After protracted and heated debates over many years regarding our solid-waste issues, Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton recently proposed that a new waste transfer station (WTS) be sited on the northwest corner of Highway 86/I-40 in Orange County (CHN, Jan. 22).This site is in our cherished rural buffer, a zone set aside many years ago by mutual agreement of the county and towns to restrict development and ensure that the contained area "remain rural." This buffer contributes significantly to the quality of life in our fast-growing community, providing both economic and environmental benefits to all residents.
We agree with the sentiments of the Justice United Environmental Team ("Before we trash the rural buffer..." CHN, Feb. 12) that siting such a facility in the rural buffer is not an acceptable solution.
We implore the Orange County Board of Commissioners to reject this proposal. If you value the rural buffer, please consider speaking at the commissioners' meeting Tuesday, Feb. 21 (Southern Human Services Center, 2501 Homestead Road) or submitting your concerns in advance to Donna Baker, Clerk to BOC, 200 South Cameron St., Hillsborough, NC 27278 or dbaker@ co.orange.nc.us
, stating that you would like them entered into the minutes of the meeting.Please let our elected leaders know that chipping away at the rural buffer should not be a part of the solid waste debate! Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.Nina FrankelDavid DiGiuseppeChapel HillDon't rush project
Several citizens groups are aware Town Council members were part of another exploratory discussion regarding development of the Obey Creek site. The developer suggested if there wasn't quick action, an opportunity for a large retail development could be lost.
When we spoke before the council in 2010, we urged that no action be taken until the completion of a new Comprehensive Plan (and the Vision 2020 plan that will lead into it.) We felt that the council agreed, and one of the council members commented that the days of ad-hoc planning should be over for Chapel Hill.
There are already three very large developments in the concept stage or beyond: Ram's Plaza redevelopment, the Glen Lennox area, and the Eubanks Road area. Surely there is enough on the table so that any plans for Obey Creek do not have to be rushed.
What's different about the Obey Creek area? It is on sensitive land with steep slopes and perennial streams with drainage and environmental concerns. It is next to residential areas where houses were built with the idea that Obey Creek and its rural surroundings would be a buffer against traffic, noise, and dense development.
Yes times change, but retail development that mirrors what was developed in the center of Southern Village would be far more appropriate. Any commercial area has to have an appropriate transition for the adjacent residential properties. What is especially not needed is a development plan like East 54 on steroids or 1,200 condos creating an immediate negative impact on schools and traffic.
I urge the council to consider that eliminating thorough and thoughtful review can lead to significant long-term problems later.John E. SchmidtChapel HillHow to save a life
I am writing today about the upcoming Chapel Hill Town Council meeting that will be discussing cell phone use while driving. In August 2010 my brother, Joel Severson, was killed when a man texting and driving hit him from behind on I-40. The loss has been devastating to my family.
The text that was sent that night instead of watching the road was "I'm tired". Not an emergency, not even important. Such a careless action took the life of a beautiful person.
People will say they are able to talk on the phone while driving. That's true, you can. However, you are not fully paying attention to driving the automobile. I am not against cell phones; I have one myself. However, I do not talk, text or put on my makeup and drive. Doing so not only puts my life in danger but the lives of my children and the other drivers on the road.
I hope that no one else has to suffer the way my family has before deciding not to drive distracted. I want to encourage the Chapel Hill Town Council to pass the cell-phone driving ban next week because it might just save a life.Karen Severson TurnerAsheville Choice of freedoms
The Chapel Hill Town Council will consider a proposed ordinance to limit cell phone use for drivers. It's not a discussion that will be popular with many, but the need justifies the action.
The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended that all states ban all cell phone use for all drivers. This recommendation was based on a decade of distraction-related crash investigations and available research
However bans like these raise questions about overregulation and infringement on personal freedoms. As a father whose daughter was killed by a distracted driver in 2007, I find the issue of freedom to be at the heart of why we need stronger laws and enforcement.
Laws protect us from drivers who make choices that jeopardize our safety. Like alcohol impairment, cell phone distracted driving is a leading and highly preventable cause of crashes and we can effectively reduce it through laws.
Many will strongly defend their 'right' to use cell phones while driving. Driving is not a right, nor is where one uses a cell phone. We should all be concerned about preventable deaths and serious injuries. As for impinging on personal freedoms our "unalienable rights" begins with "Life." Shouldn't it all begin there?Rob ReynoldsExecutive director FocusDriven - Advocates for Cell-Free DrivingWill never know
I am writing to urge the town of Chapel Hill to set an example for North Carolina by passing a ban on cell-phone use while driving. A two-time Carolina alum, I look to Chapel Hill to keep me safe in a world where I know that life is fleeting.
In 2008, two days before the start of my senior year, my parents were hit and killed by a distracted driver. The accident happened in my native New Jersey, where a ban on hand-held cell-phone use is already in place. Still, this offense was not enough to warrant investigation, so officers never explored whether a cell-phone was in use at the time of the accident.
Because of the lack of political will, my brothers and I will never know what caused that driver to not see my parents as he merged onto the road. Because we will never know, there will be no statistics, no call to action to demand stricter laws and punishments for the use of cell-phones while driving. As one of three survivors of my family of five, I call you to action to make a change that can help keep your family safe, as well as mine.Jillian CaseyChapel Hill
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