Carrboro Commons

Emergency employees view Japan with Carrboro plans

Posted on March 24th, 2011 in Environment,Town government,Uncategorized by jock

By Louie Horvath
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

While the rest of the world watches the destruction caused by the earthquake and subsequent nuclear complications in Japan with worry, local emergency management employees watch with a different purpose.

These personnel are the ones charged with ensuring that no matter the catastrophe, their local community is ready if such an event does occur.

Instead of waiting for a catastrophe to happen in their area, they are constantly probing and tinkering with their plan should such an event occur. So far, they feel good about the quality of the plan in light of the disaster in Japan.

“We have not made any changes to the plan,” Orange County emergency planner Darshan Patel said. “Our plan is pretty robust right now. Through the planning process, we take many things into consideration. We don’t have any immediate changes yet.”

Carrboro fire inspector Ethan Cicero echoes much of the same opinion.

“This is something that’s been worked on, planned for and revised, but specifically to the Japan catastrophe? No,” said Cicero.

The UNC Chapel Hill Cogeneration Facility is part of a broad-based plan in the area to be prepared in case what happens in Japan happens a little closer to home. Staff photo by Louie Horvath

While both emergency personnel stressed that the emergency preparedness document is an ever-changing tablet, they both did not feel the need to add to it or make changes because of the events in Japan.

They cannot give out those plans to the community because of the threat of a terrorist plot that would disable the county’s contingency plans.

“The specifics of these items are not given out outside of the county, in case someone’s trying to plan something,” said Cicero. “They are reviewed annually if not quarterly. It’s something that many people are involved in. Not just EMS or police.”

The contingency plans also include larger risk buildings, such as the UNC-Chapel Hill Cogeneration Facility on Cameron Avenue, hoping to safeguard against the same electrical problems that have afflicted Japan. But emergency planners know that no matter how foolproof a plan appears there is always a risk factor involved.

“Any sort of large facility that does power generation, whether it’s hydroelectric, cogeneration, nuclear or coal burning, there are always inherent risks in there, and some may be more than others,” Patel said. “There’s always some level of risk.”

There is no higher risk than at Shearon Harris Nuclear Plant just outside of New Hill, N.C. While Orange County lies outside of the 10-mile emergency planning zone, it still lies well within the 50-mile radius that could be affected by a nuclear plant meltdown. Carrboro is roughly 30 miles from the nuclear plant.

“We have emergency drills that we perform with the county and the state,” said Julia Milstead, the Progress Energy spokeswoman for the Shearon Harris plant. “We are required by federal law to have these drills twice a year, but at Progress Energy we always try to meet and exceed the requirement that’s put in front of us. We typically here at Harris have eight emergency drills every year.”

On April 26, 2011, the Shearon Harris plant will have a test that is graded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Patel confirmed that along with the local Wake County officials, emergency preparedness responders from Orange County would be taking part in the drill.

The entire emergency preparedness state of the U.S. was jolted to the front of the country’s mind after the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, and many of those changes have spurred the creation of the National Incident Management System (NIMS), a federal system that ensures that many different agencies could keep in touch at a moment’s notice.

“When 9/11 happened, frequently there wasn’t a lot of cross communication,” Cicero said. “A lot of people were hurt or killed because of that. The government realized that there was a problem. They had to create a common system that everyone uses.”

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Bolin Creek Greenway project stalled

Posted on November 16th, 2010 in Environment,Growth and development,Town government,Uncategorized by jock

By Mary Withers and Stephanie Bullins
Carrboro Commons Co-editor and Staff Writer

More than a year after concept plans for the Bolin Creek Greenway were finalized, contentious debate about the project continues.

Disagreement between the local advocacy group, Save Bolin Creek, and proponents of the project has slowed further work on the final phases of the Greenway.

Mary Sonis, who walks along Bolin Creek three to four times a week and takes wildlife photographs there, stands in front of Bolin Creek where a multi-use paved pathway is proposed to run along the creek following the sewer easement. Sonis is a member of Save Bolin Creek and opposes the paved path. (Staff photo by Mary Withers)

Thus, Carrboro Transportation Planner Jeff Brubaker says the project doesn’t have an expected date for completion.

“The Board of Aldermen has asked town to proceed with certain phases of the Greenway while looking for public input on the final phases,” he said. “They have basically put off implementation of those phases for now.”

Town board member Lydia Lavelle says the current arguments are unnecessary because the board will hold public hearings and will listen to public commentary before it decides on the best route for the Greenway.

