Advisory Board Review

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The Town of Chapel Hill has a vibrant tradition of community participation in local government.  No where is this better demonstrated than by the voluntary service of the Town's 175 advisory board members  who serve across a system of over two dozen standing advisory boards, task forces, and adhoc committees.


The Council values the commitment and service of its advisory board members and is interested in ensuring that it is providing excellent opportunities for community input into Town decision making.  With this goal in mind, Council adopted Council Goal 1E: Define roles and responsibilities for advisory boards and commissions and created the Council Committee on Boards and Commissions in 2010. In the years since, the Town has pursued a strategic model of governance and operation. This is evident in the development of the Chapel Hill 2020 plan, the consideration of form based coding for development and the move towards priority budgeting.

Council RetreatThis developing strategic model affects the roles and responsibilities of boards and commissions. The goal of a strategic, systems approach to decision making raises new questions about the purpose of advisory boards and the type of advisory board system that will best assist the Town Council in governing with quality, responsiveness and efficiency.

Having identified these issues, Town staff collaborated with the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government to create a research project to analyze the current status of advisory board operations and deliver a data driven set of recommendations for Council consideration. The results of this research were presented at the Council’s 2013 Retreat and utilized to develop the Council’s definition of success for this project which is:

  • Town is able to offer the public better opportunities to contribute to Town decision-making and
  • Council receives better input and recommendations from advisory boards that increase its ability to govern with quality, responsiveness and efficiency.

The Council Committee on Boards and Commissions has been meeting regularly and has proposed a phased approach to revising the advisory board system.

Phase One – Development Process 
        • Design: Spring 2012 thru Winter 2013 
        • Implementation: TBD

Phase Two – Cultural, Recreational and Others 
        • Design: Winter 2013 thru Spring 2014 
        • Implementation: TBD

The Council welcomes community input on the design of the advisory board system and directed staff to organize a series of Community Input sessions that were held throughout July and August.

The Town Council appreciates the time, dedication and hard work of its advisory board members and hopes that they as well as other community stakeholders will be active and engaged partners in this dialogue.



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Presentation on Advisory Board Review




Outcomes Community Input Session 5: Planning Board
Outcomes Community Input Session 4: Community Housing Advisory Board

Outcomes Community Input Session 3: Environmental Design Advisory Board

Outcomes Community Input Session 2: Community Design Advisory Board

Outcomes Community Input Session 1: Transportation & Connectivity Advisory Board

Council Committee Powerpoint Presentation May 16 & 21, 2013 (PDF)

Handout from May 16 &21, 2013 Presentation (PDF)

May 21, 2013 Video Presentation

May 16, 2013 Video of Presentation

UNC SOG &TOCH Standing Advisory Board Research Report (PDF)







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