Help save the Carrboro Greenspace

If you are interested in the Carrboro Greenspace initiative (this land is a treasure that we simply cannot afford to lose!) there are two upcoming events you are encouraged to attend.

The first is an organizational meeting on July 30th at 6:30 p.m., at 116 Old Pittsboro St. in Carrboro (within walking distance from downtown and the Open Eye Cafe). The property is one of the only green spaces left in downtown Carrboro. In addition to its ecological diversity and geographic importance to the region (research shows green spaces are absolutely crucial to breathable, livable cities), the land houses important community projects (including the ReCYCLEry, the WITT, and others) that are vital to ensuring a sustainable and livable future in Carrboro and beyond.

Then, on August 4th at 5:30 p.m., the space will host a local-food potluck, performances, music, exhibits and an original fashion show (skirts and shirts), as well as tours of the site, and much more!

After a year of hosting community projects and events including Usufruct!, a summer film series in Carrboro's old community pool (Sparrow's Pool), and many others, the Carrboro Greenspace Collective is holding what could be their final event. All community members who support community, sustainability, and the possibility for publicly accessible spaces are encouraged to help in the fight to ensure the Carrboro Greenspace survives so that all will be able to enjoy it!

Contact info: phone 919-951-5200, email, web



Usufruct? Are you kidding me? This is still America, my friend. Move somewhere else where such concepts are accepted. Like Poland or China or some such.

Have a nice trip.


Would you deny their rights to buy the property if they were able to obtain the funds?

Here is one of their goals:

"The Carrboro Greenspace Collective (a non-profit) needs to raise the money in order to purchase the land and turn it into a conservation easement. We need your support, or your help finding people who might be interested in donating to an incredibly worthy cause!"

Why must people go to China or Poland to engage in this type of activism?

This is a free country, last time I checked, and if they get the cash to buy property I am all for it.

Using it without directly paying for it is another thing altogether.

Usufruct sounds like a communist idea to me, thus the reference to China and (once) Poland. Hope that clears it up for you!

Carrboro is only livable for the people that can live there. I don't blame people in Carrboro for wanting to keep it green because it makes their day to day lives more pleasant and it increases property values but when I hear "sustainable" in connection with that it makes me think "environmentally friendly" and keeping Carrboro as green as it is now is not environmentally friendly (unless that is you're only talking about the Carrboro environment).

If people can't live in Carrboro (or Chapel Hill) then they'll have to live somewhere else and they'll cut down trees in the process. And since a lot of them work at UNC they'll have a long commute to work.

UNC is putting up a big building next to where I work. Hundreds of people will work there. Where will these people live? How will they get to work? Does preventing them from living close to where they work help the environment or hurt it?

It's just something to think about. I get the impression sometimes that people think things part of the way through and then stop. If Carrboro is better now than it would be with more buildings and people then that means it would be better yet with even less buildings and people than it has now. So a way to improve Carrboro would be for some people that live there now to tear down their house, plant grass and move to Durham. That would make Carrboro even more liveable than it is now. Any volunteers?

I have visited and toured the Carrboro Greenspace several times and appreciate the work that's being carried out there by dedicated community members trying to build a stronger, more ecologically sound community. The structure of the sustainability stool does not rest only on the environmental leg. The economic and equity legs are also important and under a model where all the space is purchased with public funds as only green space, the tax value is eliminated as is a significant opportunity to create affordable, walkable housing. This space presents an opportunity to consider how intensive development of the small buildable portion coupled to careful conservation of the remainder of the space could provide a useful model for urban ecological development. Of the ten acres, about 3 may be developable. The remainder are not developable either due to Town ordinance restrictions, engineering considerations or ecological wisdom. We as a community need to consider 'both/and' solutions for our small amounts of remaining urban open space rather than 'either/or'. In this case, the 'both/and' solution could involve creating a significant amount of work force housing walking distance from downtown, strengthening the Town's tax base and still conserving the important parts of the tract.

We at the Village Project ask that the Greenspace supporters consider a program under which at least some of the developable portions of the space were intensively developed in order to afford and maintain the 'green' and at least somewhat public nature of the remainder. We have no developer in mind nor unfortunately are we aware of any right now who might embrace this from the 'other side'. When Carrboro buys a green space and takes valuable property completely off the tax roles, it undermines the Town's ability to fiscally provide for its own sustainability let alone that of the purchased Greenspace.

