Historic Rogers Road Community Enhancement Plan Development and Monitoring Task Force

The next meeting of the Historic Rogers Road Community Enhancement Plan Development and Monitoring Task Force (not to be confused with the Rogers Road Small Area Plan Task Force) has been scheduled for 6:30 p.m., July 17 at Faith Tabernacle Oasis of Love on Rogers Road. Our favorite people will be there: County Commissioner Moses Carey and Solid Waste Director Gayle Wilson.

As a Rogers Road resident new to local government task forces, it quickly became clear to me that Moses Carey expected the members of this task force to "yes" all the issues put before them. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised since "yes-sing" the county's agenda (and fabricating reports) is what happens at SWAB meetings. Hey! Not on this task force . . .

One last thing: I've heard there's some confusion as to how this community stands on the issue of the transfer station. Let me state the position as succinctly as I can: the Rogers Road Community is UNITED AGAINST siting the transfer station on Eubanks Road. The Community has NOT resigned itself to the County Commissioners' decision to site a transfer station in this Community. The Community still awaits the day when there will be no landfills in its backyard. Community members hold fast to their conviction that the community deserves amenities for the negative impact of solid waste facilities having been housed in their backyards for the past 35 years. The Community understands that it continues to be victimized by racial, socioeconomic, and environmental injustice. Regardless of what the County says, pretends, or writes into its reports, this is the position of the Rogers Road Community.




Neloa, your post is music to my ears. It gives me great hope when the people stand up and speak truth to power. Thanks, you made my day.

Ms. Jones, David, looks like I won't make it in time for tonight's meeting. Do either of you plan to post some notes?

Some questions for those of you following this more closely than I:

Isn't the idea of a transfer station that the waste will be removed and not left there? Isn't the landfill to close in 2010?

If this is true (and again correct me if I am wrong) it seems to me the problem will not be further and further build up of waste, but rather "2-way" truck traffic (one smaller truck bringing it in, another larger on bringing it out), not the landfilling of trash.

And doesn't it make sense to put the transfer station on land presently used as a landfill, owned by the county, right off the interstate, rather than somewhere else?

If not there, where?

Mr. Falduto,
Locating the transfer station on Eubanks Road as a matter of expedience--its cheaper and easier--ignores the issue of inequity toward a community that has already made great sacrifices for Orange County and the University of North Carolina. Keep in mind that the transfer station will also dislocate other current solid waste facilities. For example, the dumpsters where people dump their garbage will be even closer to people's backyards since the convenience center will be moved from the north to the south side of Eubanks Road; keep in mind that the transfer station does NOT eliminate the rodents delivered into our community by the many garbage collection trucks and now, with the transfer station, all this vermin-infested garbage will be dumped out while it's being reloaded. Keep in mind that buzzards fly over and into our yards EVERYDAY and this neighborhood too often witnesses the turkey buzzards--these huge scavengers, in some cases, in people's yards, beside their driveways, devouring some dead animal that has been dragged from some place else. So until you spend 35 years living like this with the constant stench of garbage permeating the air and with the threat of contaminated water, please . . . . I guarantee you, if the garbage was in your backyard (and I mean literally in your backyard) for 35 years, your views would indeed be quite different! And I haven't even addressed the traffic and safety issues!
Neloa Jones

Mr. Falduto, unfortunately you are correct in that your questions indicate a true lack of understanding of this long standing issue.

First the landfill will not close until 2011. It was somehow recently determined that there is another year left in the life of the landfill.

The transfer station will still have a set of problems, including traffic, vermin and odors that will visit itself on the same community that has borne these same problems and burdens of odors, vermin, with the addition of contamination, by being the dumping ground of the county's trash for 35 years. The original promise was that the landfill would close after 10 years. It was not only to be closed but converted into park land.

Since then the landfill was even greatly expanded as a completely new area was opened, and the basic promised resolutions to public health, safety and and quality of life issues talked about, promised but never delivered. In addition this historic community was divided into different jurisdictions effectively causing disenfranchisement and making the delivery of resolutions ever more difficult. In 1997 there was an attempt to put another landfill on Eubanks only to be stopped at the last moment by Duke University.

You asked where else should it go. The point is the SWAB and the County never looked at any other site. In fact if you would go back to the minutes you will find that the SWAB made the decision to place the transfer station on Eubanks 2 years ago. And it is incontrovertible that they SWAB purposely spent the next 2 years creating a strategy to avoid doing a site search and to minimize any public opposition.