“The board’s view is that there’s no urgency to get into a big fight about it,” she said.  “All we have are the plans that the Greenways group suggested, and we’re aware that there’s a part of the community that thinks otherwise.”

The debate is hinged on the final two phases of the Greenway, which include construction of a 10-foot path along the creek that would run through the Carolina North Forest and private property.

Environmental Concerns

In opposition to the paved path plan, local environmentalists formed Save Bolin Creek a year ago. Instead, the group recommends an alternative less-direct route north of Estes Drive extension.

According to Save Bolin Creek, building the paved path would be unnecessarily expensive, complicated to maintain, a threat to local water supply because it runs into Jordan Lake and a detriment to valuable natural wildlife along the riparian zone.

Mary Sonis, a member of Save Bolin Creek, says warmed water from the pavement would wash into the creek and kill the salamanders and frogs that live there. In turn, this would affect the owls and hawks that feed on them.

“We’re concerned ecologically what it will do,” said Sonis, who walks along the path every three to four days and takes wildlife photographs there. “This is a creek that’s one of our last natural areas in Carrboro. That’s a big deal.”

On the other hand, Dave Otto, a member of the Carrboro Greenways Commission, says a paved path would have ecological benefits for the creek.

He says Save Bolin Creek looks at the tract of land as a pristine wilderness, when in fact it’s a path along a sewer line that trucks regularly drive on. He said the path is in bad shape and needs to be replaced.

“It serves a very important purpose to help preserve a degraded environment,” Otto said. “It will be a fantastic contribution to Carrboro that everybody will be able to use as the town grows.”

Ken Moore, the former superintendent of the North Carolina Botanical Garden, and Johnny Randall, the assistant director for conservation, both support the paved path. They say the pavement would prevent the mud from washing into the creek after it rained, preserving the natural ecology of the creek.

Mary Sonis checks under rocks for salamanders. Sonis says the creek supports a vast array of wildlife that would be endangered by a paved path. (Staff photo by Mary Withers)

Further Debate

Robert Crook, member of Save Bolin Creek and vice chair of Friends of Bolin Creek, said the trail makes bad economic sense.

“Carrboro has no budget for maintaining the Greenway after it’s built,” said Crook, who has a master’s degree in forestry and soils from N.C. State University and works on consulting jobs to conserve natural resources and agricultural projects. He adds that since the trail is in the floodplain, it would require regular cleanup. “It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.”

But proponents of the Greenway said it could promote economic development by creating jobs and increasing property values, as well as improving accessibility and promoting safer alternatives for recreation and transportation.

Otto says one major benefit of the Greenway would be a safer commuting option.

“I don’t want to risk my life on a bikeway on Estes Drive,” he said. “These are amenities people need and people will use.”

Another benefit of the Greenway would be encouraging active lifestyles, Otto added.

“It will get people out of vehicles and onto bicycles,” he said.

Connecting Two Towns

The Greenway, conceptualized by Greenways Inc., a group that was hired by the town in 2008, is designed to link Carrboro to future developments like Carolina North, Carolina Commons and ultimately to the Chapel Hill Greenway.

The Town of Chapel Hill is also constructing a greenway along Bolin Creek that would connect with the Carrboro project.

“The municipalities have planned to connect their greenways,” Brubaker said. “Bolin Creek stretches through Carrboro and Chapel Hill jurisdictions, so there is a natural need to work together.”

Bill Webster, assistant director of the Town of Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Department, said the town has not received any complaints about construction potentially damaging the area, and added that most of the criticism has been directed toward the Carrboro project.

“There’s no project that you can ever envision that everyone will be happy with,” he said.

Webster still has high hopes for the completion of the entire project.

“Long after I’m gone, and the town finally finishes the Greenways, Inc. plan as envisioned, we will have a system of greenways and bike paths that will let you get almost anywhere in town,” he said. “You’ll be able to travel with minimal contact with motorized vehicles, and there will be fewer street crossings. Once you have that, there will be a safer transportation system and recreational opportunities.”

Businesses hopeful despite construction challenges

Posted on October 19th, 2010 in Business,Town government by jock

By Stephanie Bullins
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

Even with the approach of the busiest shopping days of the year, many local business owners say they are worried about losing sales because of the Weaver Street reconstruction project.

