Chapel Hill News: Crushed by Council’s Jagganath

I commented Dec. 4th that the Lot #5 development juggernaut was powered by an all-consuming illogic I fully expected to crush rational opposition.

I wasn’t disappointed [VIDEO].

Echoing that sentiment, today’s Chapel Hill News speaks of a

“proposal…so big and had so much town involvement — Mayor Kevin Foy and council member Bill Strom have been its primary cheerleaders — that it has generated its own momentum.”

Private-public partnerships have and can be quite effective in promoting good policy on many fronts, but, unfortunately, land development is one that’s been subject to quite a bit of abuse.

Whether being consumed and co-opted by the process or willful ignorance, the landscape is rife with examples [thanks Molly, I miss you] of private interests implementing poor public policy – and a perversion of the public good in a rush to implement “sustainable economic development”.

By any objective standard, the ever quickening trajectory of this project has left judicicious public review in the dust:

When they unveiled the new version in November, the scale of the thing had dramatically shrunk — no more Wallace Deck project — although its cost remained just about the same, and the town’s financial stake had dramatically grown, from the original half-mil to $7.25 million. That’s more than a little tweak.

The project has been on a fast track ever since, and apparently will remain on one; the council agreed to move the project speedily through its review process.

Yep, the steamroller was shifted into higher gear last week.

The CHN shares my qualms:

The town is too closely bound to the project for our taste. Either retain the property and use it for truly public purposes — as a park, for example — or sell it to a private developer and be rigorous in reviewing whatever plans that developer proposes.

What can we do?

Contact our Council members (CONTACT) and let them know you don’t want to be steam-rolled by private interest.

Remember, Laurin Easthom and Jim Ward are fighting this proposal – Bill Strom and Kevin Foy are the most vocal boosters with Mark Kleinschmidt facilitating. Sally Greene, Cam Hill, Ed Harrison and Bill Thorpe support this “taking” to various degrees.

I’ll also be reporting on alternative modes of protest as they develop.


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