Go to Greensboro and look at the contrast on how they sited their transfer station. They also had a landfill that had to closed that was next to a working class African American Community. What they did was create a set of site criteria taking environmental justice concerns under serious consideration. In fact Greensboro took their then Landfill off the table for environmental justice reasons. Greensboro could have used the same rationals that you stated to site their transfer station at their old landfill. They conducted a search and found a suitable site and the are rightly proud of there efforts. There is no pride in Orange County.

The truth is there are fewer restrictions on a transfer station and less land requirements than for a landfill. There a probably over a 100 suitable sites in Orange County. The transfer station is assumed to be financed through debt and the eventual sale of land from the current site can help with the purchase of any new land.

The real point is you have to look to find. It is not the community's, mine or your responsibility to find suitable sites. It is the responsibility of the BOCC and the SWAB and they have completely failed to carry out that responsibility. This is a classic and irrefutable example of environmental injustice and racism that diminishes every resident of Orange County and is an abuse of power by the BOCC.

So the short answer to your last question is ANYWHERE BUT EUBANKS.

This issue is one of extreme clarity. The siting of the transfer station on Eubanks must be stopped. If a local state and even national spotlight ever shine on this issue there will be much embarrassment visited on our public officials any concerned citizen who is under the illusion that Orange county does not have civil rights issues.

Sorry, I forgot to answer your question, Mr. Falduto:
"If not there, where?" How about your back yard?
And really, I'm not trying to be funny.
Neloa Jones

Ms. Jones--Of course I wouldn't want it in my backyard either and I'm not saying it should be in yours, but its difficult to sort out the facts here.

Neloa, how was the turn out last night? I wish I could've attended to see and hear the residents directly. Could you give us a summary?

Mr. Falduto, actually the facts are in the public record and easy to sort out. And the facts are embarrassing.

To follow-up Ms. Jones post... 35 years in her backyard and how many in yours? Zero. Remember that fairness is a major issue. Your original post does suggest that it should be in Ms Jones back yard or maybe I read it wrong.

It is better to admit transgressions, apologize and correct them than to cover up. Some of our leaders have failed to learn that lesson.

Just out of curiousity, Ms. Jones, how long have you and/or your family lived in the neighborhood?

And Mr. Richter, all of the "facts" do not appear to be in the record. In fact, there appears to be no record of the oft-refered-to "promise" made by Howard Lee in 1972, is there?

Mr. Falduto, in fact you are correct that the Lee promise is not documented other that Mr. Lee has recently confirmed that he made the promise. It seems to be one of the talking points of those that would like to see this issue disappear. There are also residents of Rogers Road that were present when the 'promise'. was made.

Trust Ms Jones. Trust Reverend Campbell. There are a number of politicians who are playing loose with the truth. I am sorry if some of them are your friends.

To what extant are today's elected officials bound by "promises" made 35 years ago?

Did Lee even have the authority to make that promise?

And isn't it clear in any event that the promise has been broken for a long time? According to the residents and Lee, he said it would be closed in 10 years and that would have been 1982. So that "promise" was broken 25 years ago, long before any current member of the BOCC was on the board.

Shouldn't anyone who has built a house out there since the mid-1980s have known that landfill would be there a very long time?

Yet, as I perused GIS records today, I see a 2000+ sf home was built just 2 years ago on a 2+ acre tract that directly abuts the landfill property. There were quite a few other newer homes close by too, some built only 10 or so years ago and they should have had no illusions about the landfill being gone soon, I would think.

Or were other promises made then too? Were these homeowners or spec builders getting assurances from the county that the landfill would be gone by a certain date? Maybe they were, but I haven't seen that mentioned.

When was the issue of a transfer station first raised anyway? Isn't that a fairly new concept vis a vis locating a new county landfill by 2012?

Again, I admit to not being up to speed on all of this, but I'm trying.

Paul- I should think that knowing that promises have been broken all along would make one more interested in fixing things, rather than less. Instead, you seem to look and say "Wow, these people have been lied to all along. They should know by now that no matter what any politician says that they are going to get treated like crap." Doesn't say much for your sense of empathy, does it?

I know it's hard to care about someone else's problems, but why not give it a try. Instead of making excuses to justify it, why not step back long enough to see their side of it. You don't have to agree in the end, but until you can actually accept where they are coming from without arguing, you will never understand.