Carrboro Raw owner Nice Polido is optimistic, even though the Weaver Street reconstruction is forcing her to relocate her business. “I believe that things happen for a reason,” she said. “Hopefully, there’s a better, brighter future for me somewhere else.” (Staff photo by Stephanie Bullins)

DeeDee Lavinder, who owns The Red Hen, a resale boutique for mothers with young children, said the reconstruction could have negative consequences for her business.

“Construction always alters people’s normal patterns,” she said. “I know that we will have decreased traffic during that time, and we will definitely run promotions like sales, raffles and giveaways to entice our customers to visit.”

Though construction will be an inconvenience, Lavinder said her business will not be completely shut off from customers.

“Thankfully, the town revised their original plan, which would have left us completely unreachable for eight to 10 weeks,” Lavinder said. “With moms who have children and things to sell us, it really wasn’t realistic to think that they would park and walk several blocks.  Now we will have continuous access amidst the construction, and we are very thankful for that.”

The Town of Carrboro Public Works Department plans to minimize interference with any particular set of businesses by scheduling the reconstruction in phases, according to a release written by Public Works Director George Seiz. Businesses will be encouraged to use alternate entrances and share driveways with neighboring businesses so that customers can maintain access to buildings.

But for some businesses, that won’t be enough.

Developer fights to build sustainable, affordable community

Posted on October 6th, 2010 in Environment,Growth and development,Town government by jock

By Mary Withers
Carrboro Commons Co-editor

Thirty-nine dilapidated trailers at Pine Grove Mobile Home Park on Fayetteville Road could soon be replaced by 39 new completely sustainable and affordable homes.

Since the average turnover rate for a tenant at Pine Grove Mobile Home Park is six months, developer Trip Overholt said he will not be displacing people from their homes. (Staff photo by Mary Withers)

With features such as a rainwater catch-and-reuse system, a native plant garden, bamboo flooring, recycled countertops and solar panels capable of creating enough energy to run the whole community, the proposed Veridia community would go above and beyond the features normally included in green communities to merit both a LEED and Energy Star certification.

“We’re laboring mightily to create a green affordable community like nothing else in the state,” said developer Trip Overholt.

Overholt is the current owner of the Pine Grove Mobile Home Park. He said the trailers, which are more than 50 years old, are falling apart and have unbelievably high maintenance costs. Water leaks, sewer backups and electrical cable shortages are common problems.

He also said more than 50 percent of his tenants do not pay their rent on time, and many have histories of substance abuse, domestic violence, or not being able to hold down a job. He said when the economy had a shock last year, 12 of his 39 tenants left with no prior notice, leaving six trailers completely destroyed.

Since the average turnover rate for a tenant is six months, Overholt said he will not be displacing people from their homes.
He has tried everything he could to make the trailer park into a profitable business, he said, but he is losing about $500 every month. The only solutions are replacement of the trailers or development.

He said he wanted to create a development that reflects his love for the earth.

“My primary goal is to honor my earth mother,” he said. “We’re not driven by money; we’re driven by honoring our earth.”

He said he has striven to make the homes as affordable as possible. The 1,350 square foot homes in will average at $310,000. The average 2009 sales price of a home in Carrboro and Chapel Hill was $371,000, according to Community Home Trust.

The next step: Approval by the board of aldermen

When Overholt and his partner, David Bell, first presented the idea to the Carrboro board of aldermen in 2008, the projected cost of each home was $289,000. Overholt said he and Bell increased the price to $310,000 so they could add more green features. On Sept. 22 the board of aldermen was unwilling to approve the development due to the recent increase in price.

Board member Lydia Lavelle said she is concerned about the price of the homes.

Veridia Community, a completely sustainable project, could replace Pine Grove Mobile Home Park on Fayetteville Road. (Courtesy of David Bell)

“They sold it to (the board) as a wonderful new affordable development that incorporates a lot of new green features,” Lavelle said. “I would definitely like to see them keep prices as low as they can.”

Board member Sammy Slade said he is concerned that removing the trailer park would displace affordability in favor of more expensive green technology. He said it’s important for Carrboro to maintain socio-economic diversity.

“It’s not good to have a community that’s not diverse,” he said.

Lavelle said Veridia reflects two competing interests of the town—sustainability and affordability.

Overholt and Bell said they could develop the trailer park without the board’s approval, and they could develop a non-green community at a greater profit margin. However, some of the plans, such as moving the driveway from the center of the property to create a pedestrian commons and vegetable garden, must be approved by the board due to a 1970 lawsuit between the town and the trailer park’s former owner.

