Dueling task forces for Rogers Road

Just what the Rogers Road neighborhood needs: money? sewer lines? sidewalks? environmental justice? No, it's another committee! I just received an announcement of a new "Historic Rogers Road Community Taskforce" being formed by Orange County. Given that the Commissioners are long overdue in compensating this community for hosting the County's garbage for the last 30 years, and for repeatedly being lied to by elected officials, it's not crazy to have a committee to address this. But...

There is already a Rogers Road Small Area Plan Task Force appointed by the Town of Chapel Hill which is also addressing "the enhancement of the living environment in the historic Rogers Road Community" (and may be tapping the limited volunteer capacity of the neighborhood).

Orange County Seeks Volunteers for the Historic Rogers Road Community Taskforce

Contact: Monica C. Evans,
Orange County Board of Commissioners Office (919) 245-2125

At its April 24, 2007 meeting, the Orange County Board of Commissioners created and approved the Historic Roger's Road Community Enhancement Plan Development and Monitoring Task Force. The purpose of this taskforce is to develop and recommend a plan to the County Commissioners, for the enhancement of the living environment in the historic Rogers Road Community and to monitor the implementation of the plan.

The Taskforce will be appointed by the Board of County Commissioners, and will include:

2 BOCC Members
3 Roger's Road Community Residents
1 Elected/non-elected Chapel Hill Resident
1 Elected/non-elected Carrboro Resident

The first proposed report of activities from this taskforce is scheduled to be presented to the Board of County Commissioners no later than June 30, 2007. The recommended Enhancement Plan will be presented to the Board no later than September 1, 2007.

All County residents residing in the Historic Rogers Road Community who are interested in being involved in the development of the Rogers Road Area Enhancement Plan are encouraged to apply.

To be considered for this taskforce, please respond by Wednesday, May 2, 2007 at 5:00 pm. The County Commissioners plan to make appointments to this Task Force at their meeting on May 3, 2007.

So what does "elected/non-elected" mean? We all fall into one of those categories. And what is this about the committee being appointed on May 3 and completing it's first report on June 30th and it's final report September 1st? If they only have 4 months to work, they need to have a much clearer charge, I think.

This whole thing needs to be explained better (which is why we pay local reporters, natch). I look forward to some explanatory coverage in the papers tomorrow.

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Total votes: 127

Comments

Ruby, the two committees appear to have two different purposes: Chapel Hill's in line with its planning responsibilities for the area; Orange County's in line with its obligations to the neighborhood.

While it is often true that forming a committee can be a way to avoid action, the report back date here is September 1. That's pretty soon. It is heartening to me that the BOCC is taking its commitment to Rogers Road neighbors seriously and seems ready to identify and embark upon an action plan.

Ruby,

The purpose of Orange County's committee is very narrow and limited: to discuss with the Roger's Road community various options for community enhancement. These discussions stem directly from the BOCC's decision to site the transfer station on Eubanks Rd. The BOCC made a commitment at that time to sit down with the neighborhood and discuss desired community development projects.

Hi Mike,
Just out of curiosity, what kinds of "community enhancement" are we talking about? Not being sarcastic.

Well I hope the County's committee will work closely with the existing Task Force which has already discussed a number of ways to improve the community and will be putting some of them into our small area plan.

If Dan's interpretation is correct, then this is a welcome step. Given the history of this issue, I will wait and see whether the County's money is where it's mouth is.

Ruby,

First, Happy Birthday!

Second, rather than just tossing out: "repeatedly being lied to by elected officials," can you educate us on what were the lies and who were the liers ?

Thanks, Fred!

I think the lying, etc. was pretty well detailed here http://www.chapelhillnews.com/108/story/5633.html, which was referenced here http://orangepolitics.org/2007/02/landfill-neighbors-have-had-enough.

Maybe "repeatedly lied to" isn't the right phrase, as it doesn't really capture what happened.

Lied to, deceived, bs'ed... It does not matter what phrase or euphemism one wants to use, it all amounts to the same thing. The Rogers Road community has been abused, stepped on, patronized, and treated shamelessly.

We have had a complete breakdown of leadership. But not to worry, the only folks to suffer and reap the consequence of this failure of leadership are the folks on Rogers Road. Except for the few on these forums the folks living on Rogers Road are invisible. They are not seen on Churton Street, Franklin Street or on the lawn on the Carr Mill lawn.

I also take responsibility. I voted for just about everyone on the BOC, and I should have tried to organize some real protests. I pledged to Rev Campbell that I would not vote for anyone who voted to site the Transfer Station on Eubanks. I will keep that promise even if I have to vote republican. (and my father will turn over in his grave.) But I am only one vote and as I said before, the only ones who suffer the consequences are the residents of Rogers Road.

Oh and then there are those who's ideology justifies the negative consequences on others even those who are economically disadvantaged. That defines arrogance. Actually that is the same type of arrogance the that got us into Iraq.

