Friday   1/4/2012

Ahhh 1  …a 2  … a 3…                                                                                                                            

Well…perhaps not even that long as  Penny Rich has only been on office one month and already she is ready running down the isle screaming  Off  With Their Heads…

Seems a citizen who spoke as a citizen… with intimate knowledge of the Chapel Hill Planning Board’s opinion of the Transit mess planned for Orange County…(as said citizen is the Chair of said board…) has inadvertently  placed a burr under Mrs Rich to the point that Mrs Rich has called for the Chairs head…err…forced resignation for the CH Planning board in a letter to the Chapel Hill Mayor.
The Chair is in some legal proceeding against the town, to which she recuses herself on votes on the matter as any professional should, and this adds to the so called body of evidence Mrs Rich presents as justification for demanding resignation. This…and that Mrs Rich perceives the Chair spoke FOR the CH Planning Board.

It seems Mrs Rich is confused. The Chair never said she was there speaking for the Planning Board…she identified herself

I’m Del Snow and I’m the chair the Chapel Hill Planning Board

Not…” On Behalf of…”, or “Speaking for…”

However, it seems Mrs Rich took it upon herself to demand Mayor Kleinschmidt seek Mrs Snow’s resignation as an independent citizen…but signs her letter as a Commissioner.

Pot meet the kettle.

I have heard stories of Mrs Rich’s attitude, desire and they all seem to point to someone who is quite suited to wielding a heavy hand. I had hoped this was not the case… and this is just the beginning of her 4 year tenure. I hope this does not become a theme. I hope she never looks back and finds power in the unanimous Commission vote to limit Free Speech…

“Ms. Snow’s interests are in conflict with the town and the citizens of Chapel Hill and I don’t see how she can vote on issues to move the 2020 Comprehensive plan forward given her stated positions”

…it is hard to understand why Mrs Rich did not demand to replace the entire Chapel Hill Planning Board if indeed it is true they voted unanimously voted against the TTA plan as Dell Snow indicated…the entire Chapel Hill Planning Board is  not in concert with Mrs. Rich.  I’m not certain of Mrs. Rich’s position on diversity… as it stands, this declaration of hers sends a clears signal that any opinion outside of her own is suspect. I expect a demand  further resignations to be forthcoming…

“In my opinion this was highly unusual for the Planning Board chair of one governing
body to come and speak in front of another governing body unless asked to do so by

??? Well….was it not timely that this information DID come to light?
Would this information… reguardless of the method of delivery, been more apropos before or after the vote?
Given Mrs Rich’s zeal to send heads rolling when citizens create too much transparency for her tastes, I can only imagine what the citizens of greater NC can look forward to when she takes Verla Insko’s seat.
Mean while…the Citizens of Orange can look forward to 4 years of her.

Mrs Snow’s Address to the BoCC, and Mrs Rich’s letter to the Mayor are below.

Del Snow’s Speech

Penny Rich’s Letter


Mayor Kleinschmidt and Chapel Hill Council Members,

It has come to my attention that you received a letter from County Commissioner Rich regarding my comments at the Orange County Board of Commissioners meeting on December 11, 2012. “>My remarks were entirely appropriate, germane and true.
Mrs.Rich writes that I “did not share any details about the conversations regarding the vote.” and then goes on to say, ” Ms. Snow shared opinion after opinion from the planning board.” Ms. Rich’s assertions contradict themselves and are simply not accurate.  I have attached the speech that I gave relaying the Planning Board recommendations and reasoning on the MPO 2040 Transportation Plan pertinent to the Commissioners’ discussion so that you can make your own assessment.  I have also attached the recommendations that you received from the Planning Board.

Part of the process in making the complex decisions that elected boards arrive at is to invite advice, dialogue, and information.  I do not think Ms. Rich wants to be seen as intending to deny anyone’s right to participate, yet she criticizes my input into the public process.  Her analysis of what she deems inappropriate and an “over-reach of power” is just plain wrong.

The Planning Board is a public body that holds open public meetings.  Our first charge is “to acquire and maintain in current form such basic information and materials on the physical growth and development of the Town and its environs as are necessary for an understanding of past trends, present conditions, and forces at work to cause changes in these conditions.”  Additionally, our charge clearly states “The Planning Board has been granted the power to act independently of the Town Council in most instances but on occasion serves in an advisory capacity to the Council.”

I am proud of the Planning Board for the thoroughness of the job that we do for Chapel Hill.  Our discussion on the MPO 2040 recommendations spanned two meetings and we were fortunate to have Planning Board member Brewer as our note-taker.  It was Ms. Brewer  who drafted our initial report.  Modifications were made by the entire board on October 16th and were adopted unanimously 8-0 (both Andrea Rohrbacher and Neal Bench were absent).  One of our Planning Board functions is “to develop and recommend principles and policies for guiding action in the development of the Town”. When the County Commission took up a transit subject which our Board had debated, and the Council had received, discussed and acted upon, I thought it pertinent to share them with the Commission. They, too, include representatives elected by Chapel Hill.  I am certain that the Commission can appreciate the difference between an affirmative vote made by the Town Council and recommendations of an Advisory Board, and I did not detect anyone on the Commission who was unhappy or thought it inappropriate to receive them.  Quite to the contrary, Commissioner Jacobs told me that he looked forward to hearing the Planning Board remarks when I contacted him regarding extra speaking time.

While Commissioner Rich may not agree with the unanimous recommendations made by the Planning Board, a disagreement on policy does not disqualify me from serving my Town.  Quite to the contrary, wise decisions are  built on the diversity of opinions that inform them and provide the basis for the betterment of our Town.

As to Charterwood, that is a separate matter that is irrelevant to this discussion. Certainly, people who sue based on a dispute with the town do not give up the right to serve the town.

I am choosing to submit this email to you publicly to clear the air and set the record straight.  I would be happy to discuss the matter with any Council member who has a interest in further information.

As always, I will continue to deliver to you informed and thoughtful advice to the best of my ability.

Thank you-

Del Snow

Chair-Chapel Hill Planning Board





Hat Tip to the uniform thinkers at Orange Politics