Overholt said the board is only legally allowed to reject the development if it has proof it will adversely impact the health and welfare of the community or surrounding communities. He said the board’s questioning of Veridia’s affordability was inappropriate.

“We are voluntarily submitting ourselves to the board,” Overholt said. “And we’re offering our houses at the same price or less than other communities.”

Bell shares his sentiment.

“Our great vision is to create one of the most sustainable communities in the state,” he said. “Ironically, we need the board’s approval to prove that.”

The board will decide whether to approve Veridia’s development plans at a later meeting.

Wilson becomes Town Clerk on Oct. 4

Posted on September 22nd, 2010 in Town government by jock

By Dean Drescher
Carrboro Commons Co-Editor

Carrboro will get its first new town clerk in 38 years on Oct. 4.

Cathy Wilson, a North Carolina native, was appointed to the position by Carrboro town officials on Sept. 8 after Sarah Williamson, Carrboro’s town clerk since 1972, announced her retirement. Wilson was chosen from a pool of 105 applicants.

Cathy Wilson, new town clerk. (Photo courtesy of Cathy Wilson)

For the past three years, Wilson has served as town clerk for the Town of Kiawah Island, S.C.

But she’s always remembered Carrboro.

“I remember Carrboro from when I was in middle school and I went to my first Chapel Hill football game,” Wilson said. “I just remember its personality from when I was 12 years old, so Carrboro’s a place that’s always stuck out in my head.”

Wilson grew up in Burnsville, which is about 30 miles northeast of Asheville, and received her bachelor’s degree in political science from Appalachian State University. She also holds a master’s degree in public administration from the College of Charleston. She is currently in the process of completing the requirements to be a certified municipal clerk.

Being a town clerk, she said, is a great opportunity.

“It’s a good spot to be in to kind of be in the middle of all of it,” Wilson said. “It’s a really good spot as far as learning everything you want to know about to know about municipal government, and so as far as just recently finishing my master’s to work in local government as a career this is a good place to start.”

Town celebrates new “green” fire station

Posted on September 22nd, 2010 in Town government by jock

By Mary Withers
Carrboro Commons Co-editor

For former fire Chief Robert Swiger, the new Carrboro fire station on Homestead Road is the result of more than 30 years of planning.

Chief Travis Crabtree stands in front of the new Carrboro fire station. The station is the first new building built by the town in 40 years. (Staff photo by Mary Withers)

Swiger first suggested the idea for a second fire station in 1977, as part of a five-year master plan. It became a necessity with the 2006 annexation of northern Carrboro, which increased the land size by .5 square miles and 288 homes.

“The Board of Aldermen made a real commitment to the people who were annexed to make this happen,” Mayor Mark Chilton said. “This station represents the fulfillment of a promise.”

The fire station is the first new building constructed by the town of Carrboro in 40 years and the largest town project since the Main Street fire department was updated in 1981.

The 9,017-square-foot facility cost about $3 million. It sits on a narrow 1.7 acres of land donated by UNC-Chapel Hill, which is leasing the land to the fire department for $1 a year for 99 years. It borders property of Chapel Hill High School, which also leases land from the university.

Architect Matt Brown, who designed the station with Stewart Cooper Newell Architects, said the narrow site and lack of parking created the biggest challenges in planning the new station.

Another challenge was making the fire station sustainable, he said. The station includes a rain-water retention and filtering system, solar paneled hot water heaters, recycled construction materials, waterless urinals and maximum natural lighting.

Fire Chief Travis Crabtree said the town wanted the station to be as green as it could afford because the community demands it.

Board member Lydia Lavelle said the green features reflect one of the defining characteristics of the town.

“We always look to try and be as green as we can,” she said.

The safety of an unusual 200-year-old male holly tree at the front of the site created controversy during the station’s construction. The town and the fire department went to great lengths to prevent it from being cut down and put up protection fencing at the drip line during construction.

“We did everything we possibly could to protect that tree,” Crabtree said.

More than 85 firefighters, town government officials and Carrboro residents gathered outside the station on Sept. 6 to celebrate its grand opening.

Chief Crabtree shows a table that was made from a cedar tree harvested on what is now the site of the new Carrboro fire station. The table sits in the day room, where firefighters can relax while not on a call. Photo by Mary Withers

The ceremony included an unorthodox ribbon cutting ceremony called an “uncoupling,” where the mayor and town aldermen unscrewed a yellow fire hose.