Linda, I am not at all convinced that the BOCC made the right choice by siting the transfer station there, but I'm not convinced it was the wrong choice either. I'm simply pointing out what I see. And I certainly believe the county does owe the area some improvements, be that complete water hookups, sewer, roads or whatever the community (reasonably) wants.

My point about continued building out there for the last 25 years is that is that a quite a few people looked at the downside of living near a landfill and built anyway, so it could be TOO horrible a place to live, could it?

Again, these people saw it there and chose to build anyway. I realize, of course, that those who built before then, and especially those there in 1972, did get the short end of the stick as their neighborhood very likely was chosen because the residents were poor and black. That's regrettable. But it was 35 years ago.

But won't an indoor transfer station solve most of the problems? Odor, ground water contamination and vermin wouldn't be issues with a short-term indoor storage facility, would they? If that's so, the only problem left is traffic, as far as I can see.

Can't residents work with the county to insure adequate flow, maybe widening Eubanks, especially with the new school coming?

Actually, I did this before, i.e., sum up the last night's meeting, but lost my post somehow, I guess. Anyway, let me preface this by saying that last night's meeting got off to a bad start. I was very disturbed when Mr. Carey passed out a copy of an interim report written by Gayle Wilson (the Solid Waste Manager) that we were told had been submitted to the Board of Commissioners on June 26--a report that no task force member or Rogers Road citizen had seen, given input into, read or approved. So I suppose that Mr. Carey might be regretting that he chose last night of all nights to record the meeting. At any rate, we had a rather large group, I think, for a task force meeting--between 30 and 35 people: along with task force members, we were joined by five members of the NAACP, one representative from OWASA, many concerned citizens, and a couple of reporters. Agenda items included 1) finalizing a map of the Historic Rogers Road Community 2) discussing the enhancement plan and 3) discussing a plan to implement the enhancement plan. There was some confusion as to how to distinguish between the larger area of the historic Rogers/Eubanks Roads community and a smaller area most impacted by solid waste facilities. Items #2 and #3 primarily involved a rehashing of age-old issues, e.g, providing water and sewer and bus service. We questioned why a water main had been run to the landfill but not to Gertrude Nunn's property. Gayle Wilson had a real neat explanation, something about the water flowing away from the Nunn property. I suggested that the 1997 Log (Landfill Owners Group) report be appended to the interim report: it lists similar recommended enhancements and serves as a reminder that all of this has been discussed time and time again.
Neloa Jones

In response to Mr. Falduto's question: I live on property deeded to my great grandfather, Sam Rogers, in 1920. That I should not build on the only property I own is a joke. Would you suggest that I try selling the property? What do you think it would sell for? While you're checking GIS records, check the tax values, too–the land I own was only valued at $1200 an acre. It's clear that you live in a different world from the one I live in.
Neloa Jones

I am disturbed by the continued use of "environmental racism" in this discussion. According to the Wikipedia, environmental racism is "Racial discrimination in environmental policy-making, enforcement of regulations and laws, and targeting of communities of color for toxic waste disposal and siting of polluting industries" (Rev. Benjamin E. Chavis, Jr., Ex-Chairman of the NAACP).

When I look at the community as a whole, I see OWASA's wastewater treatment plant located in a wealthy white neighborhood; I see the town's old municipal services site along with several middle class neighborhoods built around a superfund site; I see the community's drinking water reservoir built by taking the land of a middle-class white farming community. And as I recall, the only site considered appropriate for the transfer station other than Eubanks was a white working class neighborhood. We live in an urban county--there just aren't that many undeveloped sites available. To me, it looks like Orange County has imposed on many types of neighborhoods rather than concentrating all their polluting or environmentally destructive services around poor African American communities.

I understand why the Rogers Road community is upset with this issue, but applying the environmental racism appellation to Orange County based on the landfill alone is unfair and not true. Chapel Hill has failed to impose the same standards of odor control and visual barriers on the landfill and transfer station as they apply to the wastewater treatment plant. But they didn't impose the odor control standards without a lot of pushing from the neighbors. Orange County failed at the site search--and is now taking an easy out by building a transfer station on existing property rather than site another full landfill in another rural community. That may be poor management but I don't see any way in which it can be called environmental racism.

Be angry about the transfer station all you want, but let's put aside the accusations of environmental racism.

