Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town, known as CHALT, formed in January. Founding member Tom Henkel said CHALT is a grass-roots movement of people who dislike the direction in which Chapel Hill is heading. Now, more than 15,000 people subscribe to CHALT’s newsletter.
“There’s going to be development, and my colleagues on CHALT are all in favor of development, but it’s got to be what we call sustainable development,” Henkel said. “I don’t think people want Chapel Hill to be Manhattan South.”
According to a Public Policy Polling report released on Sept. 23, 36 percent of voters say they approve of the Town Council’s work, while 40 percent don’t.
While members of CHALT’s leadership have been politically active, their political action committee is the town of Chapel Hill’s first.
“It’s surprising to see sort of national PAC politics play in Chapel Hill for the first time,” said Aaron Nelson, secretary of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce.
Henkel said the group has raised between $5,000 and $6,000 in donations.
He noted that none of the donations to the CHALT political action committee are from real estate or development interests, like some of the donations to Mark Kleinschmidt’s or Lee Storrow’s campaigns.
“Our candidates are beholden to the people of Chapel Hill, not beholden to development outside of Chapel Hill,” Henkel said.