Despite whatever impressions you may have about Chapel Hill being a bastion of progressive government, the truth is quite a bit less encouraging. Sure we get lots of things right, but we also get plenty of things wrong.
This week our Town Council will be voting on a proposed new development called Charterwood. In concept, it's an interesting project that offers dense development in an area (our northern transit corridor) where dense development makes sense. But when you look into the details, the project is a sketchy mess that has no business even being considered, let alone approved.
For starters, the corporation behind the proposal doesn't actually exist. Sure it's a paperwork oversight, but shouldn't we expect multimillion dollar projects to be backed by companies that have their shit together?
Beyond that, the project is located squarely in the watershed of two small lakes (I live beside one of them) and there is a 100% guarantee that runoff and silt from the development will end up in the lakes. Downstream neighbors have asked the town council to require an insurance bond from the developer to cover his liability for damage to the lakes. The town's staff and attorney are basically ignoring the request in favor of business as usual.
Any honest person, conservative or progressive, should want individuals and companies to be held responsible for whatever damage they inflict on those around them. For too long, we in America have allowed businesses and their owners to profit at the expense of the broader community. That has to stop.
You'd think Chapel Hill would have an enlightened point of view on this issue of fundamental fairness. You'd think our elected officials would understand the importance of making developers clean up their messes.