Young writer impresses
I have been reading the columns by Lucas Selvidge for years and have been impressed that a young adult nearly the same age as my children would spend his time researching and writing thoughtful essays, rather than playing video games or “hanging out” at the mall.
But his essay last week “Social Justice for All” (CHN, nando.com/18s), absolutely stunned me – what a finely written and carefully researched piece of investigative journalism!
Lucas has found his “writer's voice.” He is an articulate, authentic, patient and compassionate voice for social injustice.
There is not a trace of artifice, condescension or sentimentality in his writing, no tone of “those poor Black people we feel so bad for them” that we so often hear from our Republican legislators.
Lucas Selvidge will win a Pulitzer one day, I am sure of it.
Obey Creek concerns
As a south Chapel Hill resident, I have serious concerns with the current Obey Creek planning process.
The developers’ 1.6 million sq. ft. plan is the only one that’s been considered, yet the town’s own fiscal projections suggest that smaller projects – anywhere from 680,000 to 1.5 million sq. ft. – would be revenue-positive.
In case the proposed development is bigger than what the area can sustain (in terms of traffic, hoped-for tax rates, services, etc), all costs of any such miscalculation will be borne by the residents of the town, not by the developer.
Of course the developers’ interest is to maximize development density and so maximize their return on investment.
Thus it is for the developer to maximize density and it is for the town to optimize density. These are different tasks, and negotiation of a development agreement must be about fitting the two together and protecting the interests of each party.
The town is not living up to its obligation to its citizens to pursue an optimal path: comparative studies with smaller-density plans are not being done. Due diligence alone should oblige the town to study (via serious studies into traffic, economic benefit, etc) smaller plans as a possible way of minimizing problems associated with development in this area (traffic being an overwhelming one). A smaller plan might benefit the town, provide a better development for the residents, and still result in a healthy profit for the developers, but we’ll never know if we don’t look. Any credible planning process must include comparative studies of smaller development plans.
Mother’s Day for HomeStart
April was National Volunteer Month. One of the things I love most about working at the Inter-Faith Council is witnessing the remarkable work carried out by volunteers. The IFC has literally hundreds of volunteers who donate their time and talent to help their neighbors in need. Last year we documented over 40,000 volunteer hours!
Recently, a very special family stepped forward to launch an initiative to raise funds for HomeStart, IFC’s transitional housing facility for homeless women and children. Sydney Melet and her mom Michele created a special Mother’s Day card featuring artwork by HomeStart children to raise funds for families who are graduating. These mothers have worked hard and made sacrifices to overcome obstacles, and they deserve our support.
A Better Image Printing donated the design and printing cost, so your entire donation will go towards helping HomeStart families move into permanent housing.
Visit ifcweb.org/mother to purchase a card. Your mother will be touched by how much you care.
Inter-Faith Council for Social Service
Waiting for work
The men who have been waiting for work across from Merrit's Store should also get an indoor place to wait. Maybe they should start pooping in neighboring yards and insulting passers-by.
I appreciate Tammy Grubb’s coverage of Chapel Hill Town meetings. However, we need to know only some residents or a group of residents want “time” for “a better course” in Ephesus-Fordham Form-Based Code reinvestment area. The speakers were those traditionally critical of change and uninformed about the costs of construction that will find a market.
The road congestion and gaps in bike-ped paths have not been fixed because no new construction is yet complete, and only one has started. The increased connectivity will happen incrementally, as each stage and new project is built. The improvements and the money to pay for all at once will not drop fully formed from the sky.
Council member Donna Bell correctly states that people who were sold homes in a floodplain will not get remedy until more has happened.
Last Sunday’s opinion column about increased costs of more residences does not recognize or name “the increased revenues of growth” that Chapel Hill revitalization proponents support. Has the writer been to Raleigh, Cary and Apex? Wake County has many goods and services already available in commercial enclaves. Chapel Hill lacks much commerce. Mixed-use projects will bring new shops at ground level plus more offices, increasing our revenues.
Many in Chapel Hill plan to move out from our high property and extra school taxes when their children complete high school, but retirees, requiring fewer town services, are attracted to our university atmosphere.
If Chapel Hill is going to retrieve some of our residents’ spending from Durham and beyond, we must stop the anti-business tropes about builders making money. Builders take million-dollar risks here. Chapel Hill has said, “We are open for business.” No more delay and destroy.
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