Historic Rogers Road Task Force
My op-ed from today arguing that the proposal under consideration this Thursday reflects the best of our progressive traditions while beginning to repay our debt to the Rogers Road community:
In 2011 a conservative faction of the Greensboro City Council moved to expand their White Street Landfill, located in the overwhelmingly African-American northeast portion of the city.
As the attorney for community members opposing this expansion as well as a long-term resident of Orange County, it was endlessly frustrating to me when expansion supporters pointed to our own Rogers Road to justify their decision.
At their meetings last night, both the Carrboro Board of Aldermen and Orange County Board of Commissioners considered resolutions concerning the Rogers Road Task Force. The Carrboro Board of Aldermen unanimously approved a resolution expressing their support for full sewer service for all of the Rogers Road neighborhood. By contrast, the Board of County Commissioners rejected a separate resolution put forward by Commissioner Mark Dorosin that would have expressed the BOCC's intent to participate in the provision of sewer improvements. Only Dorosin and Commissioner Barry Jacobs voted in favor of the resolution.
A full complement of Task Force members was in attendance at today's meeting of the Historic Rogers Road Task Force. The Task Force is nearing it's end and as Alderperson Michelle Johnson notes in her recent post, there is a lot on the line. Most task force members came to the meeting expecting to talk about two options: annexation of the Eubanks-Rogers Road Neighborhood or development of an Extra-territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ). Instead, Orange County Assistant Manager Michael Talbert proposed a third alternative that I'll call the Hybrid 77% Plan (but some at the meeting jokingly called the Talbert Plan).
After a lengthy discussion at the January 24 county commissioners' meeting, a couple of decisions were made regarding the continued meeting of the Historic Rogers Road Task Force.
First, by unanimous vote, the commissioners approved moving forward with completing plans to fund and build a community center for the Rogers Road community. There was less agreement about the charge of the task force. Commissioner Mark Dorosin wanted to have the task force consider the potential for gentrification in the community once the sewer was extended to all eligible homes. Commissioner Earl Mckee disagreed, stating that homeowners should be able to decide for themselves the highest and best use of their property. There were a variety of motions, friendly and unfriendly amendments made, votes taken, and wordsmithing done until, ultimately, a motion was made to charge the task force to continue their work on extending sewer service, completing the community center, addressing gentrification, and use of the Greene Tract as a funding option. This motion was passed five to two (Commissioners Penny Rich and Bernadette Pelissier voted against).
As many OP readers know, the Historic Rogers Road Task Force has been meeting for the last year to discuss strategies to bring sewer service and a community center to the Rogers Road neighborhood. At the last Assembly of Governments meeting, there was a discussion about whether the task force should continue to meet next year. Michelle Johnson, Molly DeMarco, and I have drafted the following letter to deliver to the county commissioners prior to their January 24th meeting asking them to continue the task force. If you support this effort, please sign onto our petition prior to January 17th.
Chair Jacobs and Orange County Commissioners:
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