Chapel Hill: Opinion

Julian Sereno: Make Lloyd Farm green-development model

Change is coming to Carrboro’s western entrance. Mediation begins April 1 over the development of the Lloyd Farm, 40 acres of field and forest, pond and stream bordering Old Fayetteville Road on the west, Highway 54 on the south, James Street on the east, and the back yards of the houses on Carol Street on the north.

One faction is the the property’s owners, the Lloyd family, along with the Argus Development Group. The other is a group of neighbors from Plantation Acres, the 200-home neighborhood of single-family houses adjoining the property. That group includes me. The plans our group opposed were so contentious that they led the town of Carrboro to sponsor mediation. Now we have a clean slate.

I am not a mediation participant and speak only for myself. I envision something wonderful on this beautiful piece of land. Something that could be a destination as well as a model. Something green and sustainable, that we can all enjoy and be happy about. Something that enhances Carrboro and the adjoining neighborhood. Think South Street Seaport in New York City or Faneuil Hall in Boston, only on a Carrboro scale.

Values and visions

To achieve that result, let’s apply Carrboro’s values and visions to the whole project.

Let’s start by making sure the development does not increase pollution downstream in Jordan Lake, a source of drinking water the town of Carrboro has promised to protect. That might be done by preserving the land’s natural wetlands instead of draining them and building one more concrete-lined muddy pool surrounded by chain link fence. Get OWASA on board early and develop water recycling systems for all of the buildings.

To minimize runoff, let’s preserve as much forest and field as possible by building up rather than out, and leaving as small a footprint as possible. This will also allow for more parkland and greenways. Build the apartments above retail stores, Harris Teeter included. Use permeable surfaces for parking areas.

Let’s make it all as pedestrian and bicycle friendly as possible by keeping walkways and bikeways completely separated from cars and trucks. Let’s connect it all by walkways and bikeways to Anderson Park, just to the west.

Plan for traffic

Whatever is built will generate huge amounts of new motor-vehicle traffic, so plan accordingly.

Plantations Acres, which dates from the 1950s, has narrow streets, most without sidewalks, which already are used as cut-throughs. Limit Lloyd Farm car and truck entrances and exits to Highway 54 and Old Fayetteville Road. Build sidewalks and bike lanes throughout Planation Acres. Make Carol Street and some Plantation Acres streets one-way.

Most importantly, let’s invite the ideas and energy of Carrboro’s talented citizenry. Carrboro has as many creatives per capita as anywhere on earth – architects, planners, hydrologists, environmental engineers, green builders and other visionaries. Let’s hear some of their ideas and use them.

Lloyd Farm will be developed. Let’s keep it true to Carrboro and create someplace we all can appreciate and enjoy.

Julian Sereno has been a Plantation Acres resident for more than 28 years.