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On Facebook: Readers respond to Tim Toben interview

August 16, 2013 

Tim Toben sits on his porch in Orange County. He has written a chapter in a new book reassessing the impact innovative development like the Greenbridge condominiums he helped build in Chapel Hill can have on climate change.

MARK SCHULTZ — mschultz@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

You can read and comment on more local news on my Facebook page.

Last Sunday I posted a photo of Greenbridge developer Tim Toben, one of the project’s five partners, with this:

“Today’s top story: Tim Toben was the public face of Greenbridge until the final bills came in and the bank foreclosed. He’s written a chapter in a new book reassessing whether any innovative project, no matter how green, can help save the planet. Read our interview at http://bit.ly/14kvqQq

Here’s what some of you said.

Cindy Jones: Really heart felt and eye-opening conversation. Wow.

Martin Love: Thanks for doing this interview! It’s timely, and Toben is an interesting character worth hearing.

Bill Anderson: Important interview. Thanks.

Mary Parker Sonis: (Greenbridge) is a blight on the skyline, and I don’t think the citizens ever wanted the building. If I wear Birkenstocks to a board meeting, will they allow me to build anything I want? Perhaps.

Del Snow: Fascinating interview. I think that Mr. Toben had the opportunity to experience a real epiphany, and I hope that people don’t use the assumption that he is "in shock" to dismiss what he has to say.

Michelle Cotton Laws: Don’t get me started on how the members of the Northside community and UNC students predicted how disastrous of a project this would turn out to be for numerous reasons. But they were treated as senseless babblers, while Toben and his team were given the benefit of the doubt and treated as brilliant saviors of the community.

Al Carson: Save the planet? Don’t worry about Mother Earth. She will be here long after we have annihilated ourselves.

Michael Czeiszperger: It wasn’t until college that I ate food not grown by an immediate relative, and I find Toben’s thoughts on food production to be typical of those who’ve never actually grown all of their own food. If you took the population of Greensbridge and spread them out on 35 acre mini-farms, it would have a much worse effect on the environment. Density does help the environment in numerous proven ways; Greenbridge’s problems were in grossly overspending on green technologies with marginal returns, and secondarily in not hiring a world-class architect. I’m not saying everyone should live in high density housing, but there should be a variety of housing options available in Chapel Hill, including high density.

Mark Schultz is the editor of The Chapel Hill News. Send a Friend request to http://tinyurl.com/lvfc3f7 and follow him on Twitter @ChapelHillNews1


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