The Daily Tar Heel

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Tuesday October 19th

Carrboro Board of Aldermen discuss town communications and potential tiny homes at meeting

<p>The Carrboro Board of Aldermen and community members hear a presentation on tiny homes&nbsp;by Planning Director Patricia McGuire at their weekly meeting.</p>
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The Carrboro Board of Aldermen and community members hear a presentation on tiny homes by Planning Director Patricia McGuire at their weekly meeting.

Patricia McGuire, planning director for the town, gave a presentation on tiny homes ­— structures that are 500 square feet or smaller. She said the houses have lower costs, greater mobility and links to diversity and affordability policies.

“I would love, you know, if at some point a tiny home can be erected in the Town Commons,” Carrboro Board of Aldermen member Randee Haven-O’Donnell said. “This so excites me.”

The board supported the idea of tiny homes, including the relative affordability and the prospect of collaboration with communities like the elderly and disabled.

Julie Eckenrode, assistant to the town manager, gave the presentation on the town’s communications.

The communications draft addressed gaps in the current program and came up with five objectives that Eckenrode said should relate to all the town’s goals.

The board suggested ways that the town can create more documents in Spanish, as well as being clearer in communication methods like mail and agenda sheets.

“There’s a difference between communicating well and communicating often,” Town Clerk Catherine Dorando said.

In addition to hearing the two presentations, the board voted on two resolutions to oppose bills in the N.C. General Assembly.

Carrboro Board of Aldermen member Bethany Chaney said House Bill 436 restricts local government’s abilities to charge impact fees for new homes — money that goes to the school systems.

“We think this is an immediate impact to Orange County,” Chaney said. “Every community is damaged by this bill.”

Lost local revenues would total $28.9 million, Chaney told the board.

The board voted unanimously to pass a resolution criticizing the bill. They also passed a resolution to oppose Senate Bill 434, which would limit local authority to regulate stream buffers.

Carrboro Fire Chief Susanna Williams gave a presentation about the N.C. Building Code Council’s proposed changes for the fire code. She asked the board to support the Carrboro Fire Department in writing a letter on behalf of the town to oppose the changes.

The proposed fire code changes would make fire prevention systems the responsibility of the International Building Code and would increase the maximum size of tents that need operational permits.

“One would think with the awful fire in Raleigh two weeks ago, three weeks ago, they wouldn’t be looking to undercut our fire safety,” said Carrboro Board of Aldermen member Jacquelyn Gist.

The Board of Aldermen agreed to help the department compose a letter directed to Gov. Roy Cooper.

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