land use

Chatham Park and water quality

Thursday I attended a Sierra Club meeting in Pittsboro and learned more about the water issues associated with the huge Chatham Park development. The local goverment of Pittsboro will be deciding what happens there. First the area watershed has rare or endangered species of fresh water mussels and tiny fish called shiners. Of course it drains into Jordan Lake which is already impaired.   The state government has delayed the Jordan Lake water protection rules and has created a weird situation where if communities want to have better environmental rules they  will have to enact them this year with a 100% agreement vote. Also the state has reduced funding and resources for the state agencies that monitor and protect our water. Originally after hearing the Triangle Realtor presentation last summer I thought Chatham Park (for 55,000 people) was a done deal. I think there are a lot of reasons for believing it can not be that big. Much of land has streams and steep elevation and if logical stream buffers and slope rules are used that would limit what can be developed. The original proposal would result in population density and percentage

Chapel Hill Town Council Worksession on LUMO overhaul

Sep. 11: Council Work Session: Lee Einsweiler, Principal at Code Studio and lead consultant for the LUMO Update, will present an overview of the project, highlighting key milestones and other considerations.  Sept. 24,25,26 will be the stakeholder meetings for LUMO.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013 - 6:00pm to 9:00pm


Chapel Hill Library Room B 6PM

Why I won't be voting for Mr. Czajkowski for Major of Chapel Hill

In general most politician's campaign materials lack details.  Its easy to say we're going to reduce taxes, but much, much harder to identify what to cut, so I'm not going to rule him out based on that.  What did make up my mind, however, is his misunderstanding of mixed-use developments:

How green is Carrboro's parking?

Carrboro touts its "walkability," and it is more walkable than, say, Cary. Yet one only need hangout downtown for a little while (e.g. on the lawn in front of Weaver Streer) to notice that most folks only walk as far as the parking lot holding their personal smogmobile. Carrboro, like the rest of suburban America, still obeys Kinsella's law of land use: "if you provide parking, they will drive." We seem to be caught in that old vicious circle: we provide parking, which reduces density (since parking actively competes with other uses) and discourages transit (by enabling driving, and most Americans will drive when given the option), which encourages driving, which "requires" more parking. So it was rather discouraging to see the discussion in Kirk Ross' piece in the Carrboro Citizen.

Let it crumble?

UNC's Martin Doyle is the lead author of a paper in this week's Science with the subhead

Targeted decommissioning of deteriorated and obsolete infrastructure can provide opportunities for restoring degraded ecosystems.

Discovery News gives the pop-sci (but free) treatment, citing UMd's Margaret Palmer:

Removing unused or under-used roads, breeching certain levees and converting old military bases to wildlife refuges are "no-brainers," Palmer said. Science shows clear benefits for wildlife and human safety by removing these structures, she said.

So what local infrastructure would you rather be without? Horace Williams Airport? The Eubanks Road landfill?


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