Opinion

On Facebook: Readers respond to ‘uglification’ of Chapel Hill column

“I have to wonder whether town officials tried hard enough to bring forth an imaginative project and prevent the clear-cutting,” writes Ted Vaden.
“I have to wonder whether town officials tried hard enough to bring forth an imaginative project and prevent the clear-cutting,” writes Ted Vaden.

You can read and comment on local news on deputy metro editor Mark Schultz’s Facebook page. On Wednesday, Mark posted a link to retired newspaper editor Ted Vaden’s latest commentary with this text:

“In today’s opinion, a former editor weighs in on development in Chapel Hill: ‘What surprises me,’ writes Ted Vaden about recent clearcutting [at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Estes Drive], ‘is that there exists no plan for what happens next at this intersection that is, arguably, Chapel Hill’s second most important (after Franklin and Columbia streets).’ NOTE: Comments on this thread are encouraged and may be published in print and online.)“

Here is what some of you said:

Chris Weaver: “Uglification” sounds like an opinion that seeks validation through the formation of law to deny property rights of the individual. A bad idea.

Heath Sledge: That intersection is bad enough now. Imagine if they put a big shopping thing there! Traffic at the light would be a nightmare, and you know people would try to turn left across all four lanes and cause wrecks.

Maria Tadd: Maybe the town could buy it, plant some trees and make it into a park, walking trails, bike trails, etc.

James Morgan: Maria Tadd perfect. It would give that corner some presence.

Suki Roth: Sad and very short sighted. Choices are being made like this one all around the Piedmont. We need to think long term and what we are leaving for the future of Chapel Hill and her surrounding areas.

Jason Baker: I don’t mean to pick on Ted specifically, but, uglification is exactly the kind of thing that white retired people have the privilege of complaining about. I care a lot less about what Chapel Hill looks like than whether or not it’s providing the employment opportunities, housing, transportation and services that its residents need to survive while also reducing the huge negative impact that our collective affluence has on the global environment.

Susana Dancy: Jason Baker, I don’t think those things are mutually exclusive. My current gripe is that we have very siloed thinking in Chapel Hill, when a holistic approach to real estate development can have better results on the issues you name plus greater beauty and sense of place.

Paul Hrusovsky: What ever happened to the influence of great architecture and architects? Both of which are prevalent here with a stellar university town planning department and a school of architecture. We strip the land and put up uninspired buildings that look the same everywhere in the USA. Mixed use looks good on paper until you deal with noise, garbage, odors and general inconvenience residents must endure.

Matthew P. Clements: When local governments decide to impose their will on private property owners for the common good who will carry out these orders? I don’t aspire to tell others how to manage their pine forest. If you want to make an unsolicited offer for their property, great. Don’t use the threat of government to condemn or steal their rights or property.

Mark Schultz: This link may be helpful to those who don’t know or forgot the town has plan to guide development in the MLK-Estes area. The Central West Small Area Plan was developed after many months of community meetings as part of the Chapel Hill 2020 visioning process: bit.ly/2QyDaSz

James Bartow: I don’t know how much Chapel Hill can do to stop people from doing forestry on parcels zoned as tree farms. With that said, as Mark pointed out, that parcel has been the subject of debate for years so there is a fair amount of policy history behind it, and the surrounding parcels.

To see more comments or add your own, go to www.facebook.com/mark.schultz.94043. This thread also links to a previous development plan for the MLK Jr. Boulevard/Estes Drive area.

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