I can not tell if this result was by design or just plain incompetence by our leadership. If you read the SWAB minutes is was clearly the objective of Jan Sassaman. And all the justifications provided by the boc where hollow and pathetic. They did not make the hard decision. They hit the easy button and took the cowardly way out. To start the resiting process would have required real work and oversight on their part.

But instead they visited the consequences of their incompetence on the backs of those on Rogers Road. The highest elected local leader of Orange County is Moses Carey. This happened on his watch. If he had any integrity he would resign. He no longer deserves to hold his seat.

Here' the link to Taylor's recent profile of Robert Campbell if you haven't seen it. It's mostly him talking.

http://www.carrborocitizen.com/main/2007/04/05/be-it-further-resolved/
From the April 5 issue of The Carrboro Citizen:
“In the ‘70s,” he recalls, “when Howard Lee was mayor of Chapel Hill, they came out here on Rogers Road and had a community meeting…. The town of Chapel Hill had a problem with their waste—actually, the university had locked them out of the [existing] facility—and the town of Chapel Hill had dragged their feet about finding somewhere to go.

“First they went up on Highway 54 on the other side of Carrboro to look at an area up there. But the doctors and the professors who stayed up there on Highway 54 threatened to sue them if they put a landfill up there.

“Then they went up new 86, up towards New Hope. And the people up there said no because of what they were planning to do with the New Hope Camp up there—because they would have children coming in every summer and it wouldn't work.

“So the next place was this neighborhood. It was closer to town, and they convinced the neighborhood it would be the right thing. And they made promises.”

"If you read the SWAB minutes is was clearly the objective of Jan Sassaman."

It absolutely and completely was. It wasn't till long into this fiasco- far longer than things should have gone with still no effort put forth by the BOCC that is hit me that Jan was pathologically FOR putting the Transfer Station on Eubanks and for actively shutting down any discussion of it going anywhere else. And- by then it was way too late. He is very pleased to have determined that Eubanks was a viable site, and making sure that we didn't waste time looking elsewhere. (All things said during SWAB meetings- his position should be perfectly clear in the minutes.)

As for lied to, that happens all the time. I was told that the vote was simply to put something before the BOCC and get the issue rolling. Not that they would then use that vote for over a year after it was taken and continue to insist that all of SWAB is of one unanimous mind about siting the station on Eubanks and only Eubanks even when they knew that people did not support that position. I swear- whenever that vote was mentioned people had to wonder if I was lying or simply crazy. It was neither- Jan knew perfectly well that I did not agree with how the vote was being used, and yet he continued to insist - even to my face- that it was unanimous. I felt as if I was being blackmailed with the "You said this once, and you must now agree with it forever!" Other people are allowed to change their minds when they get more information, but not me. (Now, admittedly I didn't get the "more information" from SWAB meetings, so it wasn't things I was supposed to consider anyway.)

In truth, there are many good reasons for siting the station on Eubanks, and I have no problem with accepting that. That was what drove my vote. The problem is when we refuse to acknowledge the reasons for not siting it there, and refuse to accept that Eubanks is not the ideal site. When people actively try to make sure that no other site is found and that no downsides are mentioned they thwart justice. In this particular case, quite effectively.

The reality is that this decision was not just one person's fault. The fact that Gayle Wilson was not instructed to look for other sites until a couple weeks before the decision (and that even then he was only instructed to look for any other unused land owned by the towns with proper zoning) illustrates exactly how much effort the BOCC put into siting the Transfer Station. It was not a priority till it literally had to be. And, even then, as little land as possible was considered- this "extensive" search yielded exactly one more site.

And yes- I was a part of this, and I still cannot tell you if it was a deliberate effort on the part of our elected officials or just plan negligence. I know they wanted to give the appearance of having tried to site it elsewhere, and that backfired on them, as it was obvious to all that a proper search was never done and that the justifications for placing the station on Eubanks were written at the last minute.

Not only has the Rogers Road community been dumped upon for all this time and then committed to another 30 to 50 years of garbage, they have been split apart. This is a single cohesive community that will be in 2 different towns. Another shameless act by of the governments of Orange County. The west half currently pays Carrboro taxes, the highest in the state, and has nothing to show for it. I suggest the following:

An authorized rep from Chapel Hill and Carrboro meet with Rev Campbell and provide at least the following 4 choices:

1) The whole community gets annexed into Carrboro
2) The whole community gets annexed into Chapel Hill. (Carrboro would have to de-annex first.)
3) Things remain the way they are, West into Carrboro, East into Chapel Hill
4) Nobody gets annexed into either town. Carrboro de-annexes the West side. (to bad they can not get de-annexed from Orange County for all Orange County has done for them.)

Rev Campbell comes back with his community's response in 30 to 60 days. Carrboro and Chapel Hill execute on the community's wishes.

This is a novel concept. I think I will call it Self Determination.

But is seems to me all the governments of Orange County do not believe people can think for themselves.

