Planning Board Chair Responds To Call For Resignation

By Ran Northam Posted March 5, 2013 at 10:30 pm
CHAPEL HILL – Chapel Hill Planning Board Chair Del Snow says she’s not going anywhere despite a second call for her resignation.

“Quite honestly, I don’t want to get into a battle of words with Mr. Pease over this,” Snow says. “So, I guess I’m not going to go through it like a teacher correcting an essay. If other people want to point out his errors, he can discuss it with them.”

She says the errors can be found in a letter Town Council member Gene Pease wrote to Snow in response to a letter she previously wrote to the Council. She says the letter expressed the concerns the Planning Board had over last week’s approval of the Bicycle Apartments.

“They’re not just my opinions, and to suggest somehow I can influence a very self-confident group of diverse people is silly,” Snow says. “These are people all appointed by the council and they’re professional.”

Pease responded to her letter with a lengthy reaction that ended in a call for her resignation.

“I waited and this thing was festering with me,” Pease says. “The email she sent last week just kind of was the tipping point I guess. I felt I needed to speak up.”

Snow says the points he addressed in his response were not completely correct.

“I thought it was unfortunate, but I will leave that to other people to discuss with him,” Snow says. “There were errors in there, but as far as I know, the Planning Board decided on their own not particularly under my leadership.”

The main concern Pease addressed was the fact that he does not believe Snow can correctly serve as the Planning Board chair when she is suing the Town over another development.

In late October, residents of Chapel Hill sued the Town over the Charterwood project—which abuts Snow’s property—after the Council approved the development in September. The lawsuit stated that the Superior Court of Orange County should review the Town’s decision and that the development would be an inconvenience to its neighbors.

“Just because I’m pursuing my legal rights in a case along with other people that I am not in charge of, and I did not vote, I recused myself, it doesn’t mean I’m not qualified and impartial in other cases,” Snow says.

And, she says the lawsuit is not an opinion-based concern.

“The lawsuit against the Town is based on procedural errors,” Snow says. “It’s certainly worse to approve a case through errors in procedure than anything else.”

Snow says her time on the Planning Board is not spent inserting personal opinion, but instead reviewing the facts about the individual developments.

“I would say that I evaluate applications based on their specific merits,” Snow says.

Snow says she will continue to serve as chair until her term expires in June. She will then have two more years on the Planning Board.

To see the letters and hear comments from Pease, click here.
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