In toto, I have lived in the Rogers Road Community for the past five years; it took 2 years to get through all the red tape, new zoning ordinances, etc, in order to build our house. We were disillusioned for a while when we realized that it would cost $35,000 to install a water main. And landfill or not, we had to have someplace to live, and so we made the decision to build our home, and yes, we have always believed that the landfill would close.
Neloa Jones

Ms. Jones, I did not know that was your house that I saw on the GIS as I mentioned above until you posted such just now, the property I saw was listed in the name of Barbee, not Jones, so I couldn't have linked it to you anyway, not was that my point. It was just a coincidence I mentioned your home, I did see other newer ones close to the landfill too.

I will use the term environmental racism because that's what it is. The definition Terri cited made that even clearer to me. The term is not being applied based on the landfill alone--let's try LANDFILLS; let's try solid waste facilities that have expanded and expanded and expanded and expanded. Let's try "industrial solid waste superpark" because that's what the area is becoming and it's all around us, from Eubanks Road to the Neville Tract. And by the way, that one other site with the working class white folks: they didn't get the transfer station, did they?
Neloa Jones

Terri makes some excellent points.

Deeds do not immediately reflect changes in the ownership of property.

Ms. Jones, I'm confused. Where are these other "landfills" you speak of?

And in what way is that area becoming an "industrial solid waste superpark"?

Isn't the landfill closing when it is full, now estimated at 2011 instead of 2010?

And it should become a park. And the transfer station (which will be on the north side of Eubanks, not the south) shouldn't interfere at all with that.

If you can get the county to fund the park, water and sewer and whatever other improvements you feel the neighborhood needs (within reason) and deal with the traffic problem, to the extent there is one or will be a greater one with trucks going in AND back out with the waste, it appers to me the transfer station should be no big deal.

The community over by the wastewater treatment site has also had to deal with a constantly expanding facility. Why does the landfill count as a racism issue but the equally awful treatment plant doesn't count as a counter-example? The farmers around Cane Creek lost their family farms. Why isn't that a counter example of racism?

You're right that the other site didn't get the transfer station. And if the decision had been made to move it to their backyards, they would be just as upset as you are.

Personally, I would like to see the county offer to buy out those Rogers Road residents who have lived in their homes since the original deal was made. To me that would be the most just resolution to the problem.

Terri, that's a good idea, let the county buy out those who owned land there before the landfill was built at a market value as if they were in an area that was not negatively impacted. I am a real estate agent and I know that is easy to do, simply value the land higher based on comps elsewher in the CH/Car school district.

And here's another idea: can the county move toward closing the landfill earlier than 2011 and get the transfer station built and operational (and of course have a place outside the county to bring the trash to).

Thanks Neloa. I expected some of what you relayed.

Let's build two transfer stations, one in Terri's and one in Paul's back yard. After all, it is NO BIG DEAL, right?



The first municipal landfill was located on the north side of Eubanks. On the north side is also yard waste along with the convenience center for dropping off household garbage, tires and appliances and any other junk people don't want--lots of food for rats. We now also have the SECOND Construction and Demolition landfill that will be operating for the next 20 years. On the south side of Eubanks is the SECOND municipal solid waste landfill along with hazardous waste collection (we hope it's collected) along with a Materials and Recovery landfill, something like that, which will expand from the south side of Eubanks to the Neville Tract. We also have the matter of new administrative buildings and the consolidation of the Sanitation Division and Solid Waste Department along with that leachate pond beside Mrs. Nunn's property. And let's not forget the recycling facilities. So, yes, it's an industrial solid waste/sanitation superpark. Oh, I forgot the transfer station as well! And by the way, do you really think that people here have not "pushed" the county to eliminate the stench? That they haven't pushed for years and years?

Nice John. Have you made it clear that your home is over on Homestead, not too far from the landfill? A little NIMBYism on your part?

Ms. Jones, I go to the recycling centers in northern Orange regularly (I do not have trash pickup) and find them clean and vermin-free. I was at the one on Eubanks Rd. a couple weeks ago too and found it clean (or clean as can be given its use).

The county appears to me to do a decent job with solid waste. Give our BOCC some slack.

Or why don't some of you constant BOCC critics (say you, jmk) run for BOCC yourself? There will be at least three new commissioners in 2008. No time like the present to throw you hat in the ring.

Neloa, I have come to the conclusion that it is no use arguing with Paul and Terri. A lot of folks in America including apparently Paul and Terri have come to believe that communities are expendable. They don't understand communities ties that go back 150 years or more, ties to the land and ties to the generations that went before and the desire to preserve and live that heritage. Maybe that kind of history is not part of their experience so they can not relate or if it was part of their experience and they have just lost their way. So they glibly suggest to just go and buy you out. I don't think they comprehend that their buy out suggestion or the comment on building anew on your property may actually be offensive to some. It saddens me that this is a paradigm that is alive and well.