I'm not so sure this is one cohesive community. Some homes (along Rogers & Purefoy Roads) have been in that area for generations, these are almost all African American families as far as I know. Others (west of Rogers) were built AFTER the landfill, and these are mostly white neighborhoods.

Obviously, this doesn't mean they should be divided, but they're not exactly one indistinguishable group, either.

Nonetheless, Richter's point is a good one. It basically reiterates a position put forward by Aldermen Zaffron and McDuffee at a 10-22-97 Assembly of Governments meeting (and supported by then Council-member Chilton). However, that motion failed in 1997. The inter-governmental annexation agreement was re-affirmed in 2002-03 and I could find no records of a discussion of the Rogers Road split at that time.

This question was taken up early on during the annexation discussion but it was not acted upon (as far as I can tell):

Alderman Chilton asked the town staff to modify the proposed annexation to include Fox Meadow, Meadow Run and the Cotton property, but exclude the remaining Rogers Road properties.

Alderman Broun stated that she would be leery of leaving a neighborhood out of the annexation proposal until the Board hears from neighborhoods.

Mayor Nelson suggested that the Board authorize him to discuss with Mayor Foy a change in the boundary line so that the entire Rogers Road neighborhood could be annexed.

Alderman Zaffron stated that the Board should hear from the Rogers Road neighborhood before it considers removing this area from the annexation proposal. (BOA minutes, 9/14/2003)

I do not believe that any of those proposed discussions took place (please correct me if I am wrong).

Several residents of the area raised this point at the November 16, 2004 public hearing on the annexation.

It was taken up again by the BOA on 1/25/2005:

Alderman Zaffron suggested possibly delaying the effective date of Annexation Area B to allow an opportunity to discuss whether to split the Rogers Road neighborhood....

Mayor Nelson suggested opening a dialogue with Chapel Hill to discuss keeping the Rogers Road neighborhood whole....

MOTION WAS MADE BY JOAL HALL BROUN AND SECONDED BY JOHN HERRERA TO DISCUSS WITH THE TOWN OF CHAPEL HILL THE POSSIBILITY OF ALLOWING THE ENTIRE ROGERS ROAD NEIGHBORHOOD TO BE WITHIN THE CARRBORO CITY LIMITS. VOTE: AFFIRMATIVE ALL
Alderman Gist requested that the town have a discussion with leaders from the Rogers Road neighborhood prior to discussing this matter with the Town of Chapel Hill.

Again, I do not believe those discussions subsequently occurred.

Of the 118 parcels the county considers to be the Rogers Road neighborhood (see map in item 6-c on tomorrow's BOCC agenda), only 29 are on the Carrboro side. As Ruby points out, the definition of that neighborhood may need further fleshing out, but largely that should be a matter of self-identification for the residents of those 29 homes and their across the street neighbors.

The just forming county work group on Rogers Road would be a good place for some discussion of this question although it should be noted that, to my knowledge, state law would not allow a shift subsequent to an annexation.

Ruby, could you comment on your own experience living on a street where the town lines snaked along just between your home and neighbors who live in Carrboro?

Ruby, I was not referring to the neighborhoods West of Rogers but those houses on Rogers and those feeding Rogers Road from the East. It is my understanding that this has been a historically cohesive African American Community well before the landfill issues. That community should not have been split. While I do not believe in forced annexations in any case this one (Rogers Road) was wrong on many levels and should be corrected according to the wishes of the community, and not according to the desires of anyone else.

Well- this is the map I was forwarded for the group, and it doesn't include any of the Rogers Road neighbors annexed by Carrboro within the study area (yes, I realize it is part of Chapel Hill planning and makes sense for them) I hope this is just an oversight and will be corrected before they meet. I'd hate to think that annexation by Carrboro has cut people out of having their say as a part of their own community. As it appears now, the newly annexed Carrboro neighbors have the privilege of paying Carrboro taxes yet are not allowed a voice in any compensation package. A beautiful illustration of ironies imposed by bureaucracy.

http://www.ci.chapel-hill.nc.us/documentview.asp?DID=1666

29 homes sounds like about 25% of their community, and they certainly shouldn't be ignored. Dan- does the 118 homes include all the new Habitat homes? On the map it looks like the include two Habitat neighborhoods and not the third. Since all are recent, I would think they should all be treated the same.

Another voice of support for David RIchter's plan, although if they are allowed to choose not to annexed by either town that will be a miracle. Even so- they have always asked to remain as a single neighborhood, and that should be respected. The school districting has managed not to split the neighborhood- the towns should be able to manage the same. If you want an idea which homes belong in the original community on the Rogers Road side, just follow the edge of segment 61 and don't include Meadow Run. It might not be exact, but I suspect it is.

According to the county agenda item, one of the tasks for the BOCC tomorrow is "to discuss as necessary a map defining the Historic Rogers Road community."

The map on page 13 in the agenda item includes both sides of Rogers.

Thanks Dan. I had hoped it was just a miscommunication. But- on the off chance it just had to be mentioned.

 

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