The Adams Tract

For those of you who haven't heard the news, the Adams Tract near downtown Carrboro is being bought by the town. Thanks to the hard work of a LOT of people, it sounds like this 27 acre natural area will continue to be fully accessible to residents of town. In addition, the ecological integrity of the site will (hopefully) be preserved at the same time.

Kudos to Carrboro, Chapel Hill, and Orange County for working together to protect this important site near the center of town!

Any ideas about the next big site that needs protection? Should it also be along Bolin Creek or should we focus our efforts in other parts of town?


War Over Water

Guest Post by Matt Compton

With all the trouble between the Town and the University lately, it seems funny that storm-water runoff would be the controversy that puts the two entities in court, facing off against each other, but that seems as if it will be precisely what happens unless either University Administrators or the Town Council decide to back down from a fight over the issue.

As for me, while I think the University is being unduly stubborn about this, the layman in me believes that Carolina has a case for going it alone. If UNC has a separate pipe system and a separate permit from the town, then it would not seem reasonable to ask the University to make a significant contribution to the Town's plan. And it is certainly wrongheaded for the Town to pursue Councilman Ward's plan to include projections including a University contribution into a budget for the Town's storm-water plan before any sort of agreement is reached.

But the question I'm really interested in getting answers to is this: How does this current dispute fit into the greater context of Town-Gown relations?

Thanks for the Runoff, Neighbor

How many more multi-million dollar floods will we have to clean up from before we decide to do something pro-active?

This week the Town Council approved a Stormwater Management Utility for Chapel Hill. I know a lot of people will be complaining about the cost to taxpayers - even before it's been determined - but I really think this is an idea that's overdue.

The council's decision to create the new utility was unanimous, but the panel stopped short of approving the recommended $2.03 million budget for the first year of the outfit.

The proposal calls for an annual budget of between $2 million and $2.5 million over the first five years of the program.

The utility would implement controls on and mitigate the effects of stormwater runoff.

As outlined, people with 2,000 square feet or less of impervious surface on their property would pay $45 a year.
- Chapel Hill News, 4/28/04

The Eno River Association in transition

Much of the most exciting grassroots environmental work in Orange County over the past few decades has been done by the Eno River Association. Although many Chapel Hill/Carrboro folk identify the organization with Durham, this amazing and very effective group has helped protect thousands of acres of land in Orange County just this year. And they couldn't have done it without a capable executive director, Lori Olson. Unfortunately, Lori is leaving for Athens and there is currently a search process for the new leader of the organization. In the meantime, three cheers for Lori and her successes.

And thank goodness we have the Eno River Association.

Anyone have any stories they want to share about the ERA and how it has affected the local environmental scene?

The pot calling the kettle black

On Monday night, the Chapel Hill Town Council discussed the idea of beginning to place conservation easements on some town owned property to prevent that property from being developed in the future. Sally Greene pointed out that she felt the council should consider this since the council has been advocating for the university to do the same thing with much of their land along Bolin Creek. If the town council can't consider conservation easements on their own land, how can they expect the university to do the same thing?

Of course, on the more practical side of things, maybe each tract should be examined for its relative ecological/recreation work before placing restrictions on future development. And just because we want a conservation easement on the land doesn't mean we can find anyone willing to carry the responsibility of holding that easement for us.



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