Speakers included Crabtree, Chilton, town manager Steve Stewart and Tim Bradley, assistant state fire marshal.

“Something like this beautiful station doesn’t just happen,” Bradley said. “It takes a group of people who want to provide a service to their community.”

Since the official opening, firefighters have served eight or nine calls out of the station, Crabtree said.

One engine company moved to the new fire station, leaving two at the downtown station, said Crabtree. He hired nine new firefighters since the start of the project in 2006, and has plans to hire three more.

He said the fire station will provide more than fire services. The community room will provide a place to meet for public forums or training classes.

“Fire stations become a focal point in the community,” he said. “Everybody recognizes them and knows and refers to them. It will be used for the longevity.”

The fire station is dedicated in memory of the late former fire chief, Rodney Murray.

Center fights for Carrboro day laborers’ human rights

Posted on February 18th, 2010 in Economy,Employment,Features,Latino Issues,Town government by jock

By Latisha Catchatoorian

Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

On a sunny, yet chilly day, Latino men are huddled outside of Abbey Court Condominiums or the BP gas station across the street on Jones Ferry Road.  Some of these day laborers are residents of Abbey Court, which also serves as the location of The Chapel Hill and Carrboro Human Rights Center, led by Director Judith Blau.

Alfonso Hernandez, 19, a volunteer at the Chapel Hill and Carrboro Human Rights Center, shows some members of the local Latino population.  The Center focuses on helping the community as a whole, not restricted to just Latinos or any other group. Recently, protection of day laborers and their rights has been a focus of the Center. Staff Photo By Latisha Catchatoorian

Alfonso Hernandez, 19, a volunteer at the Chapel Hill and Carrboro Human Rights Center, shows some members of the local Latino population. The Center focuses on helping the community as a whole, not restricted to just Latinos or any other group. Recently, protection of day laborers and their rights has been a focus of the Center. (Staff Photo By Latisha Catchatoorian)

“Vans just pick people up and hire them for the day,” Blau said.  “It happens across the U.S.  Standing out in the freezing rain, snow, ice, is just wrong. No one should have to do that, anywhere.”

The center proclaims that human rights are for all people with no exceptions.  Recently the center has been advocating the passage of new legislation to protect the rights and wages of day laborers in Carrboro and Chapel Hill. This is part of the center’s mission, as one of its goals is to “go to bat” for those who face discrimination in these towns.

Day laborers, who are often hired for jobs that vary on a day-to-day basis, are sometimes denied pay.  Pay could be denied for projects that are a day’s work or for projects that take a few weeks.  The center has been petitioning the Carrboro Board of Aldermen to make such an exploitation, which is currently a civil offense, into a criminal act.

“All people are entitled to protection on the job, to good wages, to acceptable hours,” said Blau.  “The way the state law reads now, it’s only a civil offense to violate the labor rights of undocumented workers. To put some teeth into that law, we are posing it be a criminal offense.”

Many of these laborers are undocumented workers in Carrboro and Chapel Hill.  But Blau said according to federal labor laws, there is no distinction for protection between those who are documented and those who are not.

These workers simply wait and hope for any work they are lucky enough to obtain.

Blau said that many workers started coming to Rafael Gallegos, the assistant director of the center, telling him that they worked for two weeks and weren’t paid. Or that they were getting such low wages that they couldn’t possibly survive on them. Or that they were injured on the job and employers weren’t taking care of their medical expenses.

“These are all violations of national legal protections, but because employers know that the day laborers and other poor people are unlikely to go to the small claims court and go through the procedures of getting compensation, they get by with it,” Blau said. “For Carrboro to pass this ordinance would be a fantastic advance.”

Gallegos is a sociology graduate student at UNC-Chapel Hill, originally from Delicias, Chihuahua, Mexico.  His thesis, which is on day laborers, specifically concentrates on those in Carrboro.

Aldermen see final plans for second fire station

Posted on April 17th, 2009 in Carrboro Connections,Growth and development,Town government by jock

By Elisabeth Arriero
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

Carrboro residents can soon feel twice as safe when it comes to fires.

arriero_new-fire-stationfinal.jpg

Only one fire station, located at 301 W. Main St., serves all of Carrboro. But by next year, Carrboro should have a second fire station at 1411 Homestead Road.
Staff photo by Elisabeth Arriero

The Carrboro Board of Aldermen accepted the final plans for a second fire station in town at its Tuesday night meeting.

