Environmental Protection In Carrboro, State Vs. Local Authority & More

CHAPEL HILL – Carrboro is known for pushing policies that protect the environment, but this past legislative session, the North Carolina General Assembly passed laws which some have said cut back on key regulations meant to protect the environment.

At the Carrboro Board of Aldermen Candidates Forum Monday, moderator Aaron Keck asked hopefuls what they viewed the biggest environmental problem facing the Town.

The five candidates competing for three open seats include incumbents Sammy Slade, Jacquelyn Gist and Randee Haven-O’Donnell. The challengers are Kurt Stolka, Vice-Chair of Carrboro’s Transportation Advisory Board, and Al Vickers, a former member of the Solid Waste Advisory Board with a Ph. D. in environmental science. Vickers was absent from the Forum Monday due to a prior engagement out of the country.

***Listen to WCHL’s 2013 Carrboro Board of Aldermen Candidates Forum***

 

 

Gist said she was concerned about the General Assembly impugning the Board’s authority to pass tighter environmental regulations.

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“The General Assembly is gutting our ability to have environmental regulations that are stronger than the State or the Feds,” Gist said. “We are talking about our creek buffers; we are talking about the University Lake protection [regulations]; we are talking about storm water flow. So what Carrboro is doing right now, under the leadership of Damon [Alderman Damon Seils], is looking at all of our environmental regulations and making them as tight as possible before the 2014 session.”

Haven-O’Donnell said that the flash floods of June 30, which swept through the area dumping more than five inches of rain in just a few hours, show the necessity to update the town’s infrastructure for extreme weather events.

“We really need to create a better infrastructure to deal with storm water,” Haven-O’Donnell said. “I think that we have aging infrastructure. We need to re-pipe, and we need to make the storm water issue one that is not going to create flooding and get folks out of their homes.”

Stolka said he believed the Town should deter the community from using cars as the main mode of transportation, and encourage walking and biking.

“Carrboro should not stand for cars,” Stolka said. “That is the biggest impact on climate change—with our C02 emissions from our driving. [It’s] not where we live or the energy efficiency of our buildings, but it is how much people use gas and pollute our environment.”

Slade said the Board is doing a balancing act between development moving into Downtown and the increased traffic and congestion that more activity creates.

“[We] need to reconcile those two values that we have for out Town: how to manage the amount of parking that higher density, mixed-use calls for as our planning and zoning calls for,” Slade said. “And the fact that we don’t have the capacity to bring that many cars into our downtown.”

 

http://chapelboro.com/2013-election-central/2013-election-candidate-forums/environmental-protection-in-carrboro-state-vs-local-authority-more/

Fostering A Locally Driven Economy In Carrboro

CHAPEL HILL – Carrboro prides itself on having a locally driven economy, “big box” stores which are moving into Orange County could threaten the prosperity of small business.

At WCHL’s Carrboro Board of Aldermen Candidate Forum Monday, hopefuls were asked what they think the Town should do to support local businesses over the course of the next two years.

The five candidates competing for three open seats on the Board include incumbents Sammy Slade, Jacquelyn Gist and Randee Haven-O’Donnell. The challengers are Kurt Stolka, Vice-Chair of Carrboro’s Transportation Advisory Board, and Al Vickers, a former member of the Solid Waste Advisory Board with a Ph. D. in environmental science. Vickers was absent from the Forum Monday due to a prior engagement out of the country.

***Listen to WCHL’s 2013 Carrboro Board of Aldermen Candidates Forum***

 

 

Slade said the Board should push to raise awareness that investment in local businesses is beneficial through the re-circulation of money in the community.  He explained that the quarter-cent sales tax would prove to play a key role in funding economic development incentives.

“We have a huge opportunity with the recent passing through a bond referendum of the quarter-cent sales tax that’s going toward economic development,” Slade said. “It is a significant amount of money that we need to, and I have been constantly asking the county to put toward supporting locally-owned businesses and import substitution.”

Stolka echoed a comment made by Slade during the forum that Carrboro’s locally-grown food products and cycling tourism were opportunities to boost the economy and should be encouraged.

“The amount we drive has a huge impact on how much money stays locally. Eighty-five percent of every dollar we spend leaves the local economy,” Stolka said. “I think really investing in a plan to start charging for parking, to get people to reduce their driving and [promote] walking or cycling will really keep more dollars local.”

Gist said it was a great achievement that the Board formulated a creative solution to incentivize Fleet Feet to keep its Corporate Headquarters in Carrboro. She also maintained that free parking is a way to attract people downtown.

“I also think that we need to keep parking free as we continue to push for more alternative transportation—better bikes and buses,” Gist said. “We also need to make sure that when people come downtown, they can afford to park and spend their money down there.”

Haven-O’Donnell said the arts were a thriving part of Carrboro’s economy and played a pivotal role of attracting people Downtown.

“Some of the plans that are unfolding for Carrboro’s downtown  will take advantage of the broadband and the entrepreneurial and professional services in arts and innovation potential that we have,” Haven-O’Donnell said. “We are really at the threshold right now of a very new look and feel to business downtown.”

 

http://chapelboro.com/2013-election-central/2013-election-candidate-forums/keeping-a-locally-driven-economy-in-carrboro/