Your letters, March 23

March 21, 2014 

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Astounding logic

Chapel Hill’s property taxes are out of control, contributing to an affordable housing problem. Now I read in the March 16 Chapel Hill News ( bit.ly/NuAPDk) that a proposal to combat the problem of affordable housing in Chapel Hill is to have a “property tax increase.” Astounding logic!

Instead of raising the property tax to develop a few affordable rental houses, how about we get our government more efficient and significantly lower the property tax? Let’s make housing in Chapel Hill more affordable for all.

Max Lloyd

Chapel Hill

Failing poor kids

The March 16 column by Josh Ravitch ( bit.ly/1eSC9aq) lauds the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school district and says vouchers undermine the public school education system and are mainly for “rich, white children” not, as Mr. Darrell Allison of Parents for Educational Freedom North Carolina ( bit.ly/1cCWCEJ) says, scholarships for deserving poor children.

Ravitch ignores the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school district results for the past school year. Despite the district’s resources, only 31 percent of the Economically Disadvantaged passed their End-Of-Grade tests while 82.4 percent of Not Economically Disadvantaged children passed. Just 3 in 10 of poor passed, while 8 in 10 of not-poor children passed.

Darrell Allison and his staff are working to ensure that poor or Economically Disadvantaged children, of all colors, can go to a school that will teach that child. Over 60 percent of the private schools in North Carolina cost less than $4,000 per year and each scholarship is for $4,200. Schools can be innovative but only after they teach the “3R’s.”

Tom Hauck

Pittsboro

New stormwater model

Re “Neighbors: Water, bills, flow downhill,” March 19, bit.ly/1fWG0aL

If I lived in a low-lying area, I would be jacking my house up to prepare for heavier rains in the future, because that is what climate change is bringing us.

The hardiness zones in North Carolina have shifted, and they will shift some more before this century is through. This means more dramatic weather, heavier rains, that go with the warmer climate. Look at Southern coast cities, how they manage run-off, like in Wilmington, N.C. These should be our new models.

This town needs a plan to reduce runoff by reducing impermeable surfaces over time, encouraging vertically orienting buildings (which we need to do for solar, anyway), increasing greenspaces and collecting rainwater for long-term storage for when we have long droughts (which we will also have more of with climate change). We need to recharge the groundwater with constructed replacement wetlands, swales and ponds.

We need a stormwater plan for the town. This plan needs to include retrofitting old work. This is not the only problem spot.

Sally S. K. McIntee

via chapelhillnews.com

A perfect storm?

Re Neighbors: Water, bills, flow downhill, March 19, http://bit.ly/1fWG0aL)

Last week we had 2 inches of rain in 48 hours, which caused Booker Creek to overflow its banks in the Briarcliff neighborhood near Willow Drive. No homes flooded as in June 2013 when we had 7.85 inches of rain. So there is the yardstick for the flood plain: 2 inches = overflow, 7 inches = major flooding.

The Ephesus-Fordham development plan will add runoff stormwater to Booker Creek. Town officials are not including their hired consultant’s suggestions in their plan, nor have they announced any planned improvements to the creeks between U.S. 15-501 (Fordham Boulevard) and the Chapel Hill Country Club, the area where our stormwater system breaks down in a cluttered swamp.

According to a paper prepared for the Association of State Floodplain Managers Foundation, “some courts have also held governments liable for negligence or nuisances when governments issue regulatory permits for buildings, other structures, or subdivisions which cause increased flood hazards on other property. This is particularly true where governments not only approve but accept dedications of stormwater, flood control and other facilities."

Will the rush to develop Ephesus Fordham result in a “perfect storm” for Booker Creek neighbors?

The town should make improvements to the creeks BEFORE adding to the problem with upstream development.

David Gellatly

via chapelhillnews.com

Apply now for Arc housing

The Arc of Orange County and The Arc of North Carolina, two nonprofits that support persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities are accepting housing applications for a six-unit apartment project that is currently being constructed in the Meadowmont Community in Chapel Hill.

The project was made possible with land that was donated by East West Partners, funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Orange County HOME funds. Four one-bedroom and two two-bedroom apartments will be available early this summer.

The Arc of Orange County will accept applications through March 31. Interested parties must:

• Be at least 18 years old

• Have annual maximum income of $13,800 to $23,000

• Have a documented disability

Applications are available at: arcoforange.org

For additional information, please contact Joyce Smith, administrative assistant, at 919-942-5119. 

The Arc of Orange County was incorporated in November of 1979 as a 501©3 nonprofit organization. Entering into our 34th year of operation, The Arc of Orange County is proud of its mission to provide advocacy and services to persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities that promote community involvement, active lifestyles and social value. Employing a philosophy that maximizes the use of community resources, our organization strives to enhance quality of life for each individual by determining which supports work best for them through engagement in independence optimizing activities that are based on personal preference and strengths, increase personal relationships.

Robin Baker

The Arc of Orange County

Town needs mini-golf

I think that Chapel Hill should have some type of mini-golf place; a place where people of all ages can play. It does not have to be an amusement place, but I think that it would bring more people to the area and the locals could have a place to hang out.

I am saying this, because there really are not many places like that around the Chapel Hill-Durham area, and I think something like that would be nice to have. I know there is Frankie's Fun Park, but some people do not want to drive all the way to get there, or there is not transportation for them to get out there.

I would like to know what other people might think about this idea. Living in Chapel Hill for about 16 years, I think that Chapel Hill deserves something fun, to give back to the community and let families have their family time together. Thanks and have a wonderful day.

Matthew Gamcsik

Chapel Hill

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