The Historic Rogers Road Neighborhood Task Force continues its work but has a new barrier to contend with that may preclude the Orange County Board of Commissioners from taking action. As reported in this story by Chapelboro, an EPA complaint filed by the Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood Association in 2007 alleges the Orange County Planning and Inspections Department (OCPID) "intentionally discriminated on the basis of race by denying water and sewer service to the African American residents of the Rogers Road Community." The full letter from the EPA to the OCPID can be read here.
At their meetings last night, both the Carrboro Board of Aldermen and Orange County Board of Commissioners considered resolutions concerning the Rogers Road Task Force. The Carrboro Board of Aldermen unanimously approved a resolution expressing their support for full sewer service for all of the Rogers Road neighborhood. By contrast, the Board of County Commissioners rejected a separate resolution put forward by Commissioner Mark Dorosin that would have expressed the BOCC's intent to participate in the provision of sewer improvements. Only Dorosin and Commissioner Barry Jacobs voted in favor of the resolution.
A full complement of Task Force members was in attendance at today's meeting of the Historic Rogers Road Task Force. The Task Force is nearing it's end and as Alderperson Michelle Johnson notes in her recent post, there is a lot on the line. Most task force members came to the meeting expecting to talk about two options: annexation of the Eubanks-Rogers Road Neighborhood or development of an Extra-territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ). Instead, Orange County Assistant Manager Michael Talbert proposed a third alternative that I'll call the Hybrid 77% Plan (but some at the meeting jokingly called the Talbert Plan).
After a lengthy discussion at the January 24 county commissioners' meeting, a couple of decisions were made regarding the continued meeting of the Historic Rogers Road Task Force.
First, by unanimous vote, the commissioners approved moving forward with completing plans to fund and build a community center for the Rogers Road community. There was less agreement about the charge of the task force. Commissioner Mark Dorosin wanted to have the task force consider the potential for gentrification in the community once the sewer was extended to all eligible homes. Commissioner Earl Mckee disagreed, stating that homeowners should be able to decide for themselves the highest and best use of their property. There were a variety of motions, friendly and unfriendly amendments made, votes taken, and wordsmithing done until, ultimately, a motion was made to charge the task force to continue their work on extending sewer service, completing the community center, addressing gentrification, and use of the Greene Tract as a funding option. This motion was passed five to two (Commissioners Penny Rich and Bernadette Pelissier voted against).
Dear Chair Jacobs and Orange County Commissioners:
The Historic Rogers Road Task Force has made progress over the past several months to redress the burden the Rogers Road community has carried in receiving the county's solid waste for over 40 years. Details of a community center are nearing completion. Habitat for Humanity of Orange County will donate two lots for the siting of the community center in the Phoenix Place subdivision. The Orange County Board of Commissioners has approved a capital project of $500,000 to build the community center. A plan is being ironed out for the Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood Association to rent the commuity center from the county for $1 per year. The towns of Carrboro and Chapel Hill will contribute to the center's programming costs.
Tonight the County Commissioners abandoned tradition and moved swiftly forward on two issues. Despite opposition from Commissioners Alice Gordon and Barry Jacobs, they approved the unpopular rezoning of the Eno Economic Development District that Mark Marcoplos told us about. And at the urging of Commisioners Valerie Foushee and Pam Hemminger, who will both be leaving the board in December, they unanimously approved a resolution drafted on the spot to endorse and more forward the Rogers Road community center.
Where have these action-oriented Commissioners been for the last ten years? I don't want to hear another commissioner talk about how overdue something is without also mentioning how long they have been on the board of commissioners and why they didn't do something about it 5 years ago.
This month the Town of Chapel Hill followed up on their promise to help create a community center for the Rogers Road neighborhood by... shutting down the center that neighbors set up for themselves for code violations! What?
Did anyone at Town Hall think twice before doing this? Did anyone think 'given our huge debt to this community and our stated goal of supporting a community center there, how can we help improve this center and bring it up to code?'
No, as if they were computers instead of humans, they kicked the Rogers-Eubank Neighborhood Association out of their home. What were they thinking?
Last night, the Orange County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to set June 30, 2013, as the closing date of the county’s municipal waste landfill, and to pursue a costly interlocal agreement to ship our trash to Durham’s waste transfer station.