The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday June 29th

UNC Opposes Expansion Of School Board Power

The amendment would require developers to submit a Certificate of Adequacy of Public Schools with their development applications.

Called a CAPS, the certificate would be issued by the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education as confirmation of adequate school facilities in accordance with the development.

The certificate would be a key element in the ordinance's goal to pace residential development with availability of Orange County school facilities.

But Aaron Nelson, UNC interim director of Greek affairs, said a CAPS might hurt the University's ability to retain faculty by raising housing costs.

"If demand continues to rise and housing growth is artificially curtailed through an ordinance such as this one, the cost of housing will rise faster than we have seen in the last several years," he said.

Nelson also said that although traditional residence halls are exempt, a CAPS might prevent development of alternative housing for graduate students, student families and faculty.

"While we do not support the current draft ordinance, if it is adopted, an exemption for all University-constructed housing would be necessary," he said.

Nelson also said he was wary of the school board's power to guide the course of development through these certificates. "Empowering the local school board to grant or deny certificates of adequate public school facilities to the University for housing construction will allow the school board to prevent the University from meeting its housing obligations," Nelson said.

Council member Pat Evans said she also had concerns about the ordinance's consequences.

Evans said she would like to see more research about whether new growth was attributable to new development or to existing development.

Evans said additional development requirements would push housing into peripheral counties and exacerbate the cost of housing in Orange County.

But Council member Jim Ward said he was concerned about development occurring while the ordinance was in revision. "Is there a way to put the brakes on residential development while this is being carried out?" Ward asked.

Council member Bill Strom said he hoped that the recommendation came back to the Town Council quickly with little alteration. "It makes incredible sense to pace residential development with the capacity in our local schools," he said.

Town Manager Cal Horton said a revised copy of the proposal would likely appear before the council at the second meeting in April.

The City Editor can be reached

at citydesk@unc.edu.

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