Orange County

Carrboro Board of Aldermen candidates offer multiple ideas for managing town’s growth

Early voting begins Thursday, Oct. 19, for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board and municipal races in Hillsborough, Carrboro and Chapel Hill. The general election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 7.
Early voting begins Thursday, Oct. 19, for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board and municipal races in Hillsborough, Carrboro and Chapel Hill. The general election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 7. File photo

At least one new member will join the Board of Aldermen’s discussion about how to manage the town’s growth, while preserving its affordable spaces for small, local businesses and lower-income residents.

That could be Carrboro’s biggest challenge, agreed incumbents Jacquelyn Gist, Randee Haven-O’Donnell and Sammy Slade, and challengers Paul Clark and Barbara Foushee.

Voters will choose four candidates to fill seats on the seven-member board in the Nov. 7 general election. Orange County’s early voting for municipal and Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board races starts Thursday, Oct. 19.

The incumbent candidates noted Carrboro already is working with its nonprofit partners to create affordable housing and has identified land north of the town for light manufacturing and service businesses. Their challengers also recommend taking a close look at available funding, incentives and how growth will affect families who live outside the downtown area.

Here is how each candidate would address the town’s biggest challenge:

Paul Clark: The town’s biggest challenge is managing growth. The first step to managing growth is understanding the impact throughout the town. There needs to be a fair representation of Carrboro’s population on the board in order to balance the input used during decision-making.

Barbara Foushee: The town’s biggest challenge is affordability and affordable housing. Affordability can be addressed through more economic growth and development initiatives and continued support of the Orange County living wage. Affordable housing requires money, so the town should increase funding for affordable housing from year to year after reviewing the budget impact and a community review. I also support economic incentives for developers to increase affordable housing; the current incentives are insufficient. Carrboro should continue to seek out collaborative processes with local nonprofits, community groups and neighboring municipalities.

Jacqueline Gist: The more people want to join our community, the more expensive it becomes, because we live in a market-based economy. There is no one answer to housing and commercial affordability. Carrboro has a longstanding commitment to affordability, including support of affordable housing organizations such as the Home Trust, Casa and Empowerment, the affordable housing density bonus, and our affordable housing fund and advisory board. Yet more needs to be done. I support allowing auxiliary dwelling units on existing lots for affordable rentals, the creation of tiny house projects and advocating for modular housing.

Carrboro is losing businesses that provide goods and services such as cabinetry, metal work, repair and crafts due to the shortage of appropriate commercial space. In order to retain these local businesses, attract others and grow our commercial tax base, I have advocated for the creation of a Makers Village on town-owned property. Using the land trust model, this will allow small local businesses to remain in Carrboro and contribute to our non-residential tax base, while providing locally crafted goods and services.

Randee Haven-O’Donnell: Affordability, residential and commercial, requires a multi-pronged approach:

▪  Fortify Carrboro’s successful local living economy

▪  Further sustainability and resilience practices to stimulate and recirculate locally spent dollars

▪  Advance revenue generation, diversify and grow the tax base

▪  Accelerate our emergent tech and alternative energy businesses

▪  Reverse decades of diminishing locally owned crafts, repair and light manufacturing services; re-ignite and solidify core community businesses

▪  Cultivate an artisan, arts guild and innovation center environment.

▪  Continue to promote a living wage, support and highlight businesses that provide living wage salaries

▪  Forge creative government and NGO partnerships to address varied housing needs

▪  Identify gaps, expand the affordable housing stock to include tiny and modular, small home programs

▪  Use our Special Revenue Fund for housing supply, construction offset and Buyer Identified Homeownership (BIHP) programs

▪  Reduce restrictions on housing density, residential infill, encourage mixed-use design in areas serviced by public transit

Sammy Slade: The town’s biggest challenge is to not become a victim of our own success. As Carrboro has become the place where so many want to live and do business, residential and commercial property prices have steadily increased.

I will continue the work to increase our permanently affordable rental and owned units by making sure that we maintain the funds necessary for implementing our recently completed affordable housing plan. We are also working on building affordable commercial spaces on a town-owned property for Carrboro light manufacturing businesses who are affected by downtown prices being too high or who are not finding larger spaces that they may need as their businesses have grown. As we are currently doing with the ArtsCenter, we need to facilitate spaces for Carrboro’s major arts institutions, including the Cat’s Cradle.

Tammy Grubb: 919-829-8926, @TammyGrubb

Early Voting information

One-Stop Early voting in the Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Hillsborough municipal races and in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school board election begins Thursday, Oct. 19. The general election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Eligible citizens can register and vote during the early voting period with an approved identification, such as a bank statement, drivers license or utility bill, showing their name and current address.

All early voting sites will close at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 31. Otherwise, the following polls will be open:

▪  Board of Elections, 208 S. Cameron St., Hillsborough

Thursday-Friday, Oct. 19-20, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.,

Monday-Friday, Oct. 23-27 and Oct. 30-Nov. 3, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Saturdays, Oct. 28 and Nov. 4, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

▪  Carrboro Town Hall, 301 W. Main St., Carrboro

Monday-Friday, Oct. 23-27 and Oct. 30-Nov. 3, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Saturdays, Oct. 28 and Nov. 4, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

▪  Chapel of the Cross, 304 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill

Monday-Friday, Oct. 23-27 and Oct. 30-Nov. 3, noon to 7 p.m.

Not open Saturday, Oct. 28, because of UNC football game

Saturday, Nov. 4, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

▪  Seymour Senior Center, 2551 Homestead Road, Chapel Hill

Monday-Friday, Oct. 23-27 and Oct. 30-Nov. 3, noon to 7 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 28, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 4, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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