CHAPEL HILL — Town Council member Gene Pease has become the second local leader in two months to ask the towns Planning Board chairwoman to resign.
In a March 3 letter, Pease said he has very little confidence in the Boards ability to weigh development applications fairly, especially under Chairwoman Del Snows leadership.
The Planning Board first elected Snow chairwoman in August 2011. She is serving her second, one-year term; board members can only serve two consecutive terms as chairman. Snows three-year Planning Board appointment expires in 2015.
In his letter, Pease also cited Snows role in a lawsuit challenging the planned Charterwood mixed-use development on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard that the Town Council approved last year .
You have shown a pattern of bias in your decision making on the Planning Board. There is a major ethical line that has been crossed with the filing of the lawsuit, therefore I respectfully ask you to resign from the Planning Board, Pease wrote in the letter.
Snow, whose house is next to the Charterwood site, has steadfastly opposed the project, signing a protest petition last year. In April, she recused herself from the Planning Boards vote.
Snow also objected to the Town Councils approval last week of the Bicycle Apartments project, at 602 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. She expressed the Planning Boards concerns about the project in a Feb. 28 letter to Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt and the Town Council. In the letter, Snow said board members agreed the project did not reflect the towns 2020 Comprehensive Plan, a document that is meant to guide growth.
I found it very distressing that Council brought up legitimate concerns that Staff could have answered, but chose, instead, to act last night before answers were received, instead of deferring action, Snow wrote in her letter. If the Planning Boards attention to the Comprehensive Plan and fact-based information is the wrong approach, I would appreciate knowing that so that we can act with that knowledge.
Residents who argue about fact-based information to oppose developments while saying they dont oppose growth usually cant explain what responsible growth is, Pease said.
They cant articulate how we pay for the increased costs of running the town, they dont want our town services cut, nor do they not want their taxes raised, but consistently they are against growth in any form, he said.
This is the second time in as many months that Snows role on the Planning Board has been publicly questioned.
In a Dec. 29 letter to the Town Council, Orange County Commissioner Penny Rich, a former Town Council member, asked Snow to resign as chairwoman. Richs letter also questioned Snows involvement in the pending Charterwood lawsuit, as well as Snows comments at a December county commissioners meeting.
Kleinschmidt said at the time that Snow was within her rights as a citizen to address the commissioners. Her participation in the Charterwood lawsuit is irrelevant, he said.
However, Kleinschmidt said he also sees how some might disagree with his opinion.