Until recently I have not understood how really rich the Rogers Road Community is so this has been a learning journey for me. I have you Ms. Nunn and Reverend Campbell to thank. And learning at my age can be difficult:-) I am going to tell my grandchildren about Rogers Road and that part of the American experience. They like stories and you have one that is worth telling. I am hoping for a happy ending.

There are those who will throw obstacles in your way but there are many people who will continue to support your fight for justice and a decent quality of life for your community that is free from any solid waste facility.

David, Neloa, Terri, Paul, the issues surrounding Rogers Rd., the current landfill, the new transfer station are shot through with misunderstandings, broken promises, continued ill will and divergent dreams of how this community will evolve - as an annexed parcel ripe for the plundering or a community worth sheltering, nurturing and rewarding not just for the burden they've borne but because it is the right thing to do.

David, I've tangled with Paul before (as is well documented here on OP and STP). Over the years I've been either shoulder-to-shoulder with Terri on a number of issues or at opposite poles (and, many times, somewhere in between). I believe Paul more than capable of being won over on this issue. And I think Terri's point that placing this exclusively at the feet of environmental racism has merit - we're in this mess for many reasons, including political expediency, long term bureaucratic intransigence and inertia, an inability to see the larger picture, to understand this community's history.

Terri, while I agree with you that "racial environmentalism" doesn't capture the Rogers Road situation please note that David, Neloa, myself and others - have spoken of environmental injustice, racial and socioeconomic discrimination - which are aspects, at least I think, of how we arrived at today's current mess.

Terri, Paul, I strongly suggest you reach beyond the heated rhetoric and recognize, no matter what you think was "promised" many years ago or if those promises - which I'm convinced were made - hold any merit decades after their supposed expiry - that this community deserves both our respect, sympathy and a recognition that their former plights are on a trajectory not only to continue but to grow as annexation, the developmental pressures of constrained growth fueled by Chapel Hill policy, Carolina North's build-out , and the implementation of the transfer station loom.

I was won over to the Rogers Road cause many, many years ago when I realized that their community was caught in a bureaucratic nowhere land and that the combined jurisdictions and leadership of three political units instead of strengthening their options was instead a convenient excuse for ignoring the obvious.

How many times over the years have you, Terri, or anyone else, heard about the leaking sewage, the noise, the smell, the traffic dangers, the vermin?

At some point, to me, the inability of our combined governments to redress their grievances went from absurd to shameful to inexcusable and, now, to something worse - a willingness to dispense with what's left of the Rogers Rd. community for political and economic expediency.

That should not stand.

Paul, there's been quite a bit said on this issue - here on OP, my site (citizenwill.org) and on STP (squeezethepulp.com).

The bulk of the discussion, the points I, David, Neloa are making, are supported within those discussions by documented fact or transparent analysis of our own making.

For instance, an evaluation of the SWAB's minutes and a deconstruction of their analysis (to be charitable) of where to site the transfer station. I believe it's more than clear that alternatives existed but were not evaluated because of reasons beyond an objective standard.

Or, whatever you believe Lee said or didn't say many years ago, the Council, BOA and BOCC meeting minutes (and on-line videos) documenting the many, many, many requests (the Roger's Road folks don't give up!) for redress made going back decades. Their plaints are not new, have varied little and, for the most part, have continued to be shifted aside by multiple governmental organizations.

I could go on and on, but I already have - if you want more of my or others thoughts I'll let Google tease out the comments.

In the end, I don't like bullies. I don't like bullying behavior. I'm disgusted by the lack of leadership on this issue. Where, within our community, is an advocate to make things right?

These folks have been strong-armed, misled and, now, appear to be prepped for the final insult of being driven from their homes by poor policy by multiple agencies on our behalf.

Enough is enough.

Sorry to add this so late to the conversation, but I couldn't disagree more with the claim that this is not a case of environmental racism. In fact when I wrote my senior thesis on the topic of Environmental Justice at UNC in 1993, this was cited as an example of exactly that.

Will, there certainly seems to be a history of broken promises, bureaucratic bungling and failed leadership on this issue and I certainly will not argue with you that this neighborhood has gotten screwed over for 35 years. I would think that our current BOCC members would agree with that assessment by the way.

