CHAPEL HILL – Southern Village resident Gary Kahn is the first to officially announce his intention to run for a seat on the Chapel Hill Town Council.

“I have no real qualified background,” Kahn says. “I’m originally from New York but never had any political interest. (One) reason I’m running is because of Obey Creek since I live in Southern Village and I want to be a voice for the people in the Southern Village area since they really have no say, really no (representation) on the Town Council. So, I figured, let me do it.”

Kahn has been in Chapel Hill for more than three years and is a retail associate for a department store in Cary.

He made his announcement at the tour of the Obey Creek development area Wednesday morning and says growth in Chapel Hill—especially in the area of Southern Village—is one of the main areas on which his campaign will focus.

“Personally, I’m in favor of developing the area to some point,” Kahn says. “Whether we need a hotel or not, that’s another story. They’re also developing next to Southern Village on the other side; they want to put some retail and housing.

Kahn says economic development is important for the town, but that it has to be done properly.

“I agree with the (other) members of the Town Council that we do need some retail to help balance the tax base, because we’ve lost all our taxes basically to other communities (in) the surrounding area like Chatham County and Durham County,” Kahn says.

Kahn has not served on any local governmental boards, but says he is qualified because of his high attendance to their meetings.

He also applied for the open seat on the Council when Penny Rich left to become a member of the Orange County Board of Commissioners. That seat was filled by Sally Greene when the Council appointed her on January 24.

The official filing period for the 2013 municipal and school board elections begins July 5 at noon and remains open for exactly two weeks.

Locally, Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt formally announced he would be seeking reelection; Lydia Lavelle announced she will be running for the office of mayor in Carrboro this year as Mayor Mark Chilton announced he would not seek reelection.