Chapel Hill: Opinion

The Conversation, Jan. 21: The Lloyd farm project debated

High priorities

Thank you, Ellie Kinnaird, for voicing so beautifully the needs of Carrboro going forward.

If we are to be able to shop in Orange County and build up our tax base, we need to be a little more flexible and provide what we drive to Durham for right here. Funding the proposed cultural arts center and library as well as keeping buses fare-free are high priorities for me.

Peg Bachenheimer

Siren song of mixed use

I appreciate Ellie’s willingness to support development that isn’t “Carrboro Cool” to help the town’s financial prospect. I always have.

The simple truth is that Chapelboro isn’t particularly well suited to successful large-scale retail development. Big Retail needs fairly enormous tracks of land with easy access to major transportation corridor. Anything we have like that around here is in the rural buffer.

Retail has advantages in that it’s a double whammy for the tax base, by collecting both sales and real estate taxes, but a Harris Teeter as core tenant negates all that benefit. Food doesn’t generate any local sales tax.

I feel like local officials end up getting punked over and over by developers with the siren song of mixed use. The retail-y bits really struggle, and we end up with the same high-end condos with half- empty bottom floors, and maybe a nail salon and a restaurant or two hang around. The only upside of these kinds of developments is that they don’t tend to accelerate the need for building new schools, since they’re not wildly child friendly.

If we want to solidify the tax base, why don’t we add local taxes to the things that are here now? A hotel occupancy tax? A prepared food tax? Restaurants do pretty well in Carrboro. What about an entertainment tax of $1 on tickets to the ArtsCenter and Cat’s Cradle events? How about a $15 registration fee for a bicycle to fund all the bike paths we’ve been building.

Ellie talks of the comfortable people in comfortable neighborhoods. If they don’t like commercial development, maybe they should pick up the cost of not having it.

Katrina Ryan

via chapel hill

Where is the evidence?

The author seems to making the following argument:

We should approve Lloyd Farm because it will help Carrboro and, particularly, lower-income residents, in the following ways:

1. Generate net revenues to help fund town services (e.g., transit, library, performance center) and reduce residential tax burden

2. Provide shopping for lower-income folks

3. Provide desirable new employment opportunities

If in fact Lloyd Farm will deliver all these things then I might be inclined to support it as well, but will it? What evidence do we have that other recent, similar mixed-use developments delivered these benefits?

The author describes the value of attracting big-box retailers, but there will be no Target or Wal-mart at Lloyd Farm. The largest proposed tenant for the project is a Harris-Teeter, and all the other commercial spaces are 10,000 square feet or less. The author also writes as if this project will be entirely commercial, but the proposal includes about 300 new dwelling units, which will cancel out any fiscal benefit from the new commercial property.

So it seems that, while the problems the author identifies are real, the Lloyd Farm proposal, in its current incarnation, does not really ameliorate any of them, and may even make them worse.

Perhaps the developer’s team and the town residents can together come up with a new proposal that better serves the town’s needs.

David Schwartz


Time to say yes

Yes, yes, and yes. The disdain both towns share for big box stores is both elitist and, well, lacking vision. It’s time to say yes to this sort of large-scale development. Thanks, Ms. Kinnaird, for expressing this need so eloquently.

Dabney Grinnan


Limited job potential

I appreciate the issues raised by Senator Kinnaird, but It does not seem that this project will address the concerns of shopping diversity and increased commercial tax dollars, but will exacerbate the stress on resources with even more housing, which adds to the fiscal strain for municipal support.

I also do not see that the employment picture will be altered by the limited number of jobs this development will provide.

I think these should be carefully evaluated before approval on this project is given.

Diane Robertson

via chapel

Those sirens again

I live in a neighborhood that is going to certainly be impacted by the LLoyd project, and I will miss the beautiful trees on that property if they cannot be saved. But I am for the project as it is the logical place for growth as far as bus lines and minimizing traffic because of where it is located. PUshing the F- and CW lines to coordinate with the closing hours of the stores would be a no brainer for working people.

Carrboro has already changed its footprint and feel, and if it wants to keep people here it is going to have to offer some smarT-thinking going forward for the entrepreneurials, because the lure of Durham with cheaper rents and taxes and the ultra cool are singing like sirens of old.

Steven Silverleaf


Last great tract of land

Ellie Kinnaird is misinformed and takes a strong position while misrepresenting the facts.

As a long-standing resident of the (I guess now) elitist and cold-hearted neighborhood, I can tell you the following:

There are no big box stores in the current plan. They have a pharmacy, a huge residential development and a grocery store committed. We have that on 54 across the way and we have that on 54 down the road, and so on and so on.

This great revenue opportunity brings with it the burden of 300 new apartments, which don’t plan to include affordable housing. More stress on the schools and the other town resources, for which we’ll need tax dollars. By the way, those upscale apartments will bring upscale shoppers. Do you think the shopping in the planned development will be for the working poor in our community? Um.... nope.

This is the last great tract of land in Carrboro. We have to get this right. The neighborhood was CLOSER to being on board with this when the box stores were a part of the plan. It went south for many when they came out.

The neighbors are against doing this the wrong way, not against doing it no matter what. We see this as a chance to help the tax base and give Carrboro something it needs. It’s offensive that we’re painted in such an uncaring manner. Many of my fellow neighbors argued against the apartments, in part, because there is a plan to exclude affordable housing.

I really don’t understand Ellie’s agenda. This kind of political misdirection can be damaging to the facts. She’s putting pressure on our elected officials from her home in Chapel Hill. I understand her history here, but this seems like a reckless thing to do without all of the facts.

Hopefully, she’s just ignorant, but I’m shocked that she would do this. It’s irresponsible for someone in public office and I hope that any of those reading this, who happen to be in a position to vote for her in the future, take her carelessness into account before doing so.

Bret Johnson


Misses it, but ...

Ellie K. is dead on. I just moved from Carrboro after 32 years due to the taxes. I miss it, but $700 a month difference here in Chatham was a deal maker.

Jim Neill