But, as I pointed out above and Ms. Jones confirmed, there has been and still is residential development going on in the area since the dump was sited there in 1972 and much of that has come since 1982, when it was clear the "promise" would not be kept and the landfill would very likey be there for a long time.

A question I asked above, and no one has answered, is: once the promise was broken and the landfill was still chugging along, what did the residents do? What were they told?

And what about the new construction after 1982? Were builders asking about fate of the landfill when they went in to get their permits? If I were building close to a landfill, I know I would ask. What was the "line" from the county back then? "Oh, it's closing soon, don't worry?" Or "who knows?" If they were saying the former, that's a problem, more broken promises. But if it was the latter, then the builders still went ahead knowing a landfill would be there for the foreseeable future. Ms. Jones herself built there in 2005, as she noted above, knowing it would be open at least 5 more years. By the way, Ms. Jones, the reason your 2+ acres of land was only valued at $3000 was that it was likely still taxed as farm land until you built there. The assessed land value now is $31,420, which admittedly is still low for the CH school district, but a long way from $3000.

Habitat is going to put homes nearby too; are they ignoring environmental problems or do they see that those problems are going away when the landfill closes, to be replaced by what appears to be a "clean" alternative, a transfer station where waste will remain a very short time before being trucked who knows where (all we know for sure is not in this county) to be dumped.

But whatever the past wrongs, here we are, July 19, 2007 and the landfill will close in 4 years and then...what? If the county had proposed a new landfill on that site, I would say absolutely not, put it somewhere else. But the BOCC is adamant there will be NO new landfill, which I personally am not convinced is a good idea. The word "fairness" comes up a lot in this debate (and it should), but is it "fair" to dump our garbage on another Rogers Rd. neighborhood, so to speak, in another county or state?

But the transfer station, it appears to me, would have no environmental impact on the neighborhood except for increased traffic on Eubanks (and maybe on old NC 86).

What about a county bond to widen Eubanks, build the park when the landfill closes and provide water and sewer to the neighborhood? I think the voters would pass such a bond. Has the community asked for such?

If the archives of OP were available and searchable, I could point you to several posts from the Carrboro annexation discussions where I have publicly stated that the current conditions in the Rogers Road neighborhood are the shame of this community. Rogers Road should not have been split during Carrboro's annexation; and Carrboro should have run the sewer main connection farther into the area so that every home in the neighborhood could have connected at a reasonable cost.

But they were split and the sewer line is too far away to make any difference. So when I was appointed to the OWASA board, I set myself the goal of helping rectify the situation of connection to clean water and safe sewer. I failed, but I did try.

Dave, while I appreciate your dedication for helping this neighborhood, I think you need to get a better understanding of the full scope of racism in this community. From the racial epithets that were used on STP (that you ignored) to the achievement gap to the gentrification in downtown Chapel Hill--there are plenty of unquestionable examples of white privilege/racism. Once you start looking, it's easy to understand that we've wrapped ourselves in a cloth of denial about our true progressiveness as a community. We have treated Rogers Road abominably, in many, many ways.

But I still believe that while the original placement of the landfill was the result of environmental racism, the expansion is a matter of financial and political expediency. The landfill operations is there and moving it would be very costly. Moving it would impact another rural community, the only places left in Orange County where there is sufficient undeveloped land.

Moving the operations would also be very expensive. Whenever this community takes on large financial commitments, such as purchasing a new site for the transfer station, it adds to the cumulative financial impact on every resident, but most heavily on low-income residents who are already struggling.

I don't believe that helping Rogers Road by "dumping" on another neighborhood or adding to the unaffordability of this community is an acceptable tradeoff. Righting one wrong to create another is not my idea of justice.

Will--you said (and I agree) "At some point, to me, the inability of our combined governments to redress their grievances went from absurd to shameful to inexcusable and, now, to something worse - a willingness to dispense with what's left of the Rogers Rd. community for political and economic expediency." What would you have done differently and given where we are, how do you think we should move forward?

Yet another off-base remark. In fact, there is no content ever legitimately posted on OP that is not currently publicly available. Our search tool sucks, but Google does quite nicely. Just add "site:orangepolitics.org" to your searches. eg: http://www.google.com/search?q=%22terri+buckner%22+carrboro+annexation+s...

Yet another cheerful tip. Thanks Ruby.

