Geoff Green's blog

First installment for American Legion property comes due

It’s smart to plan ahead before making a big purchase. Chapel Hill didn’t do that when it decided to buy the American Legion property for $7.9 million, and now Chapel Hill taxpayers are paying the price. The parks and recreation facilities we thought we were getting when we voted for bonds in November 2015 will be postponed indefinitely, sacrificed for the purchase of the American Legion property.

Flush with $3.6 million in surplus in fall 2016, Town Council decided to rush ahead with the purchase of the longtime home of American Legion Post 6, a 35-acre piece of property. Post 6 had an option with a private developer, who planned to put housing on part of the site and agreed to work with the Town to program part of the site as a public park. (Use of part of the site to expand the adjoining Ephesus Park is a long-time Town goal.) However, even more housing near what is now called the “Blue Hill District” was too much for some Councilmembers. Instead, Town Council decided, it made sense to buy the property.

My Letter on the Proposed American Legion Purchase

I sent the letter below to CHTC on Sunday, December 4, one day before the meeting, and four days after the public was first notified of the proposed purchase of the property for $7..9 million.

Dear Mayor Hemminger and Council Members:

The Wrong Post-Storm Priorities in Chapel Hill

Many thanks to the Chapel Hill News for reporting on the issue of street and sidewalk cleaning. It would have been nice if some of the people who were critical of the town's response to cleaning sidewalks can be interviewed, but I understand that time is short. One thing that I think everyone would agree on is that the folks in public works at the Town of Chapel Hill have been working (and are continuing to work) very hard on cleaning streets. So, thanks to them.

I find it unfortunate that the reflexive response to the call for better sidewalk maintenance is "who is going to pay for it." I'm not aware that anyone on twitter or elsewhere has been arguing that the town should be responsible for clearing all the sidewalks the way it (and the NC Department of Transportation) is responsible for clearing roads. The issue is that there's a large gap between what the town does now, which excacerbates the problems people have when they're trying to walk, and what the town could do without assuming responsibility for clearing all the sidewalks.

Fixing Chapel Hill's Bike Paths

On the agenda for this week's meeting of the Town of Chapel Hill Transportation and Connectivity Advisory Board is a discussion of bicycle safety improvement. Much of this is in response to the death of a woman on a bicycle who was hit by a motor vehicle near the intersection of Hillsborough Road and MLK Jr. Blvd, a notoriously dangerous part of town on which to ride a bike. 

The Town has decided to make bicycle safety a priority and has already taken several steps, including an awareness campaign, changes to pedestrian crossings on MLK Jr. Blvd and adding green-painted sharrows to roads on certain popular bike corridors.

Pease calls on Del Snow to resign from Planning Board

As reported by the Herald Sun, Chapel Hill Town Council Member Gene Pease has written Planning Board Chair Del Snow asking her to resign from the Planning Board. In his letter, which can be downloaded from the Town's email archive, he launches a blistering attack on the "responsible growth" advocates in the community, calling them against any growth whatsoever. Interesting, to say the least.



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