Lynne Kane Letter Supporting American Legion Land Private Property Sale

June 17, 2016
To the Town Manager, Mayor, and Town Council:

As too often, we are forced to repeat ourselves, part of the democratic process, but exaggerated by those who repeatedly claim no one listens if their minority view is not the final decision.

During this past year, calendar and fiscal, community surveys show more than 80% of Chapel Hill residents are happy with actions taken by the Town.  Chapel Hill yearly wins top federal and state awards for our institutions, programs and staff, and even more under the leadership of Town Manager Roger Stancil and Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt as Chapel Hill 2020 became a Town Plan.

I am encouraged to see Mayor Pam Hemminger continuing this implementation.  Some fault-finders continuously look for complaint issues and foment fear about every new project that will continue our steps into 21st century reality.  Those who declare there is a lot of dissatisfaction do not read the Town Surveys, or they speak only to naysayers.

The American Legion land discussion should take place understanding this usual context.

The recent letter from William Munsee, Commander of American Legion Post 6 here, mentions many contributions the Legion has made to Chapel Hill over many years.  Munsee correctly notes the added tax revenue to the town as the American Legion sells this land because the Legion needs a larger venue.  Munsee also notes the maintenance costs which ensue to the Town, or any buyer, beyond the purchase price.  Chapel Hill residents often overlook maintenance costs for parks while opposing new construction by repeatedly alleging we need more parks.  We must maintain what we have and engage the buyer of the Legion land in the offer to reactivate what we already have in that area.

It should be remembered all through this discussion that 50% or more of the American Legion land cannot and will not be developed, so much of it remains a place residents can continue to enjoy as Nature.

Chapel Hill expresses wishes to collect stormwater for use as onsite plant irrigation.  Using the natural slope toward the east for a new stormwater retention area and filling in the artificial pond near Legion Road makes sense economically and environmentally.

Town staff rightly mentions the several new developments which will come into the nearby area as Blue Cross and Performance Auto among others vacate and relocate.  This will be an important section of the Ephesus Fordham revitalization.

Woodlief (sic) perhaps underestimated reaction to proposing “600” units, but anyone who knows Chapel Hill knows that they must propose extras for the Just-Say-No activists to take pride in knocking a number down.  There will be fewer than 600 units built.

I have previously submitted to Town Council the staged January 2016 effort to suggest Fountain Ridge Road is crowded with baby strollers and bicyclists.  I have walked Fountain Ridge Road end to end many times while campaigning, and one sees the occasional stroller or bicycle as elsewhere in the Ephesus Fordham residential streets.  Buses and maintenance trucks and cars do travel Fountain Ridge Road and its intersecting streets.

People living in The Meadows on Legion Road bemoan the addition of traffic on Legion Road, which is used as an alternative to the Fordham Blvd. route.  So Meadows residents should support another alternative route such as Fountain Ridge Road extending to link with new construction on American Legion property.  Ultimately this means connecting Clover Drive, the Town street through The Meadows, with the extended end of Fountain Ridge Road.

We need this added connectivity and dispersal of traffic onto a variety of routes.

Regarding statements that The Meadows has water pooling sometimes, Meadows owners have resisted adding topsoil, which is needed over clay soil.  As someone who took care of the lawn and shrubs around my Massachusetts home for over 20 years, I remind all that land and dirt move due to rain, wind, freezing and thawing.  Just as the earth’s crust moves causing earthquakes and volcanoes, the earth on the surface also moves, and depressed areas must be filled with topsoil which then absorbs more water.

The American Legion, not the Town, owns this property under discussion.  We do not have the money to buy and maintain this property, and the proposed buyer suggests cordial cooperation.

Lynne Kane. Chapel Hill 27517

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