CHAPEL HILL - Eleven residents will ask the Town Council on Monday for a shot at finishing the last year of former council member Penny Richs term.
Rich left in December to join the Orange County Board of Commissioners. Her replacement will serve until December and have a hand in several development and Chapel Hill 2020 Comprehensive Plan decisions.
The applicants are Sally Greene, Loren Hintz, David Jackson, Gary Kahn, Jennifer Marsh, Paul M. Neebe, Maria Palmer, Bjorn Pedersen, Amy Ryan, Carl Schuler and Aaron Shah.
Although the new members term will be short, it will be filled with big decisions and could offer an advantage in Novembers Town Council election if the person chooses to run. The council will implement trash and transit plans, push for more affordable housing and seek ways to grow the towns commercial tax base.
Here is a brief look at each applicant:
• Sally Greene has the only previous Town Council experience, serving from 2003 to 2011. She helped strengthen the towns affordable-housing requirements, start the Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness and create the 92-acre Morgan Creek Preserve.
Greene is a visiting lecturer in UNCs Department of English and Comparative Literature and previously was the associate director of UNCs Center for the Study of the American South.
• Loren Hintz, a Chapel Hill High School biology teacher, advocates for a proactive town government that listens and works to find problems. He also supports improving local pedestrian, bike and public transit options and preserving parks, greenways and open spaces.
He serves on the Orange County Commission for the Environment and previously was chairman of the Chapel Hill Transportation Board. Hintz also served on the Chapel Hill Bike and Pedestrian Task Force, the Fordham Boulevard Safety Task Force and participated in the Carolina North and Chapel Hill 2020 meetings.
• David Jackson moved to Chapel Hill from Denver, Colo., just 18 months ago, but has been active in Chapel Hill 2020 and the Friends of Downtown. He is a consultant and real estate broker with Camris Solutions LLC, managing his familys real estate holdings.
Among the councils countless issues, he said, is the need to focus on asset management, downtown as a key element in economic vitality, the development review process, public investment and service delivery, and linking the budget to the towns strategic plan.
• Gary Kahn is a Southern Village resident and a member of the board of directors of the Copperline Square Homeowners Association. He works as a retail merchandiser and has taken an avid interest in council discussions and activities for the last two years. He is a native of New York and held a variety of management, retail and real estate jobs before moving to Chapel Hill.
• Jennifer Marsh is the director of research, community services and student programs at the UNC Center for Civil Rights. The Chapel Hill native has worked for nonprofit groups and as a researcher, advocate and civil rights attorney, specializing in social justice issues. She also worked for the North Carolina NAACP, serving as deputy executive director last year.
Marsh said the towns continued growth depends on how it handles the Carolina North development, an increase in traffic and alternative transportation, and issues facing the schools.
She has been a member of the Orange County Board of Equalization and Review since 2009.
• Paul M. Neebe, a musician and real estate broker, grew up in Chapel Hill and attended The Juilliard School in New York before returning home in 1990. He plays the trumpet with orchestras in Virginia, where he also teaches part-time at the University of Virginia. He also is a broker with Neebe Real Estate.
His envisions a bike-able, walk-able green community that offers affordable housing for homeowners and renters, a stronger commercial tax base and better communication between the town, its advisory boards and the university. He is a member of the towns Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee.
• Maria Palmer served six years on the N.C. Board of Education, co-chaired a Chapel Hill 2020 group and has held other leadership positions. She also has been active in the Hispanic community and is the founding pastor of Iglesia Unida de Cristo. She most recently was the director of the Multicultural Student Center at N.C. A&T State University in Greensboro.
Palmer was a Chapel Hill News columnist for 12 years and is a former member of the Orange County Human Relations Commission. As the councils first Latina, she would add an important perspective, she said.
• Bjorn Pedersen is a 22-year-old UNC physics major. The Chapel Hill native wants to join the council, because I love this town and want to see it grow and prosper without losing its charm.
Growing up here and then going to UNC has shown me that there are many sides to the town and everyones relationship with it is different, as are their feelings about what defines its unique character, he said. I want to preserve everyones right to define their own relationship with the town so that they can get the most out of being a citizen.
• Amy Ryan has been a member of the Planning Board, the Community Design Commission and the Sustainable Community Visioning Task Force. She also is serving as a Central West focus group leader and was a Chapel Hill 2020 participant.
Ryan said she thinks the community needs an earlier and more substantial role in projects, and the town needs a more formal process for getting community input. Development and related issues, such as student and affordable housing, will be important in the next year, she said.
• Carl Schuler, a Board of Adjustment member and registered nurse at UNC, said 2013 will bring an emphasis on budgets, how to implement Chapel Hill 2020 and the costs and logistics of trucking garbage to Durham.
Schuler ran for the Town Council in 2011, and as a member of the towns Board of Adjustment, he said he has a solid understanding of the towns fiscal and social issues. He has been involved in Chapel Hill 2020 and the Inter-Faith Councils Good Neighbor plan, and is an active Chamber of Commerce member.
• Aaron Shah is a member of the towns Sustainability Committee, a single father of three boys and an information technology professional with the UNC Department of Medicine. He volunteers as a Chapel Hill High School basketball coach, and in 2009, he applied for former council member Bill Stroms seat.
Shah is running on a platform of affordable housing for town and UNC employees. The 2005 UNC graduate knows the difficulties of buying a first home, having bought his house through Habitat for Humanity in 2006. He also supports light rail, more bike lanes and progress with an eye on preservation.