Dissent agenda

I was casually watching tonight's Chapel Hill Town Council meeting when Councilmember Jim Ward called out an item on the consent agenda that would grant expedited review to the proposed Eubanks Road waste transfer station. This is hardly a noncontroversial issue. In fact, the transfer station has been widely opposed.

I would like to know on earth this got on the consent agenda. When the mayor called for a motion for the resolution by itself, not a single Council Member would even make the motion! It died for lack of a mover. As Councilmember Mark Kleinschmidt noted, that is definition of what does not belong on the consent agenda.

This was a gross mistake on the part of the Manager and the Mayor (to the extent that they shape the agendas). I guess the "Request for Expedited Processing of a Concept Plan, Zoning Atlas Amendment, and Special Use Permit Applications for the Orange County Solid Waste Transfer Station" will now come back to the Council as a regular agenda item, or perhaps the request to expedite this project will be dropped entirely.



Roscoe, the sad fact is that on purpose there was no site search by the SWAB. For 2 years all the SWAB and Jan Sasserman did was plot on how to shove Eubanks down the throats of Rogers Road and the rest of the county. Read the minutes. There was not even a formal site criteria list. And the BOCC was either complicit or incompetent. And you ask for site suggestions?

This was an immoral act against a working class African American neighborhood that is invisible to vast majority of the county and without any political consequence to the decision makers. Remember this community has been taking your garbage for 34 years. So the answer to your question is anywhere but Eubanks,

You want to know how it should be done... Look to Greensboro.


I think I recall a request for an expedited review a few months ago for which the Council asked the Town Manager or one of the Planning Department staff members how much time would be saved if the request was granted. I believe the response was something like only one month because so many projects had previously been granted expedited review that granting such status had essentially no discernible impact on how quickly a project would move through the process. I may be wrong on this but that certainly is how I recall the conversation going.

"because so many projects had previously been granted expedited review that granting such status had essentially no discernible impact on how quickly a project would move through the process"...

That's a mouthful. Isn't this the problem of the "rah rah" rush to change our Town? When Council expedites a zoning change like TC-3, a change which still has had minimal public visibility, that's OK, it appears, by the promoters of these projects.

Expedite the socially contentious, somewhat publicized, Eubanks waste transfer station and that's not OK.

Of course, in both cases the rush is symptomatic of a greater problem, I'm glad folks are beginning to notice.

Glad to see that Chapel Hell is continuing in its wonderful tradition of dumping on the African American folks that live in the area. What a great bastion of liberal America!

They are in a rush to get this done at least in part because it was such a surprise that the landfill would be full, for crying out loud they only had 10 year's notice- what's a mother to do?

Anybody have a good idea of where to put the solid waste transfer station? There is no one who wants it anywhere in or near their vicinity. Do you want every garbage truck in Chapel Hill/Carrboro to drive to some remote landfill, maybe hours away?

Who does the Council think they're kidding? Who produces most of the solid waste in this County? If the landfill gets full while our town fathers sturm & drang I wouldn't blaim the BOCC if they stopped our public works trucks at the town limits.

Believe me, the County has spent far more than 10 years trying to determine what in the world to do with this solid waste problem. Recycle is great, but it doesn't touch the tons of refuse we generate. The transfer station is the least harmful transition that can be made now and have something in place by 2010. If you've got a better place than Eubanks we'd all love to hear about it.

In the meantime, they'd better do some serious expediting. Let those who don't produce solid waste cast the first stone.

Does anyone know what the Town of Chapel Hill has done to encourage a reduction in waste on a big scale? We have a recycling program how about Town wide reduction and reuse programs?

Where does UNC send its trash?

In a (small) nushell, the biggest mistake in this process occured in 1991-92 when the County made the decision to focus on siting a very large landfill. It was consciously decided - and publicly stated - that they would not look at waste reduction as an integrated part of the siting process. Citizens representing all the sites under consideration made the point that the identified sites were way too big to fit in any community, that an aggressive waste reduction plan should be designed with a goal of greatly reducing the necessary size of a site, and that consideration should be given to siting two small, well-designed, low-impact sites.

This input was ignored and the County forged ahead attempting to pound the square block into a round hole. The process predictably failed and here we are 15 years later facing the unsettling prospect of being a community that - while priding itself on being a leader in progressive policies - has been reduced to foisting its garbage on some poor community "somewhere else".

The only ethical solution is to site a couple of well-designed, state-of-the-art landfills in our county and pursuing aggressive waste reduction to lessen the burden.

Carrboro took a few new steps this week on solid waste reduction:

-We asked staff to implement a proposal to place "No Aluminum Cans" stickers on our roll out carts. This is projected to keep 2.4 tons of aluminum out of the landfill.
-We asked staff to implement a proposal to provide information to residents on how to get off marketing mailing lists. This could keep 8.4 tons of junk mail out of the landfill.
-We asked staff to explore the availability of grants to help the town reduce the cost for backyard compost bins. If successful, this could reduce food waste heading to the landfill between 27 and 41 tons.

Our staff deserves full credit for these initiatives, all of which are low cost to the town. All the Board did was ask them to make some suggestions.

That's actually great Dan. Durham employees have been recycling their cans for some time, but the suggestion about the marketing mailing lists is a really good one. I get tons of stuff each week that I don't need.

Relatedly, I just came back from a conference in Anaheim, CA. 8,000 guests at three area hotels - Hilton, Sheraton, Marriot - and the city has no agreements in place to recycle bottles and cans from hotel rooms. Also, Disney can keep the streets clean, but it doesn't seperate out it recyclables. Seems private enterprise could be lending a little more help.

A couple of years ago I wrote to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), requesting that they remove my address from their member's mailing lists. It took a month or so, but I was amazed at how my junk mail volume dropped. It's crept back up a little since then, but still only a fraction of what it was before.

Note that you will get a lot fewer catalogs, which you may or may not like. But how many catalogs do you need? If you have ordered from a company, you will likely continue to get those catalogs. Prior business relationship and all that.

Back then, you could just write to the DMA, but now it appears they charge $1 for processing. Figures. But that's cheap considering what it does.


The state Division of Pollution Prevention has a junk mail opt-out program already in place for anyone to use:

What is the impact of having a school in the same neighborhood as the Rogers Rd. neighborhood & the potential transfer station?

How does the transfer station traffic relate to school traffic?
Is the school's effect on real estate prices a positive for the Rogers Rd. area?


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