Chapel Hill real estate agent Mark Zimmerman’s recent op-ed (“Orange County’s impact fees are not free,” March 29) unfortunately may have created more confusion than clarity around the issue of impact fees.
Fees charged to developers to pay for the infrastructure required for additional public facility capacity extend beyond Orange and Chatham counties and their schools, and legislative proposals that would limit those fees would affect all North Carolina towns and cities that utilize the fees. A majority of the infrastructure fees go toward paying for the additional water and sewer capacity required by new development, and are separate from the use of fees to support school construction.
Mr. Zimmerman is correct in this regard: Of course impact fees are not free; neither is the infrastructure that they help to pay for. If the developers – who see the value of their property increase due to access to this infrastructure and pass the costs along to homebuyers – do not help to pay the freight, existing property tax payers and utility rate payers will. Or, local decision-makers – and the voters who elect them – will simply embrace slow-growth policies to avoid tax and rate hikes.
N.C. League of Municipalities
Normally when I walk with Rex, we’re short on time, or there is a purpose (exercise, taking care of his business, etc). It’s often early in the morning before the sun comes up and I’m looking down at the pavement just ahead of us in order to avoid tripping on something.
But today, I decided we needed to do a little mental health self-care and take advantage of a cool, bright spring morning to take a stroll and just appreciate what’s around us.
For all the time I’ve spent here, Rex and I have never walked along the iconic Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, despite the fact that I can see it from my apartment. So today we did, and quite literally stopped to smell the flowers, notice spaces I zoom past frequently, and simply acknowledge this significant place.
Given last night’s Final Four win, the energy this morning was like the weather, sunny. Not having attended Carolina, I’ve never considered myself a part of the Chapel Hill/UNC culture, but today I might understand it a bit better and appreciate it more. Sometimes it’s worth eschewing the to-do list to simply look at what’s around you.
Israel and the Palestinians
Apparently Peter Aitken (What you’re saying, April 2) believes that terrorist attacks against Israelis are justified. He blames Israel for water diversion. I guess he doesn’t know that Israel shares water with the Palestinians, 40 percent more each year from 2008 to 2012 over what is required by the Oslo accords. Israel helped them modernize their water supply, increasing available fresh water by 275 percent since 1967.
He accuses Israel of denying Palestinian human rights. I guess he doesn’t know that Israeli Arabs have the right to vote, and freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and their LGBT community is protected. It is Hamas in Gaza and the PA that abuse the rights of women, LGBT citizens, Christians, and prevent free speech and the right to assembly.
Aitken said Israel built a disruptive wall. This was done in response to Palestinian terrorist attacks in 2000. Israelis of all religions were targeted in schools, buses and restaurants. The wall has reduced terrorism fatalities notably.
Aitken accuses Israel of “stealing” land. I guess he doesn’t know that Israel’s presence in the West Bank is not illegal. It entered the area after it was attacked by Jordan in 1967. Per United Nations resolution 242, Israel would administer the territories until Arab countries were willing to negotiate secure borders. Egypt did this in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. The Palestinian leadership never did. There have been offers for a Palestinian state in 1937, 1947, 2000 and 2008, they rejected each.
Since Aitken believes Israel is at fault, I guess he thinks it’s OK for 17,000-plus rockets to be shot at Israeli civilians since they left Gaza in 2005? Israeli civilians should be stabbed in the street? Oh, and the group of young Israelis that were run over by a Palestinian driver in January, I guess they deserved to die?
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