Published: Jul 07, 2012 07:00 PM
Modified: Jul 06, 2012 05:01 PM
The Chapel Hill Town Council has put aside its work for a while. Good thing, too, because given the number of marathon meetings in recent weeks, those folks could probably use some sleep.
In Carrboro, the Board of Aldermen are likewise on break. The Orange County commissioners too have suspended their meeting schedule until late August.
Work continues, of course – trash has be collected, police have to patrol, facilities have to be maintained. Crews had to manage the reinstated fireworks show at Kenan Stadium Wednesday night, which we hear was, in spite of the heart, spectacular.
But listen. Do you hear that?
It’s the sound of people not debating. Not arguing, not declaiming, not speechifying. For a little while, discussion of all the variously contentious issues that have been consuming so much of the oxygen around here in recent months – the Charterwoods, the Family Dollars, the Chapel Hill 2020s and so on – falls silent. The public discourse, at least in the chambers of local government, pauses.
It’s a sweet and vaulable thing, this brief cessation. And we’re grateful that it comes just as the world grows too hot to do much of anything anyway; working up a righteous head of steam over this or that fine point of process regarding the special use permit application currently before us ... well, good grief, who has the energy in weather like this? Sit down and drink something cold.
We don’t mean to suggest that the issues at hand are trivial. They aren’t. Charterwood matters, not only because of the significant changes it would produce on an important stretch of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and its environs, but because both the process and, if it’s built, the product have the potential to teach us valuable lessons for how better to manage development proposals in the future. The sale of Abbey Court and the redevelopment of Colony Apartments matter, not only because the people who now live there will be affected, but because what happens in thos developments have the potential to spur us to think about new aproaches to dealing with the critical question of affordable housing.
And we’re thrilled to live in a community that not only recognizes the importance of such things but gets actively involved in them. We have dedicated leaders and an educated and deeply engaged citizenry. That can lead to more five-hour meetings than anybody wants, but it also tends to lead to more well-considered decisions and policies.
But everybody needs a break every now and then. A pause to clear the brain, suspend critical analysis, pay attention to some things that might normally fall outside our frame of reference, and, as the kids say, just chillax a little bit.
The hot, slow days of July off that opportunity. Then, when the chill winds of August – well, the slightly less sweltering winds of August, we hope – start to blow, we can rouse ourselves refreshed, and tackle the to-do list with renewed vigor and a clear head.
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