Got two complaints about today's lead story in the Chapel Hill News. Jesse James DeConto wrote about density in Chapel Hill. Now that the buildings at East 54 have gone up, some Town Council members are saying constituents are shocked at what they're seeing.
The callers said it was unfair to let people criticize a project in the construction stage, before people know how it truly will look and feel. They said the article did not include the project's benefits. East 54 will boost the commercial tax base, has more affordable housing units than required and has gold LEED certification.
I told the callers they had a point. In the future we will try to mention those aspects of the project. But I also said the story was fair. The story was about density, and East 54 has become the touchstone. Jesse heard the buzz. I heard it at the Glen Lennox meeting, and we've received letters from people upset about the tall buildings along the highway.
I also pointed out to the callers that we used careful language in our headline ("Project gives Town Council pause" is hardly inflammatory). Councilman Bill Strom's context-setting quote about transit appears on the front page, not the jump of the story. And we picked developer Roger Perry's quote on why Chapel Hill needs more of this kind of construction as our "Worth repeating" quote of the day. It appears on our editorial page.
So what did you think? Was the story unfair to East 54 or, as we hoped, a timely look at an issue Chapel Hill will be discussing for months and years to come?