The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday June 29th

UNC-System Hometowns Join Forces

Talk at the meeting emphasized common grievances related to the impact of university students on the towns and included finding solutions to unify town leaders.

Public transportation, zoning, housing shortages, student safety and state reimbursement for fire protection are problems the committee plans to tackle in subsequent forums.

"The towns came together to make sure each city's infrastructure and problems are receiving adequate funding from the state and how the university impacts the town," Elizabeth City Mayor Brett Van Nieuwenhuise said.

Organized by the town of Chapel Hill, the committee will provide the opportunity for the towns' representatives to air concerns about the impact of the universities on their communities and will monitor the N.C. General Assembly for issues that might affect the cities.

The committee is also taking a vested interest in the legislature's recent consideration to cut fire protection funding, for which towns are not compensated.

Participants of the committee will include representatives from the host towns of Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville, Wilmington, Charlotte, Greenville, Asheville, Cullowhee, Boone, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Elizabeth City and Pembroke.

Chapel Hill Mayor Rosemary Waldorf said the forum's primary objective was to allow the leaders of the towns to become acquainted with one another.

"(The meeting) was for mayors and council members from other communities with universities to see if we have common issues and objectives to work together for," she said.

Intending to set up a network to exchange information, town officials will enlist the help of the N.C. League of Municipalities, an organization that discusses town and city issues, to find effective solutions to any grievances.

The league plans to inform town officials of policies and ordinances that have been used in the past in an effort to solve town-gown problems.

Several cities and towns have complained of problems with students parking in residential areas.

Waldorf said the league might send Chapel Hill's creative solution to its parking problem to other towns' officials.

She did not mention what the solution was.

Greenville Mayor Nancy Jenkins agreed that the organization is important and will benefit the communities and the universities.

"(The committee will) help by sharing the things the towns have in common and the ways they successfully overcame anything problematic."

The State & National Editor can be reached at stntdesk@unc.edu.

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