the Carolina North Development Agreement.  The plan was prepared by Town in collaboration with UNC Chapel Hill staff as requested  by the Council in this resolution.

Town staff has been using the outreach and communications strategies in that plan. The plan has three main components:

Three Methods of Communication

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  • Electronic Communications - using our existing resources and new techniques to maximize participation and information sharing
  • Face to Face meetings - gathering input directly from interested residents, having ample opportunity for conversations and discussion
  • Board of the Whole - testing a new way of sharing information efficiently with the Town's advisory boards when projects are planned for Carolina North
The primary goal of these communications is to provide a flow of information that collectively provides information for the Council, Town Manager and the University.  It is not a linear process, but an interactive process that builds information from many levels through discussion and open communications.

Flow of Information

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Some of the questions raised by the Council and the community on January 11, 2010 when reviewing the plan were:
  • How do we engage the community in a timely manner?
  • Which electronic communications are most effective?
  • Are there new approaches we can test with Carolina North?
  • What would be helpful information for citizens?
Each project or task is somewhat unique, but the staffs and citizens have worked together in new ways, as show in the chart below, to share information.  We anticipate as new projects come forward on Carolina North that we will continue to develop new approaches to our communications.

We would like your feedback.

If you have ideas and suggestions to make our participation efforts better, please send us an email at:  

You can subscribe to Town Updates here and check Carolina North to receive targeted news announcements.


 Activity  Notes  Actions
Carolina North Transportation Impact Analysis (TIA) Update
The TIA was updated in December 2009
  • The draft report was posted to the Town's website
  • A public meeting was held to review the findings
  • Comments were addressed in the final report
Public Participation Plan
Requested by the Town Council
  • Town and University staffs worked together to propose a public participation plan
  • Town staff met with interested citizens during the preparation of the plan
  • The Council referred the plan to their communications committee for additional input
  • The plan was posted on the website
  • Direct emails were sent to interested participants
  • The plan was presented to Town advisory boards who provided comments on the plan
  • Improvements were made based on input (see Campus to Campus, Schedule, FAQs, below for examples)
Campus to Campus Connector The development agreement requires a joint exploration of the location for a future bicycle connector between Carolina North and the Main Campus
  • A series of public meetings was developed by a technical group to solicit public input
  • All meetings were announced on the website
  • press releases and direct Town Updates were sent to subscribers
  • Meetings were announced and/or reported on in local media
  • All presentations, graphics, input sheets and meeting materials were posted on the website for review and comments
  • An email address was provided for comment
  • Meeting summaries were provided on the website at the request of community members
  • A draft report was posted in advance of the third public meeting to allow sufficient review time.
  • A final recommendation was included in the Annual Report
Detailed Carolina North Schedule
During the public participation discussions, a community group requested a detailed schedule
  • In response to a community request, a detailed schedule was posted on the town's website
  • Key or upcoming activities are highlighted at the top of the main Carolina North webpage
FAQs for Carolina North
Staff developed FAQs to respond to common questions about Carolina North
  • FAQs were posted to the Town's website to direct people to certain parts of the agreement, and to answer common questions about parking, traffic and the development agreement.
Proposed Minor Modifications to the Development Agreement
The University requested two modifications to the Development Agreement in June, 2010.
  • A webpage was created to help track requests, comments and decisions on minor modifications.
  • A description of the minor modification requirements and process were posted on the town's website
  • The requests were posted on the town's website
  • An announcement was sent to about 2,300 subscribers of the Carolina North Town Updates service
  • Decisions were posted on the webpage
UNC Chapel Hill's USACOE permit application
This is a UNC Chapel Hill Activity
  • An announcement was posted on the Town's website for the University's public meeting
  • A link was provided to the University's presentation

Carolina North Annual Report 2010

Annual Report 2011

Received September, 2010 & September 2011
  • The Annual Report was posted on the website
  • An update was sent via Town Updates and to about 2,300 subscribers of the Carolina North Town Updates service.
  • A public meeting was scheduled in September at Town Hall.
  • The Manager presents his compliance report to the Council in October at a regular meeting.
Board of the Whole
 under development     
There are no active construction projects at Carolina North today.  The Council has asked the Town staff to develop a pilot project for some combined advisory boards for other projects.  This pilot will inform the staff's effort to develop a Board of the Whole for Carolina North when development is ready to occur on the property.



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