Wow . . . . yes, it is indeed insulting to hear people say that people who've lived on land passed down to them through generations should simply sell their land for a few brown pennies and move out, that the descendants of ex-slave families (and, yes, many of them were farmers) should not live or build on the land bequeathed to them. It is insulting, to say the least, that people will find one, two, or even three examples to illustrate that, yes, some whites have also been mistreated and therefore that must mean that institutionalized racism against people of color does not exist or doesn't exist in the case of the Rogers Road Community. That view of institutionalized racism is at best naive and uninformed. Historically and overwhelmingly, on a national and state-wide level, landfills and clusters of solid waste facilities (including hazardous waste) have been located in low-income neighborhoods where people of color (African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asians) live, and race continues to be the one sure significant predictor of where a waste facility will be located. According to some, the decision to locate a transfer station on Eubanks Road is now a matter of political expedience--I ask when have political bodies NOT been complicit in institutionalized racism? Rogers Road citizens have simply asked for due process; they have simply asked that their community be given the same due process and respect as other communities. That local leaders failed to do their jobs by conducting the appropriate site search that they knew needed to be done years ago is inexcusable. Some of you keep saying, well, the landfill is closing--the transfer station will improve conditions. This view demonstrates a complete lack of understanding or information about the solid waste facilities that are being located on Eubanks Road. To close one landfill simply to replace it by other solid waste facilities does not constitute closure, by any means: it indicates that the land will never be reclaimed for anything other than waste. And, no, I am NOT moving or selling my land.

Ruby, maybe the genesis of the landfill siting was based in racism but knowing some of the players involved since - folks like Moses for instance - I believe that coloring the issue exclusively as racist does a disservice to the amazing bungling and callousness shown these last 10 years.

What would I do differently? First, listen to this community and try to address the specific issues - traffic, sewer, etc. - that they have in a measurable, verifiable fashion.

Second, we have time to re-open the landfill discussion using different metrics than the BOCC/SWAB used last time. Some involve local responsibility for our own waste, others involve practicalities like fuel cost, coming population shifts (which I've argued have not been correctly accounted for), Carolina North, etc. Third, this process has to be done much more transparently and integratively than what we've just gone through. There has to be more "dog-n-ponies" to demonstrate the value or problems with the various sites.

Fourth, if I was an elected official for whatever governmental unit I'd personally take this issue on and not let go until we - all together - have a reasonable solution based on objective and subjective analysis of many more criteria used this first round. I'd also pound away on the specific elements - traffic, sewage, etc. - that should be non-controversial to address (a matter of basic decency given the historical background).

Part of that leadership would be first telling this community that after all is said and done, they might have to settle for the structural improvements as the best possible site, given all the factors, remains the landfill.

Yes, a sour result but maybe one easier to bear if this community had much more trust and involvement determining the outcome of the new search.

BTW, Terri's (and others) efforts to resolve this issue via OWASA have really not been acknowledged, I believe, as they should. Thanks Terri for taking this on during your short tenure on the board.


1) To the contrary, I asked the racial epithets to stop and behind the scenes asked for their removal. My family has had to endure that same kind of crap and I will never ever condone it.

2) I am receiving far more from my involvement than I am giving.

3) I hope you and Paul will come to understand that offering buy outs might be offensive and is destructive to the community while picking on when houses have been built on the residents property is not only offensive but irrelevant. Tis community deserves our support of their desire to preserve it and not ideas that are destructive.

4) Paul is also completely wrong in his assertion that the transfer station is without environmental impacts. He needs to get his facts straight.

And I still do not understand how Greensboro can get it so right and Orange County so wrong. If the BOCC wants to move forward, and finally demonstrate a sense of integrity, then they have a great model to the west that they can emulate. No invention is required.

Has anyone asked Chapel Hill and Carrboro to designate the Rogers Road as a historical site?

When the Brewers Lane neighborhood was being faced with a large new apartment complex on top of the cement plant, the town of Carrboro stepped in with a moratorium for the purpose of rezoning. The problem for Rogers Road is that the town of Chapel Hill and Orange County have both selected Eubanks as the site for government services and Carrboro has designated the northern section of town as their growth zone. Trying to get anything done between all three governments will be a challenge, making rezoning tricky (and probably very slow). But getting a historical designation is still possible and it is not dependent on architectural quality.

I apologize if the suggestion that the county should offer to buyout properties was offensive. I guess I've been too focused on the public health aspects relating to water and sewer access.

Mr. Richter, please educate me on the environmental impacts of the transfer center.

