Trashing the Rogers Road Community, Again

[UPDATE: Response to davepr from Orange County BOCC member Moses Carey.

The Rogers Road (MAP) community has long suffered from promises unkept.

[UPDATE:] Embedded video:

At Feb. 12th’s Chapel Hill Town Council meeting
Sharon Cook and Jeanie Stroud defend their Rogers Road community.

As you might remember from my recent posts, the area is coming under closer scrutiny by Chapel Hill, which stands poised to annex the area.

Whether through deliberate environmental racism or just plain old callousness, the Rogers Road community, backing up to the Orange County landfill, has had to deal with the consequences of our garbage woes for decades while original promises, such as keeping the landfill north of Eubanks, fell to expediency in the mid-’90s.

Instead of treating this traditionally black community with the due courtesy and respect they deserve – deserve doubly for both dealing with the noxious detritus of our modern life and the many unfulfilled obligations our leaders made on our behalf – our community continues to give short shrift to our northern neighbors.

In December I attended the kickoff meeting for the Rogers Road Small Area Plan. That meeting cemented my concerns that, once again, the Rogers Road community would be getting the short end of the stick.

Why? Money, of course. From the Rogers Road corridor east towards Martin Luther King (Airport) Road is going to be prime development land. If Chapel Hill annexes the neighborhood before the landfill closes the tax valuations will race ahead of the land resale value. A developer, though, could pick up tracts for a song – sit on them waiting for the landfill to close up shop – and turn a pretty penny.

To avoid that our Council needs to promise to coordinate the annexation time table with the closing of the landfill. Let’s be fair.

Shorter term, the Rogers Road community faces the prospect of a garbage transfer station being sited on Eubanks.

Now, in many respects I’m proud of the strides our community has made in dealing responsibly with garbage.

Strategic operations by the Orange County Solid Waste Management Department, along with our community’s strong recycling efforts, have extended the life of the existing landfill while redirecting various waste streams into beneficial uses – mulching, composting, recycling, etc.

With the anticipated 2010 closure, transferring waste will become a necessity. Shipping it in or out of county entails another set of environmental consequences. Our community must take a leadership role in responsibly dealing with the 25,000 tons – 29% of the total waste – formerly going into the landfill.

Maybe the most effective site for the transfer center is the existing Eubanks road location. And maybe you can make it look “Greek or Roman temple”.

But if the Rogers Road community says “we’ve had enough” then we’re obligated to find an acceptable solution.

Leave a Reply