This is David Schwartz
Have you heard about the Town’s plan to rezone 200 acres of land around Eastgate and Ram’s Plaza? It’s called the Ephesus-Fordham plan. Perhaps you’ve heard or read about how wonderful this plan is, or maybe you’ve seen the pretty pictures of what this area of town will supposedly look like if we give the real estate developers free reign to build whatever they want. Well you can forget the pretty pictures and everything favorable you’ve read or heard about Ephesus-Fordham.
Here’s what you need to know: The Ephesus-Fordham plan is a good old-fashioned bait and switch.
1. It was promoted as a way to help reduce flooding in the Booker Creek watershed, but it will not in fact reduce flooding and may actually make it worse.
2. It was promoted as a way to alleviate traffic congestion, but it will likely worsen congestion by adding 1000 new car-owning households to the area without installing adequate mass transit.
3. It was promoted as a way to “broaden the tax base” by increasing the amount of commercial property in town, but it will instead add mostly new housing, which will place further strains on the Town’s and school district’s finances.
4. It was promoted as way to generate new tax revenue for the Town, but it will actually be a money-losing venture for at least the next 20 years unless the County is willing to bail us out.
5. And if that’s not bad enough, the plan will displace several hundred low-income households and force out many locally owned small businesses. And it will take away our right to participate in the review of future development proposals for the area.
If you think, as I do, that Chapel Hill deserves a better redevelopment plan than this, come to the Town Council meeting this Thursday night, April 17, and tell our elected officials they need to do a better job of balancing private profit with public benefit.