Given the Town's rigorous rules on open space requirements of preserving up to 40%, not allowing building on steep slopes and critical areas adjacent to streams as well as the existence of other rules on not developing in flood plains, etc. a lot of this site could potentially be creatively saved especially given its topography . For example, a deed to a Land Conservancy could provide a developer/private owner with considerable tax benefits which may make it attractive to him/her to do so. This model was successful at Maple View Farms to enable a more fiscally viable farm operation. The Town, which is revenue strapped, could then realize significant property tax revenues from the sold portion, especially if intensively developed. That also creates opportunity for housing walkable to downtown and especially for working people who cannot typically afford most of the newer Carrboro development. It is already true that the Town cannot currently fund development the Martin Luther King park and has postponed it due to current fiscal constraints. We need creative collaborative solutions that see infill developments as part of a pattern of sustainable living along with protection of environmental resources.
Hope to enter dialog on this subject while there's time.

Carrboro Greenspace held a festival last September to raise awareness. Quoting the DTH: The festival, called "Usufruct" after the Latin term referring to the right to enjoy the use of property, was held to educated the community about the area and promote the idea the land as a community-owned, rather than industrialized, area.

Some insightful leaders have envisioned this dilemma and taken positions on this matter previously: "While new developments will continue to come to Carrboro, it is important that they don't compromise the quality of life in existing neighborhoods. We need to ensure that there are adequate natural areas between developments and that traffic impacts from these developments do not hurt existing neighborhoods.".

It will be worth noting the show of support from Carrboro's candidates for Mayor and Aldermen for the Greenspace initiative at this Saturday's event and beyond. Why? Because reducing the carbon footprint of a community must include policies and practices that prevent sprawl, preserve and increase the overall percentage of green space, and increase the number of public amenities like bike paths and BUB Hubs that get people out of their cars.

It will be interesting to see how many people drive their car to Saturday's event.

"Usufruct sounds like a communist idea to me, thus the reference to China and (once) Poland. Hope that clears it up for you!"

But what if they want to stay here and make Amurka a commyanist country jethro?

How did all of these straw men get in here?

I'm currious why people interested in the project are limiting themselves to the realms of activism and politics? The troll's strawmen arguements understand the reality of the situation better than we do.

The desire for community and ecological sustainability are legitmate self-interests. However, It's always in the interest of politicians--even when it's a few dudes sitting around a table--and rich folks who own land, to find the most profitable way to exploit land and use space. Condos (especially "green" ones) are always more beneficial to the economy than a community--which we may say is a bit different than "a sense of community."

If folks win the greenspace by receiving a large donation by a donor or by working collectively to raise money, than we didn't win a fight, we merely bought property--something capitalism is clearly ok with. Certainly, one can have "progressive space." I-books certainly sells crazy lit and is not constantly threatened by eviction, but to desire community and ecological sustainability is to demand something that will, at some point on that trajectory, likely get you imprisoned or harmed; becuase those things aren't merely less in the politicians and rich folks interests, they are irreconcilable. We, those who have to work, pay rent, and service people have different interests than those who are in political power, own property and own businesses.

I suppose I'm asking why not, instead of begging for something even our small liberal utopia won't give, we assert our self-interests for community and ecological sustainability and do as we wish with the space?


Men? Who said anything about men??

Well, Liam, I suppose as long as the legal owner gives you permission to "do as we wish" with the space, that would be peachy!

re: Greg G's concluding sentence, "reducing the carbon footprint of a community must include policies and practices that prevent sprawl, preserve and increase the overall percentage of green space, and increase the number of public amenities like bike paths and BUB Hubs that get people out of their cars."

I contend that accomodating both the construction of housing on a limited portion of this lot while preserving the balance in open space (approximately 70%) with public amemites will do a better job of preventing sprawl (reducing carbon footprint) than 100% preservation. This land is within the OWASA urban services boundary. It seems to me by definition that within the USB urban density should be given preference so that more residences can be built within the USB rather than beyond the borders (sprawl) which will result in more traffic congestion and the attendant externalities.

Hopefully, the people who actually own the property will feel the same way about how it should be developed. My guess, however is that whoever buys it from the current owner is looking to maximize their profit, carbon foot print or not.


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