Kenneth Newell of Stewart-Cooper-Newell Architects, the company that created the design, updated the board on some minor changes to the new station, which will be located at 1411 Homestead Road.

“This is just a stunning plan,” said Alderman Randee Haven-O’Donnell after the board heard Newell’s update.

The Board of Aldermen plans to budget $3 million for the new station during the 2009-10 fiscal year. That figure does not include funding for the estimated 12 new staff positions that the station would create.

Carrboro town manager Steve Stewart said that due to the recent economic downturn, now is the best time to plan for such a construction project.

Carrboro aldermen vote to amend town charter

Posted on March 4th, 2009 in Growth and development,Town government by jock

By Kelly Esposito
Spanish Language Coverage Team

A proposed amendment to the Carrboro charter would prohibit property deeds and homeowners association covenants from restricting the use of clotheslines and other energy-saving devices.

The Board of Aldermen approved two amendments to the Town’s charter in its Feb. 17 meeting. The amendments must now be presented to the N.C. General Assembly. Only the state legislature has the power to alter town charters.

espositoamendmentsfinal.jpg
Carrboro resident and Camellia Forest Nursery employee Rachel Byrne, 24, takes down a sheet from the clothesline in her backyard. “I like the process of hanging things on the clothesline,” Byrne said. “Plus it saves energy.” A proposed amendment to the Carrboro charter would prohibit property deeds and homeowners’ association covenants from restricting the use of clotheslines and other energy-saving devices.
Staff photo by Kelly Esposito

One of the amendments would authorize the board to create ordinances that could supersede deed restrictions or homeowners association covenants if the deeds or covenants prohibited the implementation of sustainability features. These features include clotheslines, solar panels and rain barrels. It passed 5-2, with board members Joal Hall Broun and Randee Haven-O’Donnell dissenting.

The amendment drew public comment from residents who were concerned about the broad authority it would provide.

Carrboro resident Richard Anstine, who spoke at the meeting, said that he has no problem with saving energy and going green, but the language of the proposed amendment is alarming.

“There are no limitations to this,” he said. “It’s just wide open.”

Anstine is concerned with the possible voiding of deed restrictions and homeowners association covenants, which he said are put in place primarily to protect property values.

“They are the thing that keeps people from painting polka dots all over their house or building a garage in their front yard,” he said.

Carrboro resident Robert Kirschner also spoke at the meeting. He said that he thinks town officials are overstepping their bounds with the proposal, and he was in favor of continuing the public hearing on a later date so the issue could be explored further and more people could have the opportunity to comment.

“This is far more complicated than it appears,” Kirschner said. “I was asking them to pause, which they did not do.”

Proposed connector road creates heated debate

Posted on March 4th, 2009 in Growth and development,Town government by jock

By Elisabeth Arriero
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

arriero_connectionfinal.jpg

A proposed road connecting Colfax Drive to Homestead Road has caused some residents to become concerned that their quiet neighborhood streets will soon turn into busy shortcut roads
Staff photo Elisabeth Arriero

The Board of Aldermen again postponed the decision on a proposed connector road from the Claremont subdivision to Colfax Drive.

The proposed road would connect the two newest phases of the Claremont development with Wexford via Colfax Drive. The connection would provide access from Homestead Road to Hillsborough Road.

The road was proposed in accordance with the town’s Connector Roads Policy, which creates roads that not only disperse new traffic, but also create a sense of unity among residents.

The Colfax Connection was originally discussed at the board’s Jan. 27 meeting. More than 20 people spoke at the Feb. 24 meeting.

Opponents of the Colfax Connection said that the road would create a traffic burden for residents of the Wexford, Williams Woods, Cates Farm and Cobblestone neighborhoods and not a sense of unity.

“This plan will not disperse traffic, but instead focus and funnel it through narrow streets never intended to carry a high volume of traffic,” said Scott Christie, president of the Williams Woods Homeowners’ Association.

Opponents said that not constructing the connector road would do a better job of meeting the Connector Roads Policy’s goal of creating a sense of connectivity among residents.

“Bike paths encourage interactions between people more than putting in a road does,” Wexford resident Dennis Haines said.

Opponents also said the connector road could harm the environment.

“There are negative aspects to connectivity,” resident Michael Krasnov said. “You create more pavement, more asphalt and more impervious surface. Instead, walking paths could be created with pervious surface.”

But advocates of the Colfax Connection said that a connector road would be good for the community because it would reduce the number of miles that people drive.

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