And that isn't a "wise ass" question, I really do want to know what they are because other than traffic, I can't see them, but again, I am new to this issue.

And a buy-out would only be for those who want it. Hopefully, they would stay. I grew up in an old ethnic neighborhood myself and know how important those traditional neighborhoods are, but some may be ready to go.

But again, I think a local bond issue for Rogers Road neighborhood improvments might be a good solution. Not as "bribe" to accept the transfer station, if they want to continue to advocate for its location elsewhere fine, that's their right, but as a payback for being almost 30 years late closing the landfill.

Once again I ask, what promises to the neighborhood (if any) were made and by whom, after 1982 when the "Howard Lee Promise" of a 10-year landfill life was broken.

Were they told by elected officials and/or staff that it was to close "anytime now" or something like that and strung along for years? If so, at what point did they realize that it WASN'T going to close until it was full? I would think by 1987, when it was still going strong 5 years after it was to close, the handwriting would have been on the wall, so to speak.

So again, was it one broken promise or have their been more? And I don't mean a mushy "well, we'll see what we can do" I mean concrete promises like Lee's.

I think I posted this before, but in terms of alternatives, Roanoke has a trash train that carries their waste to a landfill 33 miles away.

The Carrboro rail spur is directly adjacent to the north of Eubanks portion of the landfill complex, and Norfolk Southern, who operates the Roanoke train, runs operations on the line in Chapel Hill/Carrboro.

While this does not solve the downsides of garbage trucks converging on the Eubanks facility, it would remove the many tractor trailers needed to haul refuse away from the roads.

Paul- I am not convinced that Eubanks is the worst site possible, but I know we can do better. And I have said that all along, whether it made it into the minutes or not.

The Eubanks site is too small to site the Transfer Station properly. It will result in a constrained site with less on site buffers than are optimal. There will not be room for that traditional row of tall pines that presently hides the landfill as one drives by. The parking lot full of tarp covered trailers and the huge 40 foot tall building will be right there on the road buffered only by a small berm and I would guess an anemic row of Crape Myrtles. This siting is not up to the usual town standards. Which, given the controversy will only serve to make matters worse. But- that was clear when the BOCC voted to site the station on Eubanks.

While we are at it- traffic is already an issue, and it will only get worse. If I were to guess, I'd say that the number of trucks will double as the population doubles. As you probably know, Carolina North has resulted in all the municipal building that let into Airport now moving to Eubanks. So- those huge 18 wheelers will now have to navigate tiny Eubanks road along with all the rest of the traffic. Although close to the highway, the Eubanks site is not all that close, they will drive a decent distance to get there. And, as had been noted elsewhere, that area of town is growing. Despite the landfill and despite the TS I'm sure. So- add in all that traffic from the people who live nearby, all the traffic from the new municipal buildings, the Transfer Station traffic, the school traffic. And remember that Eubanks is in 3 different jurisdictions and that they don't work well together. And, of course, don't forget that the Transfer Station site is so small and narrow already that any road widening will only worsen that problem. Not that anyone has put forth a plan to widen Eubanks or add bike lanes.

As I recall from watching the town council review the site plans for their own municipal site, they insisted on fairly stringent noise and light pollution barriers. And as I have said previously, they impose very tight odor control on OWASA.

Isn't it the case that through the building permit process for the transfer station the Chapel Hill Town Council could require the county to modify their plans through the imposition of higher standards that currently exist at the landfill?

In the last three posts, I see three good ideas: using rail lines to remove waste from the transfer station, widen and improve Eubanks and have a stricter standard for a noise and visual barrier than presently exists.

Thanks for providing that information, Ms. Bowerman. As we have said many times, the Rogers Road Community wants the BOCC to reopen this issue--in fact, the BOCC should rescind their decision altogether. They should do the right thing and conduct a thorough site search that applies the EPA siting criteria and analyzes the data. Certainly, the Eubanks Road area is too small; squeezing in the transfer station on the north side does nothing more than dislocate other facilities. As a result, the south side of Eubanks will never truly be rid of sw facilities. It's depressing . . . .

Well Terri- I think that is where we are now, and the ball is in their court. Like I said, I don't think the site is large enough for much of what we have come to expect. And if you read the recommendations set out by the BOCC, you can see that they recognize the size restraints imposed by the site.

It seems to have tapered off at this point in the thread, but I think folks're being a little hard on ol' Paul. He's just throwing realistic ideas out there to address a problem. He's also just trying to understand the situation with an outside perspective.



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