CHAPEL HILL- All this week WCHL has been profiling the eleven candidates vying to fill Penny Rich’s vacant seat on the Chapel Hill Town Council. Part 4 of our series wraps up with a look at David Jackson, Amy Ryan and Sally Greene.
Real estate broker David Jackson is a recent transplant from Colorado. He says he was motivated to apply for the council vacancy in part as a result of his participation in the Chapel Hill 2020 visioning process.

Though he says he fully supports implementation of the plan, he’s worried about how the town will pay for it.

“That’s my focus, to make sure that if urban infill is going to take place to support the revenue generation for increased services in 2020, then we need to make sure its done responsibly and that those revenues are allocated appropriately,” says Jackson.

Amy Ryan, a member of the Chapel Hill Planning Board, also participated in 2020 process. She wants to see large-scale community outreach continue as the plan moves forward.

“Now we’re in the implementation phase, so we have to figure out the ways to actually make those visions happen,” says Ryan. “The next year or two are going to be really important for planning in town, and in getting citizens involved from the ground up.”

Ryan says she wants to encourage the town take a more data-driven approach to decision making, a change she thinks will make the development review process more efficient.

With nearly a dozen residents from all walks of life in the running for the vacant seat, there’s no shortage of qualified candidates. But former council member Sally Greene may have a leg up on the competition, as she served on the council for eight years before deciding not to seek reelection in 2011.

After a year off she says she’s ready to step back into her leadership role.

“I think right now Chapel Hill really is in a serious and critical age of transition, so I hope [council members] will see my experience and track record as valuable qualities for helping them get through this transition,” says Greene.

Greene says she’ll focus on affordable housing, library funding and the need for an emergency shelter in Orange County.

The town council will hear from each of the eleven applicants at a special meeting on Monday night, and will likely vote to appoint a new member on January 23.

Whoever is appointed will face a host of tough issues, from a tight budget to the roll out of the 2020 plan. Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt says given those challenges, council members are looking for someone who can jump right in.

“I am anxious to have someone fill this role who can do so without really missing a beat, someone who can get to work quickly, and not have to worry about some enormous learning curve,” says Kleinschmidt.

The town council will convene at 6 o’clock on Monday in Council Chambers at Town Hall to hear presentations from the applicants.