There are a lot of good things happening in Carrboro, but there are also some important issues that will require thoughtful approaches and new, creative tools over the coming years. Bethany is especially interested in three such issues:
Expanding affordable rental housing and home-ownership opportunities, especially for working families, seniors, and people with special needs.
The Board of Aldermen’s Affordable Housing Task Force is stewarding the Board of Aldermen’s strategies, and as chair, Bethany’s experience working with affordable housing developers and investors will be helpful moving forward. She is interested in seeing the town develop a robust, dedicated source of funding for affordable housing, perhaps in collaboration with the County and sister municipalities. She also supports a streamlined development review process for projects that include affordable housing, especially those utilizing federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits or New Markets Tax Credits.
Improving infrastructure that is critical to economic and civic life.
A vibrant, healthy community is founded on an infrastructure that enhances, not hinders, the ability to grow and adapt to changing needs and environmental concerns. Storm water management systems, parking, and public spaces, including a library and green spaces suited for children and teens, are among Bethany’s infrastructure priorities. Public transit, which is a county-wide, collaborative issue, is another.
Strengthening the town’s community engagement processes, using technology and creativity to better connect residents and local businesses with town government.
Carrboro values transparency and engagement, but Bethany knows first-hand that some of the tools available to residents, business owners and even town staff are outdated. The Town’s website revamp has made a big difference, but people are calling for more and varied ways to interact with local government, share concerns, and get things done. They need plain-language roadmaps for participating in zoning and planning decisions; better access to data that will help them plan or solve problems; and “apps” and on-line tools to report problems, renew business privilege licenses, see the progress of a permit application, or even to find parking. With some of the state’s brightest techies right here in Carrboro, Bethany sees lots of opportunity to experiment, engage, and continuously improve. (Tip of the hat to Gavin Newsom’s Citizenville for inspiring this priority.)