“Charting Our Future” is a Chapel Hill project to chart the course ahead and think about the Town’s future. The first phase of the project refined the Future Land Use Map (FLUM), developed initially as the Land Use Plan in Chapel Hill 2020, the Town's Comprehensive Plan. The Town retained Kimley-Horn to manage the project and used Konveio to assist with community engagement. Chapel Hill 2020 initially identified six areas of Town, called Focus Areas, that were refined during this phase of the project. The second phase of the project will rewrite the Town's Land Use Management Ordinance (LUMO) to improve the Town's land use tools and processes so that they are more predictable, functional, and intentional.
The Town began community engagement two years ago and hosted several in-person workshops. With the help of Kimley-Horn, the Town used this initial community input to come up with a draft plan for the Focus Areas. Just as they were getting ready to present the draft to the community and get additional feedback, the pandemic hit. The project was already slightly behind schedule, and the Town was concerned about further delays. Additionally, this very civically-engaged community was hesitant about growth and change and needed opportunities for meaningful input beyond what traditional online surveys could provide.
The Town and Kimley-Horn used Konveio to present the vision, an overview of current conditions, and a set of principles that speak to connectivity, land use, placemaking, density, and environmental considerations for each Focus Area. Site visitors were presented with a map that further divided the Focus Area into sub-areas, which geographically provided information on land uses, described as character types, and height guidance. The Focus Areas also included detail on activated street frontages and transitional areas. By enabling visitors to view the draft plan in an interactive and dynamic way, the Konveio Site allowed for better understanding and more robust dialogue among stakeholders.
Over the course of six weeks, the Konveio Site received over 2,000 visitors who made many thoughtful comments on the draft plan. Users’ ability to comment directly within the draft plan versus using a general comment box led to more precise feedback. The specific comments enabled the project team to refine the messaging between the initial and revised plans. Elected officials were satisfied by the participation of a large cross-section of the Town, which led to Town Council adopting the new FLUM in December 2020.
“Konveio enabled us to find the sweet spot between not enough information and information overload.”
— Jonathan Whitehurst, AICP - Senior Planner at Kimley-Horn