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Greenways discussion continues

CARRBORO – The tension that’s been brewing in the community over the proposed paved path along Bolin Creek broke out among members of the Carrboro Greenways Commission at Town Hall Monday night. The commission met to discuss the Greenways Inc. report that supports creekside paving, and disagreement arose after commission member Salli Benedict requested that her response to the report be submitted to the Carrboro Board of Alderman as a minority opinion.

Commission chair George Daniel objected on procedural grounds. “We’re not restructuring the process to suit the concerns of one member,” he said. Commission member Dave Otto pointed out that the concerns Benedict wanted to bring up already had been published in the newspaper.

But Alderman Randee Haven-O’Donnell, board liaison to the commission, emphasized that the parts of the greenways proposal that included creekside paving had been taken off the table by the board of alderman and that it was important that Benedict be allowed to share her concerns. Others supported that view, and Benedict was allowed to read her response.

Benedict’s concerns, which are also those of the advocacy group Save Bolin Creek, include the report’s lack of consideration for alternative path routing, especially given Carolina North’s commitment to building bike lanes to connect the Carolina North campus with central campus. She said the report underestimates the disturbance to wildlife, vegetation and water quality that would result from the heavy machinery required for pavement construction. And she questioned whether as a community Carrboro should ask for an exception from the Jordan Lake Rules, which prohibit disturbance within 30 feet of a stream bank, in order to build a paved bike path.

Commission member Robert Kirchner motioned to include Benedict’s written response in the minutes and table the Greenways discussion until the next meeting. — Staff Reports

8 Responses

Comments (6)

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  1. Michael Birenbach

    I could not be more proud of Salli. She stood up for all of us and handled a difficult task with aplomb. Thank you Salli.

  2. Carol de Poix

    Thanks to the Carrboro Citizen for this succinct and accurate reporting.

  3. Mary Sonis

    Thank you Salli.

  4. Diane Robertson

    Thanks to Salli Benedict for bringing these important issues to the Commission and getting them into the official record.

  5. Cara Biasucci

    I add my thanks to the Citizen for accurate reporting. I attended the meeting and was disturbed to see how Ms. Benedict’s point of view was (almost) rebuked by the chairman. In truth she made excellent points that warrant further exploration. Thank you!

  6. Terri Buckner

    I had a different take on the meeting (which I attended). The commission chair tried to initiate a discussion about the review process to be used to respond to the Greenways Inc report. He suggested the process used by commission to respond to the Morgan Creek report–taking each recommendation point by point. Ms Benedict expressed her disinterest in following that process and asked to be allowed to read her two-page document of concerns. The chair asked that she address her concerns in the context of the consultant’s recommendations, and she said she couldn’t do that.

    Ms Haven-O’Donnell fully supported Ms Benedict’s request to bypass a systematic review process as did certain members of Save Bolin Creek and Friends of Bolin Creek who were in the audience. The discussion over process finally ended with the chair giving in and allowing the reading of the written statement. At that point, there were about 15-20 minutes left in the meeting. Ms Benedict was clearly hesitant to proceed and made a statement as to her discomfort.

    From my point of view, nothing was accomplished in the meeting apart from a further breakdown in civility. I assume from the tone of the discussion that the positions taken in the statement read by Ms Benedict will not represent the full commission’s response to the Greenway Inc recommendations. But as of the end of the meeting, there was no process in place for compiling the group response that Ms Haven O’Donnell said the Board of Alderman wanted. If the process followed on Monday night–for individual members to present their personal opinions in the absence of any effort to work out a consensual group response–what purpose is the greenway commission serving and what value was achieved by the investment in an outside consultant?

    I left the meeting with the feeling that several members of the Greenways Commission along with Save Bolin Creek and Friends of Bolin Creek do not support the planning for a consolidated north-south greenway, regardless of surface type.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. March 15th Greenways Commission meeting notes « Save Bolin Creek
  2. Response to Bolin Creek Greenway Conceptual Master Plan « Save Bolin Creek