Dale Coker: Rushing Ephesus-Fordham redevelopment

04/15/2014 11:08 AM

09/03/2014 3:09 PM

The Town is in anxious pursuit of new tax revenues, almost desperately sos in their efforts to put in place Form Based Code (FBC) to facilitate re-development without input from the primary stakeholders, the citizens themselves. And whatever came of the dialogue regarding the Fordham Boulevard Entranceway?

When one drives along the E-f entranceway, it is by and large a very unpleasant journey. Booker Creek and contributing drainage ways are badly eroded and hideous. Congested, anxious vehicles. The overgrown Leyland cypresses installed across from the Elliott Rd. terminus by NCDOT during the last Boulevard widening are disproportionate and very out of place with any notion of an attractive Chapel Hill entranceway.

It is evident that Booker Creek is unstable, many proximate low-lying homes are clearly unsustainable, and show the tell-tale signs of unhealthy environments. I was recently told by a town engineer that when one apartment complex flooded last summer, FEMA offered to buy the property, but were turned away by the owner because they could still profitably repair the units every several years, so are not sufficiently concerned over this lack of sustainability.

The Town must investigate appropriate measure to maximize SWM and park-like settings along Booker Creek, not only on the project site, but upstream and downstream as well. Why not pursue FEMA funding to do this critical work (it is after all flood-prone)?

Finally, Chapel Hill must decide what it is we as a collection of communities want to project to visitors as well as ourselves along the E-F Entranceway and presumed re-development- a stable Booker Creek with adequate storm water detention and park atmosphere is an excellent start.

Dale Coker lives